THB: Comics From Mars #2

Comic book, 2010

THB: Comics From Mars #1 was, I’m pretty sure, my favorite Paul Pope comic ever. Straight up all time! And I say that as someone who’s been reading his work since they were 13. It was absent of the constant cries of “Hey, look at me, I’m a sexy rock star… now prepare to be enchanted by my thoughts” that make Pope’s work so hard to read, and it was as pretty to look at as ever. Although it didn’t further the narrative of the long-on-hiatus THB series, I loved the stories featuring it’s protagonist, HR (specifically the one where she talks about the history of the colonization of Mars and the one where she and her friend get free ice cream from gangsters). So maybe it’s my own fault for expecting more of the same from #2 of the same series, but it lacked those things and I was disappointed. None of the stories, in any way that I could tell, had anything to do with THB, save for some possible thematic connection known only to Pope. I feel like a Big Two nerd bellyaching about the fact that this book didn’t have enough continuity, but that’s how I feel. It seemed more to me like a free for all of whatever Pope felt like drawing. Which would be fine, but even if taken as that there’s nothing I was too interested in. “The Brief Career of the On-Call Stellar Repairman”‘s protagonist had a great character design and “Motor Race” had a gorgeous aesthetic (although the credit for that one may be due to the artist it’s an homage to, Guido Crepax, who I’m not familiar with), but I was fairly bored by “1977” although it had a nice ending, “Action!” was a long setup for a weak gag, as was “Max Maximus”, and “Masked Karimbah” wasn’t as fun or as crazy as it seemed to think it was (although the cheesy joke in the last panel made me laugh). The best part about this book? The cover. I’ll tell you, the cover on this thing is worth the price of admission alone. It’s printed in a way that you really can’t just look at a picture of it on the internet and know how gorgeous it is. That’s the great thing about AdHouse: even if the book’s not great, you know that just holding the damn thing is going to be a satisfying experience. 3

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