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Heavy Liquid

3.79  ·  Rating Details ·  1,383 Ratings  ·  89 Reviews
Paul Pope brings a quiet, old-school sensibility to noisy, postmodern comics with Heavy Liquid. This graphic novel, set in the late 21st century, focuses on all the classic elements of detective and adventure stories: lost love, mysterious clients, a package everyone wants, and a tired, barely willing protagonist. The narrative details--such as the eponymous liquid, which ...more
256 pages
Published 2007 by Dargaud (first published March 1st 2001)
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Jan 09, 2009 Rachel rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: graphic-novels, crap
Rarely have I been so entirely unaffected by a book I actually finished. The best thing I can say about Heavy Liquid is that it was short, but I don't have anything really horrible to say about it either. Paul Pope is not a great talent. His dialogue is damningly sparse and his artwork isn't kinetic enough to convey the action it's supposed to, so the story feels plodding when it should spark and muddy during ostensible moments of clarity/revelation. The relationships and archetypes are stamped ...more
May 11, 2014 Keith rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love manga, I love comics, I love bandes dessinées, I love science fiction, I love rock’n’roll, I love to draw. I wanted to find some idea that would blend all these impulses in one story and come off like a barrage of visual noise and read like a comic book from the future. The scary future, the screaming future—a place where people are becoming machine-people, where people live in crumbling cities, where people sleep in cramped ghettos and move faster than sharks across vast blue oceans, a w ...more
Aug 10, 2010 Matt rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“Kid, if I had something snappy to say, I would. But I don’t.” – S, Heavy Liquid Chapter 4.

That line comes at the end of a scene full of snappy dialogue. It breaks a rhythm seemingly designed to lull the reader into a sense of security in order to break it before launching into a new set piece, shattering our expectations as it takes us somewhere completely new.

It happens a lot in this book. Just when Pope lulls the reader into thinking he knows what he’s looking at and can relax, he comes out
Dec 19, 2010 Mon rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
*sort of spoiler, but it's pretty vague since I don't understand the ending myself*

So after 40 pages of volume 5 (the last one), Paul Pope went, 'Shit, I need another 10 pages. I think I've exhausted all moon, star, planets, and really big planets. Maybe I should draw some boobs. But damn the only female character I have is actually single with no love interest. Would a gun chase sequence work? Explosions? I don't want to look like Michael Bay though. He gets a lot of hate. Come on brain, I know
William Thomas
Dec 21, 2009 William Thomas rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
paul pope is a genius. this book moves like an akira kurosawa movie on the pages, beautifully crafted in a very post-modern pop art pulp style. feels like a blend of techno-thriller ala william gibson fused with phillip k dick, only with such a cinematic feel that this book moves like a noir ballet. i am in awe of the storyboards, the panels and most of all, they style of his inks. what looks so offhand at first, begins to look so calculated, so stylish and so cunning in its strokes that it beco ...more
Nick Kives
So it starts off normal, just an everyday type of story about some drugs, then ROBOT SPIDERS OUT OF NOWHERE.....then back to normal, more about drugs, like it's just everyday to get attacked by robot spiders yet never see anything else that resembles a robot. Then just ends abruptly.
Aug 01, 2007 Samantha rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Comic noir fans
This comic is great; the illustrations and dialogue are all fantastic. It's so seedy and grimey you feel like you need to take a shower after reading it.
And if you ever come across a cheap copy, snatch it up because they are apparently out of print and the prices are way jacked up.
Aug 21, 2014 Christian rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Pure cool. Neon cyberpunk noir starring Mick Jagger in an Aquaman shirt & a supporting cast of beautiful losers & gangsters in Picasso masks. Kinetic, night-time, fluid. Like Cowboy Bebop, stripped down
May 26, 2017 Nigel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: comics
A mysterious metal that can be cooked to produce a peculiar drug, an art collector looking for the perfect artist, a bunch of violent thugs on the hunt, and S, who stole the metal, takes the drugs, is hired by the collector to look for the artist while the thugs are on his tail. Near future sci-fi hard-boiled crime art chase detective thing, painfully hip and cool and street-smart, thoroughly rock'n'roll and a little bit out of this world.
Alex Panagiotopoulos
Jun 18, 2017 Alex Panagiotopoulos rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: comics
"Have you ever faced art for art's sake?
I wonder if you have the face death for art's sake."

