Written & Illustrated by Ray Fawkes, Scott Snyder, Rafael Albuquerque, John Rauch, Evan Dorkin, Sarah Dyer, Bill Mudron, Afua Richardson, Genevieve Valentine, David López, Faith Erin Hicks, Cris Peter, Michael Avon Oeming, Taki Soma, Paolo Rivera, Gail Simone, Phil Jimenez, Alonso Nunez, Elmer Santos, Sam Humphries, Damion Scott, Sigmund Torre, Rhianna Pratchett, Jorge Corona, Jen Hickman, Ben Applegate, Ronald Wimberly, Kevin Wada, Brenden Fletcher, Cameron Stewart, Babs Tarr, Jiji Knight, Si Spurrier, Kate Brown, Paul Duffield, Dee Cunniffe, Asaf Hanuka and Tomer Hanuka.
Based on Attack on Titan by Hajime Isayama
Published by Kodansha Comics
Suitable for ages 16+
I’m sure the ginormous list of “written & illustrated by” authors and artists already gave it away, but the Attack on Titan Anthology was clearly a huge undertaking. Kodansha Comics brought together a bevy of different creators from around the world to create this title. All have their own unique artwork, narrative styles, and perspectives of the Attack on Titan universe. If you’re a fan of the Titans, read on. If you’re new to this whole, “giants took over the world” thing, give this a read as well!
For me, I fall on the side of, “new to this Titan thing in that I’ve only seen a handful of episodes of the anime.” Nevertheless, I greatly enjoyed the Attack on Titan Anthology. Of course it will help if you’ve watched the anime or read the manga. But most of the basics of the series can be picked up as you go along in the Attack on Titan Anthology. There are also always going to be inside jokes that won’t be as apparent or funny if you’re not familiar with the source material. Even knowing this I did still have a great time with it.
One of the biggest bonuses of the Attack on Titan Anthology is that it is in full color. If you mostly read American comic books you’re probably scratching your head as to why I pointed this out. In Japanese manga it’s typical for the first splash page in the volume to be in color, but the rest of the book will be in black and white. So for a subject matter that would normally be in black in white, it was wonderful to see the Attack on Titan universe in full color print. And such colorful sights they were. Like any varying artists, some took advantage of the use of color more than others. One such chapter is “Fee Fie Foh” which used a large palette of contrasting colors. It was a sight to see, and the impact would have been much lessened if the artist/colorist had been forced to work within a black and white constraint.
Besides the color, the Attack on Titan Anthology also features a great many different artistic styles. There was one that resembled the French Art Deco style that utilized the same muted colors and bold lines. Another featured short, four panel strips that mimicked the typical American newspaper comic. Yet another chapter in the Attack on Titan Anthology, called “Attack on DemonCon” had an oversaturated theme and used mostly shades of red. This same story had characters with large eyes and rounded faces. The admission of many different art styles allows the Attack on Titan Anthology to easily hold readers’ interest. I myself ruthlessly kept turning the pages to see how another artist would translate the universe.
Another thing that puts the Attack on Titan Anthology on the map is its great many types of storytelling. One of my personal favorite stories was not really a story at all. Let me explain further. “An Illustrated Guide to the Glorious Walled Cities” reads like a tourist guide or old-timey magazine feature. There are articles, drawings, and illustrations explaining different locales in the world of Attack on Titan. Decorative borders/banners and even advertisements for different products/services make it feel like the real deal. This was an unexpected addition since it was broken up into many different segments, allowing me to discover throughout the entire volume what happened to its fictitious author. Still another chapter in the Attack on Titan Anthology took advantage of a popular comic book phenomena in recent years which is the silent story. In “Good Dog” there are only four actually spoken words in the entire chapter. Even still, it is one of the most memorable, unsettling, and affecting. Without giving anything away, “Good Dog” is about a boy and his faithful hound finding ways to survive in the world of Titans. It’s amazing that such a compelling story can be told without dialogue, and yet here we have one.
Anthologies can be incredibly hit or miss. It’s a delicate line to walk in pleasing old fans and people new to the subject material. Equally important is finding the right creators to bring the right stories to the table. Fortunately the Attack on Titan Anthology found that sweet spot that we crave. I had only seen a few episodes of the Attack on Titan anime series, and I still enjoyed almost all of the chapters held within this anthology. If you are a big fan of the world of Titans, you’ll love this collection even more.