Written by James Ferguson
Published on Sunday, 16 December 2012 17:13
Artist Paul Pope has a unique style that's incredibly fun to read. While he's currently a world-renowned artist, he had trouble finding his niche early on. It wasn't in mainstream or underground comics, nor was it in Japan during his stint as a manga-ka. Eventually he landed back in American comics and we're all better off because of it. Some of Pope's early work is now being collected in a 288-page hardcover by Image Comics.
The One Trick Rip-Off / Deep Cuts includes...well, both of those stories. The hardcover will also have an introduction by Comic Book Legal Defense Fund's Charles Brownstein. There will also be a limited signed-and-numbered edition available.
The first half of the collection is "The One Trick Rip-Off" which was originally serialized in Dark Horse Presents in 1995-1996. The comic is set in Los Angeles with gangs such as The Paid-in-Spades, The Moolah Muthas, and The One Tricks battling for dominance over each other and within their ranks. Tubby and Vim are in love and want to get out of the gang warfare but that's all they know. They've got one shot and that's to steal from thieves. If they fail, it's over. It's sort of a '90s version of West Side Story with artwork that looks like it's from Faster Pussycat Kill Kill.
|Click image to enlarge
"I would say in retrospect, the work in this book is strong," Pope said. "It is early and rough in places, but I was young and I was ambitious. It is good to be generous to your early work as an artist since it is the path which leads you to where you eventually arrive. There is no nihilism in art. The only fault is in stopping."
The latter half of the collection features "Deep Cuts," an experimental set of short comics featuring "illustrations of Rimbaud's poetry, ancient Greek tragedy, manga about curry-eating, troublemaking teenage girls, and paeans to love and sensuality and city life." These stories were originally created between 1993 and 2001, a time where Pope was traveled from Columbus to Toronto to Japan and then to New York City.
"These are the early steps of an artist struggling and striving to be better and to be accomplished," said Pope of his early work. "I hope people enjoy this work. It is aggressive and it is punk rock, and that never goes out of style."
Both the regular hardcover edition and the limited signed-and-numbered version of The One Trick Rip-Off & Deep Cuts will be in stores on January 16th, 2013.
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