Imposter Syndrome Review

By | Friday, September 09, 2022 Leave a Comment
I'm sure I've mentioned before that I'm always a little hesitant about anthologies. The mix of creators usually means it's something of a crap shoot whether or not I'll like turning the page; the first story might be great, but the second story by a totally different creative team could be garbage. I do find, however, that that trepidation is mitigated somewhat in anthologies where at least one of creative folks is consistent throughout. That was the case in my coming to Imposter Syndrome, a collection of several stories all written by David F. Walker but drawn by a variety of artists.

The stories cross styles and genres. Some are autobiographical, some are science fiction; some are light-hearted, some are dark; some are very cartoonishly drawn, some are much more realistic. And since they're all very compelling written, it goes a fair way to showing the range Walker has as a writer. You might know him from Bitter Root, for example, but there's plenty here that looks and feels nothing like that. If you're only familar with Walker through that, it's worth picking this up to see what else he can do.

The stories that stand out to me, personally, are the more autobiographical ones. They're all good, but "Pieces of Man" where he just talks to some guy he meets in a subway station resonnates a lot deeper because it's a much more viscerally relatable experience. From the perspectives of both Walker (the character) and the stranger he meets. It's an excellent reminder about connecting with other people -- not only that it's just something we should do in some kind of abstract moral sense, but it really showcase why it's important. It a much quieter story than... well, it's honestly the quietest story in the book, but that somehow makes it loudest.

Walker does something else in the book that I don't think I've seen in quite this format before. After each story, he includes a page or two or three about his creative process for the work. That sometimes includes part of his original script, his or the artist's sketches/thumbnails, and most significantly some commentary from Walker on these items, specifically what he was trying to do, why he made changes he did, etc. It acts very much as a ersatz primer on writing comics. The pieces are too short to really act as a textbook or anything of the like, but when combined with the stories themselves that the reader has just gone through, they are very informative.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book and I'd be much more gung-ho on anthologies if more of them turne out this good overall. Walker had crowd-funded this book and I got my copy through that. It's not available through his site as of this writing -- I just received my copy a few days ago -- but I expect that will change soon. I believe I did see that he's starting to go back to conventions now, and you can probably pick one up from him if he's tabling at a show near you. The book is through his own Solid Comix imprint and retails for $29.99 US.
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