Popbot: Book One

Popbot: Book OneBack when Kitty was a rock star, he ran up a lot of debts and sexed up a lot of underaged girls. Now that his band has dissolved and he’s just an ordinary cat, people want to flay his furry hide. His ex-girlfriend, mother of his cat/human-hybrid love child, excoriates him on a German talk show hosted by a clone of Andy Warhol. A shadowy creditor who claims to be Satan dispatches his own dimwitted son to capture Kitty. And bunch of cybernetic samurai want him dead. Kitty’s only friend is Popbot, a 1930s-era robot designed to fight for the Nazis during World War II.

I just covered a lot of ground, so let’s review. Cat = former punk rocker. Robot pal = Nazi war machine. Oh, wait, I forgot that interstellar travel is commonplace in 1999. And former sex robots have embraced radical feminism and started their own detective agency. And Europe is some kind of toxic wasteland. And Sherlock Holmes is part of the story, thanks to time travel. And some guy in a house is talking to a naked woman, but what that has to do with Kitty is anybody’s guess.

Mmmm… smells like postmodern sci-fi absurdist gumbo. But personally, I like the taste. What holds Popbot together is Ashley Wood’s artwork–from gray washes to line drawings to photo-realistic paintings, Wood renders the story in a number of different styles, all of them interesting.

Wood also came up with the cockamamie story, with Sam Kieth writing the script. Where is it all going? Honestly, by the time we got to the murderous, horned sock puppet (another of Kitty’s creditors), I had stopped caring. The pretty pictures and the parade of wacky concepts carried me through book one of this series. And they could easily hold me through a few more.

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