- Posted by Johanna on June 15, 2009 at 3:16 pm
- Category: Meta
I’ve had a stack of anthologies waiting my attention, some for a year now, and I dread reading them.
I used to love anthologies. They were wonderful ways to discover new artists and sample alternative comics. But now we have the web for that. I know they’re easy for young creators, who only need to put together a few pages instead of a full comic of their own, but not many of them have the experience to create a really satisfying piece in a shorter space.
My least favorite kind of anthology is when a group decides to put out an anthology to draw attention to themselves or even for a charitable purpose. In these cases, the contents can be of widely varying quality. They give the impression that they don’t have many submission guidelines, or that knowing the right people overrides standards of entry, or that good intentions (helping out someone in need) can take the place of good work.
As a reader, it’s tough evaluating them. There’s a tendency to remember the worst stories instead of the best and to judge the value of the cost on that basis. There’s never enough of the good work and too much of the bad. Plus, for a reviewer, they’re an awful lot of work, if you’re going to cover them thoroughly, since every story and its creators needs to be mentioned. In the time it takes to read and write about an anthology of 10 stories, I could cover at least half that many graphic novels or manga volumes.
What do you think? Do you enjoy reading anthologies? Has their time passed or is there still a place for them? What are the really good anthologies today, the ones that put the lie to everything I’ve just said?