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‘Outré #3:’ Comic Book Review

The theme of Outré #3 is xenophobia, the irrational fear of people and things we perceive as foreign or strange. Unlike the first two issues which focused on more general topics, xenophobia runs rampant in the news around the world due to immigration issues and regional conflicts. As a middle-upper class, cisgender, heterosexual white woman, I didn’t personally relate as strongly to the topic as I did to some of the manifestations of hopelessness in Issue #2, but I appreciated the examination of a timely issue in a more accessible format.

The free fifty-two-page digital issue contains four stories, two illustrations, and two fabulous interviews with contributors. Aside from exploring serious topics, Outré consistently provides a way to introduce new creators to potential fans, and I enjoy seeing works from people who are just starting in the industry.

The first story in the issue is “Out!” “Out!” focuses on world-wide immigration issues and the incumbent racism. Interestingly, the creators chose to mix in a hearty dose of men’s rights, another timely issue, as the primary concern of the protestors is that the immigrants are stealing their women and impregnating them. It isn’t until the final pages of the story that readers learn the true nature of the invading immigrants, and the final panels show that violence can only beget tragedy.

“The Day the Foreigner Came,” the second story in the anthology, is an interesting and darkly humorous take on how isolated communities view outsiders. The scariest thing about the plot is that not all of their fears seem completely unfounded, and smaller ethnic, cultural, or other communities often must fear assimilation through marriages outside of the group. The less fantastical angle makes the story a little more uncomfortable, simply because readers can relate to the scenario more fully.

The third story, “Grave Travels,” is a re-imagined Frankenstein’s monster, emphasizing the isolation a manufactured creature faces in this world. While all he seeks is companionship and acceptance, humanity shoves him away until he can only find peace among the dead. This story was probably my favorite in the issue, because the stark, black-and-white artwork combined with the simple story touched me on a basic level. The main character was easy to sympathize with, because he truly was blameless in his loneliness. (Okay, there’s a little violence early on, but I doubt everyone knows about it.)

“The Suburbs” rounds out the stories in Outré #3, and I found it a little confusing, because the main character has a seemingly odd method for determining citizenship. He is openly racist about the non-whites moving into the cities, but his attitude toward a clearly alien being that has been born on Earth is open and affectionate. This confusion may be the goal of the creators, and I’ll have to think about the events in “The Suburbs” to determine my own feelings about what makes someone a “native.”

The two interviews in this issue of Outré are with Fran Syass and Giles Crawford, both contributors to the issue. Their insights into what drew them to comics and working in the industry fascinated me, and I particularly liked Giles’ pithy commentary about the fetishization of homosexuality in some fandoms.

Jonas Larson and K. Michael Russell each produced full-page illustrations focusing on how foreignness/difference is relative. Both are a little tongue in cheek, but they make their point expertly.

Truthfully, I didn’t enjoy Outré #3 as much as the previous volume, but I still found it an excellent read. It’s not always comfortable reading, and I still have ideas whirring around my head related to the content. If you want to check out a creative take on a serious, current issue, you should definitely do so. It’s free and more than worth the time it takes to peruse the pages.

4 Deep Thoughts About What Is “Other” Out of 5

Outré 3 is available for download.

Jodi Scaife, Fanbase Press Social Media Strategist


Mid-30s geek type with a houseful of pets, books, DVDs, CDs, and manga


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