If you’re looking for a positive, fun comic that will generally make you feel good, Basil and Oregano is the comic for you. If you’re looking for a comic with great LGBTQ+ representation by a queer creator, with plenty of positive queer role models for young people, Basil and Oregano is the comic for you. If you’re looking for a comic about magic and food, Basil and Oregano is definitely the comic for you.
On the other hand, if you’re looking for a comic by and about straight, cisgendered people, then Basil and Oregano is not the comic for you. But you’ve got, like, 90% of the other comics out there, so you have nothing to complain about. And if that really is all you’re interested in with your comics, then you’ll be really missing out on Basil and Oregano. Seriously, it’s so much fun.
Basil Eyres is a senior at Porta Bella Magiculinary Academy—a school dedicated to teaching the art of magic through food and food through magic. Everything from cutting to mixing to baking is done through spells, using magic spoons. If someone can earn the top student slot for at least two quarters out of four, then that student gets a full scholarship and a refund of their tuition. Basil, being from a poor family whose fathers had to put themselves into serious debt to send her there, really needs that scholarship.
Basil works hard and is really talented, so she has a good shot at earning the top spot—until Arabella Oregano transfers to Porta Bella. With a famous chef for a mother, she’s practically magiculinary royalty. Arabella poses serious competition for Basil, but rather than become rivals, they quickly become friends and work together throughout the year, creating a host of delicious dishes for their teachers, their friends, and each other, while also taking care of an adorable dog named Tomato, who is their magical familiar. Basil also has a huge crush on Arabella, but she’s too awkward to do anything about it. (Arabella also clearly likes her, too, but Basil is also too awkward to realize it.)
It’s implied that the magical dishes created by the characters have properties and uses beyond just a good meal, but it’s not really explored much. That’s my only real critique of this comic, and it’s a minor one. I would have liked to have seen more about the practical role magical food plays in this society.
Other than that, Basil and Oregano is a lot of fun. The characters are great. There’s plenty of diversity and representation, and they’re also just good characters. The artwork is bright and colorful and really brings the world to life – especially all the different types of food.
Speaking of food, the relationship the comic and the characters have with food is another thing to recommend it. All different cuisines and diets are represented and welcomed. One character’s cooking (and eating) is very clean and vegetable-based, while another character cooks and subsists on greasy, fried foods. Neither is portrayed as right or good or better than the other, and the two characters live in harmony with one another.
The comic is geared towards kids and teens, but adults will enjoy it, too. I think most people will enjoy it, in fact. As I said at the beginning, if you’re looking for a positive, fun comic that will generally make you feel good, then Basil and Oregano is the comic for you.
Creative Team: Melissa Capriglione (writer/artist), Sara Todd (letterer/flatter)
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
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