Anomaly by Skip Brittenham (writer) and Brian Haberin (writer and artist). Anomaly Publishing $75.00
Reviewed by Peter Coleborn
Usually, when one reads a graphic novel it is comprised of chapters based on the monthly comic book. Not in this case. Anomaly is a 350-plus page comic strip without these natural pauses. And this means that one is compelled to read the whole thing in a single sitting. And that can be an exhausting experience.
It is the 28th century and Earth is depleted of all resources. And so the Earth government – rather the Conglomerate – raids and takes over other words, mostly by force. But there is one far-off planet that hasn’t succumbed and it is to here that Jon and Samantha and Jasson and others are despatched. They think they are there to discover what went wrong previously. In fact, the Conglomerate has sent these people – thorns in the company’s side – to die.
This planet is an anomaly – hence is named Anomaly. It is home to dozens of intelligent life-forms rather than the single one encountered elsewhere. And as is typical in this sort of story, the Earthmen find themselves in a multi-species conflict: the many intelligent species do not, after all, live in perfect harmony. After landing in a desert in which a virus-like organism consumes all polymer substances, the crew have to cope in the primitive world on an equal footing with the denizens of that place. And like John Carter of Mars, and no doubt in many other similar SF scenarios, Jon fights the leader of one band to take command of an army, to combat the evil Muties…
What makes this book extra special is its production values. They are impressive. Anomaly is a lavishly-presented, hefty publication. And I mean hefty: over 350 fifteen by ten inch glossy pages, bound in landscape format – wider than it is high. The book is around one inch thick; I haven’t weighed it but it is heavy! This wide format allows for some spectacular artwork, particularly apt for some of the landscapes and space-scapes depicted therein. The art is at times exquisite, although it can be difficult recognising some characters – but this is a problem with almost all non-superhero comics, anyway.
It looks as if the artwork was produced digitally rather than using traditional pen and ink, as if they are images used in a computer game; but on checking the web, it looks as if Anomaly has no connection with any computer game I could see. However, the company is tying in the book to digital media via iPhone and other apps, to provide an interactive experience. All details of this – and a whole lot more – can be found on the company’s website. Here’s what the website says about the company:
“Anomaly Productions is a cutting-edge media company launched by creators Brittenham and Haberlin. Anomaly Productions combines stunning artwork and rich stories to build deeply immersive worlds than can be experienced across multiple platforms and in a multitude of ways. Anomaly is its first release, with three other projects in various stages of production.”
If you like big-scale space opera mixed with helpings of Burroughs, Anomaly is right up your street. It is a stunning production all round, with great graphics tied in with the extras via computer apps. This is a visual treat!
The book comes in its own cardboard box which will provide storage protection because it will be a beast to fit on your bookshelves. The $75 price works out at around £50, I guess, although I have seen it advertised on the web for around £30. Anomaly is on target for the special Christmas gift.