Writer: Jed McPherson
Artwork: Joseph Velasquez
Colours: F.P. Soic Jr.
In a strange coincidence, right before I was given this issue to review I had been watching clips of the Truman Show. What makes it coincidental is that THE SHOW is essentially the dark, twisted cousin of the Truman Show.
Throughout the course of this first issue we follow Johnny Teevee as he is held captive in a flat that is constantly streaming his life to the wider world. He is a star of a TV show even though he doesn’t know it, or even that he is being filmed. Through some solid dialogue from writer Jed McPherson we discover that he doesn’t know why he is being held there. We are also introduced to the mohawked mastermind of the show and his production assistant.
Sadly, the show is going through a bit of a slump. That is until the producers introduce a teddy bear called Stockton who starts to talk to Jimmy. Granted, these conversations are all in his head, but the voices do make sense. The only time we get to see the production assistant speak or act even vaguely human is when she appears in adverts to sell Stockton to the masses. It turns out that the shows is a family one and that some of the actions we see Johnny undertake must not be broadcast.
As the unnamed producer fights with network executives and writer’s block, Johnny starts to unravel as he starts to think that Stockton isn’t one of the usual voices he hears, but is actually alive. This raises the question of “is someone speaking to Johnny?”, and if so, why can’t the production team hear it? The issue ends on a cliff-hanger that I won’t spoil but if you have seen the Truman Show you should probably have a decent idea of what’s coming.
I loved Joseph Velasquez’s art style alognside F.P. Soic Jr.’s dark colour palette as it really helped to sell the setting and emotions of the characters. This approach is particularly effective during the scenes where the producer is getting angry, with the art becoming sharper and more kinetic as a result, and serhes as a sharp contrast to the advert sections that have a family friendly soft focus style to them.
While there are some well-worn tropes at play here, writer Jed McPherson does a great job of framing things in a creative way, leaving this story feeling surprisingly fresh. Johnny is a fairly intriguing protagonist, which helps the reader build an investment in his situation and the wrinkle with the talking teddy bear adds a creative twist to the proceedings. At the end of the day, THE SHOW has a ton of potential and I’m definitely looking forward to seeing more.
You can grab yourself a copy of THE SHOW #1 from Gumroad, in either a physical (https://gum.co/eXLLh) or digital (https://gum.co/FGKvj) format. Or, if you’re already subscribed to COMICHAUS (and we can’t think of any reason why you wouldn’t be), then you can check out the first two issues on the app.
The writer of this piece was: David Gladman
David Tweets from @the_gladrags