Before there was Amazon, there were department stores. The land of the towering shelf, the endless aisle, the lost child. The vortex of STUFF. I mean, there are still department stores, but they used to be your only option, and as Christopher Cantwell (She Could Fly) puts it so succinctly in the wrap-up of his new comic – they sold you dreams.
Issue one of Everything gives us a collection of strangers starting their 1980 October day in Michigan the same way as any other, with hair of the dog and parental threat, and after the opening of a brand new megastore that attracts the attendance of seemingly the whole state, ending it quite another.
The potential for creep factor in a department store is high, and even the first few pages of this comic promise to show us just how high. Flat zombie faces stare out from adverts promising to warm you up, relax you, and let you be “a part of us” which we already know isn’t gonna turn out to be something any of us actually want…
I.N.J. Culbard’s (Celeste, The New Deadwardians) art is a perfect 80s, bubbly rainbow of contrast for the something’s-just-not-right intuition alarm bells all the character interactions, especially inside the dreaded monument of the store, have ringing in your head – in turns textbook wholesome, perfectly alarming, and just plain eerie.
After we’re left in the crowded aisles, surrounded by dead-eyed consumer zombies, and Pied Piper muzak, Cantwell’s piece goes on to suggest The Shining in a superstore, and based on creepy Shirley the store manager alone, I’m ready to buy everything he’s selling. Sophie Francois