Edited by Gary Clap and Kirk Campbell.
First of all, congratulations to Clap and Campbell for getting to a fifth issue, quite an achievement for anthologies of this sort in my experience over the past decade.
I’ve already looked at volume 4 just a few months back, and it’s quite something that they’ve been able to pull this volume together so quickly. There’s less contributors and page count this time, 30 and 60 instead of the 40 ad 100 of volume 3. But the quality’s similarly high. For an anthology with an open submission policy, the quality is improbably high. And of course, there’s a fair bit in here that didn’t exactly light up my world, just as there should be with any anthology to my mind. But there’s plenty in here that to single out. Which is what I’m going to do… 5 of the best…
First up, a familiar name, a familiar style, David Ziggy Greene with ‘Hush‘, where he uses a practically silent 6 pages as a masterclass of choreography, of comedic timing, of gloriously flowing artwork. And the punchline is so very good as well.
Next, David Thomas and Rosa Devine‘s ‘Punch and Judy Presents’. Scratchy, fast artwork, a tale of familiar characters and modern political thinking, of truths to be told, of children finding out the hard way.
There was just something punchy (sorry) about these four pages, the black backgrounds, the rough lines… occasional flashes of McKean even, but the best thing was that there was a lot of chat to cram in, a lot of dialogue to fill four pages, and yet there’s never a sense of the dialogue stopping the flow of the art. Very nice all round.
Third in the list; Gary Clap‘s ‘#24 Hour Coverage‘. Yes, the editor gets a strip. And a damn good one it is as well. A nothing page, a simply reaction strip, anger overflowing in a reaction to world events, the overwhelming nature of modern life something to react against.
But the real reason it got in is that it’s either a definite homage to Kurtzman’s style in Hey Look or a subconscious thing. Either way it’s a real good look.
Next, one here just for the artwork really, Jess Milton‘s ‘MRI Scan‘. Four pages, four images. All done with a woman going in for an MRI, headphones on, thoughts going through her head, an inconvenient itchy nose, music cycling through The Killers, U2 and finally Nickleback. Which may explain this expression…
So. 4 pages. But when those 4 pages remind you of Jaime Hernandez, Jess Milton’s definitely one to watch.
And I’d completely failed to remember that I’ve already been singing her praises as part of the Pencilled Skirt project, curse my damn memory.
And finally, last but certainly not least, Rozi Hathaway. Her ‘Rejsen‘ tells a simple 2-page tale of meeting up, of waiting, of longing, of counting the days. It’s a fragment thing, each panel disconnected from the text that recounts the reason the woman is dragging a case around a railway station, but the interaction of text and Hathaway’s lovely artwork is spot on…
Yep, that’s my 5 from 30. But the joy of anything like Dirty Rotten Comics is that you’ll have a completely different 5. There’s certainly enough quality to give us all plenty to choose from.