Paul Pope’s Best Comics

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Paul Pope is a comic book writer like no other. He’s a writer who can push pre-established stories and characters in exciting new directions. As seen with its various well-known and lesser-known titles like Heavy Liquid, Batman: Year 100and 100%Pope is an incredibly original and talented comic book writer, writing award-winning, fast-paced, and often surreal stories that comic books have never before imagined.

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Looking at his past bibliography so far, Pope’s body of work and art style seems almost like that of a freelance comic book writer. He’s experimental, has unorthodox artistic preferences, and has many comics that aren’t widely known to comic book fans. However, reading his diverse stories over the years, it’s easy to see why Pope remains such a critically acclaimed talent in his field, presenting stories and comics unlike any other.

9 Batman: 100 years


batman-year-100

Arguably, Paul Pope’s most famous story is also one of the most famous modern Batman comics there is. In this four-issue miniseries, Pope imagines a dystopian version of Gotham City set in the near future, with the police on a constant manhunt in pursuit of the city’s famous Dark Knight. Gotham City has a few fascist alternate worlds, but Pope’s remains one of the most genuinely frightening.

Although the story is populated by characters that comic book fans will recognize, Pope set out to create his own distinct, nightmarish version of Gotham City and Batman. In the past, Pope has said of the story, “I wanted to present a new take on Batman, who is undoubtedly a mythical figure in our pop psyche. My Batman isn’t just science fiction; he’s also a very physical superhero: he bleeds, he sweats, he eats, he’s someone born in a global police state, someone with David Beckham’s body, Tesla’s brain and wealth. by Howard Hughes… posing as Nosferatu.

8 “Berlin Batman”


Image of Paul Pope's Batman of Berlin

In 1998, almost 10 years before he wrote Batman: 100 yearsPope delivered another Batman story that most readers may not be very familiar with, titled “Berlin Batman.”

Part of the DC Elseworlds line set in alternate realities, “Berlin Batman” imagines a Germanic version of Batman operating in Berlin during the final days of the Weimar Republic, shortly before the Nazis took over the country. . Looking at Pope’s story here, it’s easy to see some slight hints of the directions he wanted to push Batman in, including an overarching theme of the Caped Crusader in a corrupt police state. There have been plenty of memorable Elseworld comics by DC, but this is by far one of the most underrated.


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seven heavy liquid


Still from Paul Pope's Heavy Liquid

One of Pope’s best-known comics came in the late 90s with the Pope series, heavy liquid, a sci-fi story exploring both drugs and art in a weird and futuristic take on New York City.

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heavy liquid follows a private detective known only as “S”, who specializes in locating people and objects. Eventually, S comes across a substance known as “heavy liquid”, which acts as both a drug and a powerful artistic tool. In a journey that takes S from New York to Paris, Pope portrays the dangers of addiction and high art in this highly creative and dystopian sci-fi neo-noir story.


6 100%


Picture of Paul Pope 100%

Pope has many thematic and genre interests that he constantly explores in his work, including the depiction of complex and nuanced characters within the framework of a genre story. Here, he is fully invested in the intertwining story of six individuals who fall in love in a futuristic, sci-fi version of 2038 New York.

In many ways, 100% is the Pope who comes closest to writing a strictly romantic story, though it’s also replete with his many other interests as a writer (it’s set in the genre of science fiction and has a dystopian setting, but focuses more on the nuanced inner nature of the main characters). It’s in equal parts Blade Runner, Cyberpunk, and Wong Kar-Wai’s romantic films, but clearly bear Pope’s fingerprints.


5 fighting boy


Winner of the 2014 Eisner Award for Best Teen Publication, fighting boy is the pope who comes closest to writing with a younger audience in mind. However, the story still contains most of Pope’s signature themes and settings, focusing on a reluctant young teenage superhero trying to save a town from roaming gangs and monsters.

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The main story of fighting boy begins when the titular hero arrives from another world to protect the citizens of Arcopolis after the death of the city’s main hero. Although he takes on the role of the town’s newest hero for himself, fighting boy deals with the reluctance, insecurities, and uncertain nature of the eponymous character about his duties, pushed into his hero status by his overbearing parents. It’s a touching and complex exploration of a person trying to find their place in the world, perfect for young comic book fans and older readers alike.


4 adventure time


Still from Paul Pope's Adventure Time

Paul Pope appears to be the last writer anyone would expect to write a story focused on Cartoon Network’s cult animated television series, adventure time, following the show’s famous best friends, Finn and Jake. However, reading Pope’s stories set in the show’s fictional world proves that the combination was a heavenly match for comic book fans.

As seen with his many past stories, Pope has always been able to work within surreal art styles and storytelling conventions, which adventure time has been known for. His work in the show’s continuity was surprisingly fresh and original, with Pope using the showworld’s absurdist style to his strengths as an artist.


3 The scam in one go


A fight from Paul Pope's One-Trick Rip-Off

An earlier story of Pope, The one-trick scam tells the story of a young couple from Los Angeles trying to escape their city and start a new life for themselves. To do this, they hatch a plan to rob a vicious Los Angeles street gang called the One Tricks.

The unique thing about The one-trick scam That’s how it demonstrates his ability to master suspense in a comic book context – a notoriously difficult thing to accomplish. However, as seen here, Pope is more than capable of removing the suspense elements from the story, creating a quick and biting heist story.




2 Deep cuts


Still from Deep Cuts by Paul Pope

Deep cuts-included in the printed version of Pope’s One-trick scam—is a collection of rare and previously unpublished works by Pope, including the short manga series, great problemhe writes for Kodansha.

from the pope great problem was one of the first published stories Pope ever produced, serving – like much of Pope’s earlier work – as a predictor of the type of work Pope would later explore, including an exploration of a science fiction universe mixed with the hard crime genre, and more mature, adult-centric storylines. It’s also one of the most underrated manga series you’re likely to find.


1 THB


THB cover image by Paul Pope

Another of Pope’s early comics, THB follows a teenage girl named HR Watson living on Mars, accompanied by her superpowered companion, THB (a molecule capable of transforming into a 7-foot-tall superhero).

Like many Pope stories, THB is a very experimental type of comic, unlike most others. Moreover, the story also shows Pope’s precocious talent and his ability to create an entire fictional world from scratch. It is a fantastic hidden gem among Pope’s bibliography, remarkably unique and infinitely rich in narrative and artistic possibilities.

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