FutureQuake: Issue 26. Edited by Dave Evans and Richmond Clements

Comic: FutureQuake: Issue 26
Release date: March 2015
Editors: Dave Evans and Richmond Clements
Writers: Alec Charles, Gary Chudleigh, Alexi Conman, Umar Ditta, Jim Lavery, Alec Robertson, Lee Robson, JJ Robinson 
Artists: Jim Groasdale, Marc Ducrow, Jim Lavery, Rui Mendes, Alex Paterson, Xia, RH Stewart, Matt Soffe (cover), Darren Mullen, Barry Renshaw, 
Cover: full-color
Interior: black/white
Synopsis: The stories inside FutureQuake are generally five pages or less, and often follow the 'twist in the tail' set up popularised by EC comics and 2000AD's Future Shocks. Any genre or story within the rough boundaries of sf/fantasy/horror/romance/comedy or any permutations thereof.

The Deal

A kind soul on Twitter pointed me in the direction of FutureQuake (FQ) and I was invited to contact them by one of the editors. I did and two digital issues for review purposes were emailed to me. I was impressed with the FQ cover and immediately wondered if the story within would be as good as it's cover, which made me decide to review this one first. The cover art by Matt Soffe is impressive and if I'd seen it on any comic book shelf I'd have taken it off to have a look through.
I'll have to drop the 'The Feel' section for this review because there's no hard copy to review.

The Stories and the Look

Anthologies can be a great way to show off a large number of talented people. In the case of FQ you don't have to be an established team of artist and writer. If you have a script they'll match you with an artist or vice versa. It's important to me that the story fits the art and the art fits the story and nowhere is that combination more in sync than the first story 'The Shepherd'. It's amazing that Alexi Conman can make us feel so much in just five pages. The artwork by Xia is almost mesmerizing and enhances the story bringing it to a new level. The facial expressions of the main character are sometimes painful to watch because you can just feel the hurt and longing. After reading it the first time I wrote in my notebook that the story would benefit from color, but after reading it again I'm going to negate that comment. Xia's grey-scaled art is brilliant. I think this first story is the best of this issue
This is followed closely by 'Letters Home' by Alex Robertson who wrote a story about a Mormon ranger who finds more trouble than he can handle. The art by RH Stewart is filled with details and he really took the time to fill the background. The art is dark and this matches perfectly with Robertson's story. The strongest and weakest panel of this story were both on the last page. I was especially taken by the last panel. It feels as though you can see straight into Zeke's soul through his eyes. I was slightly less impressed with the panel depicting both his wives and toddler. It felt rushed and anatomically off. 
Alec Charles' story 'Modern Security' is a great reminder that we might need to keep some things in our own hands. A good and solid story that made me laugh at the and cringe at the same time just by thinking of future possibilities.

The complete anthology contains nine stories, including the one page story on the back cover. All the stories have their own merit, although some of them could have benefited from a slight tweak here or there. This FQ issue has various styles of artistry some of which are quite stunning (The Shepherd, Revenant, The Day After The Earth Stood Still and The Final Status). I think we have to remember that this anthology depicts work from established as well as upcoming artists and this shows in the overall quality of the works within. I did think the 43-ish year old looking man in 'Final Cut' could have benefited from a slight face-lift as he's being spoken to as 'kid'. A beat was missed in this otherwise very good story.  

The Conclusion

FQ #26 contains nine stories and as with most anthologies there will always be stories you'll like better than the other ones. I think this issue has several stories which are a must read because they'll stay with you for a while. I like that FQ collects stories of various genres such as comedy, superhero, sf, and everyday life with a bit of magic and it's all about the twist at the end. If I'd seen it in the comic book store I would buy it. There's nothing better than reading an anthology and knowing you're supporting local writers and artists achieving their dreams. After reading this comic I predict great things from some of the writers and artist herein.

How to get a copy

You can order a hard copy straight from the FutureQuake website. One issue will set you back 4,00 GBP plus shipping. They also sell back issues as well as issues from other publications they run. You can read the latest about FutureQuake Press via Twitter @FqQuake. If you find FQ in a store, or if you're a store that sells FQ, let me know and I'll post it here. 
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