Thee Comic Column #49: Collid…er… I mean Federal Bureau of Physics

image courtesy of comicsbeat

After waiting for most of July due to erroneously published release dates for Simon Oliver and Robbi Rodriguez’s Collider I finally had it in my box at the Comic Bug the last week of the month and whisked it home with fairly high expectations.

It did not disappoint.

It’s hard to see exactly where the story is going from the first issue – think of reading Ex Machina #1 the day it came out and having no idea the heights it was setting itself up to soar to – but that’s not what really got me excited by the book. What did get me excited is the world that Collider #1 established. And oh, what a wonderful world it is!

Now, in the interim the title of the book has been changed. Six days ago or so Vertigo and writer Simon Oliver announced and answered questions to the fact that they had been legally asked to stop using Collider as the title, as someone else apparently has artistic rights to that name (great info on it on comic book resources here). So the obvious choice was to rename the book after the arm of the government that oversees all physics related happenings or ‘events’ in this world where wormholes can pop in any old place, gravity can just up and stop working and the basic rules of reality that we have based most of human society on for hundreds of years actually turn out to be not quite as strict as we thought.

Or at least not anymore.

I think the name change will be a good thing for the book. Although Collider’s a great, concise name that carries a certain POP appeal to it, FDP is a little more assertive in describing the vibe of the book – it gives it a more identifiable persona on the shelves I think. When promos first began to run for the initial season of the X-Files, even if you didn’t know what the show was, you had a hint in the right direction and what kind of tone to expect. Same here I think, although in no way should the previous allusion be regarded as my attempt to cross-reference the two ideas as similar tonally. FDP – after only one issue so maybe this assessment is premature – is considerably more light-hearted than the X-Files, and this may be because in the world of Mulder and Scully everything their department dealt with was hidden, murky and conspiratorial. FDP on the other hand takes place in a world where the phenomenon so-far main characters FDP agent Adam Hardy,  his partner Jay and their direct overseer, the by-the-book Agent Cicero investigate have been acclimatized into public consciousness. This means that when a bunch of high school students are caught up in the middle of a localized gravity failure, they go with the flow and turn it into a fun and school-skipping experience rather than freak out as if they think it’s the end of the world. Because in the world of the Federal Bureau of Physics, it’s not the end of the world. It’s a bit of a run-of-the-mill occurrence. This even gives the book a bit of a blue-collar feeling, which is nice. However, balanced within this is the implication that, at this point in the story at least, daily occurrences or not it’s still a mystery is where all of these breaks in the laws of physics came from or where they may be leading consensual reality. What’s the big picture, and who knows information that they might not be telling everybody else? This is the set up of the book and it’s a fascinating one that will hopefully help add FDP to a Vertigo-line that parent imprint DC once again seems genuinely proactive in trying to bolster with more than the few books it publishes each month that are shoe-in’s and staples.

The comics world needs Vertigo – or at least I believe it’s better off when Vertigo is around – and Vertigo needs fresh blood. Here’s to hoping that FDP: Federal Bureau of Physics is part of a rejuvenated line that will bring us more and more outside-the-box titles for years to come.


Can’t find a comic shop? You can always use old reliable Comic Shop Locator at 1-800-COMIC-BOOK. Or you can take some of my recommendations. If you live in the greater Chicagoland area I recommend any of the wonderful four locations of Amazing Fantasy Books. In Los Angeles it’s The Comic Bug. Las Vegas it’s Alternate Reality Comics. San Francisco? Try the Isotope Comic Lounge and if you happen to venture a little further North I’d say you have to visit The Escapist Comic Book Store in Berkley (with the wonderful Dark Carnival Books next door and owned by the same folks). Read on!!!

Shawn C Baker

Shawn C Baker

Shawn lives in Los Angeles where he co-hosts Drinking w/ Comics, writes screenplays and fiction and has been known to drink quite a bit of beer. Good beer.

One Response to Thee Comic Column #49: Collid…er… I mean Federal Bureau of Physics
  1. […] first wrote about Federal Bureau of Physics back when the first issue landed. At that time the book ...

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