Alterna Comics’ IT CAME OUT ON A WEDNESDAY is an anthology of eight short stories in the realm of sci-fi, horror and fantasy. Curated by Peter Simenti, this collection gives up-and-coming artists and writers a chance to put their creativity on display. While I can’t say I loved each and every entry in this anthology, I recognize the enormous talent and potential of all the featured artists.

Friday Arvo

The first story, FRIDAY ARVO, is a prequel to Alterna’s EXILIUM series. It focuses on B’uk, an alien refugee turned soldier. During a friendly cricket game with fellow aliens and humans, he receives word of a new mission. This gives him a flashback of one of his many battles. B’uk is an adventurous, laid-back character, but he’s willing to put his life on the line for his fellow soldiers, as seen in the flashback. From what I gather, this story has little to do with the main characters of EXILIUM, but serves to expand the universe that writer Ben Slabak has created.

Friday_Arvo
Image courtesy of Alterna Comics

Salomon Farias‘ artwork and Marc Sintes’ colors are inspired yet original enough to make characters and vehicles seem new and refreshing. These aliens are clearly based on the classic grey aliens. However, Farias added new details and unique character traits that make them feel like fleshed-out beings in their own right. The blocky spaceships of earthlings and the slick, purple crafts of the alien enemies remind me of Halo, but not to the point of being carbon copies. They’re well detailed and impeccably drawn, so I have no complaints there.

Overall, FRIDAY ARVO is a great exercise in world-building, and is an entertaining story on its own. If you’re interested in more tales in the world of EXILIUM, click here to buy the first issue at Alterna’s official site.

Hexed

The next story in IT CAME OUT ON A WEDNESDAY, HEXED, is remarkably short. At only two pages long, it shows a man sneaking into a mysterious witch’s house on the bayou to return a cursed book. The tale, written by Stephanie Cannon, is very simple. We read the inner thoughts of this man as he accounts how he came into this mess, but it’s not very scary. The true scares lie in the art of HEXED. The muggy browns, greens and creative angles are beautifully brought to the page by Javi Laparra.

Hexed
Image Courtesy of Alterna Comics

Sorry to spoil the ending, but the most terrifying image is that of the voodoo priestess on the last panel. Don’t worry, I won’t ruin the surprise by showing the image. I only wish she had a bit more shadows, to capitalize on that feeling of mystery and paranoia. But then, I suppose I wouldn’t be able to appreciate the striking, skull-like face and menacing scowl of this haunting witch.

HEXED as a whole didn’t blow me away, but it’s clear that Cannon and Laparra have some serious talent. I hope they continue to create new, longer stories that put more of their skill on display.

The End of the Beginning

THE END OF THE BEGINNING is one of the highights of the anthology. Written by Eastin DeVerna with art by Shawn Daley, this short tale shows two travelers drifting through a Japan-inspired fantasy land.

Beginning_of_the_End
Image Courtesy of Alterna Comics

Throughout the story, Ojichan recounts how he first met his love, Kitsune. Their first encounter was seemingly as enemies. Seeing this tale juxtaposed with their current relationship implies there is even more history between these two left unexplored. This is a brilliant way to convey a larger story with only a few pages. The art is equally impressive. Using only pink, blue and white (And just a hint of green on the first page), THE END OF THE BEGINNING feels very Valentine’s Day-esque. The soft colors help sell the serenity of the setting, and the romance between our heroes.

THE END OF THE BEGINNING is wonderfully written and illustrated. I hope some more positive feedback encourages the creators to make more stories about these characters.

Mr. Crypt

If I’m honest, this one doesn’t warrant it’s own review. MR. CRYPT actually has his own series at Alterna Comics, written by Troy Vevasis with art by Aleksandar Jovic. Mr. Crypt stops by in this anthology in the form of a one-page comic strip. Knocking on this would be the same as critiquing a Garfield comic strip. It’s perfectly fine for what it is, but its certainly more for the fans of MR. CRYPT.

Behind the Cover

The next segment is not a comic, but an interview with Eli Powell, the artist behind the brilliant cover of IT CAME OUT ON A WEDNESDAY. It offers some great insight into this haunting image, and provides inspiration and tips for aspiring artists. I can see some readers skipping over this just to get to the next comic, but Mr. Powell clearly put a lot of passion and work into this piece of art, and this interview is well worth your attention.

wednesday cover
Image Courtesy of Alterna Comics

The Maddening Sound

This entry might be my favorite, but that’s probably just because I’m such a sucker for superheroes. Peter Simeti tells the story of a superhero who finds himself overwhelmed by the cries for help from the entire human race. He begins to question whether he can save so many people from so much pain. Michael Oppenheimer beautifully captures his anguish and sadness through his fantastic artwork.

maddening_sound
Image Courtesy of Alterna Comics

In just a few short pages, THE MADDENING SOUND tells an impactful narrative that shows the vulnerability of a man who thought he was invulnerable. Unlike most of the other stories in this anthology, I’m perfectly fine with seeing this story end where it ended. It’s a complete and moving story with smart writing and stellar art.

Sleepships

SLEEPSHIPS is probably the scariest comic in IT CAME OUT ON A WEDNESDAY. It follows a tale of space explorers who find themselves stranded on another world. Luckily, the natives have a device called a “Sleepship” that allows whoever enters it to travel anywhere they can dream of. You can probably see where this is heading. Regardless, there’s something about Scott Bryan Wilson’s writing that adds a layer of realism to the narrative. It doesn’t try to be overly dramatic or flowery, which I appreciate. It’s to-the-point and snappy, as you might expect from a scientist.

sleepships
Image Courtesy of Alterna Comics

The artwork by Ken Knudtsen truly helps sell the scariness of this comic. It’s realistic yet purposefully rough, simulating the off-kilter imagery one might conjure up in a dream… or a nightmare.

SLEEPSHIPS presents an interesting concept with great art and writing. I believe Wilson and Knudtsen’s style is perfect for the horror genre, and hope they continue to experiment with similar stories.

The Wicked Righteous: Genesis

Like FRIDAY ARVO, THE WICKED RIGHTEOUS: GENESIS is a prequel/spin-off of a larger Alterna Comics series. Set in the same apocalyptic world of THE WICKED RIGHTEOUS, a family is faced with a devastating decision. Terry Mayo manages to put a lot of emotion and atmosphere into just two pages. The crazy preacher on TV, while a bit of an overdone trope in apocalypse stories, is handled well. The speech lets the reader know that the disease reaches further than just this family in Texas.

wicked_righteous
Image Courtesy of Alterna Comics

The stylized artwork of Dave Swartz almost juxtaposes itself against this grim story. It’s cartoonish but certainly not simple. I especially love the attention and detail given to the backgrounds. Background art doesn’t always get the love it deserves, so it’s nice to see this important facet of comic book art get some respect.

THE WICKED RIGHTEOUS: GENESIS is great way of showing aspiring artists and storytellers that you can make an effective story with just two pages. Click here to buy the first issue of the WICKED RIGHTEOUS series at ComiXology if this short story intrigued you.

Bloodfist

The final entry, BLOODFIST, is written and illustrated by Jeremy Massie. Pollution has poisoned the planet. A swarm of evil monsters and a tyrannical government has sent Earth back to the Stone Age. One of the travelers of this wasteland is a good but violent Samaritan named Bloodfist. In this short story, Bloodfist comes across a disgraced villager, Bea, who joins him on his travels.

bloodfist1
Image Courtesy of Alterna Comics

While I’m sure BLOODFIST is a good time for many, I found it to be a bit too simple. Then again, most of these entries in IT CAME OUT ON A WEDNESDAY exist purely to showcase the talent of the featured artists in just a few pages. Massie certainly has talent, as evidenced by his previous work, so it may be too early to judge BLOODFIST by its first issue.

I understand that BLOODFIST isn’t supposed to be taken too seriously, so why not use this to your advantage? If you’re going to be silly and over-the-top, I say go all out. I really think this idea has potential, especially if Massie embraces the ridiculousness of the premise he set up.

The Verdict on IT CAME OUT ON A WEDNESDAY

There’s a lot to take from IT CAME OUT ON A WEDNESDAY. Although certain stories stand out more than others, this is a fantastic platform for up-and-coming artists to showcase their skills. You can vote for your favorite entry here, but don’t let my words influence your vote. Read the whole anthology for yourself after buying it from the link here. Of course, you can wait for IT CAME OUT ON A WEDNESDAY to hit your local comic book store on June 27th, as well.

If you are a writer or an artist looking to get some eyeballs on your work, you should try submitting your short comics here at Alterna’s official site. You could be featured in the next anthology!

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