Recently, I finished a new indie anthology called Outre. This anthology is unique in structure as it doesn’t focus on genre, but on theme. The issue I read was #3 and its theme was xenophobia.
The first story is Out! Out! Out! by Steven Ince, Giles Crawford, and Mick Schubert. The story takes place in a world where male faeries are trying to integrate into human society. Many human males are against these creatures being integrated as they believe that the male fae are taking their women and jobs. At the center of the story is a young woman who is struggling with the thought of having a half breed child. The art in this story reminded me of Coraline with solid panel structure. As for the story, it has an interesting central hook. The story plays with the age old myth of faerie interbreeding and turns it into something new. However, underneath that hook, there is just your typical interracial couple struggling to survive in a bigoted world story that does nothing to change that plot formula around.
The next story is The Day the Foreigner Came by Landon Wright, Sebastian Chow, Kote Carvajal, and Sean Rinehart. In The Day the Foreigner Came, a Teaching English as a Foreign Language teacher is about to arrive at his new job location in the Guria region of Georgia. In the meantime, the local Georgian people are trying to figure out who this person will be and the answer is something that nobody expects. The art reminds me of the art in Trees as there is almost a sandpapery feel to it. The facial structure to the characters are dubious, either the eyes are too far apart or the mouths too big. The panel structure was alright, but it wasn’t as impressive as the previous artist. However, the colorist did a brilliant job of showing when the story shifted to the idle fantasies of the main characters. I found this story to be the strongest out of the anthology. They took a simple plot of small townsfolk reacting to a stranger story and changed the setting. This changed the entire nature of the piece because the culture of a small town in Georgia is different to a small town in the United States. A Georgian’s prejudice, world view, and social kicks would be different from an American’s. On top of that, the dialogue in this piece is exceptional. They use Georgian slang and profanity to great affect.
Grave Travels by Kyle Kaczmarczyk, Ashley Ribbit, and Mick Schubert is a Frankenstein story told through the eyes of the creation. The art is very cartoonish with only a few panels per page. As for the story, it’s a typical Frankenstein tale that does little to add to the Frankenstein mythos. The story is told through the monster’s eyes, but there have been other stories that have done so to a greater and more impactful depth. The story is handled well, and the ending is clever, but in the end it’s a by the numbers Frankenstein story.
The last story is The Suburbs by Emmet O’Cuana, Sean Rinehart, and Tim Switalski. The Suburbs take place after the attempted invasion by the martians in War of the Worlds. After the invasion all aliens are considered to be illegal aliens and highly dangerous. However, one man chooses to shelter a martian in his taxi cab just as the creature begins to kill people. I enjoyed the art in this story, the panel structure was strong with several panels to be found per page. The art was realistic and there was nothing off putting about the art, but nothing that captured the eye either. The story uses War of the Worlds to create an intriguing setting that feels real and detailed. The ending has an interesting twist ending that seems to warn against being too trusting. However, it’s hard to be sure as the ending comes unexpectedly. The story feels like it’s just about to get going, built up the forward momentum to a crescendo, but fails to do anything with it. In the end, it is a fairly compelling story that feels incomplete.
I found Outre to be jammed packed with content from stories, to art, and even interviews. However, it has a definitive indie feel that will polarize the audience. But, for people who love indie work or people who love anthologies, Outre should definitely be checked out.