cover image Swan Songs

Swan Songs

W. Maxwell Prince, et al. Image, $16.99 trade paper (192p) ISBN 978-1-5343-9828-3

Horror comics trendsetter Prince (the Ice Cream Man series) branches out for a decently written but impressively drawn genre-spanning short comics collection linked by the theme of endings. “Pretty bad apocalypse out there,” a character grunts in the opening story, “The end of... the world” (written by Prince and drawn by Martin Simmonds), which is set in a collapsing society where simply walking down the street to buy a magazine involves a battle for survival. Other tales tackle the end of a relationship, the end of a prison term, and the end of a bout of depression. Some are more cogent than others—the opener is a standout, as is “The end of... a sentence,” about a Mad Libs–obsessed parolee who’s dragged back into a life of crime—but the rotating lineup of artists is consistently remarkable and impeccably matched to the material. For example, Caspar Wijngaard’s clear lines and cool colors perfectly express the anger simmering beneath a couple’s divorce. Elsewhere, Filipe Andrade’s delicate pastels aptly illuminate a postapocalyptic retelling of the Book of Genesis, and Alex Eckman-Lawn’s frenetic collage art mirrors the inner turmoil of a therapy patient descending into his own subconscious. It’s a panoramic showcase of contemporary comics art and proof of the flexibility of the form. (Mar.)