Monday, December 20, 2010

Multiplex Book 1: Enjoy Your Show

This book is a collection of Gordon McAlpin's webcomic, which has been regularly published on Mondays and Thursdays since 2005. It follows the employees of a local movie theater, chronicling their interactions with customers and each other, and there are lots of movie-based jokes, pranks, and fumbling attempts at romance. The main characters are: Kurt, the jokester manager; Jason, the ticket-taker with highfalutin tastes; Becky, the projectionist with a heart of gold; and Melissa, another projectionist and Kurt's girlfriend, who is often the voice of reason.

Aside from capturing the flavor of working in a customer service job, McAlpin also does a great job with the characterization of people growing up and finding their places in the world. He is an illustrator who specializes in digital publications who also does work in printing and advertising. Multiplex has been his long-term project, and thus far he has 5 books available online. He funded publication of this book by raising funds using Kickstarter. McAlpin talks about why he decided to do a print version of his work in this Newsarama interview.

This first book is full of the early entries in the series, with McAlpin offering commentary on his creative decisions. From the reviews, it seems that this comic's appeal depends on its audience. Johanna Draper Carlson reviewed the book and saw some features that could use improvement. She also commented on how the strip evolved over time for the better but also speaks to how some of the characters seemed stereotypical to her. On a different note, Jason Sacks wrote that "it's fun to see how the characters grow and change." Xaviar Xerexes wrote that although it may be tougher to enjoy these early strips than the later ones, they do serve as a good introduction to the comic. As for me, this is one of the few webcomics I regularly follow, especially for the relatable and developed characters. This development has taken time though, and I am not sure this collection captures enough of it.

The online version of the comics in this collection is available here, along with character biographies, guest strips, and other bonus features.

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