George's Reviews > Box Office Poison

Box Office Poison by Alex  Robinson
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's review
May 04, 2008

it was amazing
bookshelves: graphic-novels
Read in May, 2008

** spoiler alert ** This long (almost 600 page) graphic novel features an ensemble cast of characters living in NYC. The art reminds me of Dave Sims, minus the talking aardvark. Box Office Poison is a page turner, with great dialogue and tons of jokes, but the best part of this graphic novel is the characters. We have a bookstore clerk, a historian, three cartoonists and an editor of a fashion magazine. These people were very real to me; by the end of the book I felt like they were friends, or at least people I knew. I identified with Sherman, the bookstore clerk; I worked at a bookstore for six fun-filled years, and certainly had my share of moronic questions.

My favorite character is the cartoonist, Irving Flavor. Irving is a cranky old bastard, but being old and impoverished can do that to a person. He’s been in the comics business for years and years and is thus a realist; Ed is the bright-eyed dreamer just starting out. I like their interplay. I think Irving does his best to help Ed out: he tells him straight out that the comics business is full of sharks, and even advises him to do that Night Stalker graphic novel. And Ed really puts it out there for Irving.

My only quibble is the confrontation between Ed and Irving at the end. Ed has a right to be mad that Irving stole his character designs, but I don’t get the impression that’s what he’s angry about. He seems to think Irving “sold out,” and comes across as being totally self-righteous. Irving is right about that – Ed doesn’t have the right to treat him with such contempt. Irving knows he isn’t going to win a fight with ZOOM comics, so he takes what he feels he can get. And he’s working again, which is what he wanted, so good for him. Give the guy a break. Of course: the character design issue is a different matter.

End of rant. Anyway…the fates of the characters make sense, given what we know about them. The author resists the temptation to sprinkle the joy glitter at the end – not everyone gets (or even deserves) a happy ending. This is a wonderful graphic novel; highly recommended.

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Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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message 1: by Jenni (new)

Jenni George,

I'm so happy you liked this! I haven't read it in a long time, and your review made me totally want to pick it up again. :)

George I never heard of Alex Robinson until I read this graphic novel. He’s very good, and I agree that it’s surprising that he isn’t a bigger name in the field. Who knows why? In this interview (, which is a few years old, he claims that he's toeing the poverty line.

message 3: by Mike (new) - added it

Mike Is the spoiler about why the description of the English language edition isn't in English...?

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