Written by Jeremy Holt
Art by Chris Peterson
Pulp, a 24-page one-shot by Jeremy Holt (After Houdini) and Chris Peterson, is the perfect book to read on a cold wintry evening. Especially if you want to carry that shiver around with you for a couple days.
This story is a tense, sideways look at an insecure man who felt small in a big, scary world. From the first panel I felt like I was trapped in The Shining – I had a super bad feeling about things, and like a sap I disobeyed every law of modern horror and went on alone anyway. Holt is very economical with the dialogue, which builds the tension even more. I don’t know what it is about writers that makes them such wonderful protagonists in stories about the nature of human madness. Maybe it’s that writers spend too much time in the heads of their characters. Conversely, maybe they spend too much time in their own heads. Maybe it’s both.
Whatever the reason, the tale of Mr. Merchant is a compelling one. The artwork really makes it feel like an old episode of The Twilight Zone. Peterson’s pictures convey everything you need on each page. It’s very simple and moody. It makes the book feel very understated, which really pays off with the twist ending. Things are unfolding right in front of you and you don’t even realize what’s happening until it smacks you in the face.
I don’t have many opportunities to read short, self-contained stories. Thus is the curse of the superhero comics fan. Pulp successfully delivers a complete, fully realized journey into a strange, dark place and it lingers. Even better, it does all this with minimal flash and spectacle. I’d highly recommend taking a quiet afternoon, getting warm under a blanket, and creeping yourself out.
Interested readers may name their own price for a digital copy of Pulp here: https://gumroad.com/l/pulp