Peops_ by ex-pat Canadian artist Fly is a fabulous exploration of the American underground through comix and stories. Each page of this attractive book displays one of Fly’s drawn portraits (usually in black pencil), and each portrait is surrounded by stories told by that subject in a beautiful, whimsical scrawl. Fly also includes a short explanation of who the person is and how she met them. The characters include squatter’s rights activists, artists, community gardeners, musicians, zinesters and pre-teen authors. The portraits show people lined and tired but animated by inner strength and the energy to take the road less traveled.
Reading Peops is an introduction to a vocal and creative sub-culture marginalised because of their rejection of the traditional American dream. Fly first started collecting her resonant personal portraits while on tour across the U.S. with the band God is My Co-Pilot and has since kept a record of all of the unusual and inspiring characters she meets on her travels and at home. Although there are brief appearances by well-known rebels like John Zorn and Lydia Lunch, most subjects never attain such a level of notoriety. Their stories offer both joy and sorrow, but always remind us of the immense value of people who will never be widely celebrated as mainstream success stories.