Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Paul Pope

H.R. Watson from Paul Pope's THB
Cerebus #210 (September 1996)
Art by Dave Sim & Gerhard
(from the introduction to Paul Pope's The One Trick Rip-Off, Image, 2013)
...[Paul] Pope popped into comics young, hungry, and nearly fully-formed. In 1992, at the age of 22, he self-published his debut graphic novel Sin Titulo, and followed up early the next year with The Ballad Of Dr. Richardson. Those books were both romances, heavily influenced by European comics. They address the emotional borderlands between youth and adulthood, education and experience, navigated by people entering their twenties. Both were strange apparitions in the early '90s American comics field, where the Death Of Superman and the birth of Image Comics defined the mainstream, and where Dave Sim's multi-layered fantasy influenced epic, Cerebus, and Los Bros Hernadez's literary, magical realist melodrama, Love & Rockets, epitomised the alternative. Pope's concerns didn't intersect with either camp. "You could choose to be indie/underground or mainstream," Pope recalls. "I wasn't with that. I felt, outside of the obvious options, there wasn't a lot of room for a unique voice"...

...Pope was developing his break-out work, THB, which would drop forcefully into comic book stores in 1994. THB arrived as apart of the self-publishing movement spearheaded by Dave Sim and proteges Jeff Smith, Colleen Doran, Martin Wagner and James Owen that set the stage for a wide variety of creators, including Pope, to introduce their own periodical comics into the comic book specialty market. Pope's entry was unusual even by the standards of creative diversity that were being set by Sim and his compatriots. THB was a science fiction series set on Mars that explored the adventures of teenage heiress H.R. Watson. The setting gave Pope a massive canvas for world-building where he could freely mesh influences ranging from comics to pulp fiction to economics in a holistic and adventurous way...

Paul Pope is the award winning writer/artist of Batman: Year 100, THB, Heavy Liquid, 100% and Battling Boy. Charles Brownstein is the Executive Director of the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, a non-profit organisation protecting the First Amendment rights of the comics field.

1 comment:

Jeff Seiler said...

I wonder, has anyone ever put together an exhaustive list of all of the comic book characters (not to mention politicians, writers, economists [if any], and cultural figures) that Dave Sim spoofed, satirized or otherwise gave a nod to in the pages of Cerebus. For instance, this was the very first time that I knew that the girl who strips behind Mizzus Snatcher was based on a comic book character, or whose character it was. Some are over the top obvious, but I wonder if there were other subtle, or subtler, ones that I also missed. Margaret, do you have such a list at