Boom! Comics PUBWATCH: September 2021

Boom Pubwatch - banner designed by Cori McCreery

The Boom Pubwatch is back baby! And things are booming in 2021 at this top publisher for creator-owned comics. (Sorry, I swear that’s the only time I’ll make that joke. I needed to get it out of my system.) Earlier this year Keanu Reeves’ BRZRKR broke industry records and continued to be a top-selling book. Reeves will star in the Netflix live-action adaptation. The streaming giant has an exclusive first-look deal with Boom and is also planning an anime based on the series.

In entertainment-related news, Boom announced on September 13th that they hired Hunter Gorinson as Vice President of Business Development. This new role reports to President of Publishing & Marketing, Filip Sablik. His previous work at the LA-based production company Hivemind (responsible for some of Netflix’s hottest genre shows like The Witcher and The Expanse) bodes well for Gorinson’s ability to expand the company into other channels. He also previously spent time at Valiant, so he’s not new to the comics industry. It will be part of his job to strengthen Boom’s publishing opportunities across the direct market, book, and direct-to-consumer channels, as well as deal with partnerships, brand collaborations, and development opportunities for the BOOM! library. “It’s been my hope to one day work with Hunter since he first wowed the industry, leading the marketing and communication efforts at Valiant Entertainment. I’m thrilled that day is finally here as he is one of the most exciting executives working in comics today,” said Sablik. “Hunter’s robust and varied expertise is an exciting addition to our already accomplished management team. That combined with our other exciting recent new hires and promotions will only accelerate BOOM! Studios’ fantastic momentum and success.”

Last year Boom led the comics industry during the pandemic in switching to a common traditional book publishing strategy of making titles returnable. But recently Diamond has forced publishers to choose between ordering variant covers or titles being returnable. Boom does love their variant covers. The studio’s deal with Jenny Frison for special cover art lasts through the end of this year, and I know I’m not the only WWAC contributor hoping it gets renewed! (Check out this awesome analysis of Frison’s earlier work.) Eat the Rich #1 was their first book under this Diamond new rule to not be returnable but that didn’t slow down sales and the first issue of Sara Gailey’s debut series hit second printing status September 15. They also added a new variant cover to this printing by Pius Bak. The new Dark Blood #2 by LaToya Morgna (AMC’s The Walking Dead) also went to a second printing at the end of last month. I’m predicting Eat the Rich #2 will follow suit. The second issue comes out this week and we have a mini-review as well as first looks down below! Don’t miss the thoughts of our own Wendy Browne on #1 if you need to get caught up.

Eat the Rich #2

Pius Bak (artist), Sarah Gailey (writer), Cardinal Rae (letterer), Roman Titov (colorist), Kevin Tong (cover artist)
BOOM! Studios
September 22, 2021

Full page internal art with a rectangular insert at the bottom. A girl with dark hair huddled under the covers and a blond boy laying on his stomach next to her. The closeup is of her eyes and fires have replaced her irises.After an intriguing but somewhat formulaic start, this fish out of water story continues to unfold in issue #2. In a Boom! Chat over on YouTube writer Gailey said she pitched it as “CW’s Revenge meets Riverdale but with people who eat people”. Which is a pretty good description! I mean, I liked all of those kinds of shows so surely I’ll like this. I found myself liking the art a lot, but not totally sold yet on the story. If this comic were a meal, I’d say the appetizers and pre-dinner drinks have been predictable but good. I’m hoping the main course delivers on all this lead-up.

Issue #2 starts at night when Joey gets back to her room and is trying to come to terms with the horror she just witnessed. She tries to wake up her boyfriend and steal away in the night only for Astor to groggily placate her. So while he sleeps off anti-anxiety meds, Joey goes looking for evidence that will back up her story in the morning. Instead, she finds an envelope with Astor’s name on it and has an enlightening conversation with the nanny Petal. The baby continues trying to eat inanimate objects and also one insect. As my own baby is just three months old now, I can confirm this is entirely accurate. Although largely a comic relief, I also liked the small nod to the theme of consumption even in the smallest of Crestfall Bluffs’ residents. They go to a BBQ the next morning after Joey decides to bide her time. So far, I still haven’t seen much evidence of how the rich get eaten, just of how the rich eat. I need some catharsis and soon, please.

One of my favorite things about Pius Bak’s art is the bold linework. It’s so striking and angular. I loved his style in the The Magicians to capture the raw power of hedge witches in that world. This comic is another great marriage of style and story. Bak’s work is perfect to bring a frenetic atmosphere to this original suspense comic. I especially love the experimentation with panel placement and clever use of panel within panel to do a closeup. This particular page (see left) perfectly captures Joey’s internal struggle to deal with the horror she just witnessed. I can feel her barely contained terror when I see the extreme close-up of her eyes.

I found it interesting that cool colors dominated this second issue rather than the sunset oranges and pinks of the first. Roman Titov seems to be associating those warmer shades with the boyfriend Astor and the people of Crestfall Bluffs while Joey is colored in blues and purples. I noticed her skirt had hints of red flowers when she decided to stick around and go to the family barbecue after all. Mayhaps signifying her acceptance of Astor’s family, for now at least. Cardinal Rae’s work on the letters is superb again. I actually felt a little woozy myself while reading the wavy letters of Astor in his Klonopin-induced haze.

There’s something about the combination of Bak’s art, Titov’s colors, and Rae’s letters that combined with this story examining class and consumption that is giving me Gonzo vibes. Like Wendy, I’m still hungry for more. Hopefully, I can hold out to see someone get their just desserts.

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Lola Watson

Lola Watson

I'm a community college professor, nerd, and mom who collects comics, knits, and procrastinates a whole host of other hobbies in my lack of spare time. My research focuses on using technology in the classroom, pop culture, children's literature, and comics.

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