ADVANCED REVIEW: ‘Lemon Pepper Huggz,’ Issue #1

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Lemon Pepper Huggz #1 - But Why Tho

Lemon Pepper Huggz #1 is a new children’s comic from 5 Meats Comics, with a story by Rolando Esquivel and Oscar Garza, with Garza providing art as well. Geared towards children, this series will follow three elementary-age kids and their after-school adventures in their neighborhood in New Brownsville.

In this premiere issue, we follow Lemon, her best friend Pepper, and her brother Huggz as they attempt to raise money at a Lemonade – that is really lemonada – stand built by her big brother Ayo. This entrepreneurial adventure is all in the quest to buy tickets to Amigo Land! Now that she’s finally tall enough to ride the Devastator 2, she’s excited to head out, but her tía Itza doesn’t have the money. But that’s not all, the Devastator 2 is being demolished, and soon!

As the kids attempt to make some cash, the Cookie Scouts get in their way. More of a scam and money driven version of the Girl Scouts, the two groups of kids fight for the right to make money in the neighborhood.

If you aren’t aware, Brownsville is a city in Texas with a predominantly Mexican American population. Given that, the characters in this series are Latinx, which is amazing to see. But the cultural identity goes beyond just the brown ink, in fact, there are references that most Latinx kids, specifically Mexican American kids will automatically appreciate. From the chamoy apples, sharpie eyebrows, tía mustaches, and the eternal struggle of calling lemons and limes by the same word, there are so many touchstones that will make kids feel like the adventure is taking place in their lives.

There is also Spanglish, the blending of Spanish and English. In fact, the language in this book was a perfect example of heritage speakers of Spanish. If you don’t know, heritage speakers of a language learn a minority language at home as children, but it is never fully developed the language because of lack of input from the world outside the house. While English is the bulk of the comic, there are many pieces that even I, as someone not fluent, would say in Spanish.

That being said, this series is accessible for non-Spanish speaking Latinx as well as non-Latinx, as Esquivel and Garza use the margins between the panels to define the Spanish used. Instead of cluttering up the panel, they use the white space to deliver information, which keeps the narrative flowing while also helping readers.

The art has a unique style that works perfectly for the adventure, age group, and comedy in the issue. The colors pop and the choice to use yellow as the background color is a bold one. Normally, as my mom has always said, tan to brown skin gets washed out with yellow, yet, the characters in this issue pop off of the page.

There are some inconsistencies in the lettering, “Amigo Land” is spelled with a space and then later appears as one word, but that can be forgiven with the great execution of the fairly self-contained story.

That being said, the relationship between our three main characters is perfect, child-like, and their fights with the Cookie Scouts are perfect. I one hundred percent know that I have insulted someone’s eyebrows before. There is also a piece of sibling love that touches my heart, as an older sibling who worked two jobs and helped around the house.

Overall, if you’re looking for a comic for a young reader, pick it up. If they’re Latinx, they’ll get a piece of adventure that centers them, and if they’re not Latinx they’ll learn a little about a different perspective and still have a lot of fun reading.

Lemon Pepper Huggz #1 is available wherever comics are sold.

Lemon Pepper Huggz #1
5

TL;DR

Overall, if you’re looking for a comic for a young reader, pick it up. If they’re Latinx, they’ll get a piece of adventure that centers them, and if they’re not Latinx they’ll learn a little about a different perspective and still have a lot of fun reading.