PopMatters is moving to WordPress in December. We will continue to publish on this site as we work on the move. We aim to make it a seamless experience for readers.


Peops: Portraits and Stories of People

Sean Jaffe

Fly has a gift, and that gift is the ability to draw the most mundane, splayed-out meth addict in such a way as to make them look like an alien fairy superhero.


Publisher: Soft Skull Press
Subtitle: Portraits and Stories of People
Price: $18.00
Writer: Fly
Item Type: Comic
Length: 200
Publication Date: 2003-06

Okay, I give. Your friends are cooler than mine.

I don't really know what prompted Fly to publish this project, but it's certainly an interesting hobby. Imagine getting all your buddies together, drawing them, and then writing some addled anecdote about them in the margins. Now imagine doing this with everyone you meet for a few years, and assembling it into a book. You would have a very interesting project with very specific appeal. This is probably going to be marketed to comic stores on account of the weird pictures and paperback format, but it's in no way a comic. It's more of an art book than anything.

Fly's compilation reads like the Marvel Handbook for the corner of Bowery and Houston, or the DC Who's Who of St. Mark's Place. Her subjects are gutter-punks and degenerates of every variety, and that's not a term I use with any malice. I know my element when I see it.

Their individual vignettes are usually accompanied by quick blurbs -- "I met X while holding a friend's hair back while she puked on Haight-Ashbury as he rode backwards on a motorcycle with his hair on fire. X killed 15 police officers just this morning. He has a gift for macramé rarely seen in transvestite arsonists."

Ok, so maybe I'm exaggerating, but the book is positively dripping with that Williamsburg-Brooklyn-Casually-Majestic-Oh-So-Smug cool. This book, even down to the white-boy Ebonics title, has more hipness in its first page alone than I will ever see in my life. Suddenly, my genital piercing seems so futile.

The art is... well, bizarre, honestly. Fly has a gift, and that gift is the ability to draw the most mundane, splayed-out meth addict in such a way as to make them look like an alien fairy superhero. This is awesome. As I said before, this book will be mistaken for a comic because the subject matter appears to be some sort of alien invasion that is repelled by bike messengers and the indie-punk bands they are saving money to record with. It's sort of impressive to create this effect when drawing page after page of people who are more inclined to just make certain that at somewhere, somehow, a Republican is drinking coffee with human urine in it. Which is sort of super-heroic in its own right.

This book isn't going to be popular with the mainstream -- well, ever -- and if you're turned off by people bragging about their friends you might want to give it a miss. On the other hand, there's a limited, specific appeal, and that appeal is if you come from the right circles and the right area, you can thumb through it and identify people you know. Now that I consider it, I guess I think the appeal is that I'm aware that had I been drunk and on St. Marks at the right time, I may have been in there too.

Please Donate to Help Save PopMatters

PopMatters have been informed by our current technology provider that we have until December to move off their service. We are moving to WordPress and a new host, but we really need your help to fund the move and further development.





Artemis Is the Latest Jazz Supergroup

A Blue Note supergroup happens to be made up of women, exclusively. Artemis is an inconsistent outing, but it dazzles just often enough.


Horrors in the Closet: A Closet Full of Monsters

A closet full of monsters is a scary place where "straight people" can safely negotiate and articulate their fascination and/or dread of "difference" in sexuality.


'Wildflowers & All the Rest' Is Tom Petty's Masterpiece

Wildflowers is a masterpiece because Tom Petty was a good enough songwriter by that point to communicate exactly what was on his mind in the most devastating way possible.


Jazz Composer Maria Schneider Takes on the "Data Lords" in Song

Grammy-winning jazz composer Maria Schneider released Data Lords partly as a reaction to her outrage that streaming music services are harvesting the data of listeners even as they pay musicians so little that creativity is at risk. She speaks with us about the project.


The 100 Best Albums of the 2000s: 100-81

PopMatters' best albums of the 2000s begin with a series of records that span epic metal, ornate indie folk, and a terrifying work of electronic music.


The Power of Restraint in Sophie Yanow, Paco Roca, and Elisa Macellari's New Graphic Novels

The magical quality that makes or breaks a graphic novel lies somewhere in that liminal space in which art and literature intersect.


'People of the City' Is an Unrelenting Critique of Colonial Ideology and Praxis

Cyprian Ekwensi's People of the City is a vivid tale of class struggle and identity reclamation in the shadows of colonialism's reign.


1979's 'This Heat' Remains a Lodestone for Avant-Rock Adventure

On their self-titled debut, available for the first time on digital formats, This Heat delivered an all-time classic stitched together from several years of experiments.


'The Edge of Democracy' and Parallels of Political Crises

Academy Award-nominated documentary The Edge of Democracy, now streaming on Netflix, lays bare the political parallels of the rise of Bolsonaro's Brazil with Trump's America.


The Pogues' 'The BBC Sessions 1984-1986' Honors Working-Class Heroes

The Pogues' BBC Sessions 1984-1986 is a welcome chapter in the musical story of these working-class heroes, who reminded listeners of the beauty and dignity of the strong, sooty backs upon which our industrialized world was built.


Mary Halvorson Creates Cacophony to Aestheticize on 'Artlessly Falling'

Mary Halvorson's Artlessly Falling is a challenging album with tracks comprised of improvisational fragments more than based on compositional theory. Halvorson uses the various elements to aestheticize the confusing world around her.


15 Overlooked and Underrated Albums of the 1990s

With every "Best of the '90s" retrospective comes a predictable list of entries. Here are 15 albums that are often overlooked as worthy of placing in these lists, and are too often underrated as some of the best records from the decade.


'A Peculiar Indifference' Takes on Violence in Black America

Pulitzer Prize finalist Elliott Currie's scrupulous investigation of the impacts of violence on Black Americans, A Peculiar Indifference, shows the damaging effect of widespread suffering and identifies an achievable solution.


20 Songs From the 1990s That Time Forgot

Rather than listening to Spotify's latest playlist, give the tunes from this reminiscence of lost '90s singles a spin.


Delightful 'Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day' Is Good Escapism

Now streaming on Amazon Prime, Bharat Nalluri's 2008 romantic comedy, Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day, provides pleasant respite in these times of doom and gloom.


The 10 Best Horror Movie Remakes

The horror genre has produced some remake junk. In the case of these ten treats, the update delivers something definitive.


Flirting with Demons at Home, or, When TV Movies Were Evil

Just in time for Halloween, a new Blu-ray from Kino Lorber presents sparkling 2K digital restorations of TV movies that have been missing for decades: Fear No Evil (1969) and its sequel, Ritual of Evil (1970).


Magick Mountain Are Having a Party But Is the Audience Invited?

Garage rockers Magick Mountain debut with Weird Feelings, an album big on fuzz but light on hooks.

Collapse Expand Reviews

Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.