British Showcase Anthology volume 2 (Markosia Press)

british-showcase-anthologyIt’s a bumper time for British indie comics anthologies as we have another you to get your teeth into! The British Showcase Anthology Volume 2 is packed full of indie comic greatness contained in a well put together product that gained attention from all corners of the scene. But how will this patriotic collection fare against anthology big hitters like Dark Matter and Comichaus?

british-showcase-anthologyPublisher: Markosia Press
Writer: Various
Artist: Various
Price: £2.99 on ComiXology

Our rating: [star rating=”4″]

This second edition of the British Showcase Anthology features a fantastic number of standalone stories ranging in genres and styles.

First up is the beautifully drawn Red Apple from Martin “Simo” Simpson who manages to tell a short yet powerful and humbling tale with minimal dialogue. His brilliant artwork and a perspective shift do the job and to say more would be to give too much away as it is very short but prepare yourself going into this book to be moved within the first few pages. Following that is The Morlock Manifesto from trio Cy Dethan, Alex Thompson and Nic Wilkinson. The talent these three have is evident on every page, as it is incredibly well written, backed up by pleasant panel work and superb artwork. The Morlock Manifesto is a very British Steampunk inspired tale of a new British empire with ideologies very similar to it’s predecessor, however lurking under the streets is a new type of opposition, one that will use it’s own unique blend of vengeance when it comes to strike back against its oppressors. Like several titles in this collection, The Morlock Manifesto could easily be it’s own running title and we found it to be an incredibly intriguing strip that we’d love to see more of.

Next in line is the Hanged Man written by Tom Ward with art from Phil Buckenham. It’s a short supernatural western with a wicked twist and has a striking cover page featuring a naked woman lying amongst a pile of corpses in a macabre take on the iconic American Beauty rose petal scene. It grabs one’s attention straight away with it’s striking visuals and familiarity serving as a textbook piece of art that draws you into the story it has to tell.

The Passage of Time is next on the list and it comes from the mind of Dark Pond Comics Co-Founder Pat Scattergood who worked with Kate Beaumont to bring this story to us. A short black and white tale of time and the toll it takes on us all, a deeply emotional strip this one but nonetheless entertaining.

Continuing on through this excellent showcase and we turn to Heathen Masses by Chris Tresson, Paul Moore, Adam Brown and Rob Jones. An utterly bizarre twisting tale of demon worship and underhanded tactics by the church all mixed in with some light humor. Blast into the Past is next up and has a classic Science Fiction feel to it via Trystan Mitchell’s art that accompanies Chris Redfern’s script. A light hearted tale with a message behind it as the crew of a deep space exploration ship hit a black hole and learn a thing or two about themselves, from themselves. This strip whilst impeccably drawn and well written did feel a little fast paced and cramped but that could be down to there being a looming panel limit to ensure it fit within the anthology and that can be forgiven. Had it been a standalone piece we would expect to see it a bit more spacious and drawn out. That being said it should take nothing away from the piece.
Then there is the disturbing and bizarre Car Pool and the prequel story to upcoming Graphic Novel Redemption Heights called Tinker,Tailor, Soldier, Skinner, which consists of an interview with a serial killer that gets extremely dark, and is certain to send a chill down one’s spine. Dark Matter’s Chris Sides presents us with Secret Identity which takes a whole new look at a super powered protector on Earth by mixing in some good old fashion plot twists and darkness, in to a very compelling strip.

The next strip is the Lovecraftian styled From the Depths, a short horror tale that could be used as a prequel to something much bigger should writer Roddy MC Cance and artist Peter L Woods wish to do so. An awesome full page cover introduces Humanity, the next story ready to thrill readers with it’s 80’s action movie vibe  and it is easily one of the best looking strips in the book, thanks to a unique visual styling and a very cool take on a classic Science Fiction trope. Jimmy Furlong brings us Endless Knights to end on which is a very original piece, expertly drawn and very well thought out.

What British Showcase Anthology does so well is strengthen the anthology market for original comics in the UK. With the likes of Comichaus gathering momentum and interest, BSA could easily give it a run for it’s money, as it is an absolutely packed book with each strip completely different to the last and as cliched as it may sound it has something for everyone – it truly does. If BSA keeps this up then we could be looking at a new wave of British anthologies and comics as a whole and that is only ever going to be a good thing. Comics of all kinds thrive when there is quality competition and if this product is anything to go by we are in store for some great books ahead.