That Anthology Life

Article by, Drew Van Genderen

Sun Bakery #1
Alternative Comics (Press Gang)
Writer/Artist: Corey Lewis

For the past few months, the comic reading audience has had access to multiple anthologies including Island, Amazing Forest, Secret Loves of Geek Girls, Big Planet Comics Blue Anthology, etc. All have ups and downs with various degrees of quality within each story. Joining the ranks of this genre is Sun Bakery, an issue based anthology series published by Press Gang (through Alternative Comics with art AND story for each vignette (3 total) by Corey Lewis of Sharknife fame.

The first story in this issue brings in the gaming audience with a spoof on Metroid. In "Arem" a social media warrior lands on a strange planet in hopes of achieving more likes on her Nextigram profile. However, she may soon discover that the planet may be a bit too dangerous to experience. Playing with the classic costume, equipment, and enemies of Samus Aran, Lewis inserts humor into a story that is other wise badass. With references to social media and internet memes, it seems the tale plays off the joke some folks find taking a photo more important then their own safety by pushing the idea to an extreme. With explosive, vibrant colors and, kinetic imagery, and some beautiful stipple shading, Arem's almost graffiti esque illustration guide's the reader through the satirical story.

In a totally different direction, the second story titled "Dream Skills" shows us a strange world where guns have proven ineffective. As in, the bullets simply curve around bodies. The results of this are strangely believable, humanity has turned to swords as their weapon of choice. Xasha survives in this world with her trusty sword, getting in technicolor mystic duels thanks to the Dream Skills she uses. Sword wielders have different levels depending on their Dream Skills, and let's just say Xasha is pretty damn good. Together with her friend Puff, many adventures will be had, and maybe a mysterious individual with a seedy past will be waiting at the end for them. With action sequences that show abilities and destructive capabilities akin to a shonen manga and a color pallet consisting of creme and neon pink, the story has a very distinct look. Not only that, but the confident Xasha works well with the curious Puff, instantly forming a partnership the reader cares about. Puff's naivete also provides Xasha the opprotunity to give context, immediately hinting that Lewis has massive plans for this story.

Finally, we get to experience the fast paced story, Bat Rider. This black and white vignette shows the death defying Bat and his sentient, possibly demonic, skateboard. The duo hits the pavement, performing stunts and rising fast and loose through the torn up city. When a girl appears and rattles bat, he finds his skills may not be enough to perform the dangerous stunts ahead of him. This story is quick, not just because there isn't a ton of dialogue, but also because the action is fast paced. This is the type of story that you read twice, once quickly looking at the panels as Bat rides, and the second taking in the details of each panel. From the beginning to the end, from character design to action sequence, Bat Rider can only be described as high octane. The amount of movement felt in this black and white tale is exceptional, and subtle context clues gives tons of detail to the reader without much dialogue.

Sun Bakery is a vibrant masterpiece with colors that pop and intense action that feels grand and important. Corey Lewis has three tales in this issue that each have great flow in their distinctive story and in the issue as a whole. By producing an anthology with the same artist/writer for all three stories, it is very easy to get sucked into the next, adding a certain amount of cohesion that some anthologies lack. Originally started with a self published issue (funded via Kickstarter), this comic has a definitive quality of illustration, story, and overall passion behind it, guaranteeing each issue will be a real treat. Sun Bakery #1 will be available at the end of the month with the above cover as well as two variants (from Jim Mahfood or Paul Pope). For additional information head here!

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