Womanthology initiated by Renae De Liz
Written by Jody Houser, Devin Grayson, Christine Ellis, and Lois Van Baarle
Illustrated by Sally Thompson and Kathryn Layno, Lindsay Walker (with Ronda Pattison), Elva Wang, and Lois Van Baarle
Letters by Robbie Robbins and Elva Wang
Covers by Lois Van Baarle and Sho Murase
Published by IDW
the three cents.
As profoundly wonderful and imaginative as this anthology has been, this issue may be the best yet. As usual, this series offers short science fictional tales from a steady mix of writers and artists who all just happen to be of the fairer of the sexes. The diversity, in terms of both the backgrounds of the creators and the work they produce, is simply phenomenal. Editor Mariah Huehner is casually making the big boys look the part of ninnies.
Trinkets is immediately one of my favorite stories from the Womanthology label, and one of the better short stories I have read in ages. Writer Houser is joined by artists Thompson and Layno, who split artistic chores in telling this metafictional fable of alternate views and of higher aims. Houser astounds in particular.
The Smell Of Sunshine is a darker offering from writer Grayson and artist Walker, showing how terrifying the chain of command in a military industrial complex can be, especially in that place where nobody can hear you scream. Moreso, the talents express this idea in a manner absolutely on par with the best of the sci-fi and horror comics of the 1940s and 50s. Pattison gives harder values than her normal style, suiting the mood insightfully well. And token boy letterer Robbins keeps his own style on these two first stories starkly different and sublimely effective all the same.
Drift is a bit more on the thoughtfully poetic side, as writer Ellis and artist Wang show what greed is good for in the end, even among the most fantastical that deep space has to grant. This story alone could well insinuate an entirely new mythos, and Wang’s visuals are especially iconic in the doing.
How To: Make An Atmospheric Digital Painting is a fun “how to” from artist Baarle, showing a glimpse behind the curtain at her process by showcasing the full evolution of a dynamically dreamy image. This segment is new for the series, but a terrific idea supremely handled by the versatile artist. (More from her, please!)
Also including rather striking pinups from C.M. Miller (whose piece would make a great poster, actually) and Christianne Benedict (offering really a one page tale full of the good kind of ambition), as well as a bio page for many of the creators, this is totally a strong issue full of self-contained stories that might easily appeal to a range of readers. This means you.
Tags: C.M. Miller, Christianne Benedict, Christine Ellis, Devin Grayson, Elva Wang, exegesis, Jody Houser, Kathryn Layno, Lindsay Walker, Lois Van Baarle, Renae De Liz, Robbie Robbins, Ronda Pattison, Sally Thompson, Sho Murase