IMAGE COMICS: What's the elevator pitch for GLITTERBOMB?
JIM ZUB: GLITTERBOMB is a Hollywood horror story about fame and failure. It's a twisted look at the things we prioritize in our 24-hour celebrity-obsessed news and culture. Sunset Boulevard by way of the Exorcist.
IC: Farrah's our lead character in GLITTERBOMB, and she appears to be both an actress looking for gigs and someone who keeps killing people in the industry. Who is she? What's she all about?
ZUB: Yeah, Farrah's a struggling actor living in Hollywood and a single mom. She's now at that "invisible age" that plagues a lot of actors her age—too old to be considered "arm candy" or a romantic lead but too young to play a grandmother or elderly woman. Male stars can be in their 40s and 50s, but their female co-stars will almost always be in their 20s or early 30s.
Farrah's problems have been building up for some time. Her deep-seated frustrations and fears are going to put her in contact with "something" horrific that will help her take revenge on the Hollywood system and the people who have hurt her.
IC: Djibril, how are you approaching drawing her?
DJIBRIL MORISSETTE-PHAN: I'd say, first and foremost, she's a mom and most of what she does is guided by that. When I started developing the character visually, I took inspiration from a couple of places, but my biggest influence was Carey Mulligan's character Irene from the movie Drive. She has a calmness and serenity to her that I tried to transmit to Farrah. I felt it would make for a good contrast with the stereotypical extroverted image I have of the people in Hollywood.
IC: "It's time to eat the rich, for real" is the slogan of GLITTERBOMB, as shown on stage at Image Expo. You've mentioned that the entertainment industry feeds on our fears and insecurities—can you tell us more about what you mean, and how that plays into GLITTERBOMB?
MORISSETTE-PHAN: The way I see it, show business is fueled by the need of external validation most of us have, which is not a bad thing in and of itself. That's part of why I draw and probably part of why actors act and writers write. That's also why we can live in society and not just stay in our own little corner. The problem is that it's easy to lose yourself in that. It's hard to keep a balance and not fall into those fears and insecurities. That's where GLITTERBOMB comes in. It shows what happens when there's nothing left but those fears and insecurities.
ZUB: Djibril covered it well, yeah. The Hollywood fairy tale of fame and fortune is so deeply ingrained in our society, but it's hollow, and there's something ugly and rotten at its core. The stories we've been sold are about the one in a million instead of the other 999,999 who don't achieve their dreams, don't get rich, and don't have those opportunities. Farrah has had some success, more than many, but the system has led her astray and she's caught in a tragic cycle of frustration and regret.
IC: Jim, here's a weird question for you. We've got a pretty good idea of what GLITTERBOMB is. Can you tell us what kind of comic GLITTERBOMB is not?
ZUB: GLITTERBOMB is not a story about heroes or doing what's "right." The core of the story is selfish, frustrated, and messy in a way we all can be when we don't know what we want or how to get it. Farrah is someone we can empathize with, but she's not aspirational or good just because she's our protagonist.
IC: Djibril, I saw online that you draw and paint. Are you doing any painting for this project?
MORISSETTE-PHAN: All the covers I did for the book are digital paintings. It's actually one of the things I enjoyed most about this project. I had to work both traditionally for the pages and digitally for the covers. It made the whole process a lot more interesting, so I never got bored with one or the other.
IC: How are you liking working with K. Michael Russell on colors?
MORISSETTE-PHAN: Kurt is great. I actually was a big fan of his YouTube channel on how to color comics, even before I started working professionally, so when I learned that we'd be working together, I was thrilled. Every time I saw new pages colored, I had the same feeling—a mix of surprise and satisfaction. It was never the color palette I anticipated, and yet, it was always right on point.
IC: GLITTERBOMB tackles celebrity and frustration, hustling for work and getting revenge. How did this idea come together for you? Did you have to refine it a ton over time, or did it arrive like a bolt out of the blue?
ZUB: GLITTERBOMB's been percolating in my head for a while and has gone through a couple different iterations. It started with my own frustrations and fears about my creative career and grew to envelope a larger look at fame and obsession as I saw how much time and emphasis I and everyone else seem to be putting toward celebrity culture, and what that says about our own priorities and insecurities in the modern world.
GLITTERBOMB #1 is available now.