Small-Press Comic Review: Sugar Glider #1


Sugar Glider is a UK small-press comic which is written by Daniel Clifford with artwork by Gary Bainbridge. Sugar Glider #1 is a 22-page, black and white comic, which was launched at Thought Bubble in November 2010. You can pick up a copy of the comic for £3 from

Set in Newcastle upon Tyne, Sugar Glider tells the story of Susie Sullivan - an 18yr old with a habit for giving up on hobbies, jobs and potential careers at a moment’s notice. Having given up on so many ‘dreams’ already in her short life, Susie is poised to drop out of college and give her mother, Brenda, an ulcer.

But Susie has a secret more likely to give Brenda a mischief; she’s gotten hold of a high-tech gliding suit and is quickly becoming attached to it. Susie’s late night crime-fighting adventures are becoming more frequent and more successful. But there’s something else about that suit - it bears a striking resemblance to the ones worn by MI5’s Vigilance super-agents. The same super-agents who are about to be rolled-out all across the UK.

Rather than starting the series with the origin story of the character, Clifford decides rather to introduce us to the character through one of her early adventures. This is a pretty smart move for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is that it gives readers a chance to get a feel for the spirit of the series straight away, rather than having to wait a couple of issues to see the character in action. This is something that is especially important with a small press or indie book, because readers feel like they are taking a risk when picking up a new title, so you want to hook them early.

This first issue focuses on a medium-sized street level crime, which sees the character doing a bit of detective work, before getting down to the nitty-gritty and taking on some bad guys. It’s quite an action packed first issue, but at the same time Clifford takes the opportunity to introduce us to Susie’s supporting cast of friends and family, as well as getting us acquainted with her social and school life. The issue also briefly touches on the police’s interest in Sugar Glider and the presence of the new superhero team, Vigilance. It’s a really well plotted and scripted debut issue that hits all of the right beats and has a great mix of Susie’s personal life, and her life as Sugar Glider.

The issue closes with a newspaper article reporting on the recent crime spree, which cleverly gives us some background on the events of the issue, which enriches the whole experience and takes the book to another level. Clifford also teases events to come in subsequent issues, with a number of enigmatic panels and captions that really make you want to know what happens next!

Gary Bainbridge’s artwork on the issue is black & white,  with some greytones to provide atmosphere in a number of scenes. His lineart is cartoon-like in style, but a little more loose and sketchy in places. He really seems to shine on the action sequences, with Sugar Glider in full costume, but is equally proficient with character work, crowd scenes, and more. I really like his inking style, which is of a very high quality for a self-published small-press comic. The comic is also hand-lettered, which is rarely seen these days. It works really well here though, as the letters are done in a smooth and legible script. There are a couple of typos etc. in places, but hey! That’s all part of the small-press experience

Sugar Glider #1 is a fantastic debut issue of a new all-ages superhero/masked avenger series, which is of a high quality rarely seen in small press comics. I would highly recommend picking this comic up, and getting in on the ground floor, because Clifford and Bainbridge have already planned out the next few issues, and it looks like there are great adventures to come!

Related posts:

  1. Small Press Spotlight: Sugar Glider
  2. Sugar Glider #1 Sells Out and Gets a Second Printing!
  3. Small Press Comic Review: The Abortion (Reviewed by Mo Ali)
  4. Small Press Comic Review: Turbulence #1
  5. Small Press Comic Review - Arthur: The Legend Continues #1

Speak Your Mind

Tell us what you're thinking...
and oh, if you want a pic to show with your comment, go get a gravatar!