Writer: Chip Zdarsky

Artist: Chip Zdarsky

Colorist: Chip Zdarsky

what’s it about?

Syd Dallas is responsible for pop culture’s greatest hero: THE DOMAIN! But his sons Miles and David have a complicated relationship with both the creation and their creator. Can they convince their dad to fight for their family’s legacy? This fun and heartfelt series written and illustrated by Eisner winner Chip Zdarsky explores a wild alternate world where comic book creators aren’t properly acknowledged or compensated for their creations!! Crazy, I know!!

The Good

This is a comic that the Siegel and Shuster families, the descendants of the creators of Superman, would be proud of. Chip Zdarsky does a wonderful job crafting a story about family drama, copyright law and a timely critique of superhero films, corporations, characters and their creators. Zdarsky’s writing was what initially drew me to this issue as I, like many, are in love with his work. However, the critique of the comic book industry’s treatment of its talent is what hooked me.

The writing is whitty, clever and engaging. The art is simple and clean while expressive enough to capture your imagination. For example, Zdarsky took what could have been a simple panel showing a character walking down a basement staircase and turned it into a unique panel formation using negative space. Books like this are a reminder of why independent publishers, like Image, are so important. A work like this would be a hard sell for a publisher like DC or Marvel but at Image Comics, Zdarsky is free to create as he sees fit.

The Bad

A book like this, with little to no action, heavy on the dialogue and heavy handed on the industry criticism, will undoubtedly have a hard time reaching everyone but it’s undeniably interesting. For many, comics are a pure form of escapism and the meta-commentary dealt within the pages of Public Domain #1 may be a bit too much for some. The issue takes a very legally complex issue and turns it into a simple tale of good versus evil, right versus wrong. Although I don’t see this book being used in a classroom setting to teach about the issue of creator control or intellectual property, it is an excellent spot to start the conversation.

VERDICT: 8.5

About the Author: Tom Tormey

Tom Tormey

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