After a few years below the radar, Paul Pope is poised to be big news in 2013. It’s rumored that the first part of his long-brewing epic BATTLING BOY will finally come out in 2013, and for sure he has a collection coming out from Image in January. THE ONE TRICK RIP-OFF/DEEP CUTS is a 288-page hardcover collection of Pope’s early self-published work.
The first half of the collection is the story “The One Trick Rip-Off” that was originally serialized in Dark Horse Presents in 1995-1996. In a heat-drenched Los Angeles, gangs with names like “The Paid-in-Spades,” “The Moolah Muthas” and, of course, “The One Tricks” battle for dominance with each other — and within their ranks. Tubby and Vim are in love and want escape, but they only way they know how is what they’ve learned in their world. So they set themselves up to be thieves stealing from thieves. And if they fail, it’s the end. A ‘nineties West Side Story, with a touch of the surreal and supernatural, “The One Trick Rip-Off” represents, to Pope, a portrait of sorts of himself as a young artist. ”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 “Deep Cuts” half of the collection is a remarkably diverse, probing, and experimental set of short comics. There are illustrations of Rimbaud’s poetry and ancient Greek tragedy; manga about curry-eating, troublemaking teenage girls; and paeans to love and sensuality and city life. These stories were created between 1993 and 2001, a period that took Pope from Columbus to Toronto to Tokyo and finally 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.”
A special signed edition of the book will also be released. The regular book goes for $29.99, while the special edition will run you $75.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.