This sums up the trippy graphic novel by Paul Pope. Playing with shades of green, red and blue, he creates the psychedelic experience on paper, accompanied by a solid noir/mystery story about a rare expensive drug and a guy that always runs from the ghosts of his former life.
Mar 11, 2017 Robert rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A couple of interesting ideas floating along on an entertaining sprawl.
Mar 02, 2017 -- rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The book leaves me wondering what would happen next based on the discoveries and interactions that lead up to its end. It started a bit slowly, so I had trouble returning to it and pushing onwards, but I'm glad I did.
Dec 05, 2008 John rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: graphic-novels
This edition collects the five issues of Heavy Liquid, published by DC/Vertigo in the late 90s. The story has suffered from the passage of a decade.

I disliked the first quarter of the collection. There was something about the style - too ragged, too flat, too reliant on speech bubbles of "*Huff* *Huff*" to convey that a character was out of breath and on the Sixties-Batman-style exclamations that accompany physical actions. The substance mentioned in the title, heavy liquid, is too easily linked
Jan 22, 2013 Kevin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I bought this to support my daughter's yard sale, but it turned out pretty good.

The art has a unique voice, sort of a surreal, dark, South American-ish feel. Thugs in face masks like Cubist art are chasing our hero. The plot is cyber-punk. Our tough looking hero has cybernetic implants that enable him to commune with special investigative devices that mine the world's data. He took this case partly to get the latest such, the "P'tit Salaud".

There's a new material, 'Heavy Liquid'. Our hero has st
Emily Rogers
Aug 08, 2013 Emily Rogers rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Audience: Ages 16 and up

The year is 2062 and S, like most people in the world of organized crime, would do anything to obtain the mysterious metal like substance, heavy liquid. S has just finished stealing a large quantity of the stuff for an exorbitantly wealthy art collector when he is confronted with a new challenge: locating a young artist who disappeared five years ago. Although he is not in the business of finding people, S has a personal interest in the artist and decides to accept the ch
Feb 15, 2010 David rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: comix
I enjoyed this much more the second time around. Actually, the first time I didn't make it all the way through.

The story is set in a not-too-distant (distopian?) future. The main character "S" is a functioning addict. He traffics in a substance called Heavy Liquid - a drug? a weapon? alien in nature? The story both finds him on the run from a heist gone bad, and as a "Finder" hired to track down a missing sculptor for a Howard Hughes type. There's also definitely a William Gibson influence here.
Alan Chen
Aug 23, 2014 Alan Chen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: comics
The positives: idea of heavy liquid is interesting substance can be cooked down then dropped into the ear to expand consciousness. Unaltered it can create explosions and a collector wants it amalgamated with other chemical to create a stature. Starts off well with the main guy trying to cop a fix and avoiding the fools chasing after him. The collector offers him a job to find his gf rodan to create the statue. He finds her, she takes gig, promises never to see her again. Then the weird part whic ...more
Jun 13, 2011 J. rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm a little torn how to rate this. The story was going on at a pretty typical clip, for a story about a drug-dealer / spy / private eye. But the end certainly fizzled, with nothing really happening in the last fifth. Ultimately, I think whether you like it will boil down to the art: if you like Pope's art, you'll probably enjoy it. If not, you probably won't. His art is that.

Maybe if the book could breathe a little more, or if the ideas could be further explored (I mean, th
Deploying the antics of a functional junkie, tracked down by sketchy hitmen and executing a mission for an obsessed art collector in a futuristic setting, heavy liquid is both dynamic and pensive and sometimes embraces its surrealistic edge (the "drug" factor). I guess this is dark cyberpunk with a hint of humor and recognizable cities, with an artful touch in the graphic approach and the references.

But more than the object of the series, it's Pope's expressive use of raw and life-charged lines
anthony e.
Jun 09, 2016 anthony e. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I originally read this in its original, issue-length format, and I remember really, really enjoying it. Going back to it now, many, many years after first checking it out, I find myself not *quite* as enthralled as I was then. Nevertheless, my understanding of the world, and of art in general, has broadened some, and so while I can't say I'm thrilled by the experience of reading this, it definitely is a book quite unlike any other. Strange, fever-dream imagery combined with a murky, difficult pa ...more
Matthew Murray
Sep 10, 2015 Matthew Murray rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Paul Pope has been one of my favourite comics creators since I picked up issue #6a of THB back in 2000.

Heavy Liquid, which I first read ages ago and am rereading now, is pretty much everything I love about his stuff. The beautiful art, the ideas, the attention to detail, the fashion, the world that he created. Heavy Liquid is just an awesome cyberpunk comic about art and crime.

