Saturday, April 9, 2016

Saturday Revue April 9: Papercuts And Inkstains

Get Ready!

Things Are About To Get Interesting...

Ah anthology works. Turn a page, you're in another world. There could be anything hiding in there. 'Papercuts And Inkstains' is a quirky little anthology work, the creation of a team comprised of  Rob Jones, Nick Gonzo, Mike Smith, Kevin Pospisil, Dan Butcher, Mike Sambrook, Rory Donald, and Jim Lavery. It can be found here at the Madius Press store. or on Tumblr.Within each work, four stand-alone pieces will join one long-running gag strip,  and you never know where you'll end up next.

The Rating

A good ol' fashioned bit of fun

The Raves

The anthology has two strong key notes to hold together its rotating cast of artistic styles; dry British wit and a penchant for twists in the tails of its stories that keep things interesting. Particularly true in the stories 'Together Forever' and 'Slaycation', the twists came as unexpected and wonderful gifts to readers. On the  other end of the spectrum, 'By 'Eck On Earth' surprises you with its surreal down to earth Yorkshire reaction to the Zombie Apocalypse.  But they are most certainly outdone by the story F.P.S., which will really make you think twice about morality, war and the rights of the strong to take from the weak. Sometimes we have to see things from the outside to understand them fully. 
 The backbone of this little anthology, now in its fourth issue, is the running gag of 'Profits of Doom', a wonderful bit of noir humor featuring satanists who aren't very good at it. When they try to summon a demon lord of Hell, things get amusing. It reminds me of Terry Pratchett's wonderful book 'Guards Gaurds' in concept and in the juxtaposition of eldritch circumstances and very mundane characters. You just know one of these blokes is a plumber under his cowl.

These stories make the anthology worth reading.

The Razzes

Unfortunately it is the nature of anthologies that some pieces shine less bright than others, and in the case of 'Papercuts And Inkstains' they haven't quite learned how to balance their stars and their dogs. In fact, the very first volume begins with one of the weakest stories in the collection, which is a definite turn-off. I think the team might want to think about setting the bar for submissions a little higher; stuff like 'No' really isn't going to take this anthology far.
Speaking of organization, a little more work needs to  be done in the organizing of anthologies for PDF. In several cases the title page for the piece was at the end of the story! This leaves a very confused reader sorting out changes from tale to tale based on artistic style. Not good.
It's really a shame to have to give this work such a low rating, because if an issue had been made comprised of the best they had, it would have been a 10. 'Profits of Doom' could stand quite well on its own, as could Slaycation and several other pieces. My advice to the creative team is not to mix your dross and your gold, even if you're only using dross to plump out an issue. It degrades the rest of the work.

The Revue

Quite worth a read, even if you do skip a few pages here and there.

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