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The Beyond Anthology Series Fills a Queer Void That the Comic World Really Needs

The 'Beyond' Anthology Series Fills a Queer Void That the Comic World Really Needs

The 'Beyond' Anthology Series Fills a Queer Void That the Comic World Really Needs

The second installment of the urban fantasy comic series shows us that LGBTQ+ people have the power to live, adventure, and prosper.

TonyaWithAPen

When you think of urban fantasy and post-apocalyptic stories, you might imagine a dark world filled with decay and demons. With the second comics anthology in the Beyond series, editors Taneka Stotts and Sfé Monster of Beyond Press show readers that these genres can be filled with hope by having characters that reclaim their space on earth by fighting, surviving, and thriving.

Based on the cover alone, you know you're in for a treat. Created by artist Levi Hastings, the anthology features a striking depiction of a masked adventurer with a bow and arrow, a staff made from light-posts, and a huge diamond-spiked cat. The vivid orange background and the blues and yellows of the adventurer and the cat creature are a perfect blend of a dystopian world and a magical one.

Following the cover, a brief poem written by Taneka Stotts and illustrated by Genuè Revuelta sets the tone for the entire anthology. The most resonating lines are: "Reclaim the world, not just the space you reside in/Existence is not a question, as we've always been here." The poem affirms that since LGBTQ+ people have always existed, it is impossible for them not to exist in reality or fantasy. 

(Jenn Doyle, "Daisycakes")

From there, the comics tell imaginative stories of queer people living life in a variety of ways. One particularly touching comic, "Pilot Light" by Steve Foxe and Paul Reinwand, features a hero who ends up planting his roots at an outpost of a gay male couple. Foxe's writing and Reinwand's art and lettering combine to show domestic life in a post-apocalyptic world.

Another great post-apocalyptic comic, "Karana," is written and drawn by Bishakh Som. This comic tells the story of a colony of hijira (i.e. third gender South East Asian people) receiving much-needed help from a mysterious hijira person with mystical abilities. Although the hijira initially fight to co-exist peacefully among ignorant people, the mystical hijira person shows that there are other ways to live.

On the urban fantasy side of things, a particularly memorable comic is "Entropy" by Rica March. In this comic, an aging woman with dementia recalls her magical plant powers after her partner tells her how they first met. To watch a woman with a decayed memory literally give her plants new life by remembering new love is beautiful.

A similar comic that was enjoyable is called "Stardust and Feathers" by Mar Julia. This comic shows what happens when a young woman who sees magical auras happens to end up hunting a magical item with her crush, a non-binary fashion blogger and magical side quest adventurer. It's so sweet to watch these two interact with each other and start liking each other.

(Keezy Young, "The July Fashion Issue")

Besides the variety of characters and stories, the art styles are also varied and interesting. A comic with particularly adorable anime-style artwork is called "How Not To Do Magic," which is written by Katie Cunningham, penciled by Emmy B., inked by Chen Chau, lettered by Melanie Ujimori. Ujimori's lettering compliments the art with it's bold manga style text and bubble letter sound effects.

In fact, the artwork is especially striking when certain styles go well with the black and white pages. A stunning example is  "The Core" by Danae Wilding and Jenelle Elizabeth, which combines cartoony realism with a heavy use of ink in certain panels. Another eye-catching comic is "Wanderer" by Evan Dahm, which features a heavy use of ink and shading to make its characters and background stand out.

(Evan Dahm, "Mere Vibrations")

Overall, Beyond 2 is a wonderful, optimistic take on the urban fantasy and post-apocalyptic genres. Displaying massive imagination, heartfelt characters. and amazing art with stories grounded in a familiar world, Beyond 2 shows that LGBTQ+ people have the power to live, adventure, and prosper by taking up space and making it their own. 

Buy the digital version of Beyond 2here, and for more info. on the Beyond comic anthology series (like the first installment of the series) head over at Beyond Press' official website!

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Latonya Pennington

Latonya Pennington is a non-binary queer freelance writer. Their writing can be found in places like Wear Your Voice magazine, EFNIKS, and Black Girl Dangerous.

Latonya Pennington is a non-binary queer freelance writer. Their writing can be found in places like Wear Your Voice magazine, EFNIKS, and Black Girl Dangerous.