Box Office Poison
|Box Office Poison|
Cover of the Top Shelf collection, published in 2001.
Top Shelf Productions
|Created by||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.
Top 100 Graphic Novels named it as the 84th best comic ever made.
Box Office Poison features a wide array of major, supporting, and minor characters from many walks of life.
- 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.
- "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.
- 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.
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.
Popular culture references
Box Office Poison references a large body of media. Below is a partial list:
- Betty Boop
- Billie Holiday
- Breakfast of Champions
- Dick Tracy
- Judge Judy
- Laurel and Hardy
- The Simpsons
- Sophie's World
- South Park
- Spinal Tap
- Star Trek
- Star Wars
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
- The Beatles
- The Catcher in the Rye
- The Jungle Book
- The Kids in the Hall
- Twelfth Night
- Venus on the Half-Shell
- Wallace and Gromit
- Where's Waldo?
- "The best comics of the '00s". 24 November 2009.
- "#84 - Box Office Poison".
- Lee, Humphrey. "ICN Comics Q&@ with Box Office Poison's Alex Robinson!!!," Ain't It Cool News (September 29, 2006). Accessed Dec. 21, 2008.