If Mallard (reviewed last week) represents one end of the small-press spectrum (the off-the-cuff, in-the-moment, whip-it-out and get-it-done punk-aesthetic, if you will), then Murky Depths: The Quarterly Anthology of Graphically Dark Speculative Fiction represents the other end. Despite its slick appearance, however, Murky Depths doesn’t forget its gritty DIY roots. Part showcase for burgeoning talent and part fanzine, it’s the ideal mix of artistry and fanboy fawning.
Among the more notable pieces in the latest issue is “Dead Girls,” a graphic reimagining of Richard Calder’s novel of the same name. Evoking a strong manga vibe, “Dead Girls” touches on themes of race, sexual awakening, STDs, and eternal life – all in the context of a gothic(ish) vampire tale.
Yet Murky Depths is not just about comics and the artists and authors who create them. It’s also a collection of innovative horror fiction. Recent authors featured in the pages of Murky Depths include Juliet E. McKenna, Matt Finucane, and Andrew Knighton (among many talented others). Their stories, moreover, run a fascinating gamut from gothic horror to hardcore sci-fi. In short, if you can get your work into Murky Depths, you’re in great company.