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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.
of Cooper's Dan & Larry
© 2003 Christian Perring. All
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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