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‘Public Domain Volume 1: Past Mistakes’ TPB (review)

Written and Illustrated by Chip Zdarsky
Published by Image Comics


This book features a story that we have all seen versions of in many different ways before.

The premise is simple: Two guys come up with a comic book character called the Domain. Basically, one comic book creator screws over the other comic book creator.

That is where this story begins.

Syd Dallas is the artist who came up with the Domain. The problem is, the writer and the company they sold it to got all the credit. We first see Syd in the later parts of his life. He attends a movie premiere of the Domain’s latest film. He sees the character that he had created all over the place in modern culture.

Despite all of this, Syd is pretty content in his life for the most part.

His son Miles is in a lot of trouble. He has a gambling problem and a rage issue. He gets fired from his job. While all of this is happening, they find out that Syd may actually own the rights to the Domain. Miles decides to take that bit of information to the comic book company who owns the rights. It is a pretty wild scene what follows, watching the comic company scramble trying to not pay Syd a cent.

These five issues or five chapters of this story are a fairly easy read. Instead of going dark with the concept, Zdarsky infuses the story with a lot of humor.

It is great watching Miles and his brother David navigate their family dynamics in light of this new discovery for their father. There are many great character moments for everyone here and all of the characters are well developed.

Zdarksky does a great job on the artwork as well. It is simple for sure but it does have an array of emotions. I like too that this first volume feels like a complete story unto itself yet I have no idea where it is going from here. I enjoyed this book very much and I look forward to seeing how it develops.




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