December 11, 2014

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Strumpet 4 Kickstarter Funds "Friendship" Issue

With three successful anthologies behind them, the creators and publishers of The Strumpet, with creator Ellen Lindner as the point of contact, have a new Kickstarter campaign to fund their fourth issue.

Every issue of The Strumpet, which is a comics anthology of women creators, centers around a theme. The first issue was "dress up," the second was travel, and the third called itself "the tasty issue." This time around, the focus on is on friendship, giving the anthology a central topic from which the creators can start and show off their wide variety of styles and talents.

The cast of Strumpet varies from issue to issue, with Lindner being one of the constants. The biggest other name for me in this collection is Panel Pal Colleen Frakes of Tragic Relief and other comics. Each issue has an interview, and Sara Varon, a creator I featured back when this site was just starting, is the subject for issue four.

Obviously, I've not yet had a chance to see the contents of this issue, but I took the time to dig out my copies of issue one and two, and I can tell you that this is a high-quality anthology--and keep in mind just how many of these I read in a given year (it's a lot more than I review, I can tell you that). I'll start with the production values, which are above average for a mini-comic. It's a 7x10 inch size, which gives the creators a bit of extra freedom when creating their pages, and there's a sturdiness to the stapling and paper stock that ensures you won't find this comic falling apart on you after you read it.

The stories themselves are anywhere from 1-6 pages, and are all black and white or greyscale. Despite this, there's a wide variety of styles selected for every issue, ranging from traditional pen and ink work to watercolor to pencils-only to markers. Because they open to submissions and make selections for each issue (this one is set to be around 50 pages or so), there's a strong sense of quality control. I hate to be mean, but sometimes this is an issue in anthologies--things are accepted that, honestly, drag down the rest of the comics around them, no matter how good they are. Reading these first two issues, while I didn't love everything in them, I could see why someone else might choose to include them.

It's also an anthology with a great roster. Over time, they've had Lindner, Lisa Rosalie Eisenberg, Marguerite Dabaie, Dre Grigoropol, Megan Kelo, and zinester Katie Haegel, just to name folks that Panel Patter readers will instantly recognize. Their contributions and those of the other creators vary from personal accounts to whimsical fiction. Even within the concept of the theme, the approaches could not be more different.

It's a really great anthology series that I'm happy to support and promote. What's especially nice is that The Strumpet's contributor levels are extremely reasonable. For just $3, you can get a PDF of the fourth issue, for example, making this something you can pick up for less than the cost of a weekly comic--and with over twice as much content! $8 will give you a print copy, and $20 nets you a tote bag along with the comic. There's also tiers for picking up a mug or a t-shirt, if you prefer, along with the comic.

This is a great opportunity to support women in comics, and get some great stories in return. As of this writing, they were close--but not yet at--their goal with about a week to go. Let's get this one funded and show that comics readers want to read anthologies like The Strumpet now and for years to come.

You can view--and be a part of!--the Strumpet Kickstarter here.