I just finished reading a beautiful hardbound copy of Paul Pope’s “The One Trick Rip-Off and Deep Cuts.”
These fantastic stories weren’t my first dip into the Pope pool, but they cemented a few things I already knew about him.
Pope is like Miles David or Bird Parker. Back in those sweaty Harlem nights, sharing the same suit, breaking barriers in music. His ink is as fluid as bop jazz, as cool as the Bitches Brew, touching and re-touching on themes and variations with mystic digressions.
His story telling, his panels, are something we’d see from the love child of Fellini and Lynch.
He’s not a comic maker, artist, or writer. He said it himself. He’s a destroyer. He tears down the medium, breaks the melody, and rebuilds it like Chet Baker and The Monk doing “‘Round Midnight” or the drum solo from “Take Five.”
See, when you read his stories you can feel yourself swept along with his brush strokes, his grasp of expressions. He’ll carry you along like Mingus through the “Black Saint and the Sinner Lady.” Leading you along, nudging you, surprising you, but never allowing you to get lost.
Pope is a true independent creator (Destroyer). He tells what he wants and executes his vision in a way that feels personal and intimate- like you’re listening to him tell the story while watching a home movie of it.
Paul Pope is one of those in the comic world that people, pro and the upcoming and the wishful thinkers, should study and learn from.
You have the late Kubert and Giraud. Then Pope. The kings are dead.
Long live the king.