PUBLIC DOMAIN #1 review – Red Carpet Blues (Zdarsky, O’Toole) – Image Comics

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Thanks to Image Comics for the review copy!

Public Domain is a fictionalized story that examines the all too common situation where a comic company reaps all the benefits of a creator’s characters. The main character Miles is a journalist whose dad is one half of the creative team behind Domain, a character now making millions on the big screen.    

While the comic in question is a superhero story, this is a grounded book (the only superheroes are shown in glimpses of the movie). The story evokes Siegel and Shuster’s situation with Superman as well as Marvel (er’ Disney) making millions off of its ‘cinematic universe’ while the creators make very little. Despite it all, Miles’ dad gives off a very Stan Lee positivity vibe that makes him a much more likable character than Miles or his flaky brother. The family relationship seems a bit off (it would take a lot for me to skip a family member walking on the red carpet for a movie), but it is hinted that being the sons of a comic writer caused some strain. The first issue does a good job establishing the characters and the trajectory for the story.

The art feels almost cell-shaded, with heavy lines and deep colors. Impressively, the characters are easy to tell apart despite the style having less fine detail. The art also excellently conveys facial expressions, which is essential in a book like this that relies on dialogue more than action.

If you are looking for the next big superhero comic, Public Domain isn’t for you. But if you want a smart, topical take on the comic/movie industry with some interesting family dynamics, this title is most definitely is worth a read. 


Public Domain #1 is set to be released on June 29th, 2022.


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