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Pope has long been admired for his unique global comics fusion, mixing the sensuous brushwork of European comics, the dynamic layouts and pacing of Japanese manga, and the punk ethos of American youth. This collection of early rarities shows the artist dabbling in styles and developing a distinct visual and narrative voice. The centerpiece, drenched in a Reservoir Dogs–like sense of unraveling calamity, follows two young lovers through a doomed attempt to ditch town with a cache of stolen cash. Also included are various pieces that are closer to poems than stories and some work Pope made while attempting to carve out a career during the burgeoning manga boom of the late 1990s. The hodgepodge whole presents a stylistically dazzling, substantively middleweight, and revealing look at Pope’s early work. The collection should slake, at least briefly, fans’ thirst for his upcoming Battling Boy, easily one of the most highly anticipated graphic novels of the year. --Ian Chipman
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