NUTMEG is a coming-of-age culinary crime comic published by Action Lab Entertainment, which originally debuted in April 2015. From creators James F. Wright and Jackie Crofts, the story is about a pair of junior high school girls, Poppy Pepper and Cassia Caraway, who get in way over their heads when they concoct batches of super addictive brownies. When the girls prank a pompous rival, they find themselves building a criminal empire with their irresistible brownies. Walking a line between Mean Girls meets Breaking Bad, this is a book primarily aimed at readers aged 11 and up.
The series is 15 total chapters, and is available in comic shops domestic and international, as well as digitally via Comixology. There are three trade paperback collections, Early Fall: Taste Buddies; Late Fall: Brownie Points; and Early Winter: Femme Brûlée compiling issues 1-3, 4-6, and 7-9, respectively. After a brief hiatus, the series will return in early 2018 with the release of issue 10, “350 Degrees of Separation,” followed by issues 11 and 12, and a fourth trade paperback collection, Late Winter: Coven Cleaner, thereafter.
The Fall arc of NUTMEG (collecting the first six issues) is now on Kickstarter in a brand-new hardcover format! PopCultHQ had the privilege of chatting with the creative, culinary crime comic couple about the series and this new compiled hardcover that’s a must-have for bookshelves everywhere!
What people are saying about Nutmeg:
“This is the kind of comic we need more of; intelligent accessible and creative that is perfect for getting young adults into reading comics.” – Comic Spectrum
“Nutmeg is exactly what we need more of in the comic industry, and hopefully this series becomes the hit it deserves to be.” – Graphic Policy
“It’s an all-ages tale that is willing to have over the top fun while taking just a light and intriguing walk on the mysterious side.” – Comicosity
“The spice puns will never not be funny.” – PopOptiq
PopCultHQ’s Creator Spotlight:
James F. Wright & Jackie Crofts of NUTMEG
PopCultHQ: NUTMEG is your “YA culinary coming-of-age comic about crime, baking, and growing up.” For someone new to the NUTMEG title, can you explain briefly about the narrative and how you’ve made that combination a successful recipe?
James F. Wright: NUTMEG is the story of Poppy Pepper and Cassia Caraway, a pair of 8th graders who plot to undermine the brownie-baking event of their rival, rich girl queen bee Saffron Longfellow, and develop an illicit brownie empire in the process. Jackie, my collaborator and friend, and I talked a lot about what we wanted this book to be, and incorporating elements from teen detective stories while focusing instead on the criminal side of things made the most sense. A Girl Scouts-esque pastry-centric event was the perfect setting for things to unfold, and then get well out of Poppy and Cassia’s control.
PopCultHQ: How do you (personally) feel that NUTMEG connects with the YA audience?
James F. Wright: The best part about writing NUTMEG for me is seeing what Jackie will do with the art. Even though we talk about the issues beforehand, I’m always pleasantly surprised by what she comes up with. But my other favorite part is watching the decisions the characters make. Even though it changes with each issue, my favorite character to write has been Marjorie. The full arc of her journey was something I had never planned on at the outset, but the more I worked with her the more sense that journey made to me and to the story we were telling.
James F. Wright: There are so very many, but the one I’ve come back to the most lately is: Write for an audience of one. Sometimes that audience is yourself, and that is perfectly fine. Sometimes that audience is your collaborator; think how many wonderful things have come into being because someone believed that their friend would think it’s cool. I wrote NUTMEG for my goddaughter, who was too young for it when I started, but I wanted her to have it waiting for her when she was ready. You’re not going to be able to please all the people all the time, but if you can aim to make just one person happy, that’s a worthwhile goal.
Oh, and don’t step on your collaborators’ toes. They know what they’re doing, give them the space to do it.
Special thanks to Jambles and Jackles for taking the time to be interviewed by PopCultHQ. Add some “spice” to your life this “season,” check out the NUTMEG HC Fall Edition LIVE on Kickstarter. And to stay up on the latest, be sure to follow the creative team online!
Writer – James F. Wright
Artist – Jackie Crofts
Publisher – Action Lab Entertainment