Sun Bakery #1
Written and Drawn by: Corey Lewis
Published by Image Comics
What is Sun Bakery? This here is an ongoing comic book anthology magazine, meaning, there are a bunch of stories in here, some will be ongoing, some one-shots, all of them super fun. – Corey Lewis from his introduction.
The comic book anthology is sadly not very common today. It’s a format that allows creators to tell different kinds of stories without being bogged down with too much format, form or continuity. Ironically both Marvel Comics and DC (with Detetctive Comics) got their start that way only to abandon them altogether as comics took off in popularity.
So it’s refreshing to see Image Comics take the reigns by bringing the format back and putting another anthology into the medium.
What sets Sun Bakery apart is that it is solely the work of Corey Lewis. Lewis is best known for Sharknife from Oni Press and is exactly the kind of comics artist you would want doing an anthology. He also has a huge range of influences. I spotted elements of manga, NES games, indie comics artists like Brian Lee O’Malley (Scott Pilgrim), Larry Marder (Bean World), Jim Mahfood (40oz Comics) and John Porcellino (King-Cat Comics). Graffiti, hip-hop and indie rock also clearly have left a mark on the artist as well. This is truly a melting pot of pop culture and pop art.
This first issue features three main tales: Arem Lightstorm, Dream Skills and Bat Rider. All of them were a joy to read and look at.
Arem Lightstorm is an almost wordless, stylized take on the video game Metroid. But instead of hunting aliens this bounty hunter is merely taking pictures for a social media site. It’s a clever, fun take on bounty hunters but the artistic vibe and loose story-telling give it an almost free-form feel. The standout is the limited color palette of hues of purple and violet. It’s pretty spectacular for that reason. Lewis gets so much mileage out of this style and creates some very innovative pages and panels.
Being that the picture is being taken for an Instagram-like network is also a bit of social satire but Lewis is not being mean-spirited nor judgmental about such sites; he has fun with it and that attitude is refreshing. It’s just plain fun.
The second story is Dream Skills and this one veers closer to a more “traditional” comic in that there’s a specific world being built with a mythology and heroic characters. The idea in this one is a world where guns and other projectile type weapons have stopped being hurtful. Bullets just began to harmlessly bounce off people because of an aura that everyone has. This leads to swords becoming the weapon of choice and soon everyone in this reality carries a sword; sword fighting becomes a norm ala Kill Bill.
There’s tons of dialogue in this tale and a lot of it adds to the humor and world building. Great stuff and a different kind of writing than the first tale.
Like in the first segment the art here continues to play with color hues and style with purple being the prominent color. The pop-culture and video game references also return but the line work feels much more complete and has a more finished look than Arem Lightstorm.
The final story Bat Rider is very different and the most experimental of all. This surreal story of skateboarding and the supernatural (a skateboard that’s haunted or possibly possessed) is told in black and white with a grid of four per page long and vertical panels. The outcome is a steady and consistent pace that recreates the forward momentum of being on a skateboard.
The starkness and contrast of the art here also gives you a very zine/flyer art feel that serves to give it a punk rock vibe. It’s not crude but feels hand drawn and sketched. You could easily see this thing being a printed and photocopied product and like everything else in Sun Bakery radiates energy and fun.
Sun Bakery is one of my favorite releases of 2017 and will probably stay near the top. It just further proves that Image Comics is putting out the most consistently original and versatile catalog in comics today. Don’t sleep on this one.
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