4 out of 5
An anthology of autobiographical comics, collected / commissioned by editor Diana Schutz, and though certainly favoring Dark Horse-related or -adjacent creators, isn’t limited to them. This, to me, speaks to an actual passion for the project, as opposed to something that leans more toward advertisement, and that’s backed up by Schutz’s afterword, but also very much by the content – it’s well sequenced, and nicely varied. As with most anthologies, an objective rating is hard, because everyone’s likely to have biases (positive or negative) towards writers / artists already known to them, and then there’s individual tastes for types of tales – for example, I’m not big on Eddie Campbell’s slice o’ life, rambling style, but he’s accomplished at what he does and how he does it, surely.
So… qualifying a book like this, to me, is then based on how well it fulfills what it sets out to do. The net could be side to be pretty big here, as long as everyone delivers something about their lives in some fashion, but I do think we definitely get some stories that feel like they have more value than others, and some that are maybe a bit too clouded in what they’re trying to represent to feel like they fit. But we truly only get 2 or 3 of those, whereas the rest of them are either inventive parables for the struggles of creativity – Frank Miller – or snapshot thoughts that are representative of a creator’s style – Paul Chadwick – or tellings of important / valuable moments from that particular artist’s / writer’s life – such as Stan Sakai’s entry, which is perfectly humbling and then darkly humorous at the same time.
The whole thing has page numbers, to match the blessed table of contents – two pieces of information that I can’t believe some anthologies skip over – and informative bios in the back. The 9″ x 6″ size gives it a charmingly informal vibe, but then the design and cover / interior stock bump it back up to something more prestige, making it an unassuming addition to a book shelf, that then yields rewards when plucked thence and read.