Friday, June 21, 2013

RVGA ponders Dynamite Entertainment's "The Black Bat" and coins the "