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Comic Review: 7 Days of Fame
Bad Monkey   |  

7 Days of Fame #17 Days of Fame #1,2,3
Story by Buddy Scalera
Pencils by Nick Diaz, Dennis Budd
Inks by John Statema, Joe Carmanga
Colors by Wilson Ramos
Letters by Chris Eliopoulos, Joe Carmanga
Covers by Dennis Budd
After Hours Press
Cover price: $12.95; Available now

As a child of the independent comics explosion during the 1980s, I’ve always had an affinity for books which push the medium into new territory. The first time I realized this was when I was exposed to Guy Davis and Gary Reed’s brilliant punk-infused detective series Baker Street. Stunned that comics could be more than superheroes and an occasional sci-fi or fantasy story, it was a wake-up call that had me saying “I didn’t know you could do that with comic books.” Sadly, as time marched onward to the independent comics implosion of the early 1990s, experimentation in comics became more risky, and boundary-pushing series were increasingly rare. Fortunately, the late 90s saw a resurgence in more unique titles that continues to this day.

And here we are with a 3-part series 7 Days to Fame by Buddy Scalera, Nick Diaz, and Dennis Budd that dares to ask the question “What happens when suicide becomes entertainment?”

After an unintended broadcast of a suicide on his talk show, Marc Figliano and his producer Richelle White are fired from their television network. Suffering from a bad reputation and trying to figure out how to rebuild their careers, along comes BizarreOnline-dot-com, a site dedicated to serving up “anything weird, funny, sick, twisted, or downright bizarre” to their subscribers. Turns out the suicide footage from Marc’s show has become an internet phenomenon on their site, generating a ton of money.

The next logical step? Have Marc and Richelle create a new suicide reality show online. Guests of the show will have six days to tell their story and become famous, but only if they agree to kill themselves on the seventh day. Thus “7 Days to Fame” is born.

The resulting series is an interesting use of comics to explore a subject that has been touched on in television and film, but which I’ve never seen fully explored. When the initial suicide happens, it is a shocking and haunting death that catches people off guard. But once the suicides become commonplace, people become desensitized and it takes more and more to keep them interested. By the time we get to the grotesque merchandising of the show and kids playing “suicide” in the park, the morality of what’s happening starts to challenge both the story’s characters and the reader.

The danger with a book like 7 Days to Fame is whether or not the pay-off at the end will be worthy of the build-up. Fortunately, Scalera manages to handle it quite well, blending the obvious with a not-so-obvious twist that gives the reader something to think about after the final page has been turned. Where things kind of fell apart for me was in the art. The first issue (art by Diaz) had a gritty and realistic style wholly appropriate to the story, but lacked the emotional subtlety that could have driven home the more tragic elements. Characters have limited expressions, which is a problem given the emotional nature of the story. Things improve a bit when Budd takes over in issue 2, but scenes lack the kind of grittiness which could have provided realistic grounding for some of the more serious conversations taking place. Coloring doesn’t fare much better, as we get inexplicable use of Photoshop textures that are visually distracting. It’s the climax of the story and all I can see is this massive wood-grain plastered on a table, utterly bizarre metalics on the headsets, and wall patterns that don’t follow angles properly. It’s a real shame too, because panels where textures aren’t used are colored just fine.

Overall I recommend 7 Days to Fame as an interesting story that provides fascinating commentary on where we’re heading in reality entertainment. It’s work like this that keeps comics moving forward, and provides storytellers with a medium for expression they might not otherwise have. You may have missed this book when it was originally published in 2005-2006, but all three issues are still available as a $12 bundle (with free shipping!) direct from After Hours Press. In many ways, the story is more relevant today than ever, and I’ll leave it up to you to decide whether this is a compelling validation of pop culture, or just a sad reflection of the world we live in.

1 Comment »

  1. I liked it too.

    Comment by Iron Fist — June 8, 2008 @ 8:02 pm

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