by Kat Leyh
I have been known to read a superhero comic from time to
time, despite my routine coverage here at Sequential State avoiding most
superhero books. Still, there are a few that grab my attention. The latest
superhero comic I really enjoyed was Thor:
The Mighty Avenger, which was an all-ages reboot of the Thor character that
had a lot of heart published by Marvel in 2012-2013.
I very rarely want my superhero comics to be gritty and
hyper-violent, and I hate feeling trapped by a lumbering continuity. In short,
I want my superhero comics to be fun and episodic. So when Yeti Press sent over their collected
version of Kat Leyh’s SuperCakes last
year, I was pleasantly surprised to find a comic that met those specifications.
SuperCakes is a series
of short stories and vignettes centered around two superheroes, May Ai (alias
Tank) and Molly “Mo” LaMarck (alias Shift) who fight injustice and make a
living for themselves in their nondescript large metropolitan area. May is superstrong and somewhat invulnerable,
and Mo is a shapeshifter with energy absorption powers. The two fight giant ice
monsters, move in together, and go to May’s family holiday celebration.
Mainstream superhero comics rarely give time to the home lives of their caped
crusaders other than as set dressing for piles of dialogue. The ones that do,
like the Hawkeye run from Matt Fraction and David Aja, are worth your time. But
SuperCakes is a step beyond that.
Leyh is more interested in the emotional lives and relationships of superheroes
than their superheroics. And that difference in focus means a change in tone
that carries the book beyond intriguing to enjoyable. Unlike the bustle of
normal superhero comics, Leyh allows the comic to breathe and be a little
slower. The vignette style allows Leyh to tell stories that don’t get told in
normal cape comics. And importantly, Kat Leyh’s illustration style is cute and
approachable, which makes it easy to like the characters she has created.
My major complaint with SuperCakes
is the shortness of the collection; at 56 pages, it feels like it ends too
quickly. I would have preferred to see at least one other longer story as part
of the collection. The short length of the collection and
its cuteness make it seem like a mouthful of cotton candy; sweet, light on
substance, and gone as quickly as it came.
All that said, I’ve been comparing SuperCakes to recent superhero comics I’ve read, and for me it
easily tops most of the standard books from the Big 2. SuperCakes is cute, it’s fun, and it’s got a good heart. Its best
and worst quality is that it leaves you wanting more.
Kat Leyh @katleyh is an illustrator and cartoonist based in Chicago, and is the current writer for Lumberjanes, from Boom! Studios.
Yeti Press @yetipressblog is a small press publisher based out of Chicago and Seattle.