The latest collection of short stories from the Womanthology series boasts a trio of works from writers Devin Grayson, Jody Houser and Christine Ellis. Like previous installments of “Womanthology”, the collection is a bit uneven in quality, but each of the three short works have virtues that make them worth reading in their own right.
WRITTEN BY: Devin Grayson, Jody Houser and Christine Ellis
ART BY: Sally Thompson, Kathryn Layno, Lindsay Walker, Elva Wang, Christianne Benedict, and Catherine Miller
PUBLISHER: IDW Publishing
RELEASE: January 9, 2013
The first short comic is Jody Houser’s “Trinkets,” which features art by Sally Thompson and Kathryn Layno. “Trinkets” is a tale told by two narrators and at first glance, it’s a tad hard to follow but once the pieces fall into place, it’s a lovely confection of a story that is, at its heart, a meditation on the magic of stories. It’s a tantalizing glimpse into a story that could be and feels more like an introduction than a standalone work.
Grayson’s “The Smell of Sunshine” provides more by way of action and Lindsay Walker’s art is a highlight of the collection. In a handful of pages, Grayson manages to provide an in-depth character study into a man who embodies the contradictions of human nature: he is by turns noble and self-serving and it’s a testament to Grayson’s skill as a writer that she manages to flesh out that kind of nuance in seven or so pages.
Christine Ellis’ “Drift” is unfortunately held back by Elva Wang’s art, which is done no favors by being placed immediately after Walker’s gritty sophisticated work. Everything from the coloring to the letters comes off as almost desperately amateurish and it’s a shame since Ellis’ story is short but poignant and it only serves to detract from the otherwise excellent writing.
The issue is rounded off with an art tutorial by Lois Van Baarle on how to create an atmospheric digital painting and two pin-up pieces. Catherine Miller’s art adds a nice touch of racial diversity to the proceedings while Christianne Benedict reflects on the oft-ignored contributions that women have made to science. It’s a clever way to end the issue as it echoes the mission statement of the “Womanthology” project: to highlight the contributions women make to a male dominated fields. Most collected editions have their shares of ups and downs and in “Womanthology Space” #4, the ups more than outweigh the downs.
Reviewed by MelisaGrey