For the first three years after I bought this store, when customers asked about my favorite comics, I’d usually show them Lone Wolf and Cub, or Hellboy, or DC: The New Frontier. I’m very excited that now I’ll also be able to show them Ragmop.
Creator Rob Walton originally published Ragmop in the mid-nineties in comic form. It’s a work of satire which immediately caught my interest because of Walton’s artwork. His art is fluid and cartoony, and beautifully executed. The cover of the first issue featured a bunch of people, demons, dinosaurs, and a raccoon chasing after a small ring which looks like it was designed by Jack Kirby. The cover was enough for me. I bought the comic, took it home, and read it several times. I bought every issue of Ragmop (thirteen issues, through Walton’s Planet Lucy Press, then Image, then Planet Lucy again), and loved it all the way through.
Why do I love Ragmop? Let me count the ways:
- Walton’s art. Rob Walton has a wonderfully fluid, cartoony style. Check out some of the posts at Rob Walton’s blog for examples: Walton’s July entries, which feature lots of art.
- Smart Satire. Ragmop is slam full of satirical reference to lots of serious political and religious issues. There is a political slant toward the left (the left left, not the center-left that most American Democrats now occupy), but the book is incredibly intelligent, and doesn’t ever preach or become pretentious. It’s entirely possible you could enjoy this book without knowing a thing about American politics, too, because of the:
- Pop Culture Bonanza. Ragmop has parodies of everything, from John Carpenter’s The Thing, to Dr. Seuss, to Preacher. If you don’t know politics, you’ll know this stuff, and it’ll make you laugh! There are visual jokes worked into most of the panels which add even more humor to the already hilarious storyline.
- Science. Walton obviously likes his science, and he works dinosaurs, string theory, discussion of Quasars, and a character based on Richard Feynman (one of my heroes) into the script just as deftly as the pop-culture stuff.
- It’s So Funny. It would be so easy for a lesser storyteller to try to throw all this stuff into a comic and wind up with a cluttered mess, but works each element into the story for perfect effect, and there’s so much there, it’s almost impossible not to learn something while you laugh.
This comic was years ahead of its time when it came out in the nineties. About ten years ahead of its time, I’d say, which means it’s perfect timing that the collected edition is being released this week. Those of you who may have picked up the comic the first time around can rejoice that the story will finally be finished in comic form. From Walton’s Website:
Far from being a simple reprint of old material, Ragmop has been completely updated with new story and art to reflect the current dynamics of the world we live in. The art has been completely re-mastered, and dialogue has been rewritten throughout to transform the story from a serialized comic into a unified single graphic narrative. Then of course, there’s the matter of the missing ending. The original series was left incomplete. Not so the graphic novel. Like Jack Kirby’s “The Hunger Dogs” the Ragmop graphic novel will wrap up the story in dramatic and hilarious fashion.
I’m very excited to finally see the final version of this comic. I love Ragmop, and have felt for years that the fact that it was unfinished was one of the great crimes in comics. Come into the store this Wednesday and check it out yourself. You may like it too!
Chapel Hill Comics