***** Beyond II: The Queer Post-Apocalyptic & Urban Fantasy Comic Anthology, edited by Sfé R. Monster & Taneka Stotts

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Featuring 27 stories by 39 contributors, Beyond vol. 2 is a 350+ page black & white queer comic anthology full of renegade city fae, post-apocalyptic bicycle gangs, reclusive monster boyfriends, and mysterious sewer-dwelling mermaids. Each story celebrates and showcases unquestionably queer characters as they explore back-alley faery rings, secret magic markets, and wander the dusty, rust-ragged edges of society after the end of the world!

The Beyond Anthology did it again! After the success of volume 1, which was a wonderful collection of short science-fiction and fantasy comics, Sfé R. Monster and Taneka Stotts have now released a new anthology that is just as fantastic as the first one. This time, the themes chosen were urban fantasy and post-apocalyptic stories! But have no fear, there is no grimdark to be found in these stories.

The point of the beyond anthology, as with many of these amazing queer kickstarted anthologies, is to give us stories where the gay aren’t buried, and where the characters are queers but their stories aren’t about being queer. Beyond especially wants to give us hope and happy endings and so this anthology is full of post-apocalyptic stories where people work together to build new lives and urban fantasy that aren’t about hiding as much as finding a little space to be yourself.

I don’t think that I can choose a favourite story in this book. Is it the one in which a fairy wants to cook for her girlfriend and so goes on a quest to find the perfects ingredients? Is it the one where a chosen one finds a family and a place to call home? Or is it the one with the courier that crosses the wasteland to bring people their mail? I could name them all. The Beyond anthology is full of little gems that will stay with you and make you rediscover the sheer fun that can be had in the urban fantasy and post-apocalyptic genres.

I have to admit that I did, myself, pitch a story for the anthology but sadly wasn’t chosen. That’s okay though, because I had no idea what to do with these genres, being a bit tired of them after seeing the millions of grimdark or plain boring takes that fill the mainstream media. Reading the takes that these comic books authors had on the genres, though, was like a breath of fresh air. I can’t wait for the next anthology, and maybe that time around I’ll have something interesting to pitch! Only time can tell.

In the meantime, Beyond 2 will likely be on sale soon at http://beyond-press.com/ and you can already find it at some comic cons, I believe. Keep an eye open for this little gem of a book!

 


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