Public Domain #1 ADVANCE REVIEW: A satirical yet empathetic first issue that leads with hope first

Writer & Artist: Chip Zdarsky.

Syd and Miles Dallas have a tenuous relationship to both their father and the comic book superhero he created, The Domain. With equal amounts hope, anger, and satire, Public Domain #1 establishes a thoughtful and poignant conversation about the importance of creation and legacy.

Cover by Chip Zdarsky

Though previously relegated to Substack subscribers, this week Image Comics helps bring Chip Zdarsky's Public Domain into the physical realm. Zdarsky manages to address various issues in a single . . . well . . . issue. From creator ownership to the overpopulation of superhero media, Public Domain #1 chastises without giving in to outright pessimism.

Zdarsky's work reads as an expression of agitation towards the comic industry, a stern talking-to about the historical neglect of creator rights and compensation. Though brutally honest at times (and often sad as a result), Public Domain #1 tackles harsh realities with reckless idealism conveyed by damn good writing. The family dynamic between father and sons is light-handed and relies more on what's not said, creating a sense of familial intimacy.

I'm in love with the art and design of this issue. Panel layouts are varied without being distracting. The colors are simple yet convey nice lighting effects in terms of shadows and shading. Zdarsky commands the mood of every page with an incredible eye for pacing. From press junket interview booths to city streets at night, I came away from this issue feeling like I received a lot for a small amount of pages. This is the result of stellar attention to concise visual storytelling.

Zdarsky wrenches the most meaning from innocuous moments, conveying much info over little time, resulting in many instances of my either becoming enraged or idealistically fulfilled while I read. There is a multitude and depth to human emotion that I feel Zdarsky has a knack for. He is very good at convincingly depicting the intricately grey realities of everyday life, without losing an element of hope at the center.

Public Domain #1 is a must-read and rates the coveted 5 POPS!

Pick this book up Wednesday, June 8th at YOUR LOCAL COMIC BOOK SHOP (!!!) or here on Image Comics' website.

If you like Chip Zdarsky's empathetic approach, try these superhero offerings to see how you like his spin. Plus, keep an eye on the bonus recommendation below!


Spider-Man: Life Story

Sex Criminals Vol. 1

Spider-Man: The Spider's Shadow


Bill the Boy Wonder: The Secret Co-Creator of Batman


Austin Kemp read Batman #315 (Batman vs Kite Man) when he was 5 years old, and hasn't stopped reading comics since. Austin is a college writing teacher and has a masters degree in Comics Studies. Austin and his partner, Savanah, live in Massachusetts with their master, a cat named Chaplin.

49 views0 comments