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"The Show" Comic Review

Written by James Ferguson

article-cover

Written and lettered by Jed McPherson
Illustrated by Joseph Velasquez and Robert Ahmad
Colored by F.P. Sioc Jr
2018, 104 Pages

Review:

Remember The Truman Show? Well, get ready for a twisted, horrific version of it because that’s what The Show has to offer. Johnny Teevee is trapped in a small room by himself. A mysterious nurse brings him food regularly, but never speaks to him. A mohawked man watches Johnny’s every moment from another room, reviewing the feeds from multiple hidden cameras. He’s the showrunner, tasked with delivering great television for all the viewers at home, even if that means driving Johnny insane.

The Show is unsettling in the truest sense of the word. While it’s still very relevant today, it feels like something that should have come out a few years back. We’re now more obsessed with our phones than we are of television, however the point is well made here. How far are we willing to go for great content? What are we willing to do in the quest for the almighty dollar?

Those are questions you have to wonder as The Show goes on and we see just how broken Johnny is. Writer Jed McPherson drops us right into the thick of things. We don’t get into specifics as to how or why this is happening, although some small details are revealed in a nice twist at the end. This shocking situation is presented like a new status quo and we just go with it. It’s scary that it doesn’t seem that out of the ordinary that something like this can happen.

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Johnny goes through a transformation of sorts as The Show progresses. We see him as a broken man, entirely at the mercy of his captors at the beginning of the book. As the cracks start to show in this façade, he gets more confident, standing up straighter as rage and a quest for justice urges him on.

Artist Joseph Velasquez starts us off with the first chapter and then transitions to Robert Ahmad for the last three. This is a jarring adjustment, as the two artists, while talented, have very different styles. Just when you get used to the look and feel of The Show, it changes due to this hand off. These things happen, especially in the indie scene, so it sometimes can’t be avoided.

Perhaps the most disturbing parts of The Show are the commercial interludes. These one-page stories sell a product recently shown in Johnny’s room in the most demented way possible. It’s not surprising that something so unsettling would go hand-in-hand with this creepy reality TV show.

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Colorist F.P. Sioc Jr. casts a dreary light on this entire comic. While Johnny’s room looks normal, it has an eerie shine to it, like the lights are shining just a bit too bright. I can’t imagine sleeping in a room like that. This contrasts well with the mohawk man’s office as he’s lit in the yellow/green glow of the monitors all over the place. It creates an alien feel that only adds to the overall scare factor.

The Show presents a disturbing look at our obsession with fame and the so-called celebrities from reality television. It’s a surreal reading experience that is made even scarier by just how close we are to something like this in terms of technology and overall public acceptance. I’m left with a number of questions, but more importantly, I’m uneasy about this whole comic. It made me want to turn off all the electronics in my house. There’s a bit of an Oldboy flair to this too, like if the public is watching everything that happened to that guy while he is trapped in a single room.

The creators of The Show are currently running a Kickstarter campaign to fund the release of the collected edition.

Grades:

Story: threeandahalfstars Cover
Art: threestars
Overall: 3.5 Star Rating

About The Author
James Ferguson
Lord of the Funny Books
James has a 2nd grade reading level and, as a result, only reads books with pictures. Horror is his 5th favorite genre right after romantic comedy and just before silent films. No one knows why he's here, but he won't leave.
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