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Question: What is Ant-Man’s favorite type of comic book? Answer: An ant-thology! Ha!
Anyway, whether you like superheroes (or puns) or not, an anthology may do the trick when you’re not in the mood to read something longer. As with so many other genres, comic books have also put their own spin on the idea of anthologies, or collections of short stories or essays from multiple contributors. In the case of graphic novels anthologies, they include both illustrations and text from many different creators.
Comic book anthologies can cover just about any subject, from pandemics to Pride Month — basically, any topic that a lot of people experience in different, even conflicting ways. Some comics anthologies were compiled for charitable causes, like Love is Love (which benefited the Pulse nightclub shooting survivors) and Where We Live (which benefited the Las Vegas shooting survivors). They allow writers and artists to both express their grief and help those who need it most.
(Sure would be nice if we didn’t keep having mass shootings that we then have to have fundraisers for, but I suppose that’s a different post.)
You can consider this the opposite of my list of doorstopper comics. Instead of one long, epic-length tale, the books featured here give you bunches of short comics that tell tales of personal struggle, sci-fi excitement, and a whole lot more!
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All We Ever Wanted: Stories of a Better World Edited by Matt Miner, Eric Palicki, and Tyler Chin-Tanner
It is a truth universally acknowledged that the world really sucks right now. So stop doomscrolling and indulge in a little optimism with this anthology! You’ll read stories of bright and hopeful futures in which humans learn to harness technology for peaceful ends, reconnect with nature, and appreciate their vast and wonderful differences. Also check out the sequel, Maybe Someday: Stories of Promise, Visions of Hope, for more uplifting comics.
COVID Chronicles Edited by Kendra Boileau and Rich Johnson
Speaking of the world sucking…It’s completely understandable if you’re sick of hearing about COVID-19. But if you’re still working through your feelings, this collection covers all the angles, from the overwhelming sense of loss to the funny little discoveries made during lockdown. We’re going to be spending the rest of our lives unpacking the pandemic, and reading about it in something as accessible as short graphic tales is a good way to help that process along.
DC Pride 2022 #1 Edited by Jessica Chen, Michael McCalister, Andrea Shea, and Arianna Turturro
For the past few years, DC has made a habit of doing annual anthologies centered around various “months.” This one was for Pride Month, but they have done similar anthologies for Black History Month, Native American Heritage Month, and more. It’s a great way to get (re)introduced to some fantastic characters, as told by OwnVoices creators!
Marvel’s Voices: Comunidades #1 Edited by Lauren Amaro
Similar to the DC anthologies, Marvel has also taken to celebrating marginalized characters and the creators who love them in their “Voices” series. Comunidades was released in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month and features popular Latine characters like America Chavez and Spider-Man 2099. You can also enjoy Legacy for stories about Black characters, Identity for stories about Asian characters, and so on.
Sarazanmai: The Official Manga Anthology Created by Kunihiko Ikuhara
If you’re a fan of the 2019 anime Sarazanmai, you’re in luck: this anthology includes new stories and new illustrations featuring the whole gang. The original series tells the story of three middle schoolers who run afoul of a local god and are transformed into supernatural creatures called kappas. Now they have to help protect both the normal world and the Kappa Kingdom from the Otter Empire!
Sensory: Life on the Spectrum Edited by Bex Ollerton
There are a lot of myths and misconceptions about autism in the media. This can be frustrating for autistic people looking for good representation, and it can perpetuate harmful stereotypes among neurotypical people who don’t know better. This comic features work by autistic creators about their own experiences with the condition, as well as how their autism interacts with other aspects of their identity, such as race and gender.
Syrup: A Yuri Anthology Volume One
This multi-part anthology collection features stories about women in love. Some of the stories are sweet and gentle, while others feature less-than-healthy relationships. All contribute to an absorbing exploration of the many ways that women can connect romantically, sexually, and emotionally.
Voices that Count Edited by Megan Brown
In this Spanish (that’s Spanish-from-Spain, not Spanish-language — it’s been translated!) anthology, female creators share their thoughts on such diverse topics as the workplace, parenthood, harmful beauty standards, and being themselves in a world that wants to put them in a very tight box called “femininity.”
Can’t get enough anthologies? Check out these prose anthologies featuring horror tales or diverse writers.