Glitterbomb Volume One: Red Carpet By Jim Zub, Djibril-Morissette-Phan, K. Michael Russel and Ludwig Olimba
Horror fans rejoice! Glitterbomb is the genuine article and you will without a doubt be hooked on the series as early as page two! Co-creators Jim Zub and Djibril-Morissette-Phan deliver a comic book that keeps us grasping for a protagonist and wincing at the turn of a page. All the right elements come together here for the perfect creep out. Glitterbomb’s first arc is not homage per se, but a reflection of some of the finest the genre has to offer. What is at times subtle and seemingly average explodes at a moments notice and you quickly realize you’ve been duped.
Writer Jim Zub creates a clever false sense of security by writing characters that we can relate to. Readers will find themselves lost in the details of their lives, no matter how regular their situations may seem. Then Sub turns the screws on us and we remember it’s a horror comic worthy of the classics, but more than fitting for current audiences. Volume one introduces the premise through the life of a struggling and aging TV actress who, for better or worse, achieves a sudden transformation. It’s Jim Zub’s ability to write a great story, but blended with horrific elements, that strike a terrific balance. Glitterbomb is off to a great start with Volume One: “Red Carpet”, on both content and execution. Scenes are displayed, not served up like a movie with sharp cuts and multiple angles. Sure, there’s some of that, but there’s also an artfulness that does each scene justice in it’s own respects. Sometimes it feels like a play for more dramatic effect, but more often than not it’s essentially a sign of sincerity. Zub is dedicated to his characters and their dilemmas and it only contributes to the story’s overall success. More importantly, Zub commits them to a path and they never stray. It’s a strength that shouldn’t be overlooked, because it’s what makes Glitterbomb uniquely more successful than other horror stories.
Artist Djibril-Morissette-Phan is the perfect comic book artist and he’s in the zone here. He understands exactly how to create a page so that our eyes follow and admire all at once. Nothing is taken for granted, especially not conversational scenes and that’s saying something for a horror book. Too often these days, horror feels like gore dressed up with in-between moments instead of actual drama, but Phan’s art cancels any chance of that from happening. The drama is intact, believable and a welcomed shift in tone in what is otherwise a bloody book. Zub provides sufficient and thrilling material, but the actual illustrations only continue to tell the story in a manner perfect for horror. The quiet moments can be the darkest. The scariest moments can be the simplest, a dynamic that flows from panel to panel. A blood-soaked crime scene — for all the horrible details — can come across less ominous than a woman just sitting in her car. The artwork generates an emotional response on just about every page whether in the dialogue or the images. This is truly the result of two collaborators perfectly in tune with each other and their product.
Colorist K. Michael Russel, along with Ludwig Olimba, masterfully switches between palettes depending on the situation. Cool, soothing palettes make for a certain calm only to be undone by fiery reds and blistering oranges cuing panic and violence. In a book that maintains a level of fear throughout, it’s impressive when the art and colors can continue to makes us feel one way or another. Palettes invade one another, sometimes casually and other times with great intensity.
Glitterbomb is a wild ride, and a sinister tale of supernatural evil, but in an incredibly accessible way. It will draw you in and hold your attention from start to finish. By the end we know more than we did about this world, although, make no mistake, there seems to be a lot more mystery to solve. If you appreciate horror then you know not everything needs to be explained, but you also know it is undeniably intriguing when you can sense there’s more to the story. In any case, Glitterbomb is a great book, and a refreshingly well-done horror comic. This trade is packed with extras too, with plenty of gallery and process art and insight to what the creators had in mind for the series, which may actually hold you over…but not for long.