Text & Artwork: various
Publisher Info: Publisher: IDW Publishing; Age Rating: youth to young adult; Hardcover: 336 pages; Dimensions: 12.1 x 9.3 x 1.1 inches.
Pub. Date: 03/27/2012
Retail Price: $50.00
Official Website: Womanthology.blogspot.com
The original goals of Womanthology: Heroic were likely quite simple: round up a bunch of like-minded buddies and compose an all-female creator comic anthology, perhaps to shine a bit of light on many of the business' frequently overlooked talent pool.
However, as was wont to happen in the age of web-based, crowd-funded art campaigns, word spread fast. In no time flat, this convenient little comic collection blossomed into a true anthology, with several editors and hundreds of potential contributors.
pages from "The Hunter" (top),
and "Everwell" (bottom)
Of the 168 total contributors, I can admittedly only acknowledge having been aware of a handful prior to picking up the book (Robin Furth, Camilla D'Errico, Miss Lasko-Gross, Lauren Montgomery, Isabelle Melancon, Lois van Baarle).
Fortunately, the publication provides readers with a huge sample size; one would be reasonably hard pressed (or blind) to claim they aren't better off for having trudged through all 300+ pages.
Project manager Renae De Liz stuffed a lot of talent into Womanthology: Heroic. Some of the talent is truly inspiring; some, let's face it, is quite the opposite; but most I would say is leisurely nestled in the limbo in-between. De Liz, a ludicrously talented artist in her own right, lends the spotlight to dozens of other writers, artist teams, colorists, and one-page/pin-up contributors. Take note, however, that the result is a heavily mixed bag. Womanthology: Heroic is a massive book, but the typical comic length is only four or five pages. Plus, the anthology's eventual system of purposefully pairing writers and artists of disproportionate professional experience (or skill) has resulted in countless vignettes with "interesting" but ultimately unfulfilling literature.
There are a lot of solid items in the book, however, as is the case with "The All Too Real World" (by Amanda McMurray and Valia Kapadai), in which readers encounter a bit of heroic non-fiction. The narrator pulls you in with the relatable tale of struggling with school, surviving an abusive home, and of being ostracized in the workplace. The taunts and negligence drive the young woman to some pretty dark places, sufficiently articulated by Kapadai's sentimental sepia tones and McMurray's brilliant and controlled writing.
from "The All Too Real World"
"The All Too Real World" manifests an affecting conclusion; the comic neatly weaves together sharpened tenets of forgiveness, of overcoming the odds, and of keeping your head on straight (long enough to help the next person in line).
"I'm Not Omnigirl!" (by Lauren Burke and Megan Brennan) is the perfect example of short and sweet, and registers near the top for such a massive anthology of shorties. In this comic, a teenager is the spitting image of an immensely famous superhero girl in town ("Omnigirl"). Molly Jane Dubbel is proficiently average and detests her likeness to the heroine (partly because of the teasing, but also because Omnigirl is kind of a sellout). As things turn out, Molly Jane is capable of some pretty heroic deeds herself. "I'm Not Omnigirl!" may not blow you away at first, but the comic's tactful visual detail and efficient and smart characterization probably will.
from "The Little Stranger"
sample from the entry,
"Lady Power Punch"
"And You Will Know Them...." (by Heather Royston, Jolene Houser, and Elli "Harry" Moka) is an interesting item as well. The comic uses a clever spot-color strategy to identify certain personality traits in certain characters, in a difficult to follow story about how "kind acts" make the earth go 'round.
The contrast of scribbly and literal inks with blushing and blurring colors are neat, but the comic's exaggerated, religious storytelling yanks you out the experience in a flash. (I'm also pretty sure that the pair of devil hands holding the globe in the final panel is upside down.)