Cold Cut Distribution's Feature Spotlight #7 - April 1995


THB

Publisher:	Horse Press 
Story & Art:	Paul Pope
Cvr Price:	$2.95  (48 pgs)
Frequency:	occasional

Storyline:

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.

Writing Review:

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 details.

Art Review:

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 mysterious scenes.

Audience:

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.

Storyline:

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?

Writing Review:

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).

Art Review:

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.

Sales Overview:

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:


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