100% Biodegradable, as those who read our review of the first three issues know, is a strange collection of different short comics and does lead itself to quite a melting pot of art. Don’t get me wrong, most of it is very distinctive, but this time around, it seems that for every beautifully told story we have a whacked out crazy blurry piece of art, like the issue of “Price of Fame” with art by Tony Suleri. I feel like every frame has been scribbled repeatedly with colour pencils. But it’s a style choice, not really my thing but like any art it’s in the eye of the beholder.
The writing is similarly quite a mix. The previously mentioned “Price of Fame” is a short and slightly bizarre tale of revenge. Some other stories on the other hand are purely quick and humorous such as the “Bottle That Drank Me”. Others drift into the completely abstract like “Geophagy” which as far as I can tell features a news-print man filling a balloon with mountain sap to fly on the wind. Expect comics where the fun never ends and the logic sometimes has a holiday.
One of the stories that really stands out is “Mind Over Matter” by Dave Hailwood and Dave Thomson. This is a joke-and-action-packed short and one of the most enjoyable in the anthology. The art is black and white with good shading to make use of the lack of colour. The story is of an employee sent on an intergalactic errand to get a document, when he is unfortunately interrupted by brain sucking aliens. This short is exactly what I love about comic books. It’s funny, creative, well drawn, and well written. This issue is worth picking up just for this story alone.
One of the other stand out stories to me was the Stan Lee/Jack Kirby style story “The Martian Affair”. It really recaptures the style of those early stories, the feeling of the Cold War and space exploration. However, it does fall victim to having too many word boxes and speech bubbles. If the panels had been a little more spread out then it would feel a little more spread out and not so cluttered.
There are also a few black and white stories. They do use this format to some degree of success. As I already mentioned “Mind Over Matter” does this the best. The others seem to fall into the Sin City/Frank Miller style of very angular art and noir-ish writing. Also, I don’t know if it was just me but I didn’t really get the narrative in “Sideburns Conjoined Sins”. Who killed him why do they have him in a chair? Maybe you can make more sense of this weird story, or maybe it’s meant to be deliberately vague.
Anthologies like Biodegradable push the borders of what works in comics and provide new ways of being creative. It’s a good way to get a flavour of many different writers and artists. While, as I stated earlier, Biodegradable is a bit of a mixed bag, if you want to see something out of the ordinary, definitely pick this comic up.