Glitterbomb: The Fame Game #1 (Image Comics)
The Industry is vicious.
Let’s get that out of the way now. It’s vicious and arrogant enough to call itself the Industry, and anyone that works in it knows exactly what it looks like. You get offered good money for work but it devours you, eats you up and leaves you with nothing but the Industry. For those of you both lucky and unlucky enough not to know, we’re talking about film here – television, movies, web series, all of that.
You will get paid and you will create but it will cost you. Life, dignity, maybe your soul. It might leave you a broken hollowed excuse for a life, but it will laugh and whisper and dare you even as you heed the warning and the call: if you never try, it whispers, how will you ever know?
The process is corrupt. We know this and we see it and that corruption had hollowed out even the industry itself: in the wake of this year’s blockbusted failures, a few luminaries stand out and Hollywood will learn all the wrong lessons from what little worked and the tired tripe that did not. We don’t want white-washing, we don’t want sausage fests, we don’t want caricatures or tired rehashes or blatant fascist misogyny masquerading as legends worth our time.
And here’s the thing: that’s what we know. That’s the end product we see. The stuff that goes on behind the silver screen? The terrible ways people are treated and keep silent because the Industry whispers you keep your mouth shut or you’ll never work in this town again. The town is the Industry. It sounds like an empty threat, it sounds silly, but then someone opens their mouth and the Industry recoils from them and that’s the end of it. Keep silent. Keep your head down.
Let Britney be a joke, Kesha be an afterthought. You think that only happens in music, where starlets are drugged and contracted? Those are starlets. Smiling for the camera, out in public. What about the camera people, the makeup people, the ones struggling to find a break in any part of the Industry? What are their lives like?
Jim Zub wanted to know, and he asked a woman named Holly Raychelle Hughes about it. The two of them talked and put out one of the most brutally honest stories about what Hollywood does to the people it feeds on you’ll ever read, a little title called Glitterbomb. Holly used to work on a number of productions but has since been erased from the Industry.
It’s okay, though. Holly will tell you what happened. In detail. And then she and Jim will spin a tragic horror for you that deals with all that anger and toxicity that the silvery sheen of flickering fiction tries to hide.
This is the second of the Glitterbomb stories. The first followed a single-mother and former sci-fi actress struggling to find her dignity in the aftermath of the Industry. She made contact with some thing and it nestled itself in the hollowed space where her heart had been. It found other people the Industry had hurt and then took a terrible revenge on all of them before dying.
Now, there were survivors of what happened there. One of them is a girl named Kaydon Klay and she wants to be famous more than anything in the world, and the horrific tragedy that just happened might give her the in she’s looking for. All she has to do is explore the twisted gutters that lead some to fame and others to failure and sometimes both. The Industry laughs in the dark and urges her onwards, playing to insecurity and desire and fear – not knowing that there is some thing lurking and waiting for its turn.
Djibril Morissette-Phan and K. Michael Russell both return, the former with a clean sketch style of inks that speak more to silhouettes, and the latter with washed out colors that bleed into shadows. Both of them are the perfect choices for a story this heavy and rife with monsters pretending at humanity.
Some of us are fighting to tell stories outside the horror the Industry has become. Some of us even manage that within it. It’s a fight, though, and if you’re looking to see what that fight is all about this is the comic you should be reading.