cover image Pulp


Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips. Image, $16.99 (72p) ISBN 978-1-5343-1644-7

Brubaker and Phillips (Criminal) reunite in this comic with a killer hook, combining the best elements of westerns and crime noir for a double shot of classic pulp. New York City, 1939: Max Winter is an aging pulp writer, spinning gunslinger yarns inspired by his own youth on the frontier, where he and his brothers were once outlaws. With his literary aspirations frustrated and his income drying up, he teams up with a former Pinkerton agent to pull off the crime of the decade: robbing Hitler’s agents on the eve of the infamous Times Square Nazi rally. Behind all the action and atmosphere is a thoughtful, carefully developed look at the legacy of the lawless frontier, the rise of fascism, and the cruelty of a world where, unlike in the pulps, the bad guys often win. In Phillips’s photorealistic art, he can bash out violent action scenes in harsh, quick lines, then pause to render a subtle change in a character’s expression. New York is drenched in warm colors and deep shadows, while the western flashbacks emulate the look of cheaply printed four-color pulp illustration, which transcends the gimmickry. The only disappointment in this tight, fast-paced homage to multiple pulp traditions is that it’s so short. Readers will dig it, but they’ll wish for more time with Max and his hardboiled world. (June)