The first few pages of this comic are pure typewriter porn, filled with the heavy KLACK KLACK KLACK of writing machines gone by. It’s a glimpse at our methodical protagonist hard at work, each panel displaying a deliberate action; until the inevitable distracting dame swings by. PULP is true to its name, with stunning stylized artwork by Chris Peterson, who evokes a little Darwyn Cooke, and a lot of Jeff Lemire on these pages, but still stands strongly on his own. Writer Jeremy Holt uses silence to say just as much as the dialogue, letting the artwork tell the story and filling in the gaps as needed. Only the most necessary amount of words are used, and each panel has a purpose. It’s a wonderful thing to read a comic by two folks who understand the medium, and how to properly collaborate on a story.
That story is simple enough; glimpses into the life of a writer at various times of his career, leading you steadily towards an ending that will knock you on your ass. The twist is a great surprise, and it’s a credit to Holt that he included a few subtle distractions to get your mind churning in the opposite direction. He throws you a bone, but it’s from an entirely different animal.
PULP is a great example of a genre that’s oft alluded to but very rarely well done. It’s a self-contained but fully realized one issue story with a killer ending that will surprise all but the most hardcore film noir aficionados. This book would be right at home in a discount bin of a 1960s second hand bookstore; under estimated by those drawn to its saucy wrapping but packing quite the punch for its “Pay what you think is fair” cover price.
PULP is available from GumRoad as a PDF download. What’re you waiting for?
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