Written and Drawn by Gordon McAlpin
Published by Chase Sequence Co.
Reviewed by Marc Mason
Take one ten-screen movie theatre, add a cast of hilarious employees, throw in some bad movies and hideous customers and you get MULTIPLEX, Gordon McAlpin’s long-running (and damned funny) webcomic. This first collection brings together the first 100 or so strips from the site, and adds in a new story done solely for the book, making this a must-have for fans of the strip and a should-buy for those looking for a new graphic novel to enjoy.
What makes MULTIPLEX work is that dead-on combo of interesting characters and milieu. People thrown into any sort of customer service crucible inevitably bond over their hatred of their jobs and hatred of their customers, and McAlpin’s people are no different- the movies hold them together while the rest of their job tries to tear them apart. But that’s where the comedy comes from- whether it’s most of the cashiers refusing to sell tickets to a Larry The Cable Guy movie as a form of protest or dumping the nastiest bathroom cleaning ever on an underling, you understand immediately who these people are and why they do the things they do. There’s a universal work experience going on here.
But ultimately, the strip wouldn’t have lasted as long as it has if McAlpin hadn’t found each character’s voice and given them a vibrant life apart from their jobs. There’s romance, treachery, pranks, longing, sex, religion… you stay with MULTIPLEX because the creator has given you something to get behind, a strip full of people to root for. That’s no easy feat- plenty have tried and failed. ENJOY YOUR SHOW? I did very much, thanks. You will, too.