Dark Matter, from Red Shift Press, is a comic book collection with a simple idea – nine stories, one writer and seven artists. When you see it written down you immediately think that’s a good idea, why don’t more people do that? The next thing you think is why seven artists and not nine? To the latter question, we have no answer, to the former the answer is we don’t know, but they should.
Dark Matter covers a range of genres over its seventy pages; some are full colour, some simple line art, all are worth a look. They all have a certain darkness, and each supports the collection’s strap line No Happy Endings. Themes range from time travel to the supernatural via future love and the world of telesales; even if the quality of the stories is uneven, the artwork varies so much the collection has a particular dynamic all of its own. Some of the ideas are more straightforward than others, but this shouldn’t be seen as a major drawback.
The idea of varying the artists pays dividends in this collection; if nothing else, it shows how the finished product is a combination of both words and images. It would be fascinating to understand how the creative process worked, and how much the artist influences the words. This idea also leads to the temptation to compare artists, and it is true that some are more immediate than others, in terms of visual appeal. Again, as a collection this leads the observant reader to think about – what it the experience of enjoying a comic? Is it the story, choice of colour, page layout, drawing of the faces or the placement and size of speech bubbles? In reality it is about the gestalt and Dark Matter is the kind of collection that brings these ideas to the fore.
INFO: AUTHOR: CHRIS SIDES / ARTIST: VARIOUS / PUBLISHER: RED SHIFT PRESS / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW