Pope's work is full of frantic, almost desperate energy. His art seems driven, and the essays in this book (I was surprised by the amount of text, but not unpleasantly, as it turned out) enhance this feeling. The book paints a picture of an artist with a great deal of passion for his work, and also a deeply thoughtful, philosophic side, and a strong respect for the history of his chosen art.
The pictures are often raw-edged, a few of them appear to have been lifted from sketchbooks or diaries, sometimes with blocks of handwritten (and not always legible) text running off the edge of the page, or stamped with rubber stamps in Japanese ("Paul Pope" "Comics Destroyer" and so on). It is deliberate, of course, and it seems right that way. Each picture is full of texture and detail, and rewards a careful viewing.
Don't just look at the pretty pictures, though. The book contains several autobiographical essays that are worth the price of admission by themselves. Pope talks about his inspirations and methods, discusses his thinking during the creation of some of the pieces in the book, and such topics as pornography as it relates to art and erotica. (Note to the prudish, a few of the pictures in this book are quite explicit. Although there are no sex acts shown, Pope is very frank about his appreciation for sex as a source of passion and inspiration, and he doesn't shy away from portraying all parts of human anatomy.) Reading the essays enhanced my appreciation for the art significantly.
It's a fine book, especially if you like Paul Pope's style. Recommended.
all in all a very cool book. being relatively new to pope (first through heavy liquid and batman 100, the best bat thing ever!) i find the book a very good intro to him, his ideas and thought process. he really seems to be on the path of re-creating / re-defining the "comic". the different essays throughout go from open self effacement to sadly comedic in his dealings with poss. employers and his tenure in japan. his knowledge of art history and his own desire to be a leader in his chosen area is very evident and well deserved.
For being an artist's opus, i would have actually preferred a bit more art (the first and usu. obvious complaint any art geek would say regardless the amount given), there too is none of the Bat 100 art here, prob. for rights reasons, fair enough. Alot of the stuff here is blown to full bleed, possibly unnecessarily so, but if one sits and meditates on those pages you begin to see something, his art does seep in and soak a bit... one cannot argue with the overall design in any way, alot of the newer art books (ash wood's stuff, james jean's) push the boundaries of the medium and give the fan what they want, possibly b/c they are fans themselves and are giving what they want from those they admire.
this one is going on the shelf between Malicious Resplendence and Lowlife Paradise...
I've been a fan of Paul Pope since reading his THB series years ago. There's one thing that really stands out about his work--the lines seem almost imbued with a sense of energy. You can almost see the inked lines jump and move on the page, and this give Pope's works a sense of being alive. The works in this collection don't disappoint. You'll be drawn into every page as you flip through the book. Another thing that some people may overlook is that Pope is an excellent writer. This book contains several essays about his work and himself. Pope writes about as good as he draws, so it is difficult to put down the book once you start reading. I highly recommend this book.
A few warnings though: if you became a fan of Pope through his mainstream comic work, there is none of it in this book. There is a bit of THB featured (not as much as I would have liked), but most of the book consists of his private projects and illustration work. Another warning is that if you find erotic illustrations offensive, be warned that this book includes a few.
Pulphope is the title of the book, which is actually printed inside page 1. Oh, and there's different variation of the book cover also.
Pulphope is actually a collection of freelance comics, illustrations and essays from Paul Pope. His comic strokes and inking are very unique, and sometimes chaotic. Do note that there are some explicit nudity in the book.
You can check out more of his art on his blog, which is also named Pulphope.
The gem of the book is probably the essays. Written in first person, Paul Pope talks about his life and career. Every piece talks about a particular subject. For example, one will talk about his preferred workflow, which is to work non-stop for three days except to eat and sleep, then take a day off. Another piece will be about the first time he saw manga and the influence it had on his work. There are a few essays scattered throughout the book that makes for interesting read.
This book should easily appeal to Paul Pope fans.
(More pictures are available on my blog. Just visit my Amazon profile for the link.)
All Hail The Comic Destroyer!2008/10/1
Having this book out where it can be seen will likely get you laid by people way better looking than you are.