You can find all kinds of stories in everyday life, which is made clear on some of our favorite television sitcoms and dramas. This week I was introduced to the slice-of-life genre in comics through the first issue of an experimental quarterly anthology that just so happens to be called Sliced Quarterly. This anthology was assembled by editor Ken Reynolds and various small press creators with the idea of pushing boundaries in storytelling through comics that tell mundane stories in unique ways. Reynolds points out in the mission statement of the comic that the media is oversaturated with vampires, zombies and aliens. Bearing that in mind, this book is a welcomed change to indie comics.
As a writer myself I was actually impressed and inspired by the stories contained in this anthology. There are various twists to each story that I’ve rarely, if ever, seen done in comics before. The first story, Meta Affliction, depicts a self-aware character who takes issue with her life being narrated, bringing to mind something you might see in a classic cartoon like Looney Tunes where one of the characters sometimes banters with the narrator or, for Will Ferrell fans, the movie Stranger Than Fiction. All Along the Watchtower is a story that could simply be called an “illustrated music video in comic form”. There are also a couple of stories that can be left to the reader’s interpretation such as Szlam/Slime and Newspaper Man: Geophagy. I think my favorite of the nine stories in the anthology though is Pulse, which is more of an illustrated poem that observes our obsession with technology over real human connections (at least that’s what I got out of it).
All of the stories in this book really make you think, assess your own life, and inspire new ideas to write on or at least apply to your perspective of day-to-day activities. Looking at this particular anthology you could see the potential for comics overall. There are so many simple stories that have yet to be told that can still have a major impact on readers if presented in the right way. No matter what the story, a slice-of-life comic is relatable, unlike the regular superhero fantasies we like to indulge in most of the time. Telling the stories with nontraditional methods, like the comic with panels that can be read in any order, is also a great way to reinvent comics and attract new readers to the medium.
I am excited to see what they make of future issues of this anthology series. The first issue is going to remain free for everyone, but all subsequent issues will be at a cost to fund future printing. Reynolds also says that submissions will be open to everyone going forward. Check out the submission guidelines and also check out their website and social media pages (@SlicedQuarterly) to stay current and show your support. That’s all for now, but to readers and writers, be bold and brilliant even in your most mundane moments!