cover image Broken Frontier: Anthology

Broken Frontier: Anthology

Edited by Frederik Hautain and Tyler Chin-Tanner. A Wave Blue World, $39.99 (312p) ISBN 978-0-9824539-4-0

Comics news site Broken Frontier crowdfunded this hefty, wide-ranging anthology loosely connected by the theme of “breaking boundaries and exploring the great unknown.” In execution, this includes everything from a horror story set in Alaska, to science fiction selection about “poking a brain that’s older than our universe,” to the tale of a swordswoman on a skateboard fighting spider-people. Standouts include Fred Van Lente and Alison Sampson’s witty and well-drawn “The Beard”; Robert Sammelin’s “The Wave,” which wordlessly follows a motorcycling woman through a Moebius-like futuristic desert; and Karrie Fransman’s clever photo collage comic “Inside Outside.” Though the lineup includes both mainstream DC and Marvel artists and indie favorites like Noah Van Sciver and Brian “Box” Brown, many of the contributors are newcomers (or new to American audiences). Overall, the level of visual artistry is high, but the writing and storytelling less so. Many pieces feel like a pitch for a series rather than a self-contained short story, and for an anthology about “breaking boundaries,” the plots are often conventional. As a sampler of contemporary Western comic artwork, it’s impressive to leaf through and sporadically entertaining to read, but as a fiction anthology it contains almost as many misses as hits. (Aug.)