Thursday, March 11, 2010


by Paul Pope

I can't believe I waited until now to read Pope's fantastic science-fiction series 100%. This is an amazing graphic novel. It doesn't have much in the way of a central plot, being similar to movies like Magnolia in its rambling way of giving us a window into the lives of a few interconnected characters, albeit in a futuristic New York City.

Strel is a single mother and the dance manager at the Catshack. She hooks up her roommate (who purchases a gun to reduce her fear of living in the city) with her cousin Eloy, an installation artist who is working on a project involving 100 tea kettles tuned to the note 'C'. Meanwhile, John, the busboy at the Catshack, hooks up with Daisy, a new dancer at the club who has an inability to stay in one place for long. Haitous, a boxer, is working to get his family back. All of these characters interconnect and collide frequently through the course of the book.

Pope has set this book, which is basically a romance comic, in a strange new future. The dancers that work for Strel dance in a Gastro-tube; a suite of imaging technology that displays their inner workings in the form of a large hologram overhead. It takes stripping to a new level when the audience can see the acid bubbling in the dancer's stomach. Strangely, the same technology is applied to Haitous's fights, which in my mind, makes a comment about the erotic nature of sports such as boxing and wrestling, and the voyeurs who watch them.

Of course, one reads a Paul Pope comic for his incredible art more than his accomplished writing. His work in this book looks incredible, with its thick lines and free use of ink. The best sequence (and there are more than a few really good ones) is when John and Daisy have their first date in a four-dee booth, which appears to be a room like a holosuite or Danger Room. Suddenly the two characters are having drinks on top of a satellite in space, and then on a desert plain surrounded by stampeding ostrich-like creatures. It's a stunning few pages.

Definitely time to read Heavy Liquid....

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