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Heavy Liquid

3.8 of 5 stars 3.80  ·  rating details  ·  1,114 ratings  ·  72 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, whichi ...more
Paperback, 240 pages
Published March 1st 2001 by DC Vertigo
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,640)
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Rachel
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
Keith
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
Matt
“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
...more
William Thomas
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
Mon
*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
...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.
Samantha
Aug 01, 2007 Samantha rated it 5 of 5 stars
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.
Alan Chen
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
David
Feb 15, 2010 David rated it 3 of 5 stars
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.
...more
Kevin
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
...more
Emily Rogers
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
...more
John
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
...more
J.
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 very...strong...like that.

Maybe if the book could breathe a little more, or if the ideas could be further explored (I mean, th
...more
Mathieu
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
...more
Daniel
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
...more
Jason Estrin
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
...more
Michael
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)
...more
Christian
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
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
...more
Tessa
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
...more
Paul
Paul Pope combines the best of manga, art comics, and his own fluid style to create one of the major works of his career. Pope can swing from madcap Kyle Baker-style chases to quiet moments in a bustling sushi restaurant without losing his step. While Heavy Liquid takes place in a future world similar to 100%, the book doesn't let the sci-fi elements overwhelm the plot or the characters. Instead, the future setting gives Pope a chance to furnish a largely familiar world with fashion and technolo ...more
Trisha
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
Matt
Aug 25, 2010 Matt rated it 3 of 5 stars
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
Chloe
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
Mike Sgier
The third act 'twist' caught me a little off guard. The story overall had a lot of different and interesting plot threads, but the only one that was resolved was the one following 'S,' Pope's protagonist. I typically don't mind this lack of closure, but I was eager to spend a little more time with the characters that Pope had introduced throughout the story.

That being said, the art is very strong in this work, and you can definitely see Pope developing a dystopian, futuristic language for his st
...more
Korynn
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
Andrew Bishop
This was my introduction to the world of Paul Pope. Solid artwork - Pope is a maestro on inking - dipped in a neon primary rainbow, it is a visual treat. So much so that I can forgive the hackneyed though effective story elements. Pope makes the details of individual characters shine in a way that adds personality to the hardboiled wonderland. The last panel of the book is a nice grace note to it all. Beautiful. This was only my first step of many through the art of Paul Pope.
Andy
A bit of a hipster suspense novel, meaning there's a lot of scenes of people running after other people every ten pages or so. Pope's urban style at times shows a muddled density that occasionally confuses the tale than enhances it, but the story's pretty confusing anyway. I'm still trying to figure out why a drug dealer's being asked by a millionaire to locate a reclusive sculptor, but that's alright. It's only a comic book.
Lauren
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
J
Okay, so, is it only hilarious to me how much Paul Pope looks like S, the main character in this book? Hilarious in a narcissistic kind of way? Can narcissism be hilarious? Good grief.

Interesting (if kind of special) story with interesting (if kind of special) characters that you can actually sort of like and identify with. Such a novelty in this day and age, really. Decent art. An entertaining read.
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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” 6 likes
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