Saturday, November 29, 2008

Vertigo Pop! Tokyo # 1 of 4

Writer: Jonathan Vankin
Artist: Seth Fisher
Colorist: Chris Chuckry
Publisher: Vertigo
Published: September 2002

V is for Vertigo. Pop! goes the weasel.

Vertigo Pop! Tokyo concerns a group of characters who by destiny and chance meet and are soon caught up in the bizarre world of gangsters and pop music. Ryuji-Kun is a newly accepted gangster who just doesn't seem to fit into the seamy world of crime. Steve moved to Tokyo so he could "buy cool shit" as he puts it. Maki-Chan dreams of being a star, and she'll do what it takes to be just that.

Issue one has Steve being arrested because the police assume he is using counterfeit phone cards. Maki-Chan rescues the poor boy so she can practice her english. Meanwhile Ryuji-Kun is ordered on a very special task for the Yakuza. The issue ends with the three of them meeting up at the "One Six Seven" concert, as Maki-Chan uses Steve (Steve is pretending to be a foreign journalist) to get backstage to meet the lead singer Hike. At this point Steve and Maki-Chan meet Ryuji-Kun as he plans to cut up Hike. Ooohhh....tense!

What makes this series standout is the artwork and little insights into Japanese culture. Seth Fisher (RIP) was a fantastic artist. His artwork is like a sushi roll, detailed, compact, cute, slightly absurd, and obsessive. The story by Vankin has all the elements of a tamed down Tarantino film. The characters are off beat, hailing from niche sub-cultures, each on the road to something only they can understand and want. Vertigo Pop! Tokyo is a must read for any Fisher fans or people who just like to read stories about Japan.

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