Alternative comic book publisher, Alternative Comics, put out issue four of their comic anthology book less than two months ago. The hefty collection features the works of many important and modern underground, webcomic, and zine talent in the comics business today. To gather such a crowd into one anthology is a feat, yet Alternative Comics #4 seems to work out very elegantly, not straying away from being too irregular from the last comic it features and still giving these creators freedom without standing too dissimilar from each other.
It’s odd that this release feels such a way, especially with the issue taking the ever-so-serious/slightly depressing six-panel comic by David Lasky, called “The Ultimate Superman Comic,” and placing it in the same vicinity as a cutesy/weird story by James Kochalka. But I enjoy that — it’s fantastic seeing creators showcase different themes in comics, and it’s cool that Alternative Comics put all of these guys together in the first place.
Featured in this collection are as follows:
- Mike Bertino
- Theo Ellsworth & Craig Thompson (they do the back cover comic together)
- Sam Alden
- James Kochalka
- Sam Henderson
- Noah Van Sciver
- Grant Snider
- Alex Schubert
- Andy Ristaino
- Allison Cole
Andy Ristaino penned out four pages of the anthology that I’m fond of, titled “Frothy Beveraged Man.” These comics are hilariously written and inappropriate in a clever way, revolving around a giant mug of beer that harasses people in the style of the Kool-Aid Man. Another favorite from Allison Cole and her cute, three-paged comic “Lost and Found,” about a stray cat a nameless character worries about. James Kochalka created “Am I Alive,” and “Email,” for this collection, which are both curious and cute.
Powerful entries come from David Lasky‘s “The Ultimate Superman Comic,” and Sam Alden‘s “When I Was 10,” which both definitely produce intense contemplation on the readers in just under two pages (Lasky’s is a simple six-panel). Lasky also provided “Googlism,” while Alden wrote “Talent Goes In,” which are both unique and thoughtful panels in their own ways.
Everybody’s favorite funny indie-comic creator, Sam Henderson, pitched in “Grapes Hawthorne,” and some gag strips. Grant Snider created some greatly detailed one-paged “Incidental Comics.” Alex Schubert slipped his absurd and stylish “Blobby Boys,” strip into this collection as well. Craig Thompson and Theo Ellsworth made a six-panel colored comic for the backcover in which I have no idea what the hell is going on, but it looks pretty damn great.
Noah Van Sciver‘s “Hallelujah!,” might’ve been my favorite comic in the bunch, depicting the hilarious self-reflection of a 19th-century cartoonist, and how high and mighty the title may have once been. Let’s not forget about Mike Bertino‘s cover for this bad boy, either. Sleek, random, and cartoony, it definitely fits the anthology perfectly.
In the midst of all the comics lies an interview done by Robin McConnell of Inkstuds with David Lasky. I’m only somewhat familiar with Lasky and his work, but the interview was nonetheless an intriguing read.
For the amount of authors and illustrators featured in this collection of grand comics and people, I find it extremely hard to pass up such an amazing collection for such a small amount of money. $5.99 grants access to 48-pages of hilarious, concise, and brilliant work from some of the best talent there is in the comic scene today, providing volumes of appreciation to those unfamilar with the indie comic scene, or those who are indeed underground aficionados.
Yes, some of these blurred images are unfocused on purpose.