Comic Review: Stairway Anthology TP (Image Comics)

Short stories, most of which are a promise of things to come from their creators, are the focus of Stairway Anthology, from Image. This 128-page trade is just that, an […]

Short stories, most of which are a promise of things to come from their creators, are the focus of Stairway Anthology, from Image.

This 128-page trade is just that, an anthology of short stories by a variety of creative teams. Assembled under the Top Cow imprint, the 10 short stories are a result of a Top Cow talent hunt, the acceptance of a few of the strongest competitors, and a subsequent Kickstarter campaign to publish stories by these new talents.

Matt Hawkins oversees this anthology, consisting of fascinating concepts and characters. Sort of like a tasting menu at a restaurant, a teaser of the possibility of full stories at a future date, maybe and perhaps. And that of course is the bittersweet promise of an anthology of stories like these; it’s like reading a series of pitches, each offering a tantalizing glimpse of a longer work, but only a glimpse.

Take the first story, “Ain’t Us”, for example. An excellent look at a rural family helping one of their relatives move to the big city when something goes horribly wrong. Set in the near future, and strongly written by Christopher Preece with art by Balazs Valyogos and colour by Tomi Varga. Concluded after 10 pages, just when we are firmly hooked and baited, darn it. I would pick up this title in a minute. Shucks, I wanna know what happens next!!

An additional, rounding out this Anthology, a “full-length preview”, Stairway, is an excerpt from the Stairway Volume 1, written by Matt Hawkins and illustrated by Raff Ienco. Gregory Hopkins, in the near future (2023) is testifying, around the subject of nuclear war. As the story develops, it appears that humans are being tracked in order for an organization to assemble a full complement of human DNA/genomes. This of course involves kidnapping and covert ops and coercion. Tough guys and hardbutts who have military strength and secretive agendas. Lying in wait, sociopaths, lying to get ahead. The preview here runs 30 pages or so, and the full story is available in a collected volume, printed in 2018.

Image, Top Cow Imprint, Stairway Anthology, $14.99 for 128 pages. Teen+

Alan Spinney

About Alan Spinney

After a career of graphic design, art direction and copywriting, I still have a passion for words and pictures. I love it when a comic book comes together; the story is tight, and the drawings lead me forward. Art with words... the toughest storytelling technique to get right. Was this comic book worth your money? Let's see!!