In the first half of the 20th Century, pulp magazines were incredibly popular – at their peak, the most successful pulps could sell up to one million copies per issue. The likes of Agatha Christie and Edgar Rice Burroughs regularly contributed to Blue Book. However, the arrival of paperbacks and television was ruinous and the printing press was switched off. Modern superhero comics are often considered a direct descendant; there are characters which have crossed over from pulp to comics – Conan and The Shadow – whilst Brubaker and Phillips’ recent work has its roots firmly planted in the genre.
Pulp Detective looks to restore the popularity of pulp to the pre/teenage audience, with illustrated stories, which are set in a fictional 1930’s American City (Bay City). A city over run with organized crime. It’s a valiant effort, full of promise.
The first story, written by Sean Hudson with illustration by James Stayte, follows the life of Federal Agent John Munro, as he takes on Bay City’s most notorious criminals, the Black Mask, Bay City’s Mafia. Inch by inch he plans to take them down. Munro is a hardboiled, no-nonsense agent, who tackles crime head on. And unlike his colleagues, incorruptible.
The second story, written by Matthew McKernan with illustration by James Browne, introduces us to Henry Reed, a Private Detective, employed by ‘one heck of a dame’ to find her sweetheart but as he investigates all is not as it seems, in a tale which shines a light on the corruption in Bay City.
The third story, my personal favourite, written by Brabazon Booth with illustration by Shugmonkey, follows Private Detective Mark Foster, a retired US marine, lured to a laundry by a damsel in distress, only to be caught in an explosion and subsequent gang war.
Pulp Detective’s intention is to straddle the shelves between the Beano and the disgusting Nuts and Zoo. According to publishers Seymour “an age range which, in our opinion, is currently poorly catered for” – a glimpse at the shelves yesterday confirmed as much. They feel “Pulp Detective has substance and will keep our audience gripped from issue to issue.”
Pulp Detective’s mission is to “provide a quality and entertaining fictional story based magazine to a predominantly male teenage audience while creating an ever-changing world where our reads can escape to”. Hopefully they will succeed. It’s a much welcome addition to the pre/teen market.
Pulp Detective went on sale across the country on the 26th September. Find your local stockist HERE.
Issue 2 goes on sale November 8th.