Accent UK brings together the talents of the UK Independent Comic publishing community, along with guests from overseas, in producing an annual themed anthology, along with self-contained one-shots.
I have been reading their anthology, ROBOTS, originally published in 2008. And I have things to say.
The outer front cover is uncommonly cool and makes a heavyweight first impression. Andy Bloor oversees all design aspects of each Accent UK offering, including the cover art, and does sterling work with this title, providing a polished aesthetic that adds real pleasure to one’s reading experience. Typographical awareness may not ever be at the forefront of people’s minds, but the execution here evokes the sense of reading something that’s crafted, considered and unique.
Anticipation can be a wonderful thing; the contents page features 40 installments of robotic-themed fiction with an additional set of gallery pages and subsequent creator listings. Time to settle down some place cozy favorite beverage within easy reach and begin.
The quality of the storytelling throughout is strong, yet what most impresses is the intensity within each compact, often beautifully rendered unit. Augmenting this is the tremendous variety contained herein: a bone-chillingly cold and dark tale, formatted with clinical and precise artistry; a bright and batty adventure, etched with impish roguery; an abstract and metaphysical fiction, conveyed with subtlety and enigma; a bone-crunching savage fantasy, gloriously bespattered across the page.
Quite subjectively, there are a few experiences within this book that are especially splendid:-
“Robot Interviews” – With punchy dialogue and gobs of attitude, David Bailie seeds this anthology with a cybernetic comic-strip take on Creature Comforts. The oft-overlooked artificial intelligence community is given a much-needed and downright hilarious voice here.
“Auto Lolita” – A beautiful paean of unmitigated sadness and abandonment; masterfully choreographed by Andrew Cheverton and Jenika Ioffreda, within four lonely pages.
“The Cabinet of Doctor Diablo” – A Victorian caper, delightful and charming. Exquisitely conveyed by John Reppion and Leah Moore.
I’m not ashamed to admit, however that my personal favorite happens to be:-
“Divinity, Existence and Toast” – Little did I know I’d be enthralled by a story that incorporates a toaster, the reflections of philosopher John Niemeyer Findlay and the nature of God. Benjamin Dickson originates the words and art with ample flair. This piece is intelligent, thoughtful and irrepressibly comical.
There is a substantial array of talent that has contributed to this publication and it would be painful for both you and me to run through each individual here. Their efforts certainly deserve recognition, though. No anthology is evenly spread and whilst being true in this instance, the overall quality is of a gratifyingly high standard.
ROBOTS is a satisfactory read as each successive segment so agreeably cultivates one’s own vantage point on the concept of robots and our relationship with them. These fables of man and machine will unquestionably linger in the imagination.
I have no misgivings about advocating this missive.
You can find out more about Accent UK and all of their awesome comics on their website here.