Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Writer(s): Curt Pires
Artist(s): Jason Copland
Release Date: 27th August 2014
If you are a fan at all of satire comics then I strongly suggest checking this new title up from Dark Horse that revels in taking a different look at all the pop icons of our time. POP takes us behind the scenes of the pop culture world where our icons are created and grown in a lab, not born and discovered. In all honesty, sometimes it’s easier to believe that some icons were grown in a lab because sometimes, it just doesn’t make sense the things that they do.
POP opens up with the agent sleaze ball Spike Vandall giving a group of investors a tour of their Pop-making facility. The facility is very mechanical and brings to mind the birthing chamber from The Matrix movies. Upon making it to the investors’ icons’ womb they discover that Elle Ray has escaped!
Jason Copland’s artwork along with Pete Tom’s colors fit this story perfectly. The style Copland uses and the colors that Toms chooses give this a very Pop art feel.
Curt Pires has chosen a subject matter that I think any reader can come into and appreciate. I mean, who hasn’t at some point wondered if some of the pop icons of our time weren’t created in a lab, as ‘out there’ as they can be sometimes? Pires also does a fantastic job of dropping pop culture references throughout the issue. There is a scene in the lab where Spike mentions different pop stars by first name only, making it more than obvious who he is referring too. Also there is a scene that to me I could picture Samuel L. Jackson standing side by side with John Travolta in Pulp Fiction,where the other two characters were standing. I think this is a brilliantly done satire with engaging smart dialogue and pop culture references that just add to the overall joy of reading this comic.
Pop stars are not like us, they are not regular human beings. They have been genetically created by scientists to enslave our minds with over-saturated music and whiny teenage heart-throbs. How else can Miley Cyrus twerk like a slinky? Or Will.i.am sound more a-tonal than Schwarzenegger’s Terminator? An Auto-tune? More like genetic flaws seeping out of their voices. We have to spread this to the masses, everyone must know what science is doing to our music. Luckily we now have a comic which does that for us.
POP is a commentary on today’s pop culture as being products of the music industry, reducing music to as little creative personality as “If You’re Happy And You Know It…” In fact, I’m pretty sure those words have been used in a pop song before…
Curt Pires exaggerates celebrity lifestyle by creating a world where pop stars have been genetically created to be the next musical sensation in pop culture. And once this cash cow has been milked of all consumer interest they are sent to the slaughter house so the farm can grow more cows.
At the centre of the story is Elle Ray, their latest creation who somehow manages to break free from her incubator and escapes the secret facility. She is taken in by Coop, a man who is searching for a new hope that can make his life seem worthwhile again, both he and Elle find themselves being hunted down before she manages exposes the truth and destroys the music/cow business.
There’s an interesting colour pallet throughout the first issue using a lot of hot pinks and yellows across the landscape. This unusual mix illustrates how Pop music has become very stale and watered down, and all the bright glamorous colours of pop culture overshadows the real world and shows that this culture is painted on the background of society. A very effective, and creative, visual decision.
There one particularly powerful panel of a green forest and blue lake blocked by a single corporate billionaire who keeps us from reaching paradise. This can also been seen from Coop’s character as he had previously contemplated suicide before running into Elle. While we don’t know much about his past, for now it implants the idea that this world is deprived of all hope and not worth living in.
As the first issue of this new series it has a lot of potential with a good story and characters to flesh out. I’m interested to see what will happen to Elle and if she is even fully aware of what’s going on. We still don’t full know how these pop stars are being created, which opens up the story to interesting possibilities and characterisation.
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