Comic Anthologies at the MCM Expo


Reading a small comic anthology is perhaps one of the quickest ways to sample the work of many new artists and often all with the same theme. The anthology is just one of the many publications that MCM Expo veterans, Sweatdrop Studios, have become well known for, and since forming in 2001, they have become become one of the most popular fully-fledged Manga influenced comic publishers in the UK. In their latest anthology, Telling Tales, a theme of ‘Fairy Tales’ was announced and each of the six included artists were asked to follow it when creating their comic.


When speaking to Sweatdrop Studios’ Sonia Leong, she told MCM Buzz,”Part of our ethos with putting out a quality product is producing an anthology that can withstand the test of time“. With the inclusion of guest artist Svetlana Chmakova, it looks like Telling Tales is set to do just that! The anthology format is clearly very popular in the lanes of the Comic Village these days, because you’ll find many more on the tables of comic artists who produce both their own work in addition to contributing to these excellent collections.


At one end of the spectrum is Nelson by Blank Slate Books which collects over 50 storytellers and artists in order to tell a single story, the year by year life of Nel Baker.


Then there’s the 200 page Leek and Sushi‘s Manga Show by Itch publishing, which gives a great sense of the variety and quality you need to stand out in the Manga scene in the UK. Each comic is introduced by a ‘random comedy interview’ which lets you know where and how to find out more about the artists.


The Birdsong anthology by Failboat press has a particularly interesting twist as it reads both left-to-right and right-to-left; owing to the inclusion of comics which read both the Western way and the Eastern way. There is even a phenomenal comic in the middle which amazingly reads either way! Certainly one to try if you can’t decide which way you prefer.


For a publication that goes beyond comics and still follows a theme then you could do worse than to pick up a copy of Murky Depths, a science fiction, fantasy and horror periodical that includes short stories, interviews and reviews in addition to comics. It’s also the winner of the British Fantasy Awards Best Magazine/Periodical 2010.


At the other end of the spectrum are anthologies like New British Comics  from WJC Comics, SIX by Chris Bottoms and non-repro by Sephryn Grey which collect stories but not always connected by theme. New British Comics is actually available in either Polish or English, SIX compiles six comics which are unrelated and non-repro have just released their Manga Jiman Special which includes entries to the popular Manga Jiman Competiton held by the Japanese Embassy.



Perhaps most interesting of all is the miniature anthology being put together live at the MCM Expo, as one lane of artists are drawing panels and then passing the comic along to the next table!


If you spot the comic being passed around you might even have a chance to buy it, but would you be able to find space for all the artists’ signatures?

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