01 February 2006

Creator: Paul Pope

Wired profiles graphic novelist Paul Pope, who is the creative force behind the new Batman: Year 100 series. It's been a long time since I collected comics, but I've certainly spent many hundreds of hours of my life in the company of the Dark Knight, in all his narrative reinterpretations.

Because I've been away from comics for a long time, I don't know Pope's work. From the pictures included in the Wired piece, it may not be entirely my cup of tea. But already I like the guy, because he has style, he works hard, he's been uncompromising in putting forward his own vision, and especially because he's got tons and tons of ideas that he's busy turning into reality.
Since moving to New York in 1998, Pope has created four acclaimed graphic novels. There's Heavy Liquid and 100%, published under DC's hardcore Vertigo imprint. Their continued popularity keep Pope's name in the spotlight. And there's Escapo and THB (for "tri-hydro-bioxygenate," the chemical name for Pope's fictional purple biomechanical security guard), more personal works that he says he's especially proud of; they were released on a smaller scale through Horse Press, a publishing venture he started back in Ohio at age 21. The THB series, which New York publisher Henry Holt has expressed an interest in buying, could wind up being one of the world's longest comic books. At a projected 2,000-plus pages, the tome is his magnum opus - what he calls "my Dune." Pope expects to work on the serialized book, a romantic epic set on a terraformed Mars, for the rest of his career. He releases THB in driblets and is nearly halfway done.

He's also venturing beyond the gray pulp of the comic book. This summer, AdHouse Books will debut a coffee-table collection of his erotica. That'll be followed a year or so later by Henry Holt's release of his first kids' series, Battling Boy. The two-book, 400-page fairy tale revolves around a young hero who faces off against various demons in the city of Monstropolis.

The mix of projects . . . the huge magnum opus pulsing in the background . . . the mix of mainstream and underground art . . . the different genres--even if his work isn't to my personal taste, his mode of creation is an inspiration.


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