Mild Frenzy Anthology Volume 1 is a series of 13 short stories written by Iqbal Ali with art mostly by Aleksandar Bozic, but also including art from Priscilla Grippa, Franstev Yevgeniy, Mario Monno, Dima Blue and Ali himself. Each story is about 3-4 pages, with the exception of last story titled The Other Side. Added as a bonus, it’s one of Ali’s first works and was previously released as a stand alone 50 page graphic novel. Almost all of the stories have a Twilight Zone-esque twist where the stories are about unintended consequences, fantastical worlds that comment on our own, or something at the end entirely recontextualizes the piece. All are paranormal or are sci-fi, some entering “what if” territory.
The art is entirely in black and white, and there are really only subtle changes between the art styles. They are mostly realistic with highly detailed characters and backgrounds. The realistic art leads to genuinely unsettling moments when a character is in some kind of danger. While Iqbal did the art for both The Other Side and Flight, you can see the drastic improvement in his style, with The Other Side often having awkward expressions and body models in an attempt to be as realistic as possible, and Flight focusing on great visual storytelling rather than hyperrealism, making it my favorite story in the book.
Flight takes the idea of a normal conversation with a passenger on an airplane and twists it into a paranormal event. There’s not much I can say without spoiling it, but subtle artistic choices without any explicit exposition give you all the information you need about the world surrounding this event. This feels like a common occurrence that happens in this world, with exorcists almost being pest control for ghosts. With very few pages, Ali is able to give all the rules that we as readers need for the story he is telling. I adore this kind of world building without exposition, but with just a few wordless panels.
While the message and plot is clear in most stories, some of them feel a bit rushed and confused. Examples of this can be seen in Organism 42B, The Vine and The Questioning. All three stories are interesting, but I was a bit confused by their plots. I think these would do better as longer stories with a bit more explanation. Even without more explanation, I found these stories to be incredibly engaging, with speaks to the strength of Ali’s writing. There wasn’t a single story I wasn’t invested in while reading, even if I didn’t totally understand what was going on.
Overall, Mild Frenzy Anthology Volume 1 is packed with brilliantly written stories and technically masterful art, and great start to a series that I’m sure is only going to get better from here. With very few weaknesses, it’s the perfect book for someone looking for short stories that dabble in paranormal and science fiction mystery with character driven plots and fantastically realistic art.
Are you intrigued? Mild Frenzy Anthology Volume 1 is available now on Amazon and discover more about Mild Frenzy Comics through their website. Sound off in the comments or send us your thoughts on Facebook or Twitter!