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"Popgun" Takes A Fourth Shot
- by Josh Wigler, Staff Writer
Tue, December 29th, 2009 at 12:58PM (PST)
In February, Image will release the fourth and latest installment of "Popgun," featuring a cover drawn by "Choker" artist Ben Templesmith and stories from illustrator Frank Stockton, "Life of a Fetus" creator Andy Ristiano, "Sulk" creator Jeffrey Brown, "Popgun" veterans and creative duo Amanda Becker and Janet Kim, and many more. CBR News spoke to the aforementioned creators and "Popgun" editor D.J. Kirkbride about what readers can expect from the upcoming volume.
"We wanted to make [the fourth 'Popgun' installment] even more eclectic and exciting and bigger than the previous volumes," Kirkbride told CBR about his goals for the upcoming volume. "In terms of the first two goals, I do think we achieved them, to be honest. There are so many different styles and tones for each story in this collection, it's kind of overwhelming, in the best possible way. We continue to find great and varied talent, which is what makes these books work. We're very lucky that so many excellent creators, new and established, are interested in working with us."
As for Kirkbride's third goal — making "Popgun's" fourth volume bigger than previous editions — that mission was also accomplished. "It's 512 pages compared to 448 for volume one and 472 for volumes two and three, and all at the same price," he said. "That's pretty cool, and we're grateful that Image let us do it, as, well, it's kind of crazy."
Cartoonist Andy Ristiano contributed a humorous 20-page story titled "Night of the Living Vidiots" that posits a spin on the classic zombie tale by turning the flesh-eaters into walking advertisements — literally, single-minded humans with television sets for heads. "'Night of the Living Vidiots' is the first story in the book and a great way to kick off this volume of 'Popgun,'" said Kirkbride of Ristiano's contribution. "'Vidiots' is a hyper, wordy, colorful and amazingly fun 20-page adventure. Though it's very humorous and fast-paced, Andy weaves in some effective commentary on consumerism and the media."
"I didn't want to knock television shows — I end up watching a lot of TV while I'm working and I enjoy a good story no matter what form it takes — I can't, however, stand watching or listening to commercials," Ristiano described of his story. "When I first got out of school, I used to animate on commercials, and doing that made me realize that for every commercial there were people just sitting around in rooms trying to figure out the best way to trick people into wanting their products. When you watch commercials, they seem so insincere and insulting, and while you might think commercials are completely ineffectual, the information in there sneaks in. I can still remember commercial jingles from when I was a kid. It's upsetting to think there is so much space in my brain devoted to remembering things like the theme to a 'Fruit Islands Cereal' commercial when it could be put to better use. There is no escape."
In order to combat the commercial-addled vidiots, Ristiano created a quartet of heroes with various artistic inclinations. "The Bookworm represents the written word, the Painter represents the visual arts, the Martial Artist represents the physical arts and the Rocker represents music," he said. "The main characters are the people who are focused and inspired enough with what they are interested in that popular media does not have control over their lives and how they choose to live them. These artists possess the power to shock the vidiots out of their stupors. I liked the idea of telling a story where the hero saves the world using books or wins through non-violent ways. While I wasn't able to completely pull that off with this story, it's definitely a theme I want to explore more in the future."
"Vidiots" isn't the only action-centric story in the book, as Jeffrey Brown contributed a swords-and-sorcery tale called "The Dark Master's Reign." "It's a fantasy tale of a lone badass kind of warrior who's attempting to infiltrate the castle of an evil overlord," described Brown. "I've always been a big fan of science fiction and fantasy, but diverged from my once intended career path of illustrating [Dungeons & Dragons] and Magic cards. I felt like 'Popgun' was the perfect place to have some fun and have a go at the genre."
The fourth volume of "Popgun" goes on sale on February 10th, 2010, courtesy of Image Comics.