REVIEW: ‘Pulp’ OGN

Reading Time: 3 minutes

PULP

Pulp, written by Ed Brubaker, illustrated by Sean Phillips, and colored by Jacob Phillips, is published by Image Comics. Former outlaw Max Winters has used his violent past to create pulp fiction tales during the 1930’s. However, several forces including the rise of the Nazi movement and a figure from his past lead to him picking up a gun once more. To make matters worse, Max is struggling with his own health.

Brubaker and Phillips came up with the idea during discussions; Phillips wanted to do a Western-themed tale, which led to Brubaker ruminating on how the pulp genre came about. The two are a well-oiled machine, having worked together on titles like Criminal and Incognito. Their talents are well suited to the Western genre.

Brubaker’s script is tinged with melancholy from beginning to end. Much like the tales he pens, Max Winters is a product of a bygone age. He deals with a competitive market, health problems, and a slowly increasing sense of cynicism. Like any good pulp tale, Brubaker laces the script with perfectly punctuated bits of narration. This helps the readers to place themselves in Winters’ shoes.

Brubaker also fleshes out Pulp‘s supporting cast, which gives Winters emotional anchors to the story. Perhaps the character with the biggest influence on the story is Jeremiah Goldman, a former federal agent. Goldman once chased Winters back in the days of the Old West; here they become unlikely allies. Goldman drives the plot and has a genuinely understandable motive; I defy readers to not shed a tear when it’s revealed.

PULP

Phillips once again brings a lived-in vibe to Brubaker’s script with his artwork. Characters are distinct and sharply defined; Winters, for example, has an angular face with snow-white hair and mustache. Often, Phillips will push in on Winter’s face to show his different emotions. Eyes wide with pain and fear, face screwed tight in anger…it runs the gamut and once again helps to add a human element to the story.

What really makes the book shine is Jacob Phillips’ colors. At night, we see faded blues and purples. Bars are lit in warm orange and red. Scenes set in winter are almost blanketed in white, with the barriers between panels nearly eradicated. You can’t help but drink in every detail. However, the best thing about this book is how timely it feels. The uncertainty of the future has been on my mind lately; it’s something this book touches upon in great detail. Even though the book is set in the 1930s, Brubaker and Phillips understand that history repeats itself more often than not.

Pulp reunites the creative team of Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips for a meditation on the last days of the Old West and the cost of violence. Brubaker’s melancholy script is brought to life by Phillips’ eye-grabbing artwork; fans of Westerns and true crime stories will definitely want to buy this one.

Pulp is available wherever comics are sold and through Comixology using our affiliate link.

Pulp
5

TL;DR

Pulp reunites the creative team of Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips for a meditation on the last days of the Old West and the cost of violence. Brubaker’s melancholy script is brought to life by Phillips’ eye-grabbing artwork; fans of Westerns and true crime stories will definitely want to buy this one.