This is the premiere issue of what is threatened to be an ongoing, single-creator, auteur anthology – à la Eightball, Dirty Plotte, Blammo, Grixly, et al – wholly created, and published, in Dayton, OH by erstwhile Comics Workbook stalwart, Caleb Orecchio. Pop Off is, as the title suggests, pulsing with energy looking for release. Here in 48 standard comic book size pages, this energy is largely corralled into a series of stories entirely composed employing a six-panel grid in which black line borders have been dispensed with, replaced in their function by full bleed bright yellow gutters – a substitution that works surprisingly well in conjunction with the slate blue line in which the artwork is reproduced, along with magenta highlighting – and makes for a visually stimulating reading experience. Themes touched on in these stories include lust, compulsive behavior, frustration, deviance, despondence and self-recrimination – occasionally all at once! These stories are interspersed with a handful of darkly comedic, black and white sequential gag strips, as well as several strategically placed full-page abstract/concrete illustrations of varying styles that meet with varying degrees of success.
The design, printing and paper choices made in putting together this issue were all well conceived and together make for a comic book that stands out from the crowd with a very appealing look and feel. Pop Off #1 is a promising debut, one that will be of particular appeal to traditional comic book readers who are ready to explore something more personally self-expressive, and also to those who appreciate the degree of devotion to the form that is evinced here.
And, while this comic was, as noted above, actually made in Dayton, OH, we've given it an honorary "Made in Pittsburgh" designation in recognition of Caleb's recent time and comics making here.