Friday conundrum

Here’s a thinker. This piece by Tom Spurgeon on DC’s refusal to allow a Batman story by Paul Pope to be included in the next Best American Comics anthology from Hougton Mifflin has two competing effects. On the one hand, it makes me want to read Pope’s Batman: Year 100. On the other hand, it makes me not want to give any money to DC because… well, because that’s really dumb. I mean, people were complaining about how narrow the focus of last year’s Best American Comics anthology was, and here’s a gift-wrapped opportunity to partially reverse that while showing that DC can produce interesting, innovative stuff, even with one of its cornerstone trademarked properties, and they not only decline, they take forever to do so. Oh, work-for-hire… you’re not having a good week, are you?

So can anyone recommend some Paul Pope books that won’t involve giving any money to DC?

6 Responses to Friday conundrum

  1. John Jakala says:

    Hmm, if you don’t want to give money to DC, you may be out of luck at the moment. DC/Vertigo published two of his most recent series, 100% and Heavy Liquid.

    Other than that, I don’t think there’s much of his work available collected and in print. First Second is supposed to collect his original breakout hit THB starting sometime next year, and he’s also doing a new series for them called Battling Boy, which was originally supposed to come out in 2007 and then 2008 but I was unable to find a listing for it on Amazon. I wouldn’t be surprised to see both projects significantly delayed.

    So it may be some time before you can treat yourself to some Paul Pope comics.

  2. John Jakala says:

    Oh, and that was pretty lousy the way DC’s dragging their feet resulted in Pope’s not being included in the book at all.

  3. Kent says:

    You could try the library?

  4. davidpwelsh says:

    Good suggestion, Kent. The local library is slowly but surely building up that part of its holdings, so one never knows. (I mean, they screened the Mushishi anime last month. Anything can happen.)

    I guess I could make an exception, since the Vertigo stuff is creator-owned. (Isn’t it?)

  5. Huff says:

    Like John said, THB is being re-published by First Second sometime this year, and that’s the best starting point. Pope’s work has always been flawed, as he never seems to be able to make the nuts-and-bolts of his work match his ambition, but his imagination and creativity is so astounding that its easy to forgive whatever missteps are made.
    I’d still say buy Year 100 though, since by boycotting it your hurting Pope a lot more than your hurting DC.

  6. Joe Williams says:

    I’d try to track down the jumbo size one-man anthology books he did which tended to feature essays, short stories, etc. I forget the names of them but I particularly liked the one that contained the aborted “Smoke Navigator” story. Also, I can’t remember for sure but it seems like maybe Dark Horse or Oni or somebody put out a book or two of his before he really got going with DC- Escapo being one (which is an expanded and revised story from one of those self-anthologies I mentioned) but also The One Trick Rip Off.

    Huff makes great points, by the way. But in a way, that’s what I like about Pope- while so many were content to just do slightly better version of something someone else did, he seemed to always be looking away from comics to bring something new even as he acknowledged and flaunted being influenced by Kirby, Toth, Pratt, and others. A artist’s reach should exceed his grasp…

%d bloggers like this: