It took two pages for Glitterbomb to hook me. The underbelly of Hollywood unmasked through horror combined my love of horror comics and fascination with movies. And as much as Glitterbomb is a fantasy, it is a stark remind of the extremely real horrors of an industry that uses and abuses people, especially women.
Farrah Durante is, a middle-aged single mom desperately searching for another acting gig. Far removed from the cult sci-fi show that made her a name in the industry, an industry that doesn’t find her young and sexy enough to fit the big roles. All seems lost and a malevolent entity possesses Farrah and enables her to exact horrific, blood-soaked revenge on the industry that abused her.
I typically don’t care for revenge fantasies, but there’s more to this one than most similar stories. It’s about unmasking a real and pertinent part of our world, the underbelly of an entertainment industry that abuses and marginalizes some of its members. It’s not about the powerful man who lost his wife and kids or his dog, but someone who experiences prejudice and abuse in the world.
It’s also rooted in a character who is physically and mentally weak, someone who only through supernatural means can exact revenge. It’s akin to Stephen King’s Carrie, a revenge fantasy built around the weakest and most marginalized character in the story, not some macho action type who someone decided to piss off.
Essays by Holly Hughes reinforce Jim Zub’s story, each issue ending with one of her real stories of physical and psychological abuse in the Hollywood system, one of which includes rape. Glitterbomb mirrors these real-world stories, albeit with the kind of vengeance that only happens in fiction. In some ways, reading the fiction and then experiencing the back matter becomes this holistic fusion of fiction and fact that illuminates the dark realities of Hollywood.
In four issues, Glitterbomb runs through a gamut of emotions as its heroine fights an entire system of abuse. The fantastical horror and revenge story is used to unmask the nastiness of an industry that is abusive towards women. It could be easy for this story to be trite, or paint with too broad a brush, but there’s enough nuance and control here to make Glitterbomb an emotional sucker-punch in an industry usually dominated by cheap, shallow thrills.
© James Blake Ewing 2017