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Popgun Vol. 1 -- A Graphic Mixtape

I grew up around cassette tapes. I remember fiddling with tape recorders to get that cool song off the radio, inevitably also catching a piece of the DJ's yammering as they always talked over the best songs. I remember sweating over my state of the art double cassette player/radio, trying to get my favorite songs all recorded on one mixtape. Mixtapes were also a subtle form of courtship. People exchanged mixtapes with those they wanted to impress and sweep off their feet.

Popgun Vol. 1 is billed as a 'graphic mixtape.' And it evokes that same feel -- the sense that each writer and artist worked hard on their entry to impress the object of their affections, the reader. As I am constantly choking on prose written to please advertisers and publishers, this is a refreshing change.

Published by Image, Popgun is the latest offering in the recent trend of comics anthologies such as Project Superior and Four Letter Worlds.

You probably won't like everything in this book -- I didn't-- but with 450 pages of full-color comics goodness to choose from, you will like something, and more importantly, you'll find something that resonates with you.

For me it was Jim Mahfood's 'She's Out of Reach.' There are none of the crime-fighing zombies, gun-toting drug dealers, or breakdancing dogs that characterize Mahfood’s other work. This is the story of a guy hanging out with a girl, working up the nerve to ask her out. It’s a tale of reality and life truths. And it’s a story that I’m willing to bet every single person reading the anthology will recognize in one form or another, on a very deep level. I won’t tell you how it ends, because I don’t have to. You already know.

The rest of the book is peppered with gems like new adventures of the Amazing Joy Buzzards, the hilarious postapocalyptic magical girl spoof “Gamma Rae”, the visually striking and poignant “Ellie Saves The World,” luchadores talking smack in “Mexican Wrestler Funnies,” and a story about a poor guy who just wants to pick up his special-order album.

And if you read through the entire anthology and still don’t like anything, well, you’ll soon have another shot -- the second volume of Popgun hits stores in July.

Caitlin Moriarity


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