Cold Cut Distribution's Feature Spotlight #7 - April 1995
Publisher: Horse Press
Story & Art: Paul Pope
Cvr Price: $2.95 (48 pgs)
A few centuries from now, the planet Mars will have humans living on
it. But wherever we go, whenever we go, we bring our little quirks and
intrigues along with us.
THB is the story of H.R. Watson, daughter of a Mars industrial magnate
whose fortune comes from their famous Watson automatons, or robots. The
elder Watson has developed a top-secret automaton who dehydrates to the
size of a tablet. Add water, though, and PRESTO! A seven-foot tall purple
plastic bodyguard is at your beck and call.
Mr. Watson gives the prototype to his daughter as protection, then ends up
leaving her alone on a very dangerous weekend. When rival factions attack,
H.R. turns to "THB" (she names the bodyguard after his chemical formula:
Tri-Hydro-Bioxygeneo-something) for help, and the grand adventure begins,
taking us across the fascinating Martian landscape, both physical and
politcal, of the far future.
Paul writes a killer of a tale. He doesn't take time to explain the Mars of
the future; it simply unfolds itself in the telling as you get wonderful
glimpses, both brief and lingering, into future society. Realistic linguistic
drift and technological advances provide a neat grounding for science-
fictional intrigue. Really well-written in a complex, thorough fashion,
THB rewards repeated readings with layers of further depth and
Paul is the Sergio Aragones of alternative comics. He has Aragones' flair
and energy - you can tell he's drawing quickly, but completely, executing
lines and images as his mind's eye sees them and letting them pour
themselves onto the paper.
But his lines are thick and varying in heft, straight edges are nowhere to
be seen, and the whole book has a "stream of consciousness", almost Winsor
McKay feel which adds fuller meaning to some of the darker and more
THB will find a home with both science-fiction fans (try readers of
Wandering Star especially - both star a teenage girl in the future) and
alternative-comic fans who'll relate to Paul's quirky art and occasionally
inscrutable terms and phrases. THBhas real crossover potential and
should be a steady seller for months to come, even beyond this 8-issue
miniseries, as Paul will continue telling THB stories (including some from the
Japanese THB series he's doing for Kodansha) in his own Buzz Buzz
magazine starting in July.
If you like THB, take a look at:
Rose & Gunn
Publisher: Bishop Press
Story: Kevin Hill
Art: Scott Pentzer
Cover Price: $2.95
Frequency: Bi-monthly. "Sade Special" due in May.
Rose is the owner of a detective agency, a woman who likes to keep control
in her life and adventure in her veins. She works out to keep her body in
top physical condition, since her job is demanding - she goes in for the rough
stuff. Her right hand man is named Gunn, a southern man who's damn good
at what he does: tracking and planning. The two together make a formidable
team: he sets up the job and she executes it.
Currently, they're engaged in a government mystery - they've been hired
by the feds to find a girl who's been kidnapped and is being held for ransom.
But they're raising more questions than answers so far - who is the girl?
Why is she important to the President? And why were they hired?
Hill's writing is getting sharper with every issue from his self-publishing
company, Bishop Press. By issue 2 of R&G, the story is getting downright
intriguing, and the characters are never out of character or silly. Rose and
Gunn both have a job to do - and Hill paints that picture very well. This
may not be a revolutionary series for storytrelling, but it's a solid
action-adventure-mystery storyline, with lots of violence (for those into
the gore thing).
Pentzer's art is competent and solid. Frankly, I prefer his self-pencilled
cover to #1 over the cover to #2, which was pencilled by Daerick Gross,
which should tell you something. He's still learning about some of the odd
angles he employs, but overall his work is well done - backgrounds are full,
shading is realistic, and he draws and expresses action scenes as well as
anyone I've seen - which is lucky for the book, since at least one fight
happens every issue. The difference in this book is that even the fights are
fairly interesting - we get to see some innovative (and perhaps impossible?)
kicks and moves.
This book has real potential for a number of reasons. For one, its
intriguing storyline captures the imagination after the second issue, when
many clues appear, but no solutions seem evident. There's no better hook
into a third issue. The art is not only well-done, but features one of the
few realistically-muscled women in comics, a refreshing change from
inexplicably strong willowy superheroines.
But collectors take note: the backup stories in both issues are the first
appearances of Sade, a character who has her own Special coming out in
May, which guest stars Razor, the London Night superstar. That will only
ignite interest in this other intriguing "bad girl" comic star.
In her first two appearances in backups in R&G, not much is told of
Sade beyond the fact that she's some sort of assassin, and she's into body
mutilation. Her own, not her victims'. But her stories are told with flair
(though a bit melodramatic for my taste) and mystery and are sure to
intrigue your readers who are into "bad girls" and gore.
Mature Readers Alert: Naked breasts, explicit oral sex, and gore in issue 1. Issue 2 is clean, beyond extreme violence(!)
If you like Rose & Gunn, take a look at:
Cold Cut Distribution
220 N Main St. - Salinas, CA 93901 - (831) 751-7300