[Review] Snapdragon by Kat Leyh

Snap’s town had a witch.
At least, that’s how the rumor goes. But in reality, Jacks is just a crocks-wearing, internet-savvy old lady who sells roadkill skeletons online—after doing a little ritual to put their spirits to rest. It’s creepy, sure, but Snap thinks it’s kind of cool, too.
They make a deal: Jacks will teach Snap how to take care of the baby opossums that Snap rescued, and Snap will help Jacks with her work. But as Snap starts to get to know Jacks, she realizes that Jacks may in fact have real magic—and a connection with Snap’s family’s past.




Intrigued by Alice Oseman’s newest Heartstopper Volume, I immediately picked up two more comics. One of them is Kat Leyh’s Snapdragon about a character of the same name and so many important topics. Beginning with the young character’s adventurous and slightly loudmouthed personality to the witch’s odd appearance—this story took me by surprise. Despite their oddness—maybe especially due to it—I fell in love with them and their dynamic within pages. Additionally, I wasn’t too fond of the illustration style, but increasingly found it to reflect the characters breaking with expected traits and stereotypes. I also got repeatedly surprised as the creator combined serious manners like homo- and transphobia with light-hearted humor. I would even say that the positive feelings outweigh all other emotions despite the spooky, morbid setup and the serious issues hinted at.


Important topics but light-heartedly told about

Some of this book’s topics aren’t even explicitly named but resonate through the narrative, nonetheless. Race, transgenderism, gender role expectations, bullying, queerness in general, even disability are featured and represented. But surprisingly, some of them weren’t made a conflict point. Instead, I loved Snap’s mother to ask Snap if she felt like a boy the way her best friend felt like a girl despite being assigned male at birth. I loved how it was just accepted and integrated instead of made a reason for insecurity. Moreover, despite the many topics, the story does not seem rushed but pauses for emotional and teaching moments.


More than Snap’s story

We also experience several times for a flashback to learn about Snap’s ancestors and the witch’s youth. This way, we explore more than one story but several moving ones. Lulu, Violet, Jessamine, Jacks—they all have their own tales to be told and get to demonstrate their bravery. I also enjoyed the attention this comic gives to animals and their worth. The magic shown in this story seems deeply connected not only to one’s own soul but also nature. Therefore, it shows us magic in the ordinary, strength in everyday tasks (as Violet raises her daughter as a sole mom). In connection to this magic, the story further offers amazing twists and revelations, which I immensely appreciate.


In conclusion,

This comic is more than a coming-of-age story but a moving more-generation tale. I was utterly intrigued and pleased that the writer and illustrator featured so many important topics in passing, making the story entertaining and predominantly light but also commenting on serious issues.



The weiter/artist:

Kat Leyh is a Chicago based writer and artist. She’s best known as the current co-writer and cover artist for the series Lumberjanes, and for her queer superhero webcomic Supercakes. She’s also worked as a cover artist, and back-up writer/artist for several BOOM! Studios series. Source

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