• Public Domain #4
    Public Domain #4

    Zdarsky chip

    Zdarsky chip

    Zdarsky chip

    Cover artist:
    Zdarsky chip

    Picture Comics


    Release date:

    Zdarsky chip

Film adaptations are inevitably part of a comic book’s life cycle when they become too popular, because that’s where the big bucks are. However, for many writers whose “worked-for-hire” characters frolic on the silver screen, the reality is very different from the multibillion-dollar corporations that spin the wheel of money. Syd Dallas, the creator of the comic strip The domain, decides to fight for his creation, wresting control of the rights from his publishing house Singular, against all odds. Will his family be happy with the outcome, or are other problems on the way? Written, illustrated and literate by Chip Zdarsky, Public domain #4 of Image Comics shows the consequences of the settlement.

Public domain #4 opens with Syd Dallas leaving Singular’s office after settling the rights to his old comics, with his attorney explaining the details of the deal. As he beams with joy, Miles, on the other hand, thinks his dad might have gotten a better deal if he hadn’t settled down. Miles feels guilty about the outcome and decides to leave town for good before debt collectors find him. Before he can even cross the threshold of his house, the collectors grab Miles and threaten him with serious bodily harm. Meanwhile, Jerry Jasper gets angry at the thought of The domain return to his former partner and co-creator.

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It’s not always that the little guy gets a win over the rich conglomerates, no matter how small. Writer Chip Zdarsky doesn’t let the moment get in the way of his storytelling as he doubles down on Miles’ stacked miseries. Public domain #4 moves steadily in a linear flow, jumping between parallel narratives to paint a clear picture of everyone’s inner feelings about the events. Nevertheless, Miles’ dilemma remains the central conflict of the story. Deep down, even he knows that the real reason for his sulking is not the rules but his own inferiority complex of relying on his aging parents for money. Zdarsky doesn’t tackle Miles’ gambling addiction head-on, instead using it as a plot point that branches out into mini-stories, with the rest of the cast taking it upon themselves to keep the story from going off the rails. .

The work of Public domain #4 places the characters in the spotlight, scrutinizing their every move and expression to evoke an emotional response in readers. To that end, Zdarsky keeps the illustrations tidy using a minimalist style in which panel detail is enough to give visual cues to location without distracting from the moments at hand. Colors also work in a similar vein, except there’s a sudden change in background colors for certain characters and the time of day. Overall, Zdarsky uses a bright palette no matter what turn the situation may take, which adds a nuance of hope.

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Unlike most stories that end after the happy ending, Public domain #4 perseveres and struggles to present an after-story to the public. By now, the plot has become quite stereotypical in the series, as there’s little to no progression throughout the book, when suddenly the ending turns everything upside down. As old characters enter the frame, new opportunities present themselves, both in terms of storylines and character development, taking this long-running drama to a new beginning, starting with a whole new new creative team for The domain.