With a massive 26 stories themed around the idea of giant creatures, Colossal Chaos, from Stache Publishing, offers a whole host of original ideas from a wide array of creators.
Any anthology comic is going to be a bit of a mixed bag, but the benefit of the format is that if you don’t like one story another will be along shortly to take over. Colossal Chaos is packed with twists on the theme, across a variety of genres. Oversized humans, gigantic space aliens, enormous city devouring monsters, behemoth insects, or just really big robots, every sci-fi trope of towering creatures is turned on its head.
Tales range from the simple comedy of Baby at Large (about, unsurprisingly, an especially large baby), to the Power Ranger-esque space opera of Leaders, or the satirical Mantrap. Some of these stories are self contained and satisfying shorts, which other feel like introductions to longer stories, or even just chapters lifted from the middle of other indie comics.
If you’re a fan of the gory, morbid and brutally funny, you’ll love Attack on Bug City, in which oversized humans laying waste to a futuristic city where intelligent bugs live in peace. It’s rampaging humanoids might bring Attack on Titan to mind, but there’s much less po-faced pondering and a great deal more exploding pustules. If quiet contemplation is more your thing, the dreamlike full-page images of As The Mountains, As The Sea might appeal, in which a young girl travels across country seeing oversized creatures amid the endless landscapes. If you like your indie comics more sci-fi and philosophical, Full Conversion tracks the development of the biggest beast of all. There’s something here for everyone.
Coming from a whole host of creators, these short stories are of differing styles and quality. All of the anthology is fun, but some is of a really high standard. When There Were Giants feels like the prologue of a very different story. Giant humans fight hand-to-hand in an ancient landscape, the taut painted humans strangely reminiscent of romantic painter William Blake. Squid Squasher, with its bright colours and crazy panels feels like a Saturday morning cartoon. The Race Against The End Of Time is a steampunk themed 1930’s radio serial, with superpowered humans in airships battling gargantuan robots. It feel like a chapter pulled from a bigger series we would definitely want to read.
There are a few weak links here and there, some stories where the twist doesn’t really pay off, or the art isn’t quite as impressive. Some stories are simply let down by lettering which detracts from the flow of the story. But even with an enormous 130 pages, the hit rate is pretty high.
Colossal Chaos is the fourth instalment in the From Out of the Blue anthology series, with Stache Publishing planning a kickstarter to help fund publication. As with previous anthologies in the series, part of sale proceeds will go towards the Comic Book Project, a child literacy programme – so not only are you getting a hugely enjoyable comic, your helping others enjoy comics too. Colossal Chaos is an indie comic anthology well worth checking out.