By Alain McAlister
Comic anthologies are collections of short stories that are usually connected through one topic, theme, time, or political issue. They can feature one person’s work or work from many people. When they are collaborative, anthologies are usually open to all experience levels, from artists new to the comics world to well established cartoonists. Comics have the least barriers to create and are the most accessible to view, therefore are very democratic, and anthologies show that by representing a diverse set of opinions and views on a subject. There’s usually a curator or publisher in charge of accepting and selecting from the works submitted, but each anthology is different! Betty’s Books makes an anthology in the form of a community zine for Free Comic Book Day every year, and it’s always so fun to read through all the entries. For this blog post, we’ll be taking a deep dive into the wealth of anthologies Betty’s Books has scattered throughout our shelves!
Comics For Choice: Illustrated Abortion Stories, History, and Politics by Silver Sprocket
As fundamental reproductive rights continue to be stigmatized and jeopardized, over sixty artists and writers have created comics that boldly share their own experiences, and educate readers on the history of abortion, current political struggles, activism, and more. The stories in Comics for Choice
showcase a wide range of abortion experiences from a diverse array of voices: trans voices, older voices, activist voices–relatable voices. With passionate pen strokes, artists share highly personal, moving, and even funny stories that defy stigma and stereotypes. From the days of illegal abortion services, to nationwide legalization, to modern-day struggles of clinic closures and unequal access, contributors give an entertaining primer on the history of abortion in America, and how far we still have to go. Readers will be encouraged to get involved–standing up for abortion rights, fighting abortion stigma, making links between intersecting forms of oppression, and learning about reproductive justice.
Embodied: An Intersectional Feminist Anthology by Wave Blue World Inc
Poetry and comics collide in this intersectional feminist anthology featuring twenty-one stories that explore the relationship between gender, identity and the body. A diverse array of award-winning contemporary poets and comic book artists who identify as cis women, trans, and non-binary, work together to create sequential art poems showcasing the relevance, urgency, and power of both genres. Mystical, rooted, painful, joyous, and ecstatic; visions of the body, our genders, and our very identities from across the spectrum of contemporary poetry come together in this monumental intersectional feminist anthology where verse and comics unite in spectacular new ways.
A percentage of the proceeds will benefit the International Women’s Health Coalition.
This Place: 150 Years Retold by Chelsea Vowel
Explore the past 150 years through the eyes of Indigenous creators in this groundbreaking graphic novel anthology. Beautifully illustrated, these stories are an emotional and enlightening journey through Indigenous wonderworks, psychic battles, and time travel. See how Indigenous peoples have survived a post-apocalyptic world since Contact, with timelines of related historical events and a personal note from the author. There are also cited sources and a select bibliography for further reading in the back of the book, so while reveling in this art you can also learn the ways colonialism and modern day colonialism has continued to affect Indigenous people.
This is one of the 200 exceptional projects funded through the Canada Council for the Arts’ New Chapter initiative. With this $35M initiative, the Council supports the creation and sharing of the arts in communities across Canada.
COVID Chronicles: A Comics Anthology by Ken Best
In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic brought the world to its knees. Amid all this uncertainty, writers and artists from around the world continued to create comics, commenting directly on how individuals, societies, governments, and markets reacted to the worldwide crisis. This anthology collects more than sixty short comics from a diverse set of creators, including indie powerhouses, mainstream artists, Ignatz and Eisner Award winners, and media cartoonists. In narrative styles ranging from realistic to fantastic, they tell stories about adjusting to working from home, homeschooling their kids, missing birthdays and weddings, and being afraid just to leave the house. They probe the failures of government leaders and the social safety net. They dig into the racial bias and systemic inequities that this pandemic helped bring to light. We see what it’s like to get the virus and live to tell about it, or to stand by helplessly as a loved one passes. At times heartbreaking and at others hopeful and humorous, these comics express the anger, anxiety, fear, and bewilderment we feel in the era of COVID-19. Above all, they highlight the power of art and community to help us make sense of a world in crisis, reminding us that we are truly all in this together.
A portion of the proceeds from the sale of this volume are being donated by the publisher to the Book Industry Charitable Foundation (Binc) in support of comics shops, bookstores, and their employees who have been adversely affected by the pandemic.
Sensory: Life on the Spectrum by Bex Ollerton
From artist and curator Bex Ollerton comes an anthology featuring comics from thirty autistic creators about their experiences of living in a world that doesn’t always understand or accept them. Sensory: Life on the Spectrum
contains illustrated explorations of everything from life pre-diagnosis to tips on how to explain autism to someone who isn’t autistic, to suggestions for how to soothe yourself when you’re feeling overstimulated. With unique, vibrant comic-style illustrations and the emotional depth and vulnerability of memoir, this book depicts these varied experiences with the kind of insight that only those who have lived them can have.
Young Men in Love: A Queer Romance Anthology by Dave Ebersole
Haphazard pirates, wayward ghosts, dashing knights, rampaging kaiju (and down-to-earth regular joes!) are all assembled here to amaze and delight you in a wildly unique anthology celebrating love between men, from an astounding array of comics creators who know exactly how it feels. Featuring stories and art from Sina Grace, Ned Barnett, Anthony Oliveira, Charles Pulliam-Moore, Nick Robles, and many more, Young Men in Love
is a heartwarming, uplifting, and vibrant return to the glory days of romance comics!
If you start school this month, have a nice back to school! If you’ve finished school, I hope you don’t have stress dreams about highschool!
-Your friend Alain