Review: “The Vertigo Quarterly: CMYK.”

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Vertigo has decided to melt our simple little minds with their new anthology concept, “The Vertigo Quarterly: CMYK.” This quarterly zine will feature an expansive range of talent with a wide range of story ideas. Save for the one thing they all have in common: a color. From Vertigo: “The four colors that are the basis of comics coloring serve as the jumping-off point for creators to push the boundaries of short graphic fiction in the new VERTIGO QUARTERLY: CMYK series. Starting with stunningly simple, bold covers, CMYK will defy all conventions of traditional comics anthologies. The unifying color could suggest a mood, a plot point, a coloring technique…” Go own this anthology. Every single story is solid gold. The art is unique to each tale and the juxtapositions from story to story will keep you flying high.
vertigoquarterly
WRITTEN BY: Various, Group Editor: Will Dennis
ART BY: Various
PUBLISHER: Vertigo
PRICE: $7.99
RELEASE: April 30, 2014

Both similar and yet so different from the pulpy material hidden between the covers of magazines such as “Creepy,” “Eerie,” and “Vampirella,” “VQ: CMYK” plays with our baser instincts, drives, and desires, but does so in shockingly vivid color, using the color in such an fundamental way. It spans genres from horror, to science fiction, to superhero, apocalyptic, fantasy, contemporary, and pulpy classics. It’s simply stunning. It’s a ridiculously unique concept, and by the end of the 80 pages, you feel like you’ve won the comics lottery.

You never want to start an anthology off with a whimper, or even a slight roar. No, you want to start it off with an explosive blast, which is exactly what “VQ: CYAN” (“cyan” being this quarter’s color) does. Writer Shaun Simon takes us into the lives of two con artist funeral home owners who kill old people to stay in business. Only, one of them is a bit more into the art of killing rather than the money of business, being referred to as “The Banksy of Murder” …let your mind do the walking on that analogy. It’s a gloriously strong start to what continues on as a striking anthology.

Joe Keatinge delivers the most fucked up ride of a story that you’ll have to read it 37 times before you realize it’s only getting crazier. Remember that scene in “Trainspotting” when the dead baby is crawling on the ceiling? It’s that times 700. And if I were to tell you that writers Lee Garbett and Jock followed up Keatinge’s psychedelic fuck ride with a “Shaun of the Dead” style supernatural tale in which two ice cream men fight off a werewolf with lollies, you’d punch me in the face and say, “photo or it didn’t happen.” But it does, my friends. It does. And it’s glorious.

I’m not going to sit here and detail each short story within the anthology, but I would be remiss if I didn’t tell you all that the final story in “VQ: CYAN” brought a tear to my eye and tightened my chest cavity. I have a lot of emotions about that story and to close out the anthology this way was a bold move of sheer brilliance.

“VQ: CYAN” treats us to nine gluttonous tales of murder, depression, betrayal, taboo, self-loathing, failure, heartbreak, lovesickness, and psychosis. I think this anthology is what Sir Elton was talking about when he sang, “I guess that’s why they call it the blues.” This is… Cyan. And Cyan is letting your demons come out to frolic.

Review by – Bree Ogden

Official Score