April 11, 2012

Review - Womanthology: Heroic

If you’ve been anywhere near the world of comics in the past year, you’ve probably heard of Womanthology. If not, a brief overview: Womanthology started with a tweet by Renae De Liz asking if anyone would be interested in contributing to an all female comic anthology. The response was overwhelming, so De Liz set up a Kickstarter to raise funds to publish the book. That response was also overwhelming; until recently, Womanthology was the most successful comics project on Kickstarter. The end result after obtaining Kickstarter funding and who knows how many hours of work is a 300 page anthology brimming over with stories focused on heroism and tips and tutorials from professionals. Womanthology: Heroic features the work of over 150 creators. Whew.

What you can expect to find on the pages? Lots of heart. You can tell these ladies wanted to be a part of something awesome, and they put that into their work. It rolls off the pages. The whole book just feels enthusiastic. And it should be, they accomplished quite a feat.

There are a few sections in the book (even a section completely done by young comic book creators), and each section has a different editor. Experienced writers and artists were partnered with novices to truly make the book a learning experience for all involved. The actual stories range from two to six or so pages. The pages are beautiful and oversized so enough room is left at the bottom for info about the artist and writer. You’ll also find pro tips in this area, and it was neat to see the advice (sometimes contradictory) from various artists and writers.

One page pin-ups are sprinkled throughout the book. The book ends with a solid section of interviews from known female creators and how-tos that are fascinating even if you just read comics and have no desire to create them. It’s always neat to get a peek behind the scenes and learn about process.

My favorite story in terms of writing and art is Lost Treasure by Bonnie Burton (writer) and Jessica Hickman (artist). Yes, Bonnie is a friend but this has nothing to do with that, I promise. The story is adorable, sweet, and unexpected. It's the one that grabbed me the most. Second to that I LOVED the RPG Comic by Stacie Ponder that runs continually throughout the book (like x a million). I recommend reading those straight through rather than picking the panels up page by page.

The art and writing represent tons of different styles and genres. Adventure, real life heroics, superheroes, it’s all there! You probably won’t be drawn to all of the stories just because of the sheer number of them, but you’ll find plenty to like. Overall, I think the writing is definitely stronger. One of the purposes of Womanthology was to open the door to all levels of experience, and that’s more obvious with some of the art. My only other nitpick is that in more than a couple of places the word balloons didn’t flow properly. I had to go back and trace the path of the dialogue through the panel.

Overall, it’s a giant book of fun and helpful advice that is well worth the price tag. Don't be intimidated by the size. It's not a book to devour in one sitting. Read a story here, another one there, skip to the end for a tutorial, read the RPG Comics. Just take your time. I especially recommend Heroic for young girls who like to draw and dream of comics because the book will really inspire them to push forward.

 Actually, it has that effect on adults as well.

Order Womanthology: Heroic here.

Two Years Ago:
My First Fantasy Series
One Year Ago:
Visiting Lucasfilm (pure nerd joy)


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