Knickerbocker, Sean (editor) – Rust Belt Review #1
Website (for Sean Knickerbocker)
Hooray for a big old comics anthology! And by “big” I mostly mean the size of the actual comic (which wouldn’t fit entirely on my scanner) rather than the page count, which is still more than respectable. This has stories from six artists, about half of which I’d read before. I should also point out that the second issue is coming out in a couple of weeks (6/14/21, readers of the future), so for all of you skeptics that think series like this rarely get beyond the first issue, in your face! One of Sean’s goals (from his introduction) is trying to find a way for artists to diversify their income, as this issue was done in a time when in-person cons wasn’t an option, and it’s not like that’s generally a big moneymaker for the artists anyway. First up is a story by Andrew Greenstone about a cult that kidnapped 100 people and forced them to compete in trivia and games, with death being a very real possibility if you get something wrong. I want to quickly complement the layout of this book: the artist’s name is at the bottom of every other page and the title is on the opposite page, so there’s not the danger you get in some anthologies of stories with similar art styles briefly running together. Next up is Caleb Orecchio’s series of short pieces (that all tie together beautifully) dealing with a group of children, their animal pals and their bullies. And one poorly timed erection, but I don’t want to spoil anything. MS Harkness’s piece about a bank robbery is so amazing that I don’t want to give a thing away about it, so I won’t, but I will say that it got a literal “lol” out of me. Juan Jose Fernandez has a more contemplative piece about yearning featuring some haunting video game-esque imagery. Sean has a couple of stories with the same dirtbag characters; in one the losers are given an ultimatum to clean up their act, and in the next they receive an unexpected windfall while nefarious forces plot in the background. Yep, that one is obviously of the “to be continued” variety. Finally there’s Audra Stang telling a story that connects to her overarching narrative in her mini comics, further cementing the need for a complete edition when it’s all said and done. This is a damned solid anthology, and after looking at the list of artists in the second issue it’s looking like that one should be great too. There are a few pieces that look to be continuing in the next issue, which is a solid way to keep people coming back for more. I hope this works out; there are too few ongoing comics anthologies for my tastes. $10
Posted on June 3, 2021, in Reviews and tagged Andrew Greenstone, Audra Stang, Caleb Orecchio, Juan Jose Fernandez, M.S. Harkness, MS Harkness, Rust Belt Review, Sean Knickerbocker. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a Comment.