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RippleReview - Ripple
A Predilection for Tina
by Dave Cooper
Fantagraphics Books, 2003
Review by Christian Perring, Ph.D.
Nov 26th 2003 (Volume 7, Issue 48)

Dave Cooper's previous graphic novels have already established that he is one sick puppy, and Ripple shows his sickness can take various forms.  His previous books were remarkable for their ability to convey scenes filled with slimy oozing puss.  Ripple is more character driven, telling the story of a graphic artist who hires a model, Tina, so he can create some "erotic fine art."  He is soon dressing her up in bondage gear and becoming sexually fixated on her, despite being revolted by her body.  The texture of the art here is a little cleaner than in Cooper's other books; you don't feel as if simply walking into the scene would give you a contagious disease.  However, the book's main character, artist Martin DeSerres, is still twisted.  That's clear enough in the first few pages when as soon he gets up he uses his asthma inhaler and the lights up a cigarette.  He is shocked when Tina turns up in his apartment to pose and she is much younger than he expected.  Physically, Tina is large and awkward.  She has a double chin, buckteeth, and clunky black plastic glasses.  But Martin starts an affair with her, or at least, they start having sex.  Of course, it doesn't go well. 

Ripple is a more complex work than Cooper's other graphic stories because it features some art within the fiction, showing Martin's own crudely drawn art.  Tina is an interesting character, both compliant and assertive with Martin.  The artwork is crudely pornographic and is bound to offend people with delicate sensibilities.  For those who are comfortable with the darker side of human life, Cooper's depiction of his characters is powerful and engaging.  The best image is the foldout cover picture of Tina, which is remarkably unpleasant.  Ripple is obviously aimed at a specialized readership, but those readers who might enjoy Cooper's art will find that this is his strongest work yet. 

 

Links:

·        Publisher's website

·        Artist's website

·        Review of Cooper's Crumple

·        Review of Cooper's Dan & Larry

 

© 2003 Christian Perring. All rights reserved.

 

Christian Perring, Ph.D., is Academic Chair of the Arts & Humanities Division and Chair of the Philosophy Department at Dowling College, Long Island. He is also editor of Metapsychology Online Review.  His main research is on philosophical issues in medicine, psychiatry and psychology.


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