Thursday 13 October 2011

Swoon Now! Pope Hats #2

Apart from The Shade #1 (DC), the other comic I really enjoyed this week was Pope Hats #2 (AdHouse) by Ethan Rilly. Comprised of one long story and a few smaller ones - two of which are only a page long - it continues the life of Frances, the protagonist of the first issue. I say 'continues' but really this is one of those beautifully observed 'slice of life' works that doesn't actually demand you read the previous part. At once universally relate-able but still nicely rooted in her chosen profession, the main story successfully conveys through Frances the over-bearing burden of work at odds with a sense of being adrift, unfulfilled and lacking purpose.


As with works by the likes of Adrian Tomine and Daniel Clowes, Rilly carefully balances the tone so that it is never judgemental and the comic never becomes a bleak and depressing read. He achieves though an varied collection of secondary characters and the engaging Frances who, whilst constantly troubled by her observations (manifested in her insomnia), remains motivated and even tempered. The smaller stories add variety to the comic although they may appear superfluous were it not for the hint that they may be adding to the greater mosaic of Frances' life.

It's been some three years since the excellent first issue of Pope Hats (explained in an excellent interview which also contains lots of images from the issue: see here) during which Rilly's art developed into a more fluid but detailed style; I hope the wait for the next issue won't be as long.

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