‘Multiplex: Enjoy your show’ a book that has something for all readers
Published: Tuesday, November 9, 2010
Updated: Tuesday, November 9, 2010 01:11
Webcomics are a continually growing frontier.
Comics such as "xkcd" and "Questionable Content" have a huge fan following, and "Penny Arcade," one of the biggest names in the field, now hosts two large-scale conventions per year.
So, it is time webcomics are given their due, and, with the recent release of "Multiplex: Enjoy your Show," there isn't a better time to talk about one of the best character-driven comics out there.
Written and drawn by Gordon McAlpin, "Multiplex" is a story about the employees of the fictional Multiplex 10 Cinema in Chicago, charming characters such as Jason, Becky and Kurt, each with their own personalities and foibles, as they go about their lives at the theater.
The comic series is a collection of over 100 strips, most of which are available online.
The book itself includes a number of stories, from tales about halting film piracy to overarching stories such as Jason's love life and Kurt's love of pranks.
It also includes a new prequel story that is only available in the book, showing the cast as they deal with the large crowds seeing "Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith" as well as their own personal lives.
Since it takes place in a theater and McAlpin himself is a movie buff, there are plenty of pop culture references to be had, but, truly, the characterization is the driving force of this comic.
Every character ends up being developed in some fashion sooner or later, some even going from background filler to main cast.
Ladies man Franklin is eventually revealed to be a prankster in his own right, and movie elitist Jason, arguably the main character, is shown to have similar fears that anyone in a long distance relationship may have.
The dialogue is also completely realistic for a bunch of college-aged people, cursing when angry and focused on topics you'd expect from people their age, from alcohol to romance.
One of the more entertaining aspects is that, since the characters work at a movie theater, they occasionally dress up for movie premieres, taking on roles from movies like "Casino Royale" and "Pirates of the Caribbean."
Since it is a comic, a bunch of people have awesome costumes without someone having to spend days designing and building them, assuming McAlpin doesn't take that long drawing them.
Since the book collects "Multiplex" from the beginning, you see how McAlpin evolves as an artist, abandoning design choices and character looks in exchange for ones that come across better.
The only complaint is that the prequel contains newer art, and since it is placed before the actual start of the comic, the sudden shift in design can be a little jarring.
All the extras that have been included with the book make it feel like a special edition DVD, with creator commentary on each strip, a how-to process for making the comic and bios for every character.
My favorite extra is McAlpin including guest strips he has done for comics such as "Joe Loves Crappy Movies" and "PVP Online," as well as including guest strips that have been done for him.
Those who aren't yet sold can the check the comic out themselves online at www.multiplexcomic.com, but for those who want the first collection, it can be bought at the comic's website as well as on Amazon.
Trust me, you can't go wrong.