The first anthology from new micropublishing venture Obsolete Comics, Crisis underlines their stated socially conscious mission with its profits going to the UK homelessness charity that shares the comic’s title. In the wake of the pandemic, and the impact it has had on the most vulnerable in society, this in itself is a good reason to pick it up. But Crisis is also reflective of something the UK comics scene seems, to a degree, to have lost in recent years – the small press anthology as grassroots showcase. In this most difficult of years for the self-publishing community the existence of a collection like this is a welcome one indeed on multiple levels.
The titular theme manifests in many different forms in the eleven tales contained herein. Kevin Winslow takes us to a world that continually lurches from ‘Crisis to Crisis’ in a story that is stark but not without hope. Other entries are bleaker – Tim Chappell and Shaina Saeed’s tale of a space ark odyssey from Earth in pursuit of a new world to settle in ‘Unaccompanied Human’ (above right), for example, or Aiden Kvarnström’s ‘Coming Home’ (below left)which explores loss through future technology.
Sometimes the offerings are uncomfortably familiar. @hesitantdoodle’s exquisitely paced humour in ‘Bear with Us’ with its all-too recognisable lockdown episodes, for one. On other occasions they remind us to celebrate what we do have even in the direst circumstances, as in Julia Margarita Quiceno’s ‘Nuestro Cosmos’. And then there are the diversions into fantastic allegory as in Daniel Bristow-Bailey’s ‘The Monster Report’ (below right) where the bizarre and the unlikely give added insight into the way we adapt to coping with our current extreme circumstances.
Some of the work here is indeed much rawer in presentation but it has that DIY culture vibe – that artistic drive to communicate and convey through the power of visual narrative while simultaneously allowing creators to learn their craft along the way – that has been comparatively scarcer in the UK in recent years. Ventures like this are always worth our support, not simply because of the good causes they champion and the values they espouse, but also because of the important platform they provide for new voices.
Cover by C F Sherratt. Other contributors: Daniel Bristow-Bailey, Maria Brown, Tim Chappell & Shaina Saeed, HesitantDoodle, Aiden Kvarnström, Laua J Morfett, Julia Margarita Quiceno, Dan Whitehaed & Mal Jones, Kevin Winslow.
Order online from Obsolete Comics here.
Review by Andy Oliver