Review: Alice in Leatherland #3
Iolanda Zanfardino and Elisa Romboli’s Alice in Leatherland continues its queering of the fairy tale in its third issue as Alice continues to quest for true love (and also write a children’s book) while being employed in a San Francisco sex shop fittingly called Leatherland. Alice in Leatherland #3 dives head-first into the world of online dating with Alice’s new friends coaching her in etiquette, taking boudoir-ready pictures of her, and offering her a safety valve in case things go badly. And, unfortunately, they do with Alice immediately swiping on Robin, her friend and former artistic collaborator, who has kind of ghosted her since moving to San Francisco.
Featuring Romboli’s expressive cartooning and storybook asides that use a children’s book framing device to explore Alice in Leatherland’s themes and its protagonist’s feelings, Alice in Leatherland #3 also hurls Alice headlong into discovering what she wants out of relationships and sex. There’s almost a Goldilocks vibe to the two women that she meets up with in this book with the first one spending her time bragging about her workout routine and occasionally body-shaming Alice before opening a closet of copyright friendly Bad Dragon strap-on’s, and the other one focusing on her own pleasure instead of Alice’s. It’s safe to say that we won’t be seeing them in any future issues, and the situations are relatable to anyone entering the dating world and finding folks, who are mostly decent, but don’t have the energy that matches yours. They also provide a chance for Elisa Romboli to flex her comedy chops capturing Alice’s reactions to the dildos.
That moment is one of many memorable reaction shots drawn by her throughout the issue with Alice’s manager’s face when she tries to organize the porn DVDs into a “happy ending” category after bombing a presentation taking the cake. Zanfardino and Romboli mine a lot of humor out of a wholesome, hopeful woman working at a sex shop that she still sees as an alien planet, but she’s never the butt of the joke. Alice also exhibits a lot of incremental growth in this issue building off Alice in Leatherland #2 where she met some friendly bears at a Pride parade and started to bond and connect with her roommates instead of pining for Robin. The growth this time comes in knowing her own body and what gives her pleasure as she trades in two unsatisfying hook-ups for one of her employer’s wares, and Elisa Romboli nails the literally orgasmic euphoria she feels towards the end of the comic. Alice might not have found a princess in this issue, but she’s definitely increased her self-love.
Alice in Leatherland #3 is another excellent chapter in this stylized romance story that isn’t afraid to get messy and real about relationships while riffing off traditional fairy tale tropes in both the character names and the children’s book that Alice is writing in-story and using to process her feelings. I can definitely start to see the destination, but the fun of this book is watching Alice find herself and community in her new gayborhood as well as seeing the creative synergy of Iolanda Zanfardino and Elisa Romboli evolve through the series.
Story: Iolanda Zanfardino Art: Elisa Romboli
Story: 8.6 Art: 9.0 Overall: 8.8 Recommendation: Buy
Iolanda Zanfardino and Elisa Ramboli provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review