In Alice in Leatherland #3, Alice is advised to get out there and make magic happen instead of waiting for romance to find her. Easier said than done when you’re in a new city and out of practice!
Alice in Leatherland #3
Elisa Romboli (Artist), Iolanda Zanfardino (Writer)
Black Mask Studios
June 9, 2021
I’ve enjoyed every issue of the series so far and Alice in Leatherland #3 is no different. I love how the series has handled the ebbs and flows of heartbreak. It’s been months since the opening issue saw Alice move to San Francisco on the behest of her best friend, Robin, after her relationship unceremoniously ended. But Alice is a romantic at heart—she believes that a Princess Charming is just waiting in the wings for her. The fact that she hasn’t found her yet stops her from moving on and actively putting herself out there.
But dating apps aren’t for the faint of heart, as we see in Alice in Leatherland #3. Narcissists abound and more people are in a rush to have sex rather than building the kind of relationship Alice is looking for. If you need tips for online dating, this is the book to read. Alice’s friend even has a helpful guide on what kind of people to avoid on dating apps — I think I’ll keep a copy of that close by.
I adore the diversity in this series, and every issue finds a way to add more diverse characters. We’ve had several characters representing multiple ethnicities, all of them LGBTQIA+. There’s a trans character in this issue who drops the barest of hints that he is a trans man—him being trans isn’t the entire scope of his story. It’s still rare to see queer characters get to be more than just their queerness. That’s why you need representation behind the scenes and on the page!
Even though Alice in Leatherland #3 examines app dating, I’m glad it didn’t put Alice in too much peril. This is a light-hearted series, albeit one that is built on heartbreak. Alice’s dates are disasters, but the circumstances are hilarious. Not only do the events of the story lighten the mood but they give us a clear indication as to why Alice still doesn’t fit in in her new surroundings. Alice is quite old-fashioned and maybe a little bit lost in her dreamworld. It’s quite endearing actually and makes me love Alice even more than I already did after reading the first two issues.
I’ve got to say, three issues in and the series is lighter on the kink than I was led to believe. It’s far more romantic and wistful, instead. I can’t say I mind. I love this story and the characters, and I’m still rooting for my Alice/ Robin ship, that may or may not be sailing by the end of Alice in Leatherland #3.
Having said that, there were some panels in this issue that piqued my interest. Alice has been reserved so far, but she gets the opportunity to show her sexy side here. A sexy plus-size woman of colour in a comic? I need more of this. Artist Elisa Romboli has an amazing style that combines cartoon-ish faces with detailed and expressive faces. Her Alice is adorable, but she gets to be hot in this comic and I am all for that!
There’s also a panel of Robin that got my heart racing. Robin’s pose, the slacks she’s wearing, the expression on her face—a raised eyebrow and a bitten lip never looked so good. Had it not been for the sepia hue employed across the art in this series, I’d have thought this was a real picture.
I love that all the characters look distinct from each. And not just the main cast of characters, even characters in the background look different from each other. There’s so much care that has gone into drawing this series that every page becomes a delight to read.
Romboli clearly knows how to get the audience’s attention. What beautiful-looking characters she’s created with writer Iolanda Zanfardino! I realise I haven’t mentioned how attractive the cast of characters is in earlier reviews, but they are lovely to look at and certainly a reason to keep reading this series. This is the kind of comic content my queer heart has been looking for.
Thus far, each issue has included brief interludes where we get to read the fairy tale that Alice is working on. These stories reflect Alice’s real experiences, but all the characters are anthropomorphized. It’s a great way to get into Alice’s head but in Alice in Leatherland #3, I also felt like the fairy tale was sharing more of Alice’s personality with readers. You’ll notice it when you read the story, but I thought it was quite clever and I look forward to seeing how Alice finishes her tale.
This series has been such a pleasant read. Despite all the heartache contained within, Alice, Robin, Alice’s friends, and her manager at work, are a delight to spend time with. The story is light and leaning towards romance with every passing issue. The kink scene flourishes in the background, an outlet for Alice’s repressed personality and a medium for her to make new friends. The end of Alice in Leatherland #3 also hints at better times ahead and I am happier for it. Alice is a wonderful character who I am certain is going to get all the romance and fairy tales she deserves. I’ll certainly be reading the next issue to find out just how that happens.