Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Review - Outré

Anthologies are a great way to give readers a good look at a wide range of stories, writers and illustrators. It's often the case though that anthologies are a one-off, sometimes going into subsequent volumes. Sometimes, readers want a little more frequency in their anthologies and that comes courtesy of Norwegian comic book creators Magnus Aspli and Glenn Møane in Outré.

The anthology features "Taras and the Monolith," written by Dan Hill and illustrated by Kim Holm, "The Heir" by Cecile Brun, "My Universe Expands Until I Have No Center" by Alex Wilson and Ben Garriga, "Her Family" by Jelena Dordevic, "The Most Dangerous Place for Children" by Ronald Montgomery, Jim Giar, Tim Switalski and Rafer Roberts, "Father" by Brian Gilman and K. Michael Russell, "I, Icarus" by Glenn Arseneau and Valentin Ramon and "At the Store" by Aleksander Bozic Ske

"Taras and the Monolith" is a story about blind faith and what happens when years of ritual are eschewed for a lack of faith. "My Universe Expands Until I Have No Center" is about girl being transformed from a rebellious youth into a centuries old freedom fighter. "The Most Dangerous Place for Children" is a story about loyalty and man's best friend. "I, Icarus" is about finding faith and truth in science.

"The Heir" is a pin-up, showcasing a young boy's ambitious view of his future as king. "Her Family" is a haunting still shot of a father, mother and daughter, all set against a backdrop of history. "Father" is a brief look at the tiresome role it is to be a father. "At the Store" is a quick look at a convenience store hold-up.

On top of the works, there are also some interesting interviews in the book as well. Those interviews include Fiona Staples and Alex Wilson in the first issue. The interviews are extremely insightful and give readers an interesting look at how to industry heavyweights made their way into the industry.

The writing is varied across stories and some of them are actually pretty sparse when it comes to dialogue. All stories though boast the theme of responsibility throughout, showing it in various forms. How each character reacts to the responsibility thrust upon them is the key of the book and those characters react in ways that more or less run the gamut of character. Some embrace it, some refuse it and some simply observe it, but all of them are affected by it some way in the anthology.

The art is equally as varied and each style works for each story. There's a range of color and black and white and all of the pin-ups are very powerful in getting their message across. There's really no consistency in the styles, but all of the styles are fairly simplistic. The artists don't have much room to be extremely detailed, but the vagueness in much of the art helps with the story.

Initially Outré will be published online two or three times a year. It will be available for free as a downloadable file, which we will promote and spread through as many channels as possible. Each issue will feature four 8-page stories from four different creative teams. The genre, tone and style vary, but each of them deal with the theme of responsibility. Additionally, the issue will feature four excellent pin-ups and two unique interviews.

The issue is still in production, but the plan is to make it available for free to the world on Free Comic Book Day.

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