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Grand Slam Romance

Olivia Hicks – writer
Emma Oosterhous – artist
£5

Love out of left field!

Grand Slam Romance is a new comic from the creative team of writer Olivia Hicks and artist Emma Oosterhous. Hicks describes Grand Slam Romance as an homage to sports manga and magical girls. Grand Slam Romance’s two protagonists are Astra Maxima and Mickey Monsoon, star players on opposing softball teams – Gaiety Gals and Broad City Belles respectively. The story opens as the two teams are on the field in a high stakes game for the state finals and the Gaiety Gals are trouncing their opponents because in her own inimitable way Astra has been devastating the Broad City batters before she even pitches a ball! Then Mickey steps up to the plate! Will Astra’s strategy hold or will Mickey beat Astra at her own game(s)?

Having almost no familiarity with either sports manga or magical girls led me to wonder for a moment if my reading might be hindered and I’m happy to report I liked it quite a lot. Rivalry is a classic plot that can make for interesting characterization and storytelling with capable writers. Hicks is definitely quite capable as she’s made both Astra and Mickey equally strong and determined characters in their own rights. Hicks piques curiosity by giving a glimpse into Astra and Mickey’s shared history while also entertaining with humor (the sports announcer’s lines are hilarious) and witty banter between the pair. By taking their on the field rivalry into the locker room Hicks creates super charged sexual tension between them that leaves me wondering what the future has in store for them!

Plus, Hicks’ little in story hook of a dangled promise of a hot, greasy, carb intense snack has me craving a big plateful!

Emma Oosterhous has done an excellent job of bringing Hick’s script to life on the page with her fun and dynamic style. Looking at the expressions and gestural poses Oosterhous must have quite enjoyed drawing the rivalry and the sexy turn it takes in a post game scene. Oosterhous implements some conventional manga techniques as you might imagine given the inspiration. A good number of page layouts feature angled borders and are often coupled with a variety of dramatic perspectives for an energetic feel. Certain text and dialog boxes get a similar look. Several artistic flourishes playfully emphasize action, speed, and mood as needed. Manga is typically printed in black and white and often uses zipatone for shading or other effects. It’s the same for the art here with the exception of a second shade put to use as a spot color. Brilliant decision there!

If you’re looking for a playful and sexy story then Grand Slam Romance is one you should check out. Hicks and Oosterhous plan to continue Astra and Mickey’s story! You’ll want to follow them on Twitter (@eoosterhous & @missoliviahicks) and visit their sites (emmaoosterhous.com & oliviahicks.myportfolio.com) to stay up to date!

Grand Slam Romance is available digitally from Gumroad.  Print copies are currently available from the creators at con appearances. You can be among the first to have one if you happen to be at the Edinburgh Comic Art Festival this Sunday (August 11th). Look for them at table #14!

August 10, 2019
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