Cover Girl

Like most of the comics from Boom! Studios, Cover Girl is a slick piece of action entertainment. “Slick” applies to all aspects of this graphic novel: The paper is thick and shiny. The book size, smaller than a regular comic book, feels solid and heavy in the hand, providing good value. The attractive Hollywood characters are based on familiar types and aren’t necessarily who they seem to be. The story is professional in structure and high-concept, perfect for a movie.

Cover Girl cover
Cover Girl
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Alex Martin is a struggling actor. He’s videotaped pulling someone from a car crash, and the heroism on display puts his career in high gear. He’s suddenly filming a new blockbuster movie, only the bad guys who were trying to kill the crash victim are now after him, too. The studio forces on him a top bodyguard who won’t damage his image — the talented and attractive Rachel Dodd — and she pretends to be his date as her “cover”.

She’s both smarter and a better fighter than he is, which provides comedy whenever his ego gets punctured. There are also explosions, car chases, fortuitous coincidences, and emotional moments as the two leads fight, then bond. There’s the requisite exposition scene, where the plot is laid out for the viewers, and a rushed resolution, focused on a big action set piece. But those events really aren’t the point of the story. Relationship-building in the face of life-threatening violence is.

As suggested by the longer-than-usual list of creators — written by Andrew Cosby and Kevin Church, pencils by Mateus Santolouco, inks by R.M. Yankovicz and Andre Coelho — the goal here isn’t high art but a high-octane thrill ride. And it’s a success. Cover Girl is a buddy action movie with a gender twist mixed with romantic comedy. The overall message is that every problem, no matter how small, can be solved by pulling a gun and wise-cracking.

Everyone talks a lot, especially Alex, who spits out a constant nervous monologue. It’s an endearing character trait that also nicely keeps the reader up to date with events. Everyone in this book is a smart aleck, with plenty of snappy dialogue and frequent pokes at the movie business. The art, on the other hand, is serviceable. The reader knows what’s going on, but none of it stands out for either failure or impressiveness. Still, it’s a competent vehicle for the snappy quips and Hollywood potshots. The book succeeds on the fast-paced, quality writing and the likability of the characters. While some of Boom!’s stories are lightweight, revolving around only their concept, Cover Girl is a more substantial read, with plenty of characterization. I’d like to see another story with these two.

(A complimentary copy for this review was provided by the publisher.)

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5 Responses to “Cover Girl”

  1. odessa steps magazine Says:

    The review put me in the mind of B. Clay Moore’s book from Oni, “The Leading Man.” Both seem to be thick with the show biz meta and what not.

  2. Johanna Says:

    Good comparison (my review of The Leading Man), but I liked Cover Girl much better. It has stronger characters and more wit, plus the comedy approach goes over better in comics than LM’s action-heavy take. I thought, anyway.

  3. Journalista - the news weblog of The Comics Journal » Blog Archive » June 11, 2008: The Fotygraft Album Says:

    [...] Johanna Draper Carlson on Andrew Cosby, Kevin Church, Mateus Santolouco, R.M. Yankovicz and Andre Coelho’s action [...]

  4. Kevin Huxford Says:

    Couldn’t agree more on your assessment of the book, based on the first two issues I read. I missed the completion of the mini, but I plan on finding a copy of the trade soon. Great stuff.

  5. Interview With Kevin Church and Max Riffner (Lydia) » Comics Worth Reading Says:

    [...] have a Cover Girl collection out from Boom! Do you have plans to do more print [...]

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