Wayward Sisters: An Anthology of Monstrous Women collects stories of monstrous women and non-binary creatures, all written by women and NB folks. Like any anthology, there are stronger and weaker contributions, but the Wayward Sisters anthology has a higher than average number of solid pieces.
Note: I received a digital copy of Wayward Sisters: An Anthology of Monstrous Women for review. The opinions are my own.
Let’s get this out of the way first. The phrase ‘Wayward Sisters’ conjures images of the Supernatural spin-off by the same name. By the time the show was given a name, contributors had already been announced for the Wayward Sisters anthology and the production team didn’t want to lose press momentum. They extended the title to Wayward Sisters: An Anthology.
Editor Allison O’Toole already knew they shared their title with a Purcell opera and an Early Music band out of Chicago, so it wasn’t a major issue. Plus, she said, “If some confused Supernatural fans find their way to us, we know that they’re interested in stories like ours, so maybe they’ll become our fans, too!”
Down to the basics: the Wayward Sisters anthology contains 25 stories containing sirens, trolls, demons, and some unidentified creatures that don’t have anything as common as a name (my personal favorite is the Lamp-eyed friend of rats in “Light Pollution”). The tone is as varied as the topic. “Date Night” and “Best Boo” are frankly adorable. “Inheritance” and “White, Anglo-Saxon, Protestant”, though, shouldn’t be read before bedtime.
There’s a really diverse mix of art styles. Some are traditional line and computer-coloring while others feature rich watercolor illustrations. I could look at some of these pages all day long. For example, Xavière Daumarie’s intricate art in “Ugly Cinderwench and the Very Angry Ghost” could easily have tipped over into busy or cramped, but she manages to keep the reader’s eye moving in just the right way to create order from the chaos.
A couple of the stories did have pacing or clarity problems. “Low Tide,” a beautifully drawn piece about a governess with an unusual charge, becomes so muddled towards the end that I’m not entirely sure what happened. It’s disappointing… I liked the protagonist and the art style, but the story lacks clarity.
Overall, the Wayward Sisters anthology is a strong showing from TO Comix Press.
Wayward Sisters: An Anthology of Monstrous Women had a successful Kickstarter that nearly doubled its goal last October. It launches March 1st and can be pre-ordered now through the website.
Khai is a writer, anthropologist, and games enthusiast. She is co-editor (alongside Alex DeCampi) of and contributor to “True War Stories”, a comic anthology published by Z2 Comics. When she’s not writing or creating games, Khai likes to run more tabletop RPGs than one person should reasonably juggle.
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