By Dustin Cabeal
If you’re going to buy an indie comic anthology, for your money, make it Future Quake. There’s a lot of stories, and it genuinely feels as if each creator was given a minimum page count rather than a max. Each story takes the time to breathe and in some cases, develop into an interesting tale.
That by no means makes it perfect. There’s a range of quality to the writing and art, but not necessarily paired together. Sometimes the story is weak while the art is strong and the reverse is true as well. There’s only a few instances of weak art and story being together. Which isn’t a deal breaker, but whoever curated the massive issue in a way chose to put the weaker stories at the end which made them stand out like a sore thumb. I still found two-thirds of the comic to have something enjoyable about them, but that last third was a rough ride to get through. I even at one point put the book down, fearing it was just burned out from reading so many short comics, but at last, the results were the same.
There’s a bit of a sci-fi, space theme to the issue, but it's not so dominated by a theme that you’re annoyed by it. Having recently read a similarly themed anthology I will say that Future Quake is much tighter with its content.
There were a few standout stories, but first I must tell you that two of the writers for this site work on this book. That’s just a mandatory full disclosure but didn’t change how I felt about the overall product or my final score. I was just surprised that I enjoyed both Chris Tresson’s story with artist Terrance Whitlow’s artwork. The story had a nice Outer Limits feel to it. As for the other writer, Justin Wood’s artwork had improved since the previous time I had seen it in a comic book form. I see his art every day since he was the artist behind our avatars on the site, but his work in Future Quake is very different and realistic. The story felt a bit like Johnny Mnemonic, but with a Twilight Zone ending… instead of a dolphin and the black shakes.
Even though I’m giving those two a shout out in my review, the story that I enjoyed the most was the first story by JJ Robinson and Alex Paterson. At times, it was a little too meta with the comic book references, but the world it created in so few pages hooked me, until the end. The ending felt obligated to end, and it was a shame because I wanted more of the story and to see where it could go. The world was just that massive and huge props to Robinson for creating it in the way he did.
Another standout story was “Murder He Read” by Ed Hollis and Jack Davies. I can’t tell you anything about it without spoiling it, but it was incredibly clever and was a nice bit of commentary on comics, the fandom, and media at large.
Strangely enough, I feel the need to point out the lettering as most of it is done by Bolt-01. It’s good, and that’s not the issue, it’s that it’s all so similar that it steals a bit of the personality of each story. There are only two stories not lettered by Bolt-01 and the lettering on those stand out a lot more. “Murder He Read” is one of them and I think that the lettering added to the story. Not that Bolt-01 doesn’t, but just see so many similar fonts and styles in a way connected all the stories. I might be the only one with a problem with this, but after reading 96 pages or so with practically all the text looking the same, it started to blur towards the end, which was another reason I put the book down for a bit.
Again, if you’re going to buy an indie anthology and want a taste of a lot of different stories and art styles, this is a great issue to pick up. I would honestly try future issues as well because for once I didn’t read an indie anthology and need a palate cleaner.
Future Quake – Summer 2016
Publisher: Future Quake Press