Kind of weirdly, the hardcover is not actually the best way to read this comic. If you can, you should try to track dow
Jason Estrin
Jun 05, 2012 Jason Estrin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another 5 star PP Illustrated novella. Close to perfect. Nearly animated and come to life as it is read. Fast, tense, sexual, youthist, futuristic, restrained, smart, urbane, sweet, ripe....This is how I think PP would describe his own book.
It IS full of the juice of the generation it was written for and about. His best, most complete work, and the one that drops you off, just at the edge of a potential revelation/epiphany...the very last page and panels show you the glimpse of the solution to
Jul 11, 2010 Michael rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
No book with pictures should be this boring. It didn't get good until the last third of the book, which seemed like forever to get to.

I made the mistake of buying and reading this book based off of a magazine review. I'll cross-check all other reviews with Goodreads reviews for now on, because with this book they were consistent with how I felt about it. Don't believe the hype.

Also, I've never commented on the physical quality of a book before, but I actually own the hardback (not the paperback)
Nov 06, 2013 Daniel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I took awhile to finish this, but that was mostly from lack of appropriate times to get back "into" it, because it's a dense atmosphere that makes up 'Heavy Liquid'. Out of 5 stars, I lean more toward 3.5, only because I "liked it+" and it had some moments where I couldn't make out what I was seeing in a panel or two. That's mostly Pope's frenetic art stylings, and not necessarily a flaw.

Either way, this is a cool, broody book, kinda set in the future-ish. At least, there are some gadgets and su
Printable Tire
I've probably been requesting this from the library for 4 years now, taking it home, never reading it, then returning it when it's due. Since I'll be leaving RI very soon, I thought it was about time I finally read it.

It's pretty good. The artwork is super-90's MTV, like Gorillaz or something. I wasn't super into it. The protagonist looks like Trent from Daria and pretty much exactly what the author looks like/wishes to be. There's some unnecessarily clunky exposition and confusing, swirly actio
Mar 12, 2009 P. rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: comics
This is, like, a 3.5 star book. I continue to be entranced by Pope's art: at once sketchy and deliberate, it just fills the page more than any other graphic novel I've seen. It gives the sense that it's a film and things are happening right off screen (or page).

As for this story, specifically, I liked the fact that it was an actiony story but also had to do with artists. I liked the picasso-y, magritte-y costumes of the henchmen. I liked the red/blue color scheme.

I find myself resisting getting
A Puerto Rican man who lives in New York has been acquiring a special metal stolen from one of the clown gangs of the city. This graphic novel tells about his run-in with the clowns and a collector who needs someone found. The action scenes are exciting. There are several scenes with the main character walking China Town, walking on a rainy night in Paris, and others that are fantastic stand-alone pieces of art. You really feel the mood of the character and the environment. I look forward to rea ...more
Aug 14, 2010 Matt rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Matt by: Tom Lockhart
A nice little read. I was taken aback by the pleasure I got from it. The art is terrific and really captures its mood... just another piece of evidence for why I am fascinated by the cartoonist vs. the writer/artist collaboration. Pope has a honed vision of the future here, and yet it's one steeped still in his emotion...reading his afterword was rad, in which we find out Heavy Liquid was inspired by a song of the same name, and essentially all blossomed out of a particular mood a particular par ...more
May 16, 2011 Chloe rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Paul Pope is one of my greatest inspirations. For a man who both writes and draws his graphic novels, his work is still incredibly dynamic and intense. I love his subject matter, his art, and his well-placed dialogue. This was the first book of his that I read, and I fell in love with him. I have nothing but good things to say about this book, and I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys graphic novels and can appreciate the fact that he's one of the few graphic novelists who both writes and dr ...more
Apr 30, 2009 Korynn rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: graphicnovels
It surprised me by not extolling the virtues or demons of drug use but exploring this concept of a new material, Heavy Liquid that everyone seems to desire to put to different uses. The art style is full of inky lines that sweep out vistas and our pouty mouthed protagonist who reminds me of the male ideal favored by artist Mike Allred. Any case, the story is basically gritty with death and chases and gangs but somehow evolves into something a bit more arty despite points off for the pirate throw ...more
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PAUL POPE is an American cartoonist living and working in New York City. Pope has made a name for himself internationally as an artist and designer. He has been working primarily in comics since the early '90s, but has also done a number of projects with Italian fashion label Diesel Industries and, in the US, with DKNY. His media clients include LucasArts, Paramount Pictures, Cartoon Network, Marv ...more
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“People who are too sensitive go crazy, remember that” 9 likes
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