Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Review - If (@AlternaComics)

"There are no questions - only answers."

A good anthology has a lot of good stories in it. If from Altera Comics is one such anthology. The anthology features stories by Alex Eckman-Lawn, Brandon Barrows, Casey Reece, Chas! Pangburn, Chip Reece, Dino Caruso, Garrett Sneen, Glenn Matchett, James E. Roche, Jon Clark, Loki DeWitt, Michael Malkin, Mike Salt, Robert Menegus and Zach Bassett. The artists involved are Eckman-Lawn, Dan Lauer, David Brame, Eric Weathers, Fabian Cobos, Sneen, George Athanasiou, Clark, Mariano Laclaustra, Novo Malgapo, Peebo Mondia, Salo Farias, Sam Agro, Ugur Sertcelik, Tim Shinn and Bassett. Letters are by Adam Wollet, Eckman-Lawn, Brant Fowler, Pangburn, Dekara, Erica J. Heflin, Sneen, Athanasiou, Kenny Jeffry, Nic J. Shaw, Sertcelik and Bassett.

This is a new anthology that will be released annually starting this November. The theme of this inaugural release will be "science fiction". Over 150 pages of content with 15 stories from over 20 creators.

Just about all of the stories in the first If anthology harken back to a different era of science fiction, paying homage to authors such as Ray Bradbury, Isaac Asimov and Philip K. Dick. These stories rely on somewhat fanciful settings with characters and entities that are equally as fanciful. As such, there are a lot of stories involving robots and concepts of collected consciousness. There are also other stories in the book that are less "nuclear age" and more just science fiction. One of the stories is about middle-aged Bigfoot dealing with depression, self doubt and relationship woes. It's actually quite clever and subverts the traditional expectations that come with finding Bigfoot and understanding his myth.

The artwork in If is extremely varied. Aliens, robots and humans are all illustrated effectively and cleanly, evoking references to the bygone eras of comic book art. Characters boast plenty of emotion and feeling in their stories. It's all black and white, which does detract slightly from the entire book. Some of the stories would have been better served with colored artwork, but it wouldn't be surprising if the more minimalist black and white was chosen for cost reasons. There are a few instances where the lettering and dialogue bubbles feel overwhelming, yet not to the point where it detracts from the overall experience.

If is a pretty adventurous graphic novel that feature a ton of interesting, science-fiction stories. These stories run the gamut when it comes to science-fiction and they all tap into the zeitgeist that accompanies a different era of literature. All of the authors do great jobs with their stories, posing thought-provoking tales that capitalize on science-fiction tropes. The artwork is largely consistent throughout, offering stylish twists on stories that could be from decades ago. If is a great anthology of science-fiction works that many readers of the genre will definitely want to check out.

If will be available soon.


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