Humanoids is typically where I steer folks looking for a European comics fix—they consistently put out collections that display fantastic longer stories and they typically harbor an art style you just don’t see in America. This week’s new anthology release, The Tipping Point, might be the definitive go-to for folks who aren’t familiar with European creators. This book features 13 short stories from 14 creators with an incredibly eclectic mix of genres. Here are five reasons why this book is worth picking up.
The Tipping Point: Slightly Oversized Edition (Humanoids)
1. It hits at the core of being human.
Many of the stories in this collection deal with life, death and what it means to be human. Take for instance a story about Huckleberry Finn choosing between selling out his black friend or going to hell for helping a slave. It’s short, poignant and really hammers home his choice to throw out his beliefs and be a good friend.
Huck Finn by John Cassaday
Another deals with a man who must leave his wife and kid for work and it’s a dangerous mission he might not come back from. There really isn’t a story that isn’t connected to the human condition, giving each story meaningful purpose.
Will he come back alive?!
In another a boy is greatly anticipating his departure from camp and hopes to avoid the bullies. When a bully does target him he comes to a realization about his sexuality he had not even fathomed.
2. The art is strong with this one.
From John Cassaday (of Astonishing X-Men and recently Star Wars fame) to Naoki Urasawa (Master Keaton) and Paul Pope, there are a lot of good artists on this book. Those are just the most famous ones, but make no mistake there isn’t a story in this collection containing a single bad panel. The art styles vary too, as there are conventional comic book styles, watercolors and even a digitally Photoshopped story. Don’t be surprised if this title shows up on best-of lists at the end of the year.
3. You’ll get a laugh at least twice!
Two of the stories are straight comedies which I found rather hilarious. One, titled The Unbeliever, is about an arrogant atheist who knows Heaven and Hell are not real. Even when he dies and goes to Hell he debates with his demonic tour guide that it’s all fake to the point where the demons who encounter him find him to be quite a dick.
A funny tale.
In another story entitled Boulet, a man finds internet conspiracies to be true one after the other. As his adventure becomes more and more outrageous the conspiracies blow his mind. They go from lizard people to ghosts who you see before car crashes which sets up the final and most common internet lie for comedic effect.
4. There are strong science fiction stories to be had!
There are plenty of science fiction stories in this collection, a few of which carry big surprises. Take for instance the story of the man who must go to work and leave his wife and child behind. He’s going to another world to fight a monster, but all your expectations go out the window when the real threat is humanity itself!
A deeply meaningful story with a science fiction bend.
In another a man catches a fish, becomes attached to said fish before eating it and sees its entire evolutionary history. The history reveals fish may have a connection to alien life! It then closes with a somewhat disturbing image of humanity’s future. It’s also beautifully drawn by Keiichi Koike.
5. This book is filled with adventure.
Paul Pope’s story is somewhat of a pirate tale as a girl must fight a shark with only a knife. This story focuses on this sequence, but it opens and closes in such a way to make you want more. The battle itself is tense and exhilarating due to the fantastic layout work too.
In another story by Bastien Vivès, an astronaut finds a child survivor in a deep dark hole after an explosion. He quickly gets help and goes down to help the kid. What he truly finds is haunting; the story doesn’t end there though, and we learn there’s a whole new world just beyond the shadows.
In Katsuya Terada’s story, gods are fighting with impossible power (with art that reminds me of Legacy of Luther Strode artist Tradd Moore) and energy. This story is told without words, yet has an incredibly impactful ending that takes us right inside the creator’s mind.
This can’t end well.
If you want to branch out and uncover comic book work outside the norm check this book out. It’s my new definitive go-to when recommending a place to start for folks who aren’t familiar with European creators.
Check out a full preview here.