Sunnyville Stories Volume 3 is for sale on Amazon. In addition to selling a couple of copies, the book got a glowing review! I’ve decided to share it here! And so…
Max West is a fellow I’ve known over the Internet for over a year, but the roots of his devotion as a cartoonist and maker of comics are a byproduct of long self-discovery and trial that led to an approach that challenges readers to re-discover the core function of graphic fiction. He achieves this by writing and drawing the stories straight and bringing up subjects among the initially stiff-looking, awkwardly inked denizens that can’t be ignored once noticed. Sunnyville Stories is doubtless the foundation of West’s commitment to this end.
The first two collected volumes have all but established the identity of the town and it’s inhabitants, and their well-to-do affairs; the main characters Rusty Duncan and Sam Macgregor have a chemistry and depth that’ll gain momentum as time goes on, that much is sure. It is episodes 8-11 collected in Volume 3 however that awakens an unexpected shift you wouldn’t normally expect in such an idyllic setting. Without giving away too much spoilers, I will say that Rusty’s high school trouble, which was before suggested to be a throwaway joke to complement his snarky and laid-back demeanor, is shown to be an actually serious problem. He actually has trouble applying himself to math, doing the worst on the latest test. His mother Nancy is furious and expects much better from him, expectations that go much deeper as we find out later on. With help from his father Al, Rusty takes steps with his friends to prepare better and study better, hoping to make it through life after earning a good high school education and learning to not give up. A topic that would be relatable to the common, indeed. This is followed by an account of Banzai Restaurant owner and head chef Goro Tanuki experiencing a fall in confidence over the skill of his nephew Goemon, and a return to familiar follies involving a visit from a rock band, before concluding with another issue between Rusty and his mother. Nancy has reservations to Rusty’s quest to attend the Oak City Academy of Design and Art and become an animator, insisting he’ll be more prestigious as a doctor. It is through the intervention of friends and neighbors, however, that she must come to terms with the ambitions only her son is interested in and can make happen. Two bookends I didn’t otherwise expect; needless to say, it’s the first signs of Sunnyville growing the beard indefinitely, while still taking a dive into fun along the way.
With this as an upfront, whoever’s interested is welcome to give Sunnyville Stories a try and find what ground Mr. West has tapped into yet. Ground in the indy community that is only found once in a lifetime. Expect refinements and development of craft as the series progresses. I know it won me over.
Wow…I needed to hear this. Now I have something to work for – I aim to make Sunnyville volume 4 the best it can be.