by Derek Royal
If you read comics primarily for plot, then you may not want to pick up the latest offering from Alternative Comics, Kevin Scalzo’s Sugar Booger #1. There isn’t much story here…then again, the strengths of this comic aren’t built upon narrative sophistication. In fact, you could argue that Sugar Booger is at its best when you don’t expect anything from it other than Scalzo’s art. It’s a weird, warped, nonsensical, and colorful glimpse into the nether regions of sucrose. And reading it, you might wonder if it’s too much sugar or perhaps “special” mushrooms that the artist has been ingesting.
It’s difficult to describe Sugar Booger…well, actually it’s not. It just sounds silly. It’s about the titular character, a large talking blue bear who loves eating sugar. And when he does so, gorging himself on the substance, he secretes gobs of sweet, edible snot that kids just love. In this first issue, Sugar Booger comes across two youngsters playing outside, overcomes their suspicion of talking to strangers by giving them his sugary snot, and then is chased off by their parents. That’s it for 28 pages (the Wow Cool website, where you can purchase the comic, lists the page count as 32, although that apparently includes the cover). But what makes Sugar Booger so distinctive is Scalzo’s minimalist yet vibrant art and his cast of psychedelic creatures. You could describe the style as a funky mix between Doug Allen’s Steven, without the darkness, and James Kochalka’s “cute” style…on acid. In a more tangible sense, it reminds me of Kaz’s Underworld strips, although perhaps more all-age-friendly. And with a lot more mucus.
Sugar Booger #1 collects some of Scalzo’s Sugar Booger pieces that have appeared in past anthologies — several websites note this fact, but none give detail about exactly what anthologies these are — as well as the 20-page Sugar Booger minicomic published by Busybody Books in 2001. The art has been remastered, given more vibrant color, and printed on glossy paper. I’ve seen some of Kevin Scalzo’s work in the past, but the Sugar Booger comics have apparently flown under my radar. How could I have ever missed seeing a comic about a blue talking bear with green, sweet edible snot?
This title might not be for everyone, and mainstream comics readers will probably wonder what the hell is going on when they look at these strange yet colorful pages. But if you appreciate indie creators, the world of minicomics, self-published fare, and runaway imaginations, then you’ll appreciate Scalzo’s Sugar Booger comics.
This is the first of a projected three-issue series of Sugar Booger published through Alternative Comics, and there are apparently plans for a hardcover edition of the complete Sugar Booger comics, which should include additional strips and features. So put away that Musinex and get ready to embrace the sweet, boogery goodness.
Get your fix of Sugar Booger as well other titles with Kevin Scalzo’s art: