One of the author's obvious strengths is how he precisely yet artfully presents his characters in a psychological light. Each character is created complex and they are never what they seem. It appears that the author can understand the complex human psyche so well that he was able to cleverly show the real motives behind his characters' outward show. That, perhaps, is what makes his characters relatable. We, humans, tend to create a shell that is the total opposite of what is inside and our actions are based on protecting that inner self and that we can turn dark if we are exposed to so much pain.
The collection also delve with ethics and morality—how our right and wrong actions can affect ourselves and other people. Most of the stories are dark and leave you with a bitter taste. But I think it is what makes the stories cathartic. It makes us realize and accept that life has dark sides too and that it can make an ugly turn anytime. But some stories tackle the innate goodness of human beings—although life may seem bleak and horrible sometimes, people can still be capable of goodness.
I find all of the short stories enjoyable although I noticed that some are straightforward and blunt. I would appreciate them more if they were written with subtlety. I did not enjoy the comics as much also because it seems that a lot of important details are left out. Had I not read the short stories beforehand, I don't think I would be able to fully understand the comics.
Despite the foregoing, I would still give this
Illustrated Short Fiction of William H. Coles: 2000-2016
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