One of my favorite episodes of Batman: The Animated Series is “Beware the Grey Ghost” guest starring Adam West. The episode explored the life of former Hollywood actor Simon Trent (played by West) and how his big role as the Grey Ghost, a 1940s costumed crimefighter, eventually left him as a struggling elderly actor. It’s a fascinating episode that reveals the downside of stardom. I bring this episode up because The Big Con #1 by Jimmy Palmiotti, Matt Brady and Dominike “Domo” Stanton explores the same issues of forgotten geek icons fighting to stay relevant (and employed) in present times.
Published by BOOM! Studios, The Big Con #1 begins with two aging sci-fi actors answering questions and signing autographs in an almost empty auditorium. Danny Dean, the actor best known for his role as Buck Blaster (I wonder what that’s referencing?), gets evicted from another home. Past sex icon Blaze Storm, who played the love interest to Buck Blaster, is only relevant in the media for the sex tape she did when desperate for money. Later on we meet Poach Brewster, another forgotten actor that shoos away his trophy wife and drinks his sorrows away with Danny. When Poach wakes up in the morning (alone on the bed), he discovers his best friend Danny has committed suicide in his house.
Without giving too much away, the events following Danny’s suicide lead the remaining actors and others like them to an opportunity of the lifetime. The opportunity to attend the biggest nerd convention out there, San Diego Comic-Con, and rob it blind. It’s an interesting premise. Sprinkling the heist genre with geek-centered references. However, with this being the first issue, we don’t really see the “Galaxy Quest meets Ocean’s 11-style crime story” promised by the press release.
What we do see from issue one is a band of sympathetic characters in desperate need of a change. As depressing as the lives of these cast gets, the small moments of optimism keeps this comic from getting truly depressing. Danny’s encounter with a longtime fan at the groceries was a touching display. Her telling Danny to “Live Long and Flourish” as she leaves only makes Danny’s fate in the end all the more tragic.
The art by Stanton embodies the moment well, with Danny hunched and soaked in the rain, as he walks back home alone. Another good display of artwork was the scene where Poach wakes up in the morning and remembers his wife is no longer with him. The textless panels show off the true feeling of these lonely washed up celebrities.
The Big Con Job #1 is now available at retailers.
The Breakdown | Comic Review: The Big Con Job #1
The Big Con Job #1 introduces us to a group of forgotten actors formerly celebrated by the geek fandom. Issue one does its job of making us care for these out-of-work celebrities, as it progresses slowly to the heist book it was meant to be. More about character than throwing readers into the action.