Lots of comics anthologies use geographic location as a means of selecting the artists that appear in them, usually focusing on work from a specific country. MC2 takes this a stage further, pin-pointing the Midlands – the area in the centre of England – as the place you need to be working in to get something into this book.
If we hadn’t just mentioned it, you wouldn’t notice the geographic restriction from the breadth of stories on offer: with humorous superhero deconstructions, westerns, gritty thrillers and slices of life, there’s plenty to choose from.
The downside is that most of the stories are around five pages in length, presenting something of a challenge for the artists in terms of building up any kind of meaningful story. A few succeed, particularly those who’ve managed to wrangle a bigger share of the space. Others don’t do so well, perhaps concentrating harder on their art (as most of the stories are written and drawn by one person) and using the book as a showcase for their drawing talents. Others still seem to have given up completely, leaving stories hanging ‘to be continued.’ There are highlights though – Hunt Emerson’s guided tour around his decaying teeth is strangely compelling, and much of the art on display is unquestionably worthy of showcasing.
This is clearly part of the point of the book and giving the artists an opportunity to be published should give many careers a well-deserved step up the ladder. However, that’s little consolation for the reader. Perhaps a larger page count would have given more room for the expansion of stories, offered more for readers and provided more space for these talents to stretch their story-telling as well as their artistic muscles.