Strange Worlds, art by Greg Gates, various authors

Strange Worlds

a review by Nalini Haynes

Strange Worlds is an anthology of Greg Gates’ comic book art over a period of 10 years or so, with short stories written by a number of different authors. The final portion of Strange Worlds is a sneak peak at portions of a number of different projects Greg has worked on, some of which have been published, some have not.

The artwork in Strange Worlds varies from fairly realistic to a very simplistic cartoon style. It is unlikely that, at a casual glance, the layperson would realise that the artwork is all by the same artist although all of the artwork is drawn in black and white pen and ink, with the exception of the cover that has green as a third colour.

The stories vary hugely as well; some are good short stories with a sudden twist at the end, which are my favourite kind of short stories. Other stories, such as the ‘Da and Dill’ stories appear to be part of a larger series. Da and Dill seem to be aliens wearing tuxedoes. One has a face like a stylised chicken, while the other has Yoda-esque ears. In one of these stories Da and Dill are called children by a human character, while they go digging up a garden because a shadowy ‘X’ marks the spot. In another story Da and Dill are alien adults who travel into a space ship and pick up a virus that turns them into cartoon characters. The Da and Dill stories and some of the others seemed quite surreal.

If you’re looking to explore comic books, and to taste a variety of styles and stories in one modest sized anthology, Strange Worlds is a recommended read.

Originally published in Dark Matter issue 5, September 2011.  This post has been pre-dated to reflect the original publication date.