Paul Pope brings a quiet, old-school sensibility to noisy, postmodern comics with Heavy Liquid
. This graphic novel, set in the late 21st century, focuses on all the classic elements of detective and adventure stories: lost love, mysterious clients, a package everyone wants, and a tired, barely willing protagonist. The narrative details--such as the eponymous liquid, which is part munition, part drug, and much stranger than any character imagines--are calculated to foil the reader's assumptions, and the expressionistic artwork blends simple colors with bold lines to draw the eyes onward. It seems safe to say that cyberpunk's not dead. --Rob Lightner
From Publishers Weekly
A singular figure on the comics scene, Pope (One Trick Rip-off) is the rare comics artist who can move between the opposing worlds of self-published, underground comix and mainstream, commercial comics, always producing personal works of imagination with extraordinary graphic skill. Set in a moodily rendered New York and Paris about the year 2075, Heavy Liquid is an urban love story transformed by science fiction into a bracing, futuristic international crime thriller. It's the story of "S," a former drug agent turned private investigator and petty criminal. He's addicted to heavy liquid, a mysterious hallucinatory substance sought after by different characters for its various properties. A mysterious and wealthy art collector wants it to be cast in a work of art; a gang of ruthless masked gunmen know that it can be used as an efficient, powerful explosive; and an equally hard-nosed government agency knows its shrouded origin and wants the stuff out of circulation. But S's use of heavy liquid (he cooks it up like heroin and puts drops in his ear) produces an effect far beyond its mind-bending high: it seems to produce a powerful, shadow life-form that inhabits his mind and body or is it just a delusional by-product of heavy liquid's potent high? Pope has embellished his stylish love story with heart-stopping action and adventure. But he has also produced a moody fictional essay of urban culture and its organic, pervasive amalgamation with technology. Pope's drawing and page design (the book is printed in three eerily manipulated colors) is both technically assured and wonderfully expressive.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
From School Library Journal
Adult/High School-Heavy liquid is a mysterious substance worth a lot of money and subterfuge. It can be used to create art, in the form of sculpture, and physical ecstasy, when dribbled into the ear canal. The story of how one slightly futuristic urban warrior must play hide-and-seek with bad guys and law keepers while maintaining his own lifestyle and worrying about ex-friends unfolds in mostly peach and blue color-washed panels, with occasional pages hued red to highlight moments of impending disaster. The story is neatly complex and fast paced, the drawings angular and moody, in perfect keeping with the apparent properties of the title element. Both men and women have important and active roles in the tale's unfolding. Violence is present but handled with literary artistry rather than superhero bluntness. The subplots are germane and compelling, making this a true novel rather than an extended short story. This has the potential to attract a large audience, including serious readers, science-fiction buffs, artists, and would-be graphic novelists.
Francisca Goldsmith, Berkeley Public Library, CA
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
"* "An exciting new visual experience that you have to scramble to keep up with." - Time Magazine * "A moody fictional essay of urban culture." - Publishers Weekly"
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About the Author
Paul Pope is an Eisner Award-winning writer and artist, with influences as diverse as Edgar Rice Burroughs and Jack Kirby. He began his career as a manga illustrator, where he developed his popular adventures THB about a teenage girl from Mars. Pope then went on to create 100 per cent - a cyberpunk tale that follows the lives of six people in New York over the course of one day. He is currently working on two original graphic novels called Battling Boy and La Chica Bionica.
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