We see plenty of anthologies in the small press scene, but none quite like Transience: An Unforgettable Anthology. Now being funded on Kickstarter, it collects together a variety of stories set in a world where people can no longer make short term memories to create a unique mix of anthology and ongoing series. But will it succeed in drawing in readers or will it be another anthology which just fades into memory?
Publisher: Leo Johnson Comics
Writer: Ricardo Mo, Natasha Alterici, Sam Read, Ryan K Lindsay, Kristen Grace, Eric Grissom, Ben Kahn, Leo Johnson (Editor)
Artist: Alberto Muriel, Natasha Alterici, Cian Tormey, Mark Lauthier, Alex Diotto, Will Perkins, Bruno Hidalgo
Price: $4 via Kickstarter
Set in a future where a major biological attack has occurred, resulting in several editors on the planet being unable to create new memories, Transience is a selection of short stories which focus on the aftermath. Set at different times and located in different countries, these chapters tell the stories of different people and societies as they attempt to continue surviving in a world where, for each one of them, there is no tomorrow.
Transience is a truly fantastic comic, incredibly compelling throughout and deeply thought provoking long after its conclusion. While many anthologies tend to focus on a particular tone or concept to connect its stories, Transience narrows the focus to one event which, based on the introduction, has been really well thought out by editors Leo Johnson and Ricardo Mo. The individual stories are then told by seven different creative teams (from around the world, and featuring a who’s who of the indie scene) with all of them using this connecting thread to keep the stories anchored, but also allowing them to cut loose with their ideas and theories of this dystopian world.
While their connection to each other makes the book more like a single story, each chapter is miles apart from the rest in terms of its location, time period and even its emotional focus. Far from reducing the books overall impact, these differences are what makes it excel, with some seriously heavy story beats. From Natasha Alterici’s tale of two young girls losing their childhood, to Ryan K Lindsay’s tale of a woman ‘helping’ her ill husband, and everything in between. Each story is incredibly well written, with great pacing, and a real emotional weight throughout. The writers in this series have shown their tremendous quality by filling Transience with consistently fantastic stories from cover to cover, something which is not all that common with the large number of anthologies.
Of course, the stellar writing shouldn’t diminish the contributions of the artists involved as well. Each one has provided some truly exceptional work, which not only imbues the dystopian nature of the greater world but also the emotional sense given by each individual story. Examples, such as Alberto Muriel’s final panel of the first story (which really hits home the enormity of this new world) or Will Perkins, whose orange tinged art are reminiscent of Charlie Adlard, really helps to hit home the heartbreak and sadness in the sixth story. In fact, the examples of such great art could go on and on with this book as all seven artists have matched their colleagues writing with some seriously high quality art which helps sell each story in terms of enjoyment and impact.
In short, Transience is a phenomenal comic book which is, without doubt, a serious contender for comic of the year. With incredible stories told by talented creators (all of whom will undoubtedly become big names one day), this book is an incredible poignant piece of fiction which will really make people think. Transience is required reading and once you do, despite what’s in the title, this is one book you won’t forget.