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Comic Book / Sunnyville Stories

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Sunnyville Stories is an Alternative Comics series created by Max West and published by Different Mousetrap Press.

Sunnyville is a Slice of Life saga about an anthropomorphic cat named Robert "Rusty" Duncan who moves from a big city into a totally alien environment - a small, remote village. After exploring the woods, he runs across Samantha "Sam" Macgregor, another anthropomorphic cat and country girl. From there, the two embark on all kinds of day-to-day adventures.

The two stars of the series, Rusty and Sam, predate the series itself; they first appeared in a self-published zine by West titled Rusty & Sam #1 in 2009. After more work with world-building and trading in Sam's tiger-print pants for a dress, Sunnyville Stories launched in January 2010.

The comic also received a Spin-Off titled Dominic and Claire, starring Rusty's cousin Dominic. Both this and Sunnyville have also been confirmed to be part of the same universe as the picture book Hilda and Richie.

As of 2021, the series is on hiatus after 17 issues. The entire first episode is free to read on the creator's blog.

Has a recap page currently under construction.

This comic provides examples of:

  • All There in the Manual: The official blog has much supplemental material, talking about the families of Sunnyville and their backgrounds.
  • Barefoot Cartoon Animal: The entire cast of Sunnyville.
  • Beat Panel: Used for dramatic effect.
  • Bedouin Rescue Service: How Rusty first meets Sam; while exploring the wilderness around Sunnyville, Rusty finds it big and unfamiliar as he is a city kid. Sam encounters him while she's walking in the woods. Not only does Sam get him out of the forest, but she also befriends Rusty, takes him home to feed him and even arranges for a party to introduce his family to the townspeople!
  • Briffits and Squeans: Shows up a lot in the stories, which isn't surprising considering the strong influence of Newspaper Comics on West's style.
  • The Cameo:
  • The Care Taker: A positive example - Sam to Rusty, who keeps an eye on him, acts as a voice of reason and even goes as far as to feed him and introduce him to the townspeople in the very first story.
  • Carry a Big Stick: Chuck, the other Weasel brother, carries around a giant wooden club.
  • The Case of...: "The Case of the Crushed Cake" is a mystery story where Rusty tries to figure out what really destroyed a cake the Eftirmaturs were working on.
  • Cats Are Mean: Averted with Sam who usually gets along with everyone. Downplayed with Rusty; in spite of some inappropriate comments or sometimes talking back to his mom, he's still a nice guy.
  • Cats Are Snarkers: Rusty, always ready to make jokes and witty replies.
    Rose Von Straussen: (describing a dance instructor) He has a lovely student body.
    Rusty: Yours wouldn't be so bad either if you took off about ten pounds.
  • Close-Knit Community: Sunnyville. Justified because it is a small village where everyone knows each other.
  • Culture Equals Costume: The Tanuki family, operators of the town's restaurant, are Japanese. In case you couldn't tell, the mother and daughter both wear kimonos while the father wears a happi coat.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: The first stories have the characters with rather bendy limbs as shown here and the backgrounds looking out of perspective. Rusty also does some cartoon style takes, including a Spit Take.
  • Education Mama: In Sunnyville #8 "Make the Grade", Rusty's mom becomes so angry at her son for failing a test that she goes as far as to intercept him returning from school, curse him out and pretty much destroy any confidence he had. Eventually, she sees the error of her ways.
  • Foil: Sam to Rusty. Sam is a country girl while Rusty is a city boy; Sam comes from a family of five children whereas Rusty is an only child; and Sam tends to be more responsible while Rusty can be reckless.
  • The Ghost: Mrs. Hauptmann, Rusty's neighbor; she's an offscreen character and is never seen.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: Rusty's mother, Nancy. She'll scream at Rusty very loudly for little or no reason.
  • Herr Doktor: Dr. Auernheimer, the town psychologist.
  • Housewife: Rusty's mother and Sam's mother; implied with some of the other moms of Sunnyville.
  • Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain: The Weasel brothers, Roy & Chuck.
  • Lazy Artist: When Rusty and Sam are shown walking around in town, few residents are actually shown on the streets.
  • Multinational Team: Many of the families in Sunnyville are revealed to be from other countries - the Talbots are British, the Eftirmaturs are Nordic, the Tanuki family is Japanese, etc.
  • Neck Lift: Rusty's mom has done this to Rusty when she gets mad and even carries him all the way home via neck lift, implying she's stronger than she looks!
  • Nice Mice: The Eftirmatur family, who runs the town's bakery.
  • Noir Episode: "The Case of the Crushed Cake" is one of these, complete with Rusty doing a Private Eye Monologue.
  • Only Six Faces: Closer to two. Other than male vs. female (eyelashes and pronounced irises) all characters have the same funny-cartoon-animal face, with only the coloring and ear-shapes indicating differences.
  • Personal Arcade: The second story "Multiball Madness" reveals that Mr. Von Straussen collects arcade machines, pinball machines and even has an air hockey table. This is more of a testament though to his wealth; unlike other examples of this trope, Mr. Von Straussen isn't lazy or a Manchild.
  • Pink Girl, Blue Boy: Color artwork of Rusty and Sam will usually depict Rusty wearing blue (if not red) and Sam wearing pink.
  • The Place: The series is named for the village it's set in.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Rusty's emotional mom is red, Rusty's calm father is blue.
  • Retraux: The art has the look of 20th century Newspaper Comics.
  • Rich Bitch: Rose Von Straussen, daughter of the richest man in town.
  • RPG Episode: The story "Games People Play" has Sam's cousin, Eddie, holding a fantasy game session with Rusty, Sam, Sam's little brother Jason and young Donny Hopper. It's interrupted by Rusty's mom and Donny's mom, who have forbidden their sons to play such games.
  • School Play: The Sunnyville Junior Theater Club puts on a play of Cinderella for the town in one story. Hilarity Ensues during the performance.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Slice of Life: The basic premise of the whole series; Rusty and Sam have many daily adventures that usually are quite mundane and related to everyday life.
  • Standard '50s Father: Rusty's father, Al.
  • Steam Never Dies: Steam locomotives are widely used in Sunnyville. Rusty and his family even arrive in town on a steam train.
  • Straight Man and Wise Guy: Sam plays the straight role to Rusty; essentially, Rusty says or does something funny and Sam reacts.
  • The 'Verse: Officially confirmed in a short comic to exist in the same universe as Max West's picture book Hilda and Richie.
  • The Von Trope Family: The Von Straussens
  • Welcome Episode: Rusty and his family are welcome by Sam's family in the very first issue of Sunnyville; Sam even introduces Rusty to many of the other children in town.
  • We Sell Everything: Sunnyville's general store. Justified since it's the main shop in a small village.