7 Days to Fame

Writer Buddy Scalera was kind enough to give me copies of this miniseries at this year’s New York Con. I’d missed it when it first came out in late 2005, although I’d heard of its shocking premise.

7 Days to Fame #1 cover
7 Days to Fame #1

A TV host and his producer are going nowhere in late-night TV until a woman kills herself on their program. Suddenly, they’ve got the next great reality show concept (although they air it online instead of on TV, to avoid legal problems) — every week, someone with a fatal disease will explore their life over the series of the show, ending their seven days with suicide.

The three-issue length is just right. The first sets up the concept, its justification, and introduces the characters. Issue #2 works out the premise, demonstrates its potential for impact, and sets up a cliffhanger by involving a famous person. Issue #3 resolves the above and makes its statement about the disease of seeking fame and what’s wrong with the media that feed it. (Although obvious by that point, through its exaggeration.)

This is a dynamite concept in so many ways, and Scalera does an excellent job setting up the premise — making it plausible that characters we can sympathize with would do such a thing — and exploring different elements of it — how do they react to the fame? to the legal challenges? to the moral quandries?

Sadly, the art is terrible. Nick Diaz drew issue 1, and he isn’t ready yet for professional work. A lot of the story revolves around passionate conversations, which requires an ability to drew both people (especially faces) and entertaining talking scenes. He creates laughably gargoyle-esque expressions and misshapen heads, so much so that “just WHAT am I looking at?” risks becoming a distraction from the multi-layered material. Dennis Budd takes over for 2 and 3. He’s better than Diaz, but the work is still subject to distortions.

The concepts are solidly thought-provoking, but I almost wish that Scalera had written prose instead, because then I could have focused on the ideas without the distraction. I’m not sure why it was a comic, beyond Scalera knowing the field.

Read preview pages at the website.

(Complimentary copies for this review were provided by the publisher.)


4 Responses to “7 Days to Fame”

  1. Journalista - the news weblog of The Comics Journal » Blog Archive » Apr. 23, 2007: Please govern yourself accordingly Says:

    [...] Johanna Draper Carlson examines Buddy Scalera, Nick Diaz and Dennis Budd’s 7 Days to Fame. (Above: sequence from the series in question, ©2005 Buddy Scalera.) [...]

  2. A.W. Says:

    The concept reminds me of the plot of that Frank Capra movie, “Meet John Doe”…except that was about newspapers rather than the Internet…

  3. Johanna Says:

    You know, I’ve never made it through that particular film, although I really should try. I’m sure it would make for a good comparison.

  4. Flaming Dork Says:

    High concept. A shocking metaphor for the downward spiral of America’s rapidly growing “Roman Coliseum” style of entertainment.

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