Gao, Sunshine – For the First Time

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For the First Time

There are many ways that it’s easy to feel out of touch after reviewing small press comics for 22+ years, but maybe the biggest one is the inability to direct people to buy the comics that I’m reviewing. To me it makes sense for that to be the easiest thing to find online, but increasingly it’s just about impossible. Case in point is this frankly fan-fucking-tastic book by Sunshine, which you can read for free at the link in the title, so it’s not like the book is hard to access. It’s just that if you want to hold this in your hands, you’re going to have to contact Sunshine and ask them for options. I think this was $15 at CXC? Maybe? But their website has no store, and Googling the name and title gets me nothing. Eh, maybe everybody else is content reading everything online and I’m the fossil for wanting a physical copy. I’ll get used to it eventually, I suppose. But then the writer/artist really is working for zero dollars, which doesn’t seem sustainable for an extended body of work. Lord, how I do go on, sorry about that. Because this book alone deserves my (and your) full attention. This is the story of a frantic rush in a restaurant, featuring our hero (a part time helper trying to learn the trade) and the couple who runs the place. Our hero is learning, and trying to take the criticism and suggestions in stride, as we see them going through the prep work and chatting with the owners. When the rush hits, it’s relentless, which leads to one of the better uses of the four page spread image (that can’t be appreciated in the online version, says the curmudgeon) that I’ve seen, beautifully depicting the sprawling chaos of that moment, coming across almost like a choreographed dance. Things briefly calm down and our hero gets a strange, garbled phone call from their mother. When they try to call back they quickly discover that the call came from a mental hospital, and Sunshine masterfully makes it clear that there’s a whole backstory here that we’ll soon be let in on, at least partially. The owners, as the restaurant closes, swing into action, realizing that our hero shouldn’t be left alone, and I may just tell you the entire story if I don’t shut up now. If you’re big on those popular cooking shows there will be a lot here for you, not to mention a complicated family dynamic that we only catch glimpses of. It’s one hell of a comic, and at the very least I know you can get a copy of it if you catch Sunshine at a con, but let them know you’re interested! Not every good thing on the internet is accessible with a single click anyway…

Posted on October 24, 2023, in Reviews and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a Comment.

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