“The entertainment industry feeds on our insecurities, desires, and fears. You can’t toy with those kinds of primal emotions without them biting back.” This description of the new Image Comics series Glitterbomb, announced at today’s Image Expo, provides an evocative idea of what drives this Hollywood horror story following a middle-aged mother who becomes a conduit for supernatural forces when her entertainment career fails to take off. Written by Wayward’s Jim Zub with art by newcomer Djibril Morissette-Phan, colors by K. Michael Russell, and letters by Marshall Dillon, the series offers a chilling take on the dangers of fame culture, and The A.V. Club spoke with the writer and art team to learn more about the project.
“Glitterbomb grew out of the onslaught of entertainment news that permeates my social media feeds day after day mixed with my own fears about fame, self respect, and failure,” says Zub. “It’s a caustic look at what celebrity culture tells us to value and the shallow nature of notoriety.”
Those central themes are a big part of the book’s appeal for Morrissette-Phan. “The whole subject matter of the book really speaks to me,” says Morrissette-Phan. “Fame culture is a very vicious thing in our society and yet most people, including myself, find themselves to be a part of it in some sort of way. I’d say that working on Glitterbomb has helped me in my reflections on fame and on where I want to stand on the subject. To have the opportunity to work on a project with that kind of impact on my life is really what excites me the most.”
Zub was introduced to Morrissette-Phan last summer by artist Marguerite Sauvage, and he immediately knew he’d found the right collaborator for the book. “[Djibril’s] realistic figures and locations are tinged with a somber atmosphere and an underlying tension that fits the material so well,” says Zub. “He’s only 21 years old, but his line work has the confident storytelling chops you’d expect from an industry veteran. Michael’s colors tie it all together with texture and grit that gets right to the heart of this Hollywood horror story.”
The strength of Morrissette-Phan’s linework means that Russell doesn’t have to put much effort into adding dimension with his coloring, instead focusing on heightening the mood and texture of the visuals. “I wanted to capture that sort of creepy, empty feeling to help tell the story,” says Russell. “Even when the sun is up, it never feels like a beautiful day in this book. Something always feels…off. [The coloring] is fairly desaturated and relatively flat, just enough rendering to pull focus where the panels need it. It’s textured, so everything feels a bit grimy.”
When it comes to his favorite thing to draw in the series, Morissette-Phan has developed a strong attachment to lead character Farrah, and these preview pages provide a striking introduction to the heroine. “It’s one of the first times I feel so emotionally invested in a character I’ve helped create,” says Morrissette-Phan. “I especially like drawing her interacting with her son. I feel like those scenes show her personality in subtle ways and that’s really satisfying.” Readers can learn more about Farrah, her family, and her fame-fueled frenzy when Glitterbomb hits stands this summer, but in the meanwhile, they can check out these preview pages to get a taste of the horror that’s in store.