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Image Comics; $16.99

The solicitation from Image Comics described Pulp as “One part thriller, one part meditation on a life of violence…” and rarely has a description so fit a graphic novel. Given their history, though, it’s hardly surprising that this original graphic novel from writer Ed Brubaker and artist Sean Phillips lives up and surpasses that standard.

This work is far more introspective than anything we’ve seen over the years from them in the pages of Criminal, and it even goes substantially farther down that road than The Fade Out. This thoughtfulness, though, doesn’t come at the expense of action, but rather serves as an echo for the main character’s long, adventurous life.

In 1930s New York, Max Winters, an aging pulp writer far from the best of health, finds himself drawn back into a life he’s only thinly disguised in his pulp stories. Brubaker and Phillips (and colorist Jacob Phillips) have really stepped it up on this one.

The hardcover is very similar in format to their Criminal graphic novels My Heroes Have Always Been Junkies and Bad Weekend. It’s beautifully produced, and you’ve enjoyed their previous work it’s a bargain.

-J.C. Vaughn