Sugar Glider – everyday teen tales with added (perhaps unnecessary) spandex…..
Sick of Saturday Jobs and College – become a superhero!
That’s the call on the front cover of Sugar Glider. And that’s pretty much what happens inside this debut issue issue from relative newcomers Clifford and Bainbridge.
Susie isn’t quite your average teen – juggling college with a very promising athletics programme means she hasn’t that much time for all the things normal teens get up to.
And in this debut issue Clifford and Bainbridge do a really decent job of giving us an insight into the life of this far from average teen. The first seven pages are fantastic – a lovely look into the everyday issues of a teen, perfectly summed up by this first page of Susie’s standard week of classes, training, disturbed homework, more training and babysitting:
(Susie’s week. Not pictured – dressing up in spandex and patrolling the streets. From Sugar Glider issue 1 by Clifford and Bainbridge)
But what really marks her out as remarkable isn’t the athletics – it’s the habit she has of going out at all hours dressed in black and white spandex. Because Susie just happens to be the superhero Sugar Glider. She’s taking her athletics prowess and using it, along with the mysterious Sugar Glider suit, to do her best to right a few wrongs.
And it’s this aspect of the comic I had the most problems with. Not because it isn”t done well, since it is. My issue with it was that I really enjoyed what Clifford and Bainbridge were doing with Susie the teen and how they looked at her life. In many ways I really didn’t need the added factor of her being a superhero. However, the superhero aspect of Sugar Glider is obviously the story Clifford and Bainbridge want to tell, so it’s what I have to review.
As a superhero, she’s definitely the Batman type – non super-powered and relying on her athletic prowess to grant her an advantage.
Bainbridge’s art throughout the issue is quite nice, and even though I far prefer it when he’s just content with looking at Susie the teen, I have to admit he does do the dynamism necessary for Susie as Sugar Glider very well indeed:
(Susie as Sugar Glider – Bainbridge’s art does capture the dynamism of superheroing very well. From Sugar Glider issue 1 by Clifford and Bainbridge)
This debut issue sees Sugar Glider facing off against a group of student types not content with handing out flyers and protesting (although we’re never informed exactly what it is they’re protesting against). Instead they’re trying more direct action – shutting down shopping centres and swapping road signs around. Hardly end of the world stuff, but something Susie/ Sugar Glider feels the need to investigate.
However, when she does find out exactly who it is that”s causing the problems things don’t go well. First of all, there’s a brilliant little setup when she makes herself known to the group and then there’s a horrible, yet all too realistic beating:
(Susie’s appearance as Sugar Glider hardly strikes fear into the hearts of men – but things get serious very quickly. From Sugar Glider issue 1 by Clifford and Bainbridge)
In many ways Sugar Glider is one of those books I just don’t feel has much of a reason to exist. It’s raw, which I have no problem with at all, since both Clifford and Bainbridge show promise in their work. That’s not the issue. My problem is the genre they are pursuing. Do we really need another superhero series? Really?
In fact, much of my enjoyment of Sugar Glider came from the pages without the spandex. I think Clifford and Bainbridge do a damn good job of walking me through Susie’s life and the troubles she’s having without needing to put on a spandex costume. But if superheroes is the way they want to go, I have to admit it’s a nice take on the genre. Bainbridge especially has some lovely artistic touches throughout Sugar Glider that mark him out as someone to keep an eye on.
I look forward to revisiting Susie and seeing where she goes from here.
Sugar Glider issue 1 is available for just £3 from the creator’s site.