By Levi Remington
While Papa-Bastard Dustin usually covers this series (#1, #2), he won't be available this week. In the meantime, I've decided to catch up for issue #3 and see what his fuss was about. Well, ladies and gentlemen, you'd be hard pressed to find a fuss more justified. Sun Bakery kicks ass.
Sun Bakery is unique in that it's a 48-page Comic Book Anthology Magazine with every story solely created by writer/artist/colorist/letterer extraordinaire, Corey Lewis. This issue specifically features five stories: three of which are ongoing, one is standalone, and the last is a "comic burst" – if you will. The five stories vastly differ in tone, genre, and art style, but each of them possesses Lewis' signature zest.
Lewis cites the "limitless energy" of Shonen Jump to be the primary influence for this anthology. The supposed goal of the series is to "bring a Shonen Jump type flavor to western comics," in addition to satisfying his ADD by allowing him to work on multiple stories at once. After reading this week's issue, one thing is for sure – I'm not reading enough manga, and nobody is reading enough Sun Bakery.
The first story, a standalone one-shot black comedy, is entitled *Layered Jacket*, and it's about a guy who can pull anything he imagines out of his jacket. So he walks around stroking his ego by attempting to help people in need. The problem is that he's not very bright, so his solutions cause more trouble than they're worth. The art here is intentionally simplistic, appearing to be drawn with a marker on yellow (eventually red) paper. It invokes a child's imagination with cops/robbers, scary dogs, big swords, and even a shark. It had me giggling over its unafraid silliness. I'm sure more could be done with this story, though it's probably best served in small chunks.
Next we have our third installment of *Dream Skills*, an incredibly energetic story about the City of Blades. I won't say much about what's going on, but the story took a surprising turn this issue, exploring a character in an unexpectedly deep way. The art is once again a standout, and I think this is the prime example of what Lewis wanted to bring to Western comics. It's got so much energy, a beautiful use of color (predominantly pink), dynamic layouts and perspectives, and some outstanding character designs. Just fascinating work.
After that we have the third part to *Bat Rider*, a story that admittedly has caught me off guard. I'm not even sure how to explain it, besides that there is a kid who skates, a mysterious girl who also skates, and some tyrannical dog cops. It's a dystopian, fight-against-the-man type comic that is heavily focused on the visual delivery. I'm not exactly sure what's happening, but the art is awesome, and manages to look so different than the rest of the stories. It's black and white, infested with glorious speed-lines, and exploding with bombastic lettering.
Next is a 1 page "comics burst" called *Paisley*, starring Paisley. I'll just leave the description here: "A giant robot chilling in space adventure." Very little to comment on, story-wise, but I'd just like to say that Corey Lewis is a color magician and I'm not sure how he comes up with these combinations but they are so gorgeous that it hurts.
Finally we have the third part of *Dead Naked*, a story that is been contextually ambiguous but nonetheless intriguing. This issue sees two of the characters of the past two parts meeting for the first time, and it clears up some confusion. I'm not sure I could describe this one to you either, besides the fact that it is Western influenced and features some pretty badass characters. The art is more angular and perhaps reminiscent of a minimalistic Gabriel Ba. It's got this very alluring magenta/salmon color mixture and it's visually delicious.
Go and pick up Sun Bakery, it's a creative and artistic tour-de-force. Pay one dollar more than your average comic and you get more than twice the page-count, incredible and varied art that challenges the common western style, and you get to support a creator who has unique sensibilities and immense talent. What better deal is there?
Sun Bakery #3
Creator: Corey Lewis
Published by Image Comics