Shout Out is an anthology edited by Andrew Wheeler (assistant editors Joamette Gil and BC Holmes) from TO Comix Press which contains eighteen shorts spanning numerous genres, made by creators from the LGBTQA+ community. The concept of the collection is telling stories featuring queer heroes which the creators would love to have read growing up.
The opening story is titled ‘Amaranthine’ by Joamette Gil and Kelly & Nicole Matthews (below) and revolves around a forest containing a magical plant, and how it brings two characters together; its main focus being a relationship between the protagonists and the idea of supporting each other. The art often falls out or panels and overlaps, really accentuating the idea of the forest’s growth while colour is used to express both time and emotion throughout the narrative.
‘How to Summon a Demon’ by CJ Walker (below), the second story in the anthology contrasts almost entirely in style, highlighting the variety and diversity of the book. It’s a story about self-discovery and working yourself out through experience. It’s expressed with a humorous and naïve tone, that permeates the art style.
With a more historical slant, ‘Ergi’ by Kieron Gillen, V. Gagnon and Joamette Gil (below), surrounds a Viking couple one of whom (Aric) is dying of a fever, regretful that he hasn’t avenged his lover Eldan’s death and won’t be able to join him in Valhalla. Colour is used to create a distinction between a sense of joy and determination, which appears more saturated, with the dimness of Aric and his illness at the start.
Another different style of storytelling is present in ‘Fifteen Minutes or Less’ by Marie Anello and Liz Parlett (below) which shows two restaurant workers, one of whom is trans, attempting to deliver an order in the timeframe of fifteen minutes so they can earn some extra money for top-surgery. The style is exaggerated and lively, pulling the reader through the energetic story.
Focusing more on a fantasy setting ‘Vows of Life’ by Nichole Robinson and Anika Granillo shows important relationships between people, through taking the time to care for others. It also highlights the diversity of relationships, and how things can work out even if they don’t match our expectations. Granillo uses gorgeous neon colours to show magic as distinctly brighter than the more natural tones of the world in which the story is set.
‘Sunlight’ by Anthony Oliveira, Josh McKenzie and Nichole Matthews tells the story of a superhero known as Vigil saving Louis from peril, and Louis’ apathy towards Vigil’s actual identity. The story is drawn in a fun, vibrant style to complement its comical tone. However, despite the comical element it still remains rather heartfelt and ends on a sweet note.
With such a large array of stories and art, as well as pushing forward the voices of queer creators, Shout Out is a charming read.
Joamette Gil, Kelly Matthews, Nichole Matthews, CJ Walker, Day Irwin, Vivian Ng, Kieron Gillen, V. Gagnon, Marie Anello, Liz Parlett, Andrew Wheeler, Michelle Dix, Elodie Chen, Nichole Robinson, Anika Granillo, Sunny Ochumuk, Shaina Lu, Nicholai Farber, Anthony Oliveira, Joch McKenzie, Angela Cole, Cheryl Young, Crystal Frasier, Molly James, Derrick Chow, H.Pueyo, Dante Luiz, B.C. Holmes, Alex Moore, Lindsay Smith, Adrienne Valdes, Ashley Gallagher, Helen Robinson, Amara Sherm, Hien Pham, Maia Kobabe, Pez Moreno, Kristina Luu • TO Comix Press, $30.00 print/$15.00 digital
Review by Holly Raidl