Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Popgun Bullets: Popgun Volume One - Part One, The first fifty pages

There are a number of reasons I decided to go back and post about popgun volume one. Some of them I will post when November is over, but some of them are: I thought of a clever title, I did volume two, and if/when a volume three is released i will do that as well, so I figured I should do the first one as well. Mostly it was the clever title thing. I am a sucker for naming things as though they are a long running feature. I plan to go and retroactively change the old posts to match this naming convention.

Any mention from me of popgun has to start with my standard comment. All the hype for the popgun line focuses on this idea that it is a 'graphic mixtape' and that somehow it is bringing together comics and music in anthology form, in a way that just has never been thought of before. It strikes me as a bit pompous and based in a sort of denial. Reading the blurb at the back of the book by Joe Keatinge takes a little of the fire out of my belly on that, as he seems really sincere. I had read little bits in the press that made it sound like it was a grand experiment for people that didn't read comics, rather than what it is, which is a fairly straight forward, seemingly theme free anthology. To me, None of that matters. If you give me an anthology filled with really awesome stuff cover to cover, then I don't need a theme or any coaxing to like it.

  • The Allred cover is beautiful and brilliant. It features Frank Einstein in the middle, and bits from the comics in the volume are all over the room he is in.
  • We get part of a Joe Flood spread that starts in the front of the book and finishes on the inside back cover. I LOVE this guy's art. Everything I have seen from him is amazing and makes me want to own a print of it. It doesn't hurt that he seems to be just the nicest guy you could want to meet. This page has a character from the first story that appears in most of the pieces done for the book design by a variety of artists. It looks like a vampire themed tele tubby sort of.
  • Two, two page pieces by Barnaby Ward follow. Both are beautiful, and they work nicely one after the other. The first is a girl reading in an attic and wearing headphones done in muted tones, the second is a similar looking girl in space with pinks and blue and orange. The helmet to her space suit appears to be made out of giant headphones. It's a nice effect.
  • The next page we get after the table of contents is another Barnaby Ward piece. I will need to look him up when I am done typing this. I really like what is here. This one is a full page girl standing up and apparently poking Felix the cat in the eye. really nice picture.
  • p11 - Your Hand In Mine, Carlos Lerma - The art here is pretty beautiful. The story seems to be taking place in the imagination of a young cancer patient who is being taken off of life support. It's nearly wordless, and really nicely done.
  • p18 Me And The Cat Own The Lease On The Flat, Jamie S. Rich & Joelle Jones - This is a joint custody after a contentious break-up story. The kid in this case is a female cat named Jake. I like this piece, although the bad blood that is portrayed in it makes me sort of uneasy. I think that is a sign that it is pretty well written. The art is expressive and works well.
  • p23 Codename Colonel Kursk, Toby Cypress - I LOVE the style of art here. It's really cool. Unfortunately, while I can't say i don't appreciate what looks like the end of an action movie, I am not sure what the point of this is. I think it could be (and who knows, maybe is) a piece out of something fairly awesome, but It doesn't seem to be something that is complete.
  • p29 Manhunt In The Obsidian Hills Of Mars: A Futari Tale, Nick Derington - This is another piece like the one before it. First, it seems to have a title longer than the work itself, but that isn't the problem. This piece also has very solid art. It looks like something I would like, but it feels like a snippet. It's like watching trailers rather than getting complete short works.
  • p35 Frank Einstein In For The Record, Mike Allred. I like Allred, I like Madman. This is a nice little story. In it we get a sort of origin, as well as a story about Frank trying to get a special order from a record store. I don't know if this story was previously published, but it was fairly old when the anthology came out. That doesn't hurt anything, just mentioning it.
  • p43 The New Brighton Archaeological Society, Mark Andrew Smith & Matthew Weldon - I like the style here. I am not sure I love that there are three different installments of this throughout the anthology. So far it reads good and the art is great. I like Smith's writing a lot, and Matthew Weldon is a terrific artist. I'll have more opinions on the whole thing when I get to the last part.
I am going to stop here at page 50. I may or may not do larger chunks as I continue on with this.

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