Pope Digs Deep for "One Trick Rip-Off/Deep Cuts"

Paul Pope took a trip down memory lane for his upcoming Image Comics release "One Trick Rip-Off/Deep-Cuts." The 288-page hardcover features colorized reprints of Pope's "One Trick Rip-Off" story which first appeared in "Dark Horse Presents" in 1995 as well as 150 pages of other rarely or never before seen stories and comics from that same time. These other works include the "Supertrouble" manga along with several manga pieces created for Kodansha Ltd, the largest publisher of the form in Japan. Pope would go on to create beloved and critically acclaimed series' like "100%," "Heavy Liquid" and the Eisner Award winning "Batman: Year One Hundred."

"One Trick Rip-Off" follows a small gang whose members can control people with their minds and ran from "DHP" #101 to #112. Pope and Image Comics enlisted colorists Jamie Grant ("All Star Superman") and Dominic Regan ("All Star Western") to go in and brighten up the original black-and-white story as well as the extra material.

While he admitted looking back on some of these nearly twenty-year-old stories could be painful, Pope also said it's important to do so. CBR News talked with Pope about how Moebius influenced that opinion, Grant and Regan handled the coloring process and Quentin Tarantino inspired "One Trick Rip-Off."

CBR News: Can you explain the concept behind "One Trick Rip-Off" to people who might not be familiar with it from the original run in "Dark Horse Presents?"

Paul Pope: When I first saw Tarantino's "Pulp Fiction," I got so excited for crime genre storytelling, I wanted to do a story which had that same verve. I was thinking of a gang story, something with a sense of the camaraderie of the Lost Boys from "Peter Pan," a story about orphans who have nothing but think they have it all. I also loved the idea of psychic powers and wanted to add that as an element: Professor X in a garbage can.

What made you want to return to this story and get it colored for a reprint?

I think it holds up and I wanted people to be able to have access to this tale, if they want it. Also, a lot of the supplemental material -- the Japanese stuff -- has never seen print. I wanted people to be able to see it, and to give these old stories a proper print place to live. All of the work in this collection was done in a four year period, and it is just a portion of what I did during that time.

What was the coloring process like? Are there specific challenges that come from coloring older material like this as opposed to doing it at the time of original production?

I trust Jamie and Dom, and I am a fan of their work. I just gave them a starting point and let them go. I think when it comes to collaboration, it is best to let your partners share your vision and then work as they please. This is what makes the best bands.

"One Trick Rip-Off" was originally published over at Dark Horse. Why did you decide to publish this updated version through Image?

I want to push my work around a bit right now. I haven't done much with Image and I thought they seem like a good home for this book. I work with Dark Horse and will continue to do so, but this one felt right for Image. I am glad to be a part of their roster.

How did you go about gathering the material for the "Deep Cuts" section of the collection? What kinds of new stories can fans look forward to seeing in that portion of the book?

There is a bunch of stuff in this book which basically no one has seen. A lot of Japanese material I created for Kodansha in the '90s, and some unpublished work from the same time. I was a voracious cartoonist and I worked all the time. I generated a ton of work in my 20s, and this is a good collection of that work.

Was there ever talk of making these two separate books?

No. I think it is better to collect the "best" work from this period and drop it like a bomb. This is a young cartoonist developing muscles and sinews.

Some artists don't enjoy going back and looking at their earlier work. Do you fall into that category? Did anything you unearthed surprise you either quality or content-wise?

I am one of those who doesn't like to look at his older work. But I am generous toward it, I respect it. It is a living thing. Art is not nihilistic, it is full of hope and love. As we get older, we must be custodians of our former works. I learned this from Moebius. An artistic statement is a footprint in time.

Paul Pope's "One Trick Rip-Off/Deep-Cuts" 288-page hardcover edition debuts from Image Comics on January 16.

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