I love anthologies. Sometimes you just need a self-contained story, even if it eventually ties into a much bigger theme or plot. But there is something satisfying about the format, at least for me. That is why this week’s Small Press Spotlight pick is Dwellings by Jay Stephens and published by Black Eye Books.
Stephens is an award-winning cartoonist, and this series is his first ongoing book in more than two decades. The anthology offers a series of southern Ontario horror tales drawn in a vintage comic style that is both cute and terrifying.
The first issue of the mature readers’ comic was funded in just three hours on Kickstarter. Entitled “They Know,” the story is about “a secretive young man named John Allan who finds his conscience tested by an increasingly larger murder of crows that follow him after a sudden, violent, incident. How and why are these birds attracted to him, and what do they know? Can John maintain a grip on his reality and identity? A Poe-meets-Hithcock thriller, full of bloodthirsty birds?”
The second installment, called “Second Tongue,” features “the internal conflict between the rational and the supernatural becomes deadly, as a science-minded stranger to town investigates a case of Foreign Accent Syndrome. Mistaken Identity? Or another entity entirely? Are you ready to dwell in the Southern Ontario Gothic of Elwich again, for a jarring tale of familiar horror from within?”
The issue was also a winner at the 18th annual Doug Wright Awards in Toronto, where Stephens was honored with the Pigskin Peter award and the Bowler hat trophy for best small or micro-press comic.
Finally, the synopsis for Issue #3, “Quiet, Suki!”, is here:
“When her grandmother mysteriously vanishes from a long-term care home, and the staff deny she ever existed, Charlie Ouilette’s only clue to discovering the truth is her grandmother’s toy hand puppet, Suki. But when Suki starts talking … leading Charlie deeper into the nearby woods… she begins to wish she’d never put her hand inside!”
Head to the publisher’s website to see how to purchase your copies.