Anomaly Annual #2
[Brass Ring Productions $3.95 B&W]
Written & Illustrated by Various
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Anthology titles are always a mixed bag and Anomaly is no exception. An interesting mix of super-hero tales, alternative strips and Twilight Zone style fare, most of the stories live up to the promise of the impressive cover but a few don’t quite make the grade.
The issue starts with a super-hero tale entitled “Sting of the Scorpion" written by Ellen Topkis and illustrated by Fabian Chow. The art is professionally done and the story, although wide open for more adventures, was complete. On the down side, the word balloon placement in this story was sometimes confusing and I found myself re-reading panels to get the correct dialogue order. I also would have preferred a more of an introduction to the main female super-hero character but to be fair that might have been covered in a previous issue’s story.
The fourth story, “Hero Is a Four-Letter World” was the standout of the bunch. The artwork by Seaward Tuthill, although sketchy, reminded me of the art in the love story comics I used to read as a kid in the 1970s. The writer, Dennis Shumate, gives the reader a satisfying tale involving a seedy private investigator and an upstanding super-hero who has gone over the edge.
“The Hitch” by Dan Hoagland involves the passing of the torch from one worn-out former tights wearer to a new generation. The idea and execution were competently done and with more practice Hoagland’s pencils could be quite good.
Johnny Lowe contributes several strips that would fit right in with your local alternative newspaper but seemed out-of-place in this anthology. He also wrote the SF inspired short, “Upgrade.” Richard Garcia pencils and inks the story quite ably with polished and professional looking art.
The final story entitled “A Christmas Story” and written by Caleb Gerard was really more of an introduction to an ongoing story. Filip Sablik handles the pencils and Katie Commodore the inks and give this anthology the most professionally illustrated story. The premise (a man discovers that he’s dead but still wandering around Los Angeles presumably to solve his own murder) was interesting enough that a full issue could have been much more satisfying than the intro we get in Anomaly.
The weakest story of the issue was “The Sincerest Form of Flattery” penned by Raymond E. Brown. It read like a surreal rejected X-Men proposal and even has an appearance by Professor X and Scott Summers look-a-likes. The art by Felipe Chow (pencils), Joe Needom II (inks) and Shane Colclough (inks) was also the least polished.
Anthology titles can be a tough sell for the simple fact that they can be so hit or miss. Anomaly does give you more good stories than bad, however, and you also get a lot of story pages for your buck.
If you’d like to give this issue a try and can’t find it at your local comic shop write to Caleb Gerard, 260 Alpine Street #6, Pasadena, CA 91106 You can also e-mail for more information at email@example.com.