One of the internet’s favorite phrases to utter in regard to the rich comes to life in this intriguing comic book series, which slowly builds the tension towards revealing just what horrendous thing these rich people, who we immediately mistrust, are responsible for. Shadowy and perfectly ominously drawn and colored artwork brings this world to vivid life.
If both the various forms of media we consume and real-life have taught us anything, the rich probably being up to very illegal and immoral things on the regular is most assuredly likely one of them.
There has been distrust and interest in the rich and their activities and what they do and don’t get away with for probably since the moment that wealth of some kind entered human existence. Over the last few years, there has certainly been a rise in the number of fictional takes on this matter that have appeared across various mediums. BOOM! Studios have entered the room now with their brand-new series Eat the Rich from Sarah Gailey, Pius Bak, Roman Titov, and Cardinal Rae.
With a story like this where you know that something is wrong from the get-go, the title and premise letting you know that it’s key to really set a tone to draw the audience in till the actual horrific reveal is done. That’s accomplished greatly within this first issue, as Gailey relies more on the off-putting situation of a non-rich person being thrown into a world beyond her comfort level to ratchet up the uncomfortable tone.
Far too often we hear the rich try to compare themselves to the rest of us or build up these “I once was like you” type of stories, that many of us mistrust right away. Here that is used perfectly to really make these rich people seem normal and just excessive as they bask in their wealth. In a really good way, it reminds me of the recent film Ready or Not, sharing some similar vibes in setting up these rich families and the path to their secrets.
As mentioned above, setting the tone is important and that wasn’t lost within the series art. Bak’s work features a lot of close-up and emotional panels, the various character’s faces are so emotive and really showcase how they feel and what is going on. We can feel every bit of Joey’s uncomfortableness being in this world just by looking at her. This is matched by the frantic nature of Astor as he remembers more and more what is coming, and by the bizarrely “normal” feeling you get from everyone else that calls Crestfall Bluffs.
Alongside the emotion are the small little details of things that are seen by us the audience but ignored by the characters (like what baby Cartwright finds in the sand on the beach), piling up the red flags that you want to scream at Joey so she can run away from this family.
Titov adds in a lot of shadows, adding to the ominous feeling, on top of the large amounts of orange in the sky and background that just feels ominous and foreboding in a different way from the darkness. This makes way more sense once you reach the very end of the story and there is something tied to the terrifying/horrifying reveal that has lots of orange to it.
The aforementioned shadows play such a heavy part here too as they are used not only in an ominous typical way, but they work to effectively sort of make the various staff and others in this rich area be hidden or obscured as we gaze upon them. That also is tied to how Bak pulls back on some of the detail in the art to leave backgrounds and characters a bit out of focus, adding to the idea that they just blend in somewhat.
Lettering will not be left out of the discussion of setting the tone as the caption boxes of Joey’s thoughts look almost journal-like, giving us that glimpse into her mind, while all of the dialogue flows and drops in bold emphasis on the right words that have their own ominous overtones. Never have I been as suspicious of the use of the word Plum as I was within this issue, so hat’s off in that regard.
There are also some brilliant uses of big uses of dialogue as SFX and usual SFX that really feel claustrophobic and like the words/sounds are just bombarding Joey and us the audience. Especially the booming laughter of the rich, namely the moment where the big reveal happens and the SFX laughter still hangs overhead. Terrifying.
Eat the Rich #1 is now on sale in print and digitally from Boom! Studios.