Glitterbomb, Vol. 01
Writer: Jim Zub
Artists: Djibril Morissette-Phan, K. Michael Russell
Publisher: Image Comics
If you want to get revenge, a glitterbomb is probably the most fabulous way to do it.
Don’t know what that is? As the name suggests, it’s usually a specially-folded envelope or spring-loaded tube filled with glitter. It is sent to someone else (usually an enemy!) who gets a startling, sparkly surprise once he or she opens it.
There are many services offering these on the Internet nowadays: a particular benefit of this product is that it isn’t harmful, only giving it’s receiver a nasty shock and the annoyance of having to clean up all the glitter later.
Bright and cheery, but fuelled by malicious intentions- it’s no wonder this little gift lent its name to Glitterbomb, an engrossing horror comic that explores the dark side of Hollywood life. The film industry, with its larger than life celebrities and glitzy parties, may be what dreams are made of: but what people do to get there is the stuff of nightmares.
Dark Depths Of Despair
Glitterbomb tells the story of Farrah Durante, an actress who once found fame by appearing on Space Farers, a popular science fiction television show. Now middle-aged in an industry that values youth and beauty, however, she struggles to find jobs to support her young son.
After a disastrous audition, Farrah tries to end her life by walking into the Pacific Ocean. But this only leads to dark beginnings: there, the struggling actress encounters a dark creature that bonds with her. Thriving on her anger and drive for fame, the creature makes Farrah emerge from the waves, eager to seek revenge on all those who have exploited her.
Glitterbomb’s story is by Harvey Award-nominated Canadian writer Jim Zub (Dungeons And Dragons, Thunderbolts, Wayward, Skullkickers) and its art by Djibril Morissette-Phan (Ultimates, All-New Wolverine) and K. Michael Russell (Postal, Critical Hit, Hack/Slash: Son Of Samhain.) Its first trade paperback, Red Carpet, collects #1-#4 of the ongoing series, which is published by Image Comics.
Zub’s story opens very strongly, with an amazing scene featuring Farrah and her obnoxious agent that truly must be seen to be believed. As it progresses, we learn more about Farrah and her downbeat life before she met the creature: we are also introduced to many interesting characters, including aspiring young starlet Kaydon Klay, Farrah’s old friend (and much more successful actor) Dean Slotkin, and detective Rahal, who gets caught up in the dark events involving the creature.
(Black) Mirror Image
Part A Star Is Born and part Witchblade, the comic has similar themes to the Black Mirror episode 15 Million Merits, which also featured an oppressed character getting revenge on a fame-obsessed society.
Glitterbomb, however, takes its story down a more horrific route, with its victim lashing back in the most gory, gruesome way possible.
Zub’s story explores much of the seedy side of the silver screen: anyone who’s watched even a bit of E!News will be familiar with the ground he covers, from young actresses being exploited by beloved movie stars, to the struggles one has to make to rise in the industry.
Its art is relatively well done: some characters, confusingly, look a bit too similar to each other, and emotions are sometimes depicted a bit flatly, but there’s nothing that really takes you out of the story. There are a couple of clever ideas: a two-page spread illustrating the various conversations Farrah has at a Hollywood event, mixed with flashbacks of the past, is well-executed. And the scenes of gore definitely stick out.
Where this effort stumbles a little, however, is in its rather thin story. Struggling to make it big in Hollywood is not your most original theme, and we’ve seen so many shows about the dark side of fame that it’s almost a cliché.
While Zub’s comic adds a rather interesting horror take to the whole affair, Farrah’s story is ultimately your standard revenge thriller, and ultimately feels like a standard horror movie plot.
Imagine if the movie Carrie featured wannabe film starlets instead of stuck up teenagers, and you’d basically get Glitterbomb.
The strongest part of the comic, however, is its characters, who are all well-depicted and memorable. Some are a little under-developed (looking at you, detective Rahal), but here’s hoping readers can learn more about them as the story continues.
The plot of Glitterbomb continues in the upcoming Glitterbomb: The Fame Game, which now features Kaydon Klay as a main character as well. If there’s anything we’ve learnt from soap operas, it’s that above all things, film divas hate being replaced by younger actresses. So it’s certainly going to be interesting how this plays out with the story of Farrah Durante…
The show must go on, as the old movie adage says, and here’s hoping that Glitterbomb goes on as impressively as it did in its debut. In comics as it is in Hollywood, there’s no real place for a one-hit wonder!