POP #1 Review
By: Rob Neil Gruszecki
Superstardom is manufactured. Fame is created on an assembly line. The stars we worship are nothing more than player pianos built by corporations implanting ‘to satisfy’ as the primary directive. Elle is a pop star and she has broken out of the factory, looking for a real life.
Your body isn’t a temple. It’s a roach motel
POP is a new four issue mini-series from Curt Pires (LP, Theremin) and Jason Copland (Kill All Monsters) that dissects the culture of mass production, globalization and star worship. In a cynical examination of popularity and chart-topping sensations, POP builds a world where the punks were right all along and Bieber was literally conceived, blueprinted and shaped like a piece of Ikea furniture. An interesting and unique conceit that explodes into a story of identity, discovery, survival and commercial cruelty, POP is a clever and bitter look at our own obsessions and adorations.
Spike Vandall, Coop and Elle Ray round out a diverse and compelling cast of characters in the first issue of the series from Dark Horse comics and their individual motives and struggles are all equally dire and exciting. Spike, a builder of product, is fueled by rage and a race to find his lost creation. Coop, a man with nothing to live for, has a reason to keep breathing literally fall into his arms. Elle Ray, a designer star, has a deep seeded fear of her nature that keeps her running. All the while a pair of twisted hitmen track down lost investments and even in their brief spot in the book manage to establish a very fleshed out personality and formidability. The first issue of POP does a great job establishing its ensemble and makes each an individually substantial cog in the machine.
POP is a fantastic looking book. Many of the pages have complex and intricate layouts that keep the storytelling fluid and interesting. Copland’s pacing and organization is phenomenal and from page one you are hooked to his visual style. His noir pencils are dark, broody, contemplative and beautiful. Pete Toms’ colours do a spectacular job lightening up the issue as well with his vibrant colours and bright palate. Both artists compliment each other’s strengths very well and make for a striking and adept visual dystopia.
Pires is a talented writer whose career I have followed since his first published work with LP and his work continues to get better with each subsequent project. The social commentary and slick tone of POP broadcasts Pires’ skills as a creator and together with the artistic chops of Jason Copland, has culminated to produce a great first issue with POP #1.
Rob Neil Gruszecki is a writer, musician and Wednesday warrior
Follow him on Twitter @Ghost_Factory
Listen to his music www.Ghostfactory.bandcamp.com, read his comic series with Shae Frank, www.wildrosecounty.com or follow the Weekly Comics Round-Up Podcast www.Geekstampede.com