Box Office Poison was an indie darling of the mid to late 1990’s and was later published in collected form in 2001. It has been heralded as a masterpiece, and the A.V Club named it one of the best comics of the ’00s. Beginning in January 2017, Top Shelf Productions has begun the process of reprinting Box Office Poison in full color and with bonus material.
Issue 4 is primarily a chapter about Sherman and Ed. Sherman is going on a date with a young woman who goes by the name of Dorothy. She is a former roommate of his current roommates and the issue details some of their hesitations with Sherman dating her. The date starts off poorly, but they eventually have a great time. The conversation they have is full of pop culture references and interesting date questions (“if they made a movie of your life, who would play you best?”). The dialogue is well written and presented in a unique way. Since the conversation in the date scene is lengthy, it is presented in a script format, with half the page showing multiple back and forth word lines, which is extremely effective. Ed is an aspiring comic book artist and we learn of an opportunity he is offered as an assistant. Ed hides this opportunity from his parents as they believe that being an artist isn’t a good career for him (“Drawing doesn’t put bread on the table”). We are shown a very funny scene of Ed daydreaming while on his way to the assistant interview.
I’m not typically a fan of this art style, but it matches the tone of the book perfectly. The line work is clean and I really appreciate the subtle, but emotive facial expressions of the characters.
This book can be regarded as a special edition as it contains plenty of bonus material. The postscript, in particular, is fascinating. It details a lot of the easter eggs and thought process that went into the characters and scenarios encountered in the issue. The mini covers are also a nice addition. They contain small annotations that are fun to read and provide additional insight.
I give this issue 4 out of 5 stars.
Written and Illustrated by Alex Robinson
Colors by Pat N. Lewis
Published by Top Shelf Productions (Imprint of IDW)