PAIGEY! THE ART OF PAIGE PUMPHREY is a visual "greatest hits" of the art of this rockabilly-infused comic book artist. Paigey's absolutely adorable figures are plump and round and uncomplicated, almost as if created for animation. Despite the "line against curve" figure drawing, she injects enough specificity to create a sense of reality about even her most cartoonish figures.
Where Paigey shines is in allowing her characters to radiate personality. Some artists come up with one great "character" and then swap hair and props to stretch that character into a career. Paigey can use a consistent stylistic approach on a series of figures (as she does in her wonderful portraits of roller derby teams) and by squashing, stretching or shifting basic anatomy, creates fully-realized, totally differentiated characters that genuinely come alive on the page. For this reason, it's easy to see why she is increasingly in demand for her stylized commissioned portrait. When being a Paigey character looks as much fun as it does in this book, who wouldn't want to be one???
If a fault could be found, it's not with the art, which, from the tributes to EC horror and 50's romance comics, the many 'toon tributes to roller derby girls, pop culture figures such as Kat Von D, comic characters like old skool Kitty Pryde (inclusion of her purple dragon Lockheed earns her nerd points) and scores of captivating designs for a goth/vampire comic, "Pearly Whites", is all inspiring. Rather, the slim volume has almost no written copy -- not on the back, not a foreward, nothing to put this grouping of commissions, character sheets and posters into context. If it ever goes back to press or when Paigey is ready to fill another book, she should consider adding some commentary.
The bottom line is that if Walt Kelly and Bruce Timm both listened to Gene Vincent, they might draw rockabilly boys, pin-up girls and roller derby queens with as much sass and panache as Paigey!
PAIGEY! THE ART OF PAIGE PUMPHREY may be purchased directly from the artist, via her MySpace page.