Review by Luke Williams
Who doesn’t like tabloid sized comics?
According to the editorial in this package (digital also available) WIP stands for Work in Progress Comics. WIP was established in July 2011 as “Graphic Novels and Comics Critique and collaborations Meetup” before it was sensibly changed to the less cumbersome current title. It’s a community of writers artists and comic creators from the UK and around the world who hold regular online meet ups to offer each other support, advice and feedback about their work and the comic making process.
WIP Comics have produced a number of anthologies over the past few years and “XL” is the latest. The challenge was to restrict a strip to a page with the theme of “big”.
What we as readers get is a 32-page tabloid sized newsprint anthology with a wide range of story types, art styles and contributors, the work of over 30 creators. Everything from Joe Stone’s wacky Godzilla parody “Wreck – Sistential Crisis”, Mike Armstrong’s “Big Business”, a beautiful homage (to this reviewers mind, anyway) to the Doozers from Fraggle Rock, drama pieces like Emily Maher’s “Impact” and Ed Firth’s “13th Summer” and historical pieces like Havva Bird’s “London’s Big Wheel”, superhero work like Brett Gowlett’s “Big Trouble”, or new takes on old tales, such as “Beanstalk Begins” by Nick Bryan and Sam Prowse.
Some strips are more conventional than others, but it is the outlandish ones or the ones that play with the form and experiment in layouts that impress the most. The aforementioned “Big Business” has an Eisner-like layout, and others repeat a similar trick.
There’s a wide variety of work, both in form and content. You can argue that some it can be a bit worthy or sometimes a bit pretentious, but that is the purview of indy comics isn’t it?
There is a hell of a lot here for your £8 a physical copy (recommended) or £4 digital. There really is something here for everyone, a fantastic array of talent and bodes well for the other anthologies in their catalogue.
Brought up on a diet of Commando, British Boys Annuals and Asterix, Lucas Williams’s day job limits his reading time. Luckily for everyone else this also restricts his writing time.