Outré Volume #2: Review

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After a small hiatus Outré is back — the start-up publisher infused with a comics-for-the-people sentient that manifests this way: they solicit submission from writers and artists all over the word and then build an anthology which they give away for free. Yes, free.

Here’s the official description from Outré:

The Outré anthology is the brainchild of Norwegian comic book creators Magnus Aspli and Glenn Møane. Both fans of short stories, we started toying with the idea of launching an online anthology with a strong emphasis on quality and meaning. Initially Outré will be published online two times a year. It will be available for free as a downloadable file from our website, and in the future a few other channels. For free. The second issue’s theme is hopelessness.

I’ll confess that I love what Outré is all about, even if I don’t love every story in this current issue. Yes, they Screen shot 2014-01-22 at 6.54.29 AMpublish a free anthology, but better yet they allow the contributors to retain their rights, and even publish in-depth profiles of creators toiling in the comics field. If your love of comics goes beyond just art and words — meaning you pay attention to how the actual industry treats its talent — then you have to applaud this new approach.

The theme of issue #2 was “hopelessness,” and unlike issue #1 where there was a stronger balance of good writing and good art, this latest installment of Outré offers much stronger visuals than narrative. Standout artists in this issue include Jonas Larsen who offers a stiff, strange and yet thoroughly enjoyable style in Jonathan Clode’s story Brenda about a shut-in with an active imagination. Artist Shane Smith’s dark and moody style bring a lot of life to Kevin Fong’s Cassandra, an otherwise flat tale about a depressed girl who wants freedom. The best contribution by far (in both art and writing) has to be Torsobear by Brett Uren. In Torsobear we encounter a strange world inhabited by retired children’s toys; they live in a saccharine city where it rains lemonade, but where serial killers also lurk. It is beautiful, stunning, and haunting. And I wanted more.

Outré is clearly making a niche for itself by providing great content, for free. I could easily see this anthology becoming a place where creators go to get discovered, build their portfolio, and shape their brand. And for us as readers, it’s win-win.  So get your free issue here.



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