BOP! – More Box Office Poison
by Alex Robinson
Top Shelf Productions
[[BOP Cover]] I am a BOP-fan-come-lately. I had heard all of the praise for Alex Robinson’s masterpiece Box Office Poison for several years. I had seen the awards, read the rave reviews, and heard the recommendations from my friends. And yet I still never picked up the book. Why? I guess I always felt other books were more important. Besides, a $30 cover price for one soft cover book is quite an investment. So, I was glad when BOP! – More Box Office Poison came along. This thin volume would allow me to get my feet wet with stories featuring the characters in the larger volume, at a much lower price point.
BOP! – More Box Office Poison reprints several stand alone stories featuring the BOP characters that Robinson did not feel fit in with the overall story when the omnibus volume was printed. It gives readers a great chance to see what all of these reviewers and award committees are talking about when they praise Robinson for his realistic characters and situations. It also gives longtime fans a chance to read and own all of the rest of the stories without scrambling around back issue bins for all of the various small press issues.
Most of the characters from Box Office Poison make appearances, but from what I gather, some of the most important characters are only making peripheral appearances here while supporting characters have more of a chance to take center stage. I guess that makes sense, as the important characters have important stuff happening in the main story. However, some form of a “Players” list would have been nice – a page with a picture of each character and a small introduction. Apparently he included this in the Box Office Poison collection, so it should have been easy to include a similar item here.
Robinson’s art style is a striking combination of cartoonish exaggerations and realistic settings. He seems equally comfortable portraying his characters in a hyper-surreal tale of power corrupting a slacker into a corporate puppet as he is depicting the true power of jealousy intruding into a stable relationship. His characters are all easily recognizable, once you figure out who they are, and their personalities build throughout the collection. By the end, you are itching to read more about each of them. Unlike a lot of current “hot” artists, Robinson remembers that backgrounds do matter, and consistently places his characters in real world environments – apartments filled with stuff, streets crowded with people and cars, and businesses full of bustling customers. It’s little touches like these that remind you how much of his story Robinson sets in the real world.
BOP! – More Box Office Poison has definitely whetted my appetite for more of Robinson’s work. I want to know more about the characters he introduced me to here, so I’m going to find a copy of Box Office Poison, and I’m going to try his new project, Tricked, when it comes out. If you are a fan of stories full of real-life characters, but can handle some askew tales involving time- and space-travel peppered in, you should definitively give BOP! – More Box Office Poison a try. This is a perfect fit for fans of tales like American Splendor, Strangers in Paradise, True Story Swear to God and Ghostworld.