Meanwhile… (#6) – Various

5 out of 5

I’m totally down with this.  If every few issues of this anthology will produce such a knockdown experience – with the issues in between no slouches by any means – then I’m in without hesitation.  What’s great about this entry is the sense of confidence it emanates: all of the pieces come across as fully considered works – even if I didn’t particularly like them – and the sequencing in terms of artistic style, color schemes, story tone – maybe just coincidental in some regards, but maybe not – totally keeps you in sway with each story, ebbing and flowing between serious and light-hearted vibes; yuks and complexity.  It’s a perfect reading experience, even if, again, I wouldn’t list all the entries’ as faves.

Anyway.

Issue 6:

The start of a new ongoing: The Collector, by Sarah Gordon.  A nice art style (sort of reminiscent of what its replacing, Yuko Rabbit’s 10 Minutes), but way too soon to tell on the story.  The narration is a bit herkyjerk, but the concept of a scientist “stealing” sounds is interesting.

Hine and Stafford’s Bad, Bad Place continues to flesh out its background, and it continues to be intriguing, though I’m beginning to wonder where it’s leading.  Not in a bad (, bad) way, but ideally it announces a direction or conclusion soon.

Strangehaven delivers an excellent, focused bit which has soap opera reveals and some great characterization of its quirky and varied cast.

Elsewhere, on the ‘didn’t care for it’ side of things, Molly Brooks gives us an interesting but incredibly repetitive comparison of sports to fiction, Joao Fezenda does a sort of Waiting for Godot spin on two men trapped in an apartment – the inability to always know who is speaking makes this spin its wheels – Emmer O’Cuana and Dave Dye drop thr ball on an interesting zombie apocalypse spin, and Mariana Serra and Emei Burell each give us some sentimental claptrap, which is fine if you go in for that (which I don’t).

I again again note: My opinions aside, the way these stories are sequenced in the volume still makes them readable, and all are certainly interesting enough to hold your attention.

On my good list: Carla Berrocal’s exploration of gender roles in Afghanistan struggles for a conclusion (because there can’t be one), but it makes its observations honestly and openly.  Willem Samuel’s two short gag strips aren’t all that funny, but he has a good energy that sort of forces out a chuckle regardless.  After a sort of failed attempt at complexity last issue, Konstantin Komardin works with Grzegorz Janusz to deliver a weird, creepy horror tale about obsession.  The super stars, though, are Rachel Smythe and Krent Able, the former delivering a hilariously curt spin on a kid’s picture book, and the latter giving is a complete WTF zine-type experience that pretty much sums up how entertainment works.

I was psyched to get this in the mail, psyched while reading it, and now psyched waiting for the next one.

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