Baker and cookbook writer Kim-Joy (Baking with Kim-Joy, The Great British Bake-Off) is bringing her culinary expertise to comics, with the upcoming release of Turtle Bread: A Graphic Novel About Baking, Fitting In, and the Power of Friendship from comiXology this May and Dark Horse in October. The book will follow a young baker named Yan, as she attempts to make friends and become more confident in herself and her baking.

Cover to Turtle Bread by Alti Firmansyah
Cover to Turtle Bread by Alti Firmansyah

Joining forces with artist Alti Firmansyah (Spider-Gwen, The Unstoppable Wasp), letterer/cartoonist Joamette Gil (Power & Magic: The Queer Witch Comics Anthology), and designer Cindy Leong (Love & War), Kim-Joy plans to tell a story “about self-awareness”:

It’s about that feeling of loneliness, of not fitting in or feeling good enough, of self-criticism, and the path towards self-acceptance. This is explored through baking, and in particular, the symbolism of the turtle–coming out of its shell and moving forward; however slowly that may be. Hence: Turtle Bread! (And yes, there’s actual turtle themed bread! Plus loads of other recipes). It’s NOT a magical story about how baking and friendship fix everything, but a story about the small steps forward (and sometimes sideways and backwards) gradually adding up.

Turtle Bread is a story about the strength of vulnerability; how showing a little of our softness from beneath a tough exterior shell can break down barriers between us that serve to reinforce the loneliness in the world. Being cognizant of who we are and how we affect others is a gift. I want people to read Turtle Bread and feel less alone, comforted, and inspired to drop their armour, come together and bring meaning to their lives; in the same way separate ingredients come together when baked to form something fresh and new.

Kim-Joy also praised the work of Firmansyah:

I’m in absolute awe of Alti’s artwork in the book–it is so expressive and emotive; you can really feel a connection to the characters on each page. As soon as I was introduced, I instantly loved Alti and her work.

Here’s how Dark Horse summarized the graphic novel:

In Turtle Bread, a young woman named Yan who has a passion for baking stumbles upon a local Baking Club on her way home from another unsuccessful job interview. Her social anxiety tries to keep her away but the bakers encourage her to come out of her shell, especially the caring and supportive Bea. As the club bakes together, Yan discovers that her new friends may need her too, more than she realizes…

Beatrice, Yan, Amit, Zara, and Geraint make for a motley cast, each with their own individual issues and life challenges they are trying to cope with–from death, to finding romantic partners, to cancer, to divorce, to children, to keeping a job. But when Bea abruptly leaves Baking Club without a trace, they must hold it together and head out in search of answers and closure.

Turtle Bread: A Graphic Novel About Baking, Fitting In, and the Power of Friendship arrives digitally from comiXology on May 3rd, 2023, with a physical release from Dark Horse on October 3rd, 2023.