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Public Domain: An Alternative Look into the Problems within the Comic Book Industry – Another Blog A

If you’ve been following the comic book industry recently, you should know who Chip Zdarsky is. However, in case you haven’t, Chip Zdarsky is a comic book writer who has been held up as one of the industries best and brightest, with seminal runs in both major comic book publishers – Marvel and DC – as well as smaller publishers, such as Image. As of now, he has also started a Substack website (zdarsky.substack.com) to host his independently published works and personal newsletters. Some of his most well-known works include “Daredevil” (Marvel, 2019 – Present), “Batman” (DC, 2022 – Present), “Sex Criminals” (Image, 2013 – 2020) and Eisner award nominee “Stillwater” (Image 2020 – 2023).


In 2022, Zdarsky launched another series with Image comics titled “Public Domain,” centered around the comic industry and how it has changed over time.

Let’s look at the description of the first issue from Image:

Syd Dallas is responsible for pop culture’s greatest hero: THE DOMAIN! But his sons Miles and David have a complicated relationship with both the creation and their creator. Can they convince their dad to fight for their family’s legacy?

The story revolves around the Dallas family and how their father, Syd Dallas, gained the rights to one of the comic characters that he drew when working for a large publishing company. It is only natural then for one of the books central themes to be about the rights of artists over the intellectual properties they make. This exact problem has been at the forefront of the comic book industry for the past few decades with renowned writers such as Allen Moore – author of “Watchmen” and “V for Vendetta” – speaking out about similar historic injustices.


Comic book artists in particular have historically been underpaid and under appreciated by the industry, with many dying in poverty due to lack of residual payments. It’s ridiculous when you consider the fact that comics are a visual art form and would therefore be impossible without them. They separate the medium from normal novels and enhance the story with their contributions, so conversations about fair compensation should be vocal.

The story Zdarsky tells here, while funny, shines brightest when it tackles these themes with a firmly placed tongue-in-cheek wit. You can tell that he has a deep passion and understanding of the industry – which shouldn’t be surprising since he works in the industry, but I digress – and it comes through in both the writing and the art which, notably, is also his own.


This book, from the cover art to the pencils to the writing and coloring, is all done by Zdarsky himself, his first series since “Sex Criminals.”


With all of this to consider, “Public Domain” is one of the most interesting comics on the market right now and is most certainly worth a read.

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