Here's the review of Ragmop posted on Panel to Panel. I encourage any of you who order your books online to visit John's wonderful site. Heck, visit it anyway for great reviews and interviews with a variety of creators and special exclusive deals that only John can offer.
Written & Illustrated by Rob Walton
Published by Big Bang, Inc. 2006
Review by Jean-Emmanuel Dubois
It's been a long time since I have read a graphic novel so out of the ordinary, so out there and so refreshing! Three hundred fifty or so pages can seem quite a burden to read if you don't like the material. But with this work of genius, I forgot about the weight of the book and read it in one sitting. Sometimes 23 page comics can be such a bore, but "au contraire," this phonebook sized graphic novel is just a pleasure.
A one of a kind jewel that rose during the mid-90's "black & white glut", RAGMOP, expanded, updated and upgraded, is back with a vengeance for all the lonely people who used to wander like lost souls in search of some succulent food for thought in their local comic shops. RAGMOP brings back a clever and sharp North American style of satire (even though Rob Walton is Canadian) to the century we will all die in (sorry, mates but that's a fact).
I'm a sucker for American-style conspiracy theories and we all know that conspiracy is as American (and Canadian?) as apple pie (what do you expect from a country that sees it's Prez shot in front of live TV just like any vulgar henchman?). Imagine a world where Hanna and Barbera mated with Guy Debord, Derrida, Chomsky and other cool lefties. Yep, before the PC- holier-than-thou-bore that the American Left has become, there was a time where the liberal agenda was more interested by what's happened with the economy and by social issues than to censor "offensive" people. RAGMOP brings back this freedom which is missing so much in contemporary comics (from the spandex guys to the sometime formulaic autobiographical comics) and in modern life (which is as Blur used to sing: rubbish). RAGMOP's art is fluid, bold, bouncy and, oh God almighty, a relief in an industry cursed with clones and the derivative art of clumsy, over-hyped indie comets. The story and the characterization are intelligent without being pretentious, (which even Art Spiegelman's twin tower book never achieved).
Dinosaurs, strange heroines, lobotomy, a giant O-ring, God, angels, and a PoMo Jocker are a few of the colorful character that inhabit the 'Rob Walton-verse'. Once you open up the book you will be hooked. The story? More details about the characters? Do you want me to spoil the party?? Let's say we follow the adventures of a "so-called" female super-villain in a dysfunctional world, which is how the great satirists succeed in holding a magnifying glass up to our crazy global village. Metaphysics (the author has got a masters in theology), politics and comics enhanced with Coolsville art can be fun (again)! If you don't believe me try RAGMOP! Be there or be square!
Jean-Emmanuel Dubois is a pop journalist writing for: Roctober (US), Scram (US), Il Giaguaro (It), The Idler (UK), Nude (UK), Citizen K(France), Standard (France), Keyboard recordings (France), French magazine (France) & so on.... JED working on a book on bubblegum pop & sunshine pop for a french publisher + work on his own album (Beach Boys meets Kraftwerk) with lotsa friends and on his own label: Martyrs of Pop (records, magazine & DVD's)
review © Jean-Emmanuel Dubois. Reprinted with Permission.