by Ho Chee Anderson and Wilfred Santiago
Not the least bit cohesive, Pop Life ‘s issue #2 seems to be a series of disjointed, pointless vignettes; reading them makes you feel like you’ve been driving on cobblestone for the last five miles, or walking into an argument that you didn’t know was happening.
The first story, “Naked Girls,” seems to be centered on Earnesto, or “Cookie” to his friends. Earnesto seems to have problems with the women in his life, and finding rehearsal space for his band. After a night of heavy partying, Earnesto returns home to three messages on his answering machine. The first is from his mother, stereotypically berating him for not calling. She ends the call with “Call me, Sweetie.” The second call is from girlfriend Shelley, who wants to meet him for lunch. The third call is from Zoe, the girl Earnesto is seeing on the side. And I do mean “girl.”
After being enchanted by the cool, crisp cover, I have to say that I am pretty disappointed. The art is muddy, and in some cases, looks like it was drawn with one of those jumbo crayons they use in kindergarten. It took me a couple of readings to figure out it was Earnesto that was with both Shelley and Zoe. “A for effort” goes to “Miles From Home,” utilizing black, white, and an eye-burning orange combination attempting 3-D-like highlights, which makes it really difficult to read after the first few panels. Other publications have used similar techniques to achieve a less assaulting effect. Like I said, “A” for effort. It is printed on recyclable paper, so I guess you can throw it away and not feel too guilty.
Fantagraphics Books, 7562 Lake City Way NE, Seattle, WA 98115