By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder
Glitterbomb may not look like a book about purity of spirit, overcoming society’s preconceived notions, or the parasitic nature of the entertainment industry. But it covers all of that, with some tentacles thrown in for good measure.
Farrah Durante is a middle-aged, out of work actress and mother desperately on the hunt for her next part. But neither Hollywood nor her agent have anything for her. They’re not exactly kind about it, either. But when Farrah is at her lowest, she’s possessed by an otherworldly monster. She then abruptly wakes up with no memory of what’s happened. The world hasn’t been very nice to Farrah Durante. Now, she and her new “companion” are going to be not-very-nice right back. And blood will be spilled.
What we have here is a good ol’ fashioned cathartic revenge story. There’s certainly no shortage of either catharsis or revenge here. In Jim Zub’s indictment of the entertainment industry, Farrah has committed the unforgivable sin of aging in Hollywood. Her desperation and her struggle to keep up with the needs of her young son, who is so little and naive, are heartbreaking. People also say things to this woman that are almost impossibly mean. Normally it’s considered a bad thing to get possessed by a sea monster. But for Farrah, it’s an improvement.
Zub’s concept and his intentions make for a good comic. But the issue really belongs to penciller Djibril Morissette-Phan and colorist K. Michael Russell. The sheer despair and hopelessness injected into Farrah make her almost immediately relatable as a character. Look at her body language, the bags under her eyes, the complete lack of anything remotely resembling contentment. Delightfully complimentary are Russell’s dreary, muted, gloomy colors. This issue feels like it takes place in the middle of an L.A. heatwave. I read Farrah as being constantly sweaty and dirty. Except, of course, when she plunges into the ocean. We get a gorgeous two-page spread, and a little hint as to the monster’s motivation.
I’ll also credit Glitterbomb with actually giving me a fright. At the bottom of page 26, Farrah’s son takes a fall. Then on page 27, she leaps to catch him as he’s about to hit the ground. Before you can process the entire image, there’s brief moment where you wonder if he’s actually going to complete the fall. Definitely one of the more jarring moments I’ve seen in recent memory, as it’s so much more reality-based than someone being killed by a monster. Though to the issue’s credit, if you’re picking it up without having seen any previews (as I did), that first kill is a big surprise. Did not expect that at all…
Post-story, Holly Raychelle Hughes also contributes a heart-wrenching prose essay about how awfully she was treated in the film industry. Frankly, it’s worth the $3.99 on its own.
I can’t say I expected a story like this from the author of Skullkickers. But Jim Zub and this team have something good here. There’s a satisfying moral to Glitterbomb as well. One might be distracted at first by the blood and gore. But one can certainly appreciate the message about how to treat people, particularly those down on their luck.
After all, karma can be downright monstrous.
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