“The story of Sherman, Dorothy, Ed, Stephen, Jane, and Mr. Flavor as you’ve never seen it before: IN FULL COLOR! Alex Robinson’s masterpiece of dreary jobs, comic books, love, sex, messy apartments, girlfriends (and the lack thereof), undisclosed pasts, and crusty old professionals remains one of the most delightful and whimsical comic stories—and with colorist Pat N. Lewis’ fantastic color work, BOP is ready to return to comic stands!”
“Box Office Poison” was originally published by Antarctic Press from 1996-2000. Each single-issue was published in black-and-white and had low print runs. This series gained even more notoriety in 2001 when all twenty-one single issues were collected in a massive 608 page paperback, which may be purchased HERE. Now, 16 years later, IDW Publishing and Top Shelf Productions have brought back “Box Office Poison” in a way we’ve never seen this series before…in FULL COLOR! This is a great way to reel in new readers to this series, and veteran readers will experience these stories again in a new way, like they’ve never seen these characters before. “Box Office Poison Color Comics #1” is written and illustrated by Alex Robinson, colored by Pat N. Lewis, edited by Carlos Guzman, and the cover colors are by Lovern Kindzierski.
What I like about a new series is when there are character profiles, albeit brief. This premiere issue does that. The prologue begins with seven of the major characters introducing themselves to the readers, and they give us one-liners about themselves and things to come. Brilliant. Following this, the story flashes back to Sherman Davies, and the moment he met Sally, up-close and personal. The title of this story is, “The Bohemian Girl.” The next scene is now, in the present time (the story takes place in Brooklyn, NY in 1994), where we see Sherman and his friend Ed Velasquez having a conversation. Sherman arrives at a building where he’s interested in renting a room, and as they climb the stairs, Sherman and Ed have their everyday, average conversation, adding realism to these characters.
Once Sherman and Ed arrive at the door, we are introduced to Stephen Gaedel and Jane Pekar. Another flashback moment appears, and we see the beginning of Sherman and Sally’s relationship. The nice thing about the flashbacks and the present-day panels are the differences in coloring. The flashback sequences are colored in sepia-tones, and the present-day sequences are colored in brighter, vibrant tones. This is a nice way to let the readers know what’s going on in the past and present without any confusion. Throughout this book, the sequences will alternate between past and present, telling us two different stories at the same time, but they intertwine nicely.
In this issue readers will get to know Sherman, Stephen, and Jane relatively well. What makes these characters different from other characters (from various comic books), is that they’re realistic in nature. Readers will be able to relate to these characters, and this is what draws people to read books of any kind. Sometimes it’s the small talks, though minor and not advancing the story, that can have a major impact on the series as a whole. After reading this premiere issue, this is the direction “Box Office Poison” is going, and it’s going to be a fun ride.
Seeing this colorized version on Comixology, I didn’t hesitate to give “Box Office Poison” a chance, so I purchased it. With the price of the digital copy at $1.99, what’s there to lose? The reality is, readers will have a lot to gain. I say this all the time, first issues are challenging. Characters have to be introduced, the setting has to be set, and the plot has to keep readers interested from beginning to end. Alex Robinson did just this, and these are characters that people are going to relate to. The artwork characterizes these characters very well, from the happy moments, to love, anger, and moments of relaxation, the facial expressions are spot-on. Overall, this premiere issue is brilliant, realistic, and entertaining…we need more independent comics like “Box Office Poison.” And this is just the first issue, I’m looking forward to the next twenty issues! I rate this book 4.9 Geek-Heads out of 5, placing this on the “must-read” list. Highly recommended.
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