Edited and Designed by Magnus Aspli and Glenn Moane
Cover by Danos Philopoulos
Published by Outre Press
Outre 4 – Silence is the newest issue of the anthology by Glenn and Magnus who hail from Norway, which includes work by British creators such as Jon Scrivens and Peter Mason. This one is special and is an experiment in wordlessness, featuring four stories told without any dialogue, captions or even sound effects. Each story addresses the silence in different and interesting ways.
In this issue we get “Planetary Rings” from Bret Bernal, Alex Diotto and Jon Scrivens. It tells the story of what happens when you meet a sexy spacegirl but also have a wife back on earth. Poignant and sad, it speaks to the human condition and the pain of separation and rejection. The story ends in regret and symbolism and is really nicely done.
“The Language of Violence” by Devon Wong, Peter Mason and Kote Carvajal. This is a gory tale of domestic upheaval, torture interrogations and flashbacks, utilising dream sequences and horror imagery in nightmarish quality. Kote’s colouring is pitched perfectly and has the quality of a short horror movie you would see at a film festival.
In Peon by Lex Wilson and Kelly Williams, a troll scampers around a medieval castle in a rushed and desperate attempt to keep it from being overrun by the enemy at its walls. The story is full of action and slapstick humour and is another interesting and original change of pace for the book.
“Cyborg Witch” by Dave Newbold and Joshua Jensen is a visually stunning mash up of Lone Wolf and Cub fighting horrific creatures in the style of Judge Dredd’s Cursed Earth. The visuals are incredible and it has a real violent pace to it. Easily a series pitch that would interest this reader if it was given a longer run.
Whilst preparing this review I saw a tweet by writer Marjorie Liu who said “There’s nothing wrong with choosing silence over dialogue when writing scenes in a comic. Sometimes that’s more powerful”. I have always agreed with this: that given the correct circumstances, silence can bring an added gravitas to a comics page. Outre has managed to deliver the beauty of showing and not telling in four very different stories, each showing different strengths to the so called silent story.
Of course, these noises are only in our imaginations. The wordless story can be a great palette cleaner after a text heavy comic, for example. A lack of words can also of course lead to an accelerated reading experience but certainly not in these cases an unwelcome one. The expertly handled sequential work in this book often had me pausing on panels and I have now re-read the whole book a number of times.
As an experiment this was a huge success and I look forward to seeing what comes in Outre issue 5.
• You can get a copy of this issue and the previous ones for free from www.outrepress.com. The web site also features more information and web links for all the creators involved from across the globe.
Thanks for reading.
Antony Esmond is a comic reviewer and writer – his hips don’t lie.