By Chris Tresson
If you have ever been on my website or any of my social media accounts, you will know I am no stranger to FutureQuake Press. I’ve had multiple stories in their books, I sell them in my comic shop and for me, FutureQuake Press titles are the best the British small press has to offer.
Before I start, know that just because I’ve done work for them, that doesn’t mean I’m going to sugar-coat the review. I’m not one for kissing arses and I tell it like it is. I’m also not going to go the complete other way just to prove a point. It’s going be fair and impartial, so let’s get going…
Impressively, the winter edition of FutureQuake boasts a whopping twenty stories, here’s a full list of what and who you’ll find within its pages:
Bad Timed Time Travelling Written by Mario Fernandez. Art by Rafael Chrestani. Letters by Bolt-01.
Be Careful What You Wish for Written by Alexander Altman. Art by Fran Strukan. Letters by Cristian Docolomansky
Erased Written by Matthew Comer. Art by Adam Caudill. Letters by Bolt-01
Escapism Written by Ethan Burns. Art by Carlos Angeli. Letters by Bolt-01
Escort Duty Written by Matthew Allen. Art by Dan Goodfellow. Letters by Bolt-01
First Contact Written by Lee Robson. Art & Letters by Bryan Coyle
Horror House of Death Written by Lawrence Conquest. Art by Nathan Webb. Letters by Bolt-01
Idea Space- The Ynyslas Olympics Written by JJ Robinson. Art by Darren Stephens. Letters by Bolt-01
King of The Hill Written by Dave Tomas. Art & letters by Ech.
Mr Byrd Written by Andre Mateus. Art by Denis Vermesse. Letters by Ken Reynolds
Obsession Written by Marcello Bondi. Art by Martina Marzullo. Letters by Bolt-01
Part Exchange Written by Matthew Allen. Art by Ech. Letters by Bolt-01
Pearls Before Swine Written by Kevin Bovy. Art by Norrie Millar. Letters by Bolt-01
The Hangover Written by Jeff Bowles. Art by Andrew Hartmann. Letters by Bolt-01
The Rules of Time Travel Written by Chris Nicholson. Art by Matt Sandbrook. Letters by Bolt-01
The Tale of The Lover Written by Dan Whiston. Art by Jaye Franklin. Letters by Bolt-01
Time to Let Go Written by Inderjit Bhullar. Art & letters by Gustavo Varga
Virtual Voyeurism Written by Rob Jones. Art by Aidan Gilman. Letters by Bolt-01
Waiting Written by Adam Breen. Art by Scott Twells. Letters by Bolt-01
Who's the President Written by Carlos Pozo. Art & Letters by Edward Whatley.
That’s a lot of stories right there!
Now, this issue is a bit of a mixed bag of quality for me. There’s a few stories in here that’re pretty good, by no means perfect, but they at least fit the FutureQuake model. Some stand head and shoulders above the rest. The better ones tend to be the shorter stories, little bursts of imagination and creativity that can be enjoyed without them being too taxing on the ol’ brain box. It’s the ones that run longer than five pages that often become tedious to read and more often than not, the payoffs aren’t all that great. I’m fairly surprised at the number of stories that actually run longer than four or five pages because the submission guidelines used to say five pages or less… a few of the twist endings in stories completely missed the mark, the ones that hit were predictable. I spotted an instance where the running order fucked with my enjoyment of a strip here, too. Basically, there’s two stories in this issue that have the same twist ending. The second of them is the better story but because the first already used the twist, I wasn’t all that into it by the time I got to it. Also, this’s the third time I’ve seen Marcello Bondi tell a fucking cowboy story… His story is called Obsession and funnily enough, it’s not about Marcello’s own obsession with writing cowboy stories. I’m not trying to hate on his story but come on, Marcello. Cowboys are shite…Westworld has done nothing to sway my opinion on that… enough already, haha.
Like I said earlier, though, there are good stories in here. The ones that really stood out for me were writer Lee Robson and artist Brian Coyle’s First Contact and the lead story Part Exchange by Matthew Allen and Miguel “Ech” Echemendia. They’re a lot of fun and it’s exactly the kind of stuff I like to see in this book. Good job, guys.
Some good artists, too. Stand outs art-wise for me are Miguel “Ech” Echemendia and Darren Stephens, and I not just saying that because I’ve worked with them, they’re great artists (and that’s why I’ve worked with them, duh.) And although I didn’t enjoy some of the stories, they did have nice artwork to go with them, so it wasn’t that bad. I liked Norrie Millar’s artwork, it’s not the best in the issue but it’s a lot of fun to look at because the style is pretty great. Edward Whatley’s art is fucking fantastic, I really like his style and he did a fantastic job on Carlos Pozo’s story.
Overall, not my favorite issue of FutureQuake I’ve ever read, but still worth a look if anthologies are your bag. Congratulations to everyone involved for getting your work published, it is no easy feat. If this is your first time reading a review for a book you’re in, I’m happy I could do that for you.
Finally, I know this book isn’t all that easily accessible if you’re outside of the UK, but you can check out FutureQuake Press on ComiXology for more issues or you can order physical copies of their books from their website if you don’t mind the international postal charges. There’s some good shit there, so go have a look.
FutureQuake Winter 2016
Publisher: FutureQuake Press