Platform Comics just wrapped up their 2020 10K challenge, which gave creative teams 10,000 minutes (7 days) to produce a comic that was four to eight pages long. The winners are in, and you can read the entire anthology today, which includes the winner and runner up featured right up front. The anthology is an impressive 96 pages long and it’s an exciting read knowing a portion of these creators might someday produce your future favorite comic book.
The winner and first story in the anthology is a steampunk western called “Speech is Silver” written by Massimiliano Grotti with art by Lorenzo Colangeli. The story instantly draws your attention with good panel placement and angles to show us a typical western scene with a touch of technological advancements to draw your attention. Much like many westerns, the story has a touch of revenge, some shooting, and a lone hero looking to right wrongs.
The characters are stylized in a cartoonish way that’s quite cool and edgy, while the environments are rendered much more realistically. There’s a good sense of atmosphere thanks to some interesting artistic choices — a shadowy figure at one point has the black rubbed off a bit to convey streaks of light — and the shadowy corners imbue a sense of mystery and darkness. There is just enough here to make you want to learn more about this mysterious hero and the larger world presented here.
The runner-up winner is an 1800s prison break story by Dan Wolff called “Back Slang It,” set in a prison surrounded by water not unlike Alcatraz. The art is moody and reminiscent of the style and quality you’d find in a Fantagraphics Press graphic novel. The story is about three prisoners who are attempting an escape. Two of the prisoners talk in backward, nonsense conversations throughout, which adds a sense of calm to the characters as they take the high-risk effort to break out. The line-work makes this book, adding texture and weight to the walls, water, and clothing well.
There are 15 stories in total in the anthology and I highly recommend you check them out. Given the quality of the top two stories, it’s an easy bet you’ll find something you love here. After reviewing the short competition winners it’s safe to say Platform is not only here to stay, but a great means to get the word out on up and coming creators.