Comic anthologies are great for a number of reasons. They are a solid jumping on point if you don’t normally read comics, because they allow you to look at a large variety of comics and figure out what you like. They are also great for regular comic readers as they often help you discover new creators. What I’m trying to say is that we should all buy and read as many of them as humanly possible! But where can one start with reading comic anthologies? Well, your friend Yuriy is here to offer you two very worthy books to launch (or continue) your love of comics.
Beyond is a queer sci-fi/fantasy comic anthology edited by Sfé Monster. Although Beyond lacks colour, which is sometimes noticeable, it makes up for it with the quality of everything else. The art in Beyond is absolutely gorgeous, Sfé Monster’s own story being one of the standouts for me. And even though the anthology focuses on a pretty specific theme, I was quite surprised with how wide the scope of the book actually is. In the span of about 250 pages of comics you get to visit space on multiple occasions, see a post-apocalyptic world, encounter a dragon or two, and, of course, robots, quite a few robots!
Besides the visual aspect of Beyond, what attracted me to it the most is how much heart it has. The collection is very honest and emotional, which it does not try to hide in the slightest. The biggest praise I can give Beyond is that I felt affected after almost every story in the collection, and that’s not something that happens very often, especially when it comes to anthologies. As I’ve already said, one of the best things about anthologies is discovering creators you’ve never heard about. In that regard, Beyond was eye-opening for me.
As for my second recommendation, we’ve got Mega Fauna, the 8th anthology from Vancouver’s own Cloudscape Comics. Not only do you get to read good comics, but they are also good local comics. Can’t get any better than this, right?
Mega Fauna features a nice mix of stories from people who are newer to the medium as well as several veterans who have contributed to previous Cloudscape collections. I am confident in saying that any animal lover will find something that they like in this anthology. From goldfish and elephants to giant mantises, genetically engineered cat-like “muses”, and a caped hero who goes by the name of Awesome Possum, Mega Fauna has it all. While Cloudscape’s anthology may not be as emotionally affecting as Beyond, Mega Fauna is just incredibly fun. This was the first Cloudscape anthology I have read and it is still one of the finest comic anthologies I’ve encountered.
When the vast majority of comics today come from south of the border, it is easy to forget how much comic talent is around us. Mega Fauna will not only remind you of local creators, but will also leave you stunned by the quality of their work.
Besides their publishing efforts, the nice folks of Cloudscape do educational outreach, provide studio space for artists, and offer a variety of comics-related information on their website. Or you can go directly to their store if you’re set on buying Mega Fauna or one of Cloudscape’s other books.