Sarah Millman’s NPC Tea was a title I’d stumbled across online after its 2nd issue had just been released and I jumped at the chance to pick up a new indie.
We’re introduced to a unique world where the classroom teachings of magic are far more realistic than anyone expects and the fantasy elements creep in as the RPG inspired tale introduces a great cast of characters. While we open with a quick history lesson and a glimpse into Hannah’s quick-witted responses for her teacher we end up alongside her as she finds herself getting acquainted with Cardiff’s least popular tea shop – Y Ddraig……although I can’t think why it’s low in popularity.
Her studies continue but the surroundings & her knowledge end up mixing together and her discovery sees things become far less regular than first expected when considering this is about a tea shop. An ex-fire summon, an elf and a magicless human are an unlikely group to become reliant on each other but the main aim is to keep the truth from becoming common knowledge and the obvious solution to help that along is for Hannah to blackmail the staff to get herself a job.
The team is formed, the threat of another group is looming and the kettle is ON as real world & fantasy world are fused together in an unconventional but amazing way. Sarah’s set-up is slick and the subtle edge of sarcasm/humour that bleeds into it makes this a title I instantly warmed too. The art and the tonal colour picked across the story in particular, plays a big part in building the momentum in these first two issues as the tones help separate teams and give a vibe to each section that many other comics fail to achieve with full colour pallets. This all ends up being a bit of a master-class in story telling in the comic form with just enough plot revealed to make you desperate to turn the page.
This all ends up feeling like a story that would develop if Neil Gaiman took over Saga and added in a tea shop but in Sarah’s hands the story & art blend together like the perfect cup of tea into something just as unique. She’s made me care about a tea shop in Cardiff and all while surrounding that with magic and if that’s not the benchmark of success then I don’t know what is. It’s planned as an 8-issue run and on the basis of these two I’m on-board for the long haul.
Go check out more of Sarah’s work on her website and get hold of NPC Tea over on her Etsy store. You can also keep up to date with what else she’s working on through Facebook & Twitter and consider getting on board with her Patreon for more of her awesomeness.