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100% (review) —“Make time go away so I can stay”

Writer and artist: Paul Pope

Vertigo Comics, 2002-2003

SNOW CAN REHABILITATE even the shittiest cityscape. The gooey parts harden and you can skate across; the ugliness submerges, and for a while the place looks natural, same way the night casts shadows that submerge the distances. A city in the snow at night makes the best of an impossible place, tramped, edged, caged, and searching to be somewhere else, or maybe for a while here with you. Thanks.

The five-issue black-and-white “graphic movie” called 100% by Paul Pope, from 2002, abounds in shadows and submerged scenery, mostly inside out of the snow. We become one of the particles gyrating from room to room along with the characters and the shadows looking over her shoulder, then his, then her and his along three or four wavelengths at once, carried by the biotic currents inside their bodies made visible, and by the boom boom boom of the wracking club beat pulsing moment to moment through reels of slightly melted celluloid cells.

This is a stunning work that throbs around you, without ever exploding or making crazy drama to try to retain interest. It just goes. No need to fuss and fight to be right on cue exploring human encounters and relationships, diversions and destinations. The story hums. Yet I suspect all of it plays out so well, and could be almost whatever it wants to be, because the art is so evocative and engaging, like a bracing walk in the night through the snow when one is well bundled up and cozy in mittens and muff, and for this little while, though it may be dangerous, may be romantic, may be just a maybe-ness shuddering around the darkened corners, here we are, invigorated, clutched arm in arm, one hundred percent.