A review by dozmuttz
Public Domain, Volume 1 by Chip Zdarsky

funny hopeful inspiring medium-paced



I was lucky enough to catch this series as a tik-tok recommendation, and I can’t believe more people aren't talking about this. The series shows Miles Dallas, who is a 30 year old journalist, being assigned with the job to interview Blake Powers, a movie star who is starring in the latest superhero blockbuster, The Domain. Miles doesn’t want to do the job, and feels like the only reason he was assigned it was because his father, Syd Dallas, is the co-creator of the original comics the billion dollar movies are based off. Miles is pretty ticked off as he knows his dad doesn’t own the rights to any of what he’s created, and doesn't get a penny from the movies or merchandise. After getting really riled up at his interview he ends up punching the movie star, Blake Powers. He gets arrested, and is bailed out by his brother Dave. The two reminisce and go to the airport to pick up their father from a red carpet event (in which he is never acknowledged), and after all three are together, Syd gets a text message with a picture of an old document and on that document it shows that Syd Dallas owns The Domain.

Chip Zdarsky is both writer and artist on this series and to start with his writing, I think it was brilliant. The whole story is an obvious meta take on the underappreciated creators in the comic industry. Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster being ripped off by DC for the creation of Superman, Stan Lee taking more credit than he deserved compared to Jack Kirby at Marvel, Bob Kane being credited for the creation of Batman, leaving Bill Finger unnoticed for almost 80 years and so many more. It’s a story we’ve all witnessed before only in real life, and in the exact medium this story is being produced. I think that sense of familiarity is what makes this story so enjoyable to me, and the added comedic themes only make it more of a blast to read. The comedy isn’t anything over the top and is written really well. It’s not just dumb nonsense, it’s small details that some of the best comedy show writers implement. The characters are also really well done, and in cases like Syd and Dave, super likable and easy to root for. That’s not to say that Miles isn’t a good character but he is written to be a bit more difficult and has room to grow within himself. From reviews I’ve seen on this series this meta comic industry type story has been done before and a lot of people then take credit away from Zdarsky, and although I can’t speak on how true it is since I’ve not read those other series’s, I think Zdarsky still writes a great book. It goes in a direction that I didn’t expect, and also from the same reviews I was just mentioning, they too said that was the unique aspect of Zdarsky’s storytelling. 

This was my first time seeing Zdarsky’s artwork (outside his covers for ‘Spider-Man: Life Story’) and I found it to be alright. It wasn’t anything crazy. but for the story it didn’t need to be. 

Overall; This was a very pleasant change of pace for my reading and I love how Zdarsky writes this series. This first volume ends on a really high note and leaves me excited for the future issues/volumes.