Paul Pope is a a comic book artist with alt-tendencies and a freaky-deaky sense of composition who combines elements of Euro strips and Japanese manga. He once did a story about a German Batman on the cusp of World War II who fights to keep an Austrian engineer’s valuable work from being co-opted by the Nazis. And that’s some of his mainstream work.
Anyway, Pope’s work is featured in a recent fashion spread in Complex Magazine combining his art with live models, and the result is pop trash goodness. Complex’s design director is a dude named Tim Leong, who comic heads will remember as editor-in-chief of the now defunct Comic Foundry magazine. Leong’s CF mag was a breath of fresh air for the comics community that combined mainstream and indie coverage and wrapped it all in a lifestyle package. It was a comic mag with fashion spreads, fer crissakes, and it was all actually quite dope while it lasted.
Anyway, I’m sure Leong had everything to do with Pope doing a fashion spread for Complex, and I hope the spirit of CF continues to pop up in Complex as it has in the past (they had a special comics issue awhile back as well). A mag that covers hip-hop and comics and has a multi-culti vision of sexy will always be close to my heart. Even if the writing isn’t that great. (Hint hint, call me.)
Thematically, many post-apocalyptic stories look backwards and ‘the future’ becomes a slippery concept rather than a narrative eventuality. This is true for Love and Human Extinction, which looks at the last three survivors of an unexplainable phenomenon that killed off the rest of humanity. As a former businessman-turned-grave robber and a former factory worker-turned-religious sentry spar with each other over the affections of the last woman on earth, it becomes clear that they are mostly play-acting, holding on to a semblance of society.
The wardrobes are a wonderfully playful mish-mash of vintage pieces, the weapons are plastic toys and a toy wagon sits in the corner. The childish dynamic between the three survivors is the play’s most intriguing aspect, and Jennifer Neals is especially captivating as Bertie, who lost her pregnancy during the disaster and now slips in and out of lucidity. Unfortunately ‘the past’ ends up hindering the play as the struggle between the characters takes a backseat to long bouts of exposition, one character recalling events as the other two stay frozen in the background.
The expository segments detail several setups that sound intriguing enough you want to see them occur rather than just hear about them, especially one story of a failed group suicide attempt which to this day scars one of the characters. Somewhere in the poetic exchanges between Love and Human Extinction‘s characters and their exposition lies a much better, more interesting character study. And although the play starts wonderfully, its half-paced buildup and lack of a concrete ending or nod to the characters’ futures seems less thematic than it does unfocused.