Sliced Quarterly #3
Edited by: Ken Reynolds
Writers: Jon Laight, Dominic B. Aveiro, Kathryn Briggs, S.K. Moore, John Osborn, John Osborn, Simon Mackie, David Hailwood
Artists: Rory Donald, Ben Peter Johnson, Kathryn Briggs, S.K. Moore, Maximilian Meier, Tom Mortimer, Simon Mackie, Brett Burbridge
Sliced Quarterly #3 was sent my way back in early July, and I got a chance to read it right before San Diego Comic-Con; not to delve too much into my personal life, but the days following my trip to San Diego were…well, eventful. I was overwhelmed, to say the least, and Sliced Quarterly kind of fell by the wayside and faded into memory. I’m glad I’m finally able to write a review for Sliced Quarterly #3 though, as the theme of this issue pertains to sharing art with an audience; since I’ve been stressing so much over things in my personal life, my vocalness on FanboyNation has been pretty inconsistent. This book reminded me of the pleasures (and frustrations) that come with having a platform to express yourself with. Sometimes you have a lot to say and you just don’t know how to say it, and then there’s sometimes where you have nothing to say but you’re expected to say something anyway.
Sliced Quarterly is an anthology series featuring several artists, writers, and everything else you’d usually expect in your lineup of comic book creators; each issue has short “slice of life” stories ties together with a common theme. As a whole, I loved Sliced Quarterly #3, and I’d be interested in checking out the past and future of the series…there were some missteps in my opinion, and by missteps I just mean that a few of the stories had me scratching my head in confusion; I just didn’t see the connection to the theme. Maybe it’s just me, and I’m not seeing something that’s clearly there for other people, but I felt a strong connection to several of these stories, and for a couple of others I virtually felt, well…a bit lost.
The book opens with my favorite story in the anthology, Crowdsurfing. Written by Jon Laight and art by Rory Donald, Crowdsurfing is this really beautiful tale about a woman sending out a message in a bottle. The art is wonderful, and it has a lot to say in just less than 10 panels. Everything about this comic worked for me, so much so that I don’t want to talk about it anymore…just read it for yourself, please. Jon Laight and Rory Donald are officially on my radar, and I’d love to see what else they’ve worked on.
Final Reality by writer Dominic B. Aveiro and artist Ben Peter Johnson is a hilariously Meta examination of how we as an audience have interacted with video games. It’s short, and I wish there was more to it because it took me a few reads to understand what it was going for, but it’s a fascinating look into our devolving consumption of media.
Alle Meine Neue Woerter Sind Libensmittel by Kathryn Briggs is an interesting story. I loved the graph paper look Briggs went with, and the art served the gloomy story really well. Alle Meine Neue Woerter Sind Libensmittel is about a woman who is forced to work at a German diner due to visa issues. She narrates her loneliness that a majority of her human interactions involve Germans who despise and ridicule her for not knowing the language and being an awkward outsider. I felt the Narrator’s loneliness and frustration, it’s wonderfully conveyed by the art and the writing. This was another one of my favorites.
Next up was Aufklarung, and I have no idea what’s happening with this one. It’s gorgeous; S.K. Moore does fantastic art. I looked up the translation for Aufklärung, but I’m still stuck on this one. It looks great, though.
Epigraph was simply brilliant, full of inside jokes that made this English Literature graduate giddy with satisfaction. Writer John Osborn and artist Maximilian Meier (and lettered by Sliced Quarterly #3’s editor Ken Reynolds) tell a very Fight Club-esque story about F. Scott Fitzgerald and Thomas Parke D’Invilliers. This one might go over some people’s heads, but all they have to do is use some Google magic and they’ll see the cleverness that this piece has. I absolutely loved this one.
Hyenas is the best-looking comic in the entire book, in my opinion. Tom Mortimer’s artwork is simply stunning, and it was an excellent choice to keep it in black and white. John Osborn returns to script this piece, but unfortunately this is another one where the point is kind of lost on me. After reading the press release for Sliced Quarterly #3, I’m seeing that it’s about drawing a correlation between “surveillance culture, 70’s noir and nature documentaries”. I definitely didn’t pick up on that one easily, but then again those are things I’m not very familiar with.
Simon Mackie’s Texit gives us a terrifying and sad prediction of the future and politics with some nice food for thought and hilarious sight gags. It reminds me of Mike Judge’s film Idiocracy; this is something that seems bombastic and exaggerated until you realize every day it’s all becoming closer to reality. The art is simplistic, but it suits the ridiculousness of it all.
Lastly we have The Ballad of Billy Backwards, a jauntily bleak look at life beginning with death and ending with birth. David Hailwood writes some really clever rhyming lines here, and Brett Burbridge brings the comic to life with an art style that looks to be inspired a bit by Charles Burns. It’s a delightful and witty look at life told in a very interesting way, but I’m missing how it relates to the overarching theme of “audience meets art.” Again, I might be missing something with it, but that’s not taking anything away from my enjoyment of The Ballad of Billy Backwards, it’s still a fantastic work.
I think there is a lot to like about Sliced Quarterly #3, it’s a very well put together anthology, and the parts that felt to me like they didn’t fit feel like they were more about my lack of understanding and less about the comics within being flawed. These are smart, very striking, and relatable stories even if some of their deeper meanings went over my head. A few of the stories might require multiple readings and light research for some, and that’s absolutely okay. I enjoyed this collection, and I look forward to what Ken Reynolds and the next batch of creators have coming up in the next issue.
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Sliced Quarterly #3 is an fantastic collection of stories with a promising interweaving theme. Sometimes the stories might be a little hard to follow, but they’re coupled with powerful imagery and they never feel boring or stale. Some of the stories stand out more than others, but this is an anthology that’s definitely worth checking out!