Reviewing comics great and small since 2006
First Published: 2004
Reprinted: 2006; minus one story.
Availability: Purchase at the Sweatdrop Studios website.
Sugardrops came out of Sweatdrop Studios in mid 2004, it contains fifteen short stories all based on the theme of cute, written and drawn by most of the current Sweatdrop members of the time.
It is also the first perfect bound, graphic novel style book published by Sweatdrop Studios. It contains a total of 156 pages including covers and artist bios and ads, and each story ranges from a few pages to about 20 pages in length.
So on to the pieces themselves, there are a wide variety of artistic styles, and stories here, which would appeal to people of all ages, all revolving around the theme of cute in one sense or another, whether it be chibi style artwork, magic fairies, or small fury animals. I’ll so my best to summarise each one, hopefully without giving too much away.
1. Milky Creamy, 20 pages, by Selina Dean.
This first story is very much a cute contest, with two girls and their pets, battling it out on the streets busking with their animals. The story is written and drawn, her chibi style is quite unique. Quite enjoyable, like most of her work.
2. The Pinkaa Fairy, 7 pages, by Laura Watton.
This is the story of an up and coming manga artist, unfortunately not everyone likes her art!
This story is intended to inspire, a reminder to never give up on your dreams. The art is excellent, as you would expect from a veteran of the UK manga scene. I dare say this story will have been derived from personal experience at some point in time.
3. Detached, 20 pages by Hayden Scott-Barron.
This is a pretty spooky story, cute in its own way, but also with a life lesson or two into the bargain. Its about a girl who’s different, looking for acceptance, and a moody bloke who thinks he’s better than everyone else. In this story the heroine Mia, learns what is most important to her.
Dock as usually is always up there in the art stakes. The style of the art is quite different to his usual stuff, being a bit more chibi than normal. But it is still rather good.
4. Fake Wings, 4 pages by Morag Lewis.
This is a short story about knowing how to achieve your goals, and being able to turn for help when need be.
The art is typical of Morag Lewis, as she uses a fairly uniform standard throughout her comics. The beauty of her art is usually in the line art, and this piece is no exception here.
5. Perfect Get, 10 pages by Sercha Cronin.
In this story, a guy and his friend are on holiday, and searching for the perfect thing to take back to England as a souvenir.
Sercha Chronin is the guest artist appearing in Sugardrops, in general the art is cute and distinctive. A nice little comic.
6. Pretty Boy, 14 pages, by Keds.
This story is about a woman who likes to draw pretty boys. One day one of them comes to life, but he’s not perfect…
Keds is a young manga artist but not the youngest here. I consider him to be a great talent his art has a unique style and is on the whole brilliant there are some excellent background images to be seen here.
7. Tenshi Love, 15 pages by Rebecca Burgess.
Awwww, this is a cute chibi style love story, about a boy angel, who is in love with a girl angel. But to win her love he must find….. a teddy!
Bex is joint youngest in this anthology, being only 14 at the time it was compiled.
8. Sueto-chan and Sugar-chan 1 page by Selina Dean.
This story features the Sweatdrop mascot, and the Sugardrops mascot.
Probably just used as a little break for the reader, before moving on.
9. Sureem’s Story, 8 pages by Heather Sheppard.
This story features cute furry animals! Rather intelligent ones that talk. Its a story to remind you never to forget your friends, and that you only realise how important they are when you lose them.
Heather’s art is right out of the top drawer, with lovely backgrounds.
10. Li’l Kianna, 8 pages by Monkey X (Ade Smith).
This story is about a girl who runs away from home, in order to get some attention, and soon gets into bother. But she has a little friend to help her….
As with most of the stories compiled in this anthology the standard of art is good, whilst
the layout is simple, and easy to follow.
11. The Adventure, 8 pages, by Sarah Burgess.
This is story of two kids who stay at home playing computer games all day. One day they decide to go on an adventure. But in the end they just do what they always do….
Denji is the twin sister of Bex, both were the same age and about 14 when this anthology was compiled. Both use cute chibi style artwork for their pieces, but their drawing styles differ somewhat and they utilise very different layouts for their pages.
12. Murder On The Dancefloor, 10 pages by Sonia Leong.
This is practically a dancing competition between cat girls, where the object is to be the last one standing at the end. Expect dirty tricks, and mayhem. It’s kind of like a cross between Come Dancing and Wacky Races…
As far is I know this is Sonia Leong’s first published comic. The art has a chibi feel to it, but not as chibi as some, but as always it is of a high standard. There is plenty of action, and plenty of detail in the art.
Overall a very good comic.
13. VK UK. 4 pages by Niki Hunter.
Mia and her cats are at home……
Mia says NAAARF!
You’d probably be thinking, ‘what’s the point?”. But you’ll notice there
is actually only one page of actual comic but also a character reference in the page opposite. Things make much more sense when you read that.
Niki is a professional games artist and her art is more or less superb all of the time, and this comic is no exception, her skills as a character designer are also excellent.
The only thing I would say is it could have been longer!
14. Sparkling Gift, 6 pages by Wing Yun Man.
In this story, a girl is trying to get a gift for her friend’s birthday. The result is quite hilarious believe me!
Wing Yun Man is the queen of cute, although she does other things just as well. Her art is rather professional looking and her comic layouts are easily digested as well.
A fine piece of work, And quite amusing.
15. My friend BAZ, 6 pages by Emma Viecelli
A tale of a boy and his imaginary friend. Is it a boy? A superhero? A cute fluffy animal?
No, it’s a miniature spliff smoking, beer drinking, nike kicking chav!
This story is my favourite as I can understand this story from the point of view of personal experience, only my so called friends were real!
The artwork is good, as is the layout, and whether this story is meant to be or not, it is funny!
The anthology as a whole.
The anthology as a whole is excellent, from any point of view you can think of.
1. The actual finishing is excellent, the quality of binding and printing.
2. The stories themselves are quite well thought out and drawn.
3. The quality of the materials themselves are good
4. The cover image conveys the theme of cute perfectly, and stands out as a work of art itself.
5. The price is pretty reasonable, it in fact costs less than most graphic novels from big time manga publishers.
Whilst some of the artists in this anthology are professionals, most are not. But yet the quality of the artwork and stories coming from Sweatdrop Studios as a whole is pretty excellent in every way. The people there work hard, and always aspire to improve, and Sugardrops is culmination of the talent of the group as a whole. It serves, to show the world what Sweatdrop Studios is capable of doing.
This anthology is one of the best ways to sample various artists work, and learn more about what this group has to offer. This flagship book of Sweatdrop is fast becoming the standard for members of the group with long series.
Since then, Sweatdrop has released other graphic novels, including, Looking For The Sun volume 1, by Morag Lewis, and Fantastic Cat volume 1, by Selina Dean. And more will follow in the future I dare say. But Sugardrops is the book that started Sweatdrop down that road.
ALL IMAGES COURTESY OF SWEATDROP STUDIOS.
Review by ukmangaxl.com