Wednesday, June 1, 2016

What I Read: Pop Gun War, Volume 1

Image courtesy Image Comics

Pop Gun War isn't for everyone, which sounds like an elitist art school snob thing to say but I mean it honestly. After all, there are definitely books out there that are Not For Me; it makes sense that some books I enjoy would be a "Not For Me" for someone else. In this case, I think Pop Gun War's lack of narrative drive will make it a "Not For Me" book for many people, and they're not any less intelligent or thoughtful a reader for it.

But I came at this one at a point where I'm really tired of conventional, traditional narrative plot elements (the 5-act structure, etc.) and so Pop Gun War's surreal pastiche of scenes was just what I wanted right now. (Mostly: the city featured in Pop Gun War is so weird and wonderful that I'm hungry for the level of detail and world-building you normally get from conventional storytelling. It feels a little bit like Dalrymple is laying the groundwork for a story here in Volume 1, and there are certainly protagonists and antagonists, so maybe Volume 2 will see some questions answered.) There is an element of Grant Morrison's The Mystery Play going on here, too—both stories (in as much as they are stories) are like something out of a dream. Both accomplish this through vastly different art styles: Pop Gun War is exclusively pen and ink, while The Mystery Play incorporates water colors and mixed media decoupage (if memory serves). But where The Mystery Play is something like a despairing and sinister nightmare, Pop Gun War retains some level of hope and innocence.

If you're wondering what Pop Gun War is about, then in a nutshell: a young boy finds a pair of wings abandoned by an angel. Other weird things start to happen, though whether the wings were a catalyst or whether the city is just that weird is hard to say.

I received the ebook version from NetGalley for my consideration, but it's clear that this is a work best enjoyed in dead tree format (or at least on something with a larger screen than a smartphone). I fully intend to add a physical copy of Volume 1 to my comics collection, and look forward to Volume 2.


  1. For some reason I'm reminded of Fooly Cooly??

    1. You know it's been a billion years since I watched FLCL but I don't think that comparison is off the mark at all. I think FLCL is just a bit sillier, maybe.