I love anthologies. Getting a little taste of different creators and stories keeps reading comics interesting. While I tend to prefer Dark Horse’s approach of larger stories spread throughout several issues, Outre has a very different and cool approach to the anthology style. It has stories, interviews and stand-alone illustrations. It’s a very different compilation of creative styles and while some of it works incredibly well together, other aspects fell short. I’m not going to talk about all of the stories and definitely not the art pieces or interviews since that would be shitty of me, but I will talk about two of the stories. The first tale Taras and the Monolith was a great way to kick off the book. It begins with a father telling his son about Chumy, an ancient god that ticked off all the other gods by trying to turn people against them. His sister Burya begged for her brother to be spared and so Chumy was buried deep below the earth. This saddened Burya and so she was placed at the top of a monolith to teach responsibility to mortals. The next part is where the story gets interesting as father explains their families duty. Each day they must siphon Burya’s tears and take them away from Chumy because her tears would give him power. The son doesn’t really buy into the responsibility, but goes along with it because his father is all he has. That is until his father becomes bedridden and death approaches; he tells his son he must prevail and continue the task and so the question becomes, will he?
The story was very cool and the way it ties the world was intelligent to say the least. The son’s anger of his youth is spot on and even though you know he’s wrong, you can easily see where he’s coming from with his rage. The art is an intricate part of the storytelling; the ancient story is drawn in an ancient Greek style that fits perfectly, while the modern side is very stylized. Creators: Dan Hill & Kim Holm
The next story My Universe Expands Until I Have No Center is the shit! It follows the life of Mari, from a young age all the way until her golden years and it’s an incredible journey. It begins with her at a friend’s house for dinner and thanking them for having her over. It’s clear that she’s having some problems at home, but her friend’s mom talks to her in a condescending tone which results in her telling them fuck off and leaving. From there is continues to follow her life as she gets older and goes through a very rebellious stage. What’s different is that this is set in the future so the inclusion of futuristic tech is weaved throughout the story. Eventually she joins the army and it only gets more interesting from there.
The story chunks are short, but they work very effectively towards painting a complete picture of Mari’s personality and journey through life. The story actually opens with a quote from Einstein and it perfectly describes what the author is going for with the story. The second half is really where it shines and gets a bit crazy which was great. The art is in all black and white with great tones and looks like it was left in its natural form which was perfect for the amount of details that it has. This was a really good story and honestly worth the price of admission on its own, meaning the rest is just bonus. If the story was expanded upon I would definitely check it out. Creators: Alex Wilson and Ben Garriga
There’s an interesting interview with Fiona Staples in the book as well and while I didn’t really show up for the interviews, they made for a good read and a change of pace from the normal anthology. What really didn’t work for me were the random pieces of art work. They not only received their own title page, but there was no connection between the pieces to each other or the stories. It was like, “Okay I looked at it… now what?” It’s not that they were bad, in fact they’re very good pieces of art, but they really broke up the flow of the book and didn’t enrich the experience at all.
In general I really liked this anthology and would definitely check out more issues in the future. Other than the standalone art pieces I loved the layout and the cohesive title pages that the stories and interviews shared. If you dig anthologies and don’t care what the stories are about then definitely check this out.
Writers: Various Artists: Various Publisher: Outre Press Price: Free Website