Book This Gift, You Comics-Loving Citizen
Because the All-Trans Comics Anthology is a many-splendored thing
By Wayne Alan Brenner,
1:00PM, Wed. Dec. 5, 2018
It’s absurd that no one has done a book of this kind before now.
That’s the opening line of the introduction by editors Tara Madison Avery and Jeanne Thornton, the opening line of the introduction to We’re Still Here: An All-Trans Comics Anthology, and of course it’s absolutely true.
Not just because (as the editors point out) transgender artists aren’t some Surprising! New! Development! within the world of sequential art, but because (as your potentially more unbiased reviewer is pointing out) the quality of the comics in this anthology is surprising.
I mean, it was Kickstartered, right? It was a rather community-specific project, right? You might think such circumstances would result in an array of illustrated narratives that were intimate and revelatory and maybe even, ah, endearing … but not necessarily, on the whole, the sort of thing you’d be, you know, highly impressed by. You might think We’re Still Here wouldn’t be the sort of thing that, even just looking through the volume before you actually read it, you’d go Oh, wow! about so many times.
Turns out, if you did think that? Now you’re looking pretty goddam absurd yourself.
Because We’re Still Here is one hell of a fine collection, just from an effective-and-diverse-use-of-the-comics-medium perspective. (Much of it is simply gorgeous, too.) And then you sit down and actually read the book, see how well the words and pictures work together, encounter the stories – real, imagined, familiar, fantastic, revealing, maybe even (depending on the reader) redemptive – and you encounter, through those stories, the minds and lives of the authors … and you realize that this is, on the whole, exactly the sort of thing that you’re, you know, highly impressed by.
And that the book, in the midst of all its drama and reverie and serious unpacking of intimate details, is also not without a much-welcome supply of humor. Arch, sardonic, wise, or just plain goofy humor.
O movers and shakers of Stacked Deck Press, we know y’all received more than three times your Kickstarter goal … and thus had the volume even better produced, and the artists better paid, than originally planned. So obvs you’re aware of, were maybe even a little surprised by, the demand. Now pardon me while I add to that demand: How about a second volume – on the hurry-up, please?
Much obliged, thank you.