Review: Gwan Anthology - Drawing on the Immigration Experience ~ What'cha Reading?

Review: Gwan Anthology – Drawing on the Immigration Experience


Immigration has been a hot button topic, not just recently but for at least the last 130,000 years since our early ancestors were considering leaving Africa. Undoubtedly it will continue to be a discussion in the future. Regardless of our origins it is something we can all relate to on one level or another.

The Gwan Anthology is a 214-page collection of creator-owned short stories, art, and prose, centered around themes of foreign lands, the immigrant experience and cultural fusion.

Gwan Anthology cover by Jerome Walford

Gwan Anthology cover by Jerome Walford

Gwan (g’waan) is a common word in Jamaican patois and the Caribbean vernacular, yet also has roots in the Irish language. Although, this word is usually translated to “go on” and sometimes “get out”, gwan has a myriad of uses. Its meaning can change depending on the context and is more likely to be heard in use conversationally between close friends ie. “A watta gwan (What’s going on/How are you doing?)” or “Gwan rude boy (Show us what you got, hot stuff)”

As a whole, the book is beautiful. The talent assembled by Forward Comix founder (and Jamaican immigrant) Jerome Walford (Nowhere Man) is extraordinary. His vision highlights and celebrates comic creators who produce work with a sense of the immigrant/expat perspective, expressing both the joys and challenges of such a journey. The anthology is open to any genre: sci-fi, fantasy or slice of life; open to both real and imagined experiences.Whatever your taste in comics, you will find many art styles and stories that will amaze and touch you.

 Although it is difficult to choose one, as I was impressed with everyone’s story and art, my own particular favorites were The First Adventure written and illustrated by Selina Brigg (England/USA), the story of a young robot leaving home for the first time to start a career in America; Evangeline, a prose story written by Dan Hom (USA), the journal of a young girl who is taken to a mysterious place by her father as she struggles to understand why and who these new people are; Tribal Quest written by Jacques Nyemb (Cameroon), two young explorers travel to the edge of the world; Journey to Oz by Arianna Mao (China), an amalgamation of the Wizard of Oz and Chinese mythology, and Son of Two Empires, the story of a Spanish explorer who brings the children he fathered with a Mayan woman back to Cuba.

Son of Two Empires, Art by Lucho Inzunza

Son of Two Empires, Art by Lucho Inzunza

Blood Shadow by Fang Yi Li

Blood Shadow by Fang Yi Li

There are 33 stories in this book and I don’t want to take away from the other stories. As I look through the book again to choose which stories to write about, I find that I can go on and on about every one but I don’t want to spoil any of it for you.

Much like an immigrant, the writers and artists will take you from the comfort of the familiar into unexplored territory. You will laugh and cry as you turn each page, just as if you are stepping into a new land, your heart and mind will expand.

About Forward Comix
Forward Comix is a multi-award-winning, small press publisher, based in Brooklyn New York that was founded in 2012. The socially conscious brand currently publishes select works in the form of graphic novels and literary fiction. With a strong commitment to excellence, Forward Comix follows a passion: to see more diversity, better understanding and care for the world in which we live.

Forward Comix is best known for its cop drama /sci-fi superhero graphic novel series, Nowhere Man, currently with six trade paperback books in the series, each numbering 40 pages or more in full color. Glyph Award winner for Best Male character (2014), HBO / Cinemax – UASE – Urban Action Comic Award (2015), Comic Attack Best of 2015 nominee.

Full Disclosure: The Gwan Anthology was purchased at full price from Forward Comix. does not receive royalties or monetary compensation for referrals or clicks to Forward Comix’ website.

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I've worked every aspect of the comic book business...and I still loving it!

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