Box Office Poison

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This article is about a series of comic books. For a magazine article, see Box Office Poison (magazine article).
Box Office Poison
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Publication information
Publisher Antarctic Press
Top Shelf Productions
Genre
Creative team
Creator(s) Alex Robinson

Box Office Poison is a series of comic books (originally published by Antarctic Press) by Alex Robinson. It was published in collected form by Top Shelf Productions in 2001. The story concerns the life and trials of a group of young people in New York City.

Box Office Poison has been translated into Spanish, titled Malas Ventas;Portuguese, titled Fracasso de Publico;French, titled De mal en pis, and Greek. It won the Prix du premier album (Prize for First Comic Book) at the 2005 Angoulême International Comics Festival.

The A.V. club named it one of the best comics of the decade.[1]

Top 100 Graphic Novels named it as the 84th best comic ever made.[2]

The collected Box Office Poison is over 600 pages long. Robinson has stated that serializing such a long story in black-and-white form was inspired by one of his cartooning heroes, Dave Sim (author of Cerebus.)[3]

Characters[edit]

Box Office Poison features a wide array of major, supporting, and minor characters from many walks of life.

Lead characters[edit]

  • Sherman Davies, a bookstore clerk. His hatred of his job is never quite enough to get him to quit.
  • Ed Velasquez: Sherman's friend. Ed has aspirations of being a major cartoonist, which are hampered by the various twists and turns of the industry.
  • Beatrice Dorothy Lestrade, who goes exclusively by her middle name. Works at a magazine. Sherman's girlfriend throughout the book.
  • Stephen Gaedel, history professor. Sherman rents a room in Stephen's apartment.
  • Jane Pekar, cartoonist, and Stephen's longtime girlfriend. Her hatred for Dorothy is a recurring characteristic. (Also, her last name appears to reference famous underground comics writer Harvey Pekar.)
  • Irving Flavor, a cartoonist and creator of the fantastically popular 'Nightstalker' character. With some help from Ed, he is coaxed into fighting Zoom Comics, the owner of the Nightstalker, for some payback on the profitable franchise.

Supporting characters[edit]

  • "The Dragon," Sherman's bookstore supervisor. She calls him into her office multiple times to reprimand him against various mess-ups.
  • Sora Tweed, owner of the apartment building Sherman lives in. She ultimately dies of a heart attack.

Minor characters[edit]

  • Emil and Mora Yossarian, residents of the aforementioned apartment building. Their last name appears to be a nod to Joseph Heller's Catch-22, featuring a man named Yossarian (and whose first name is later revealed to be John). The book Catch-22 is featured later in the story, reinforcing this idea. Emil appears to be on probation. The Yossarians have a dog and a baby.

Awards[edit]

The 608 page volume of the series was nominated for the Harvey Award for Best Graphic Album of Previously Published Work in 2002, and an Eisner Award, Ignatz Award and a Firecracker Award in 2001 and 2002. The French version of Box Office Poison, called De Mal En Pis, won the Prix Du Premier Album at the Angoulême International Comics Festival in 2005.

Media referenced in Box Office Poison[edit]

Box Office Poison references a large and eclectic body of media. Below is a partial list:

Notes[edit]

See also Box Office Poison (magazine article).

External links[edit]