I’ve been waiting for some new Paul Pope work.
Sure, there have been covers, short stories and the other whatnots in the comic book industry, but what I would really like to see is something a bit longer-form. I’m curious to see what comes next from the writer/illustrator and acclaimed Eisner Award winner of Batman: Year 100, the sci-fi Heavy Liquid, 100% and the absolutely amazing Adam Strange weekly serial that ran within the pages of Wednesday Comics, published a few years ago.
All of these works (available in smart hardcover compilations, too) point to new directions from a beloved creator of sequential art. But even with today’s release of The One Trick Rip-Off + Deep Cuts, we’ll all still be waiting for that new material (his Battling Boy is on the way, we’re promised). You see, today’s release compiles work from the 1990’s – early stuff in Pope’s career.
But to see where an artist is going, you need to see where an artist come from.
Paul Pope’s visually style will evoke the remembrance of beloved artists such as Alex Toth, Jack Kirby and maybe even a little Joe Kubert. That’s high praise indeed. But his flowing and evocative line work has got a bit of a grungy appeal to it too. It’s a bit punk rock – and maybe that feeling stems from his subject matter: down and out protagonists, scratching for a living.
Originally serialized in Dark Horse Presents in 1995-1996, The One Trick Rip-Off tells the Romeo and Juliet-esque story of Tubby and Vim, attempting to shed their lot in life by ripping off the toughest street hang in Los Angeles, all pals of Tubby. It’s West Side Story meets Trainspotting. Boiled down, it’s a classic heist tale, but completely removed from your normal tropes and interjected with rock ‘n’ roll styling.
This particular compilation also includes over 150 pages of new, rare and never before seen work by Pope – a section that makes up the “Deep Cuts” portion of the hardcover. The work is diverse and experimental. Hell, there are illustrations here of Rimbaud’s poetry, nods to Greek tragedy and tips of the hat to Japanese manga aesthetic! It’s a collection of where the young visual storyteller was at the beginning of his career and it would point to those works that would come later.
So make the run today and pick up Paul Pope’s The One Trick Rip-Off + Deep Cuts hardcover compilation. Sequential art has never rocked so hard.
Every Wednesday, JP makes the after-work run to his local downtown comic book shop. Comics arrive on Wednesdays you see and JP, fearful that the latest issue will sell out, rushes out to purchase his copy. This regular, weekly column will highlight a particularly interesting release, written in short order, of course, because JP has to get his – before someone else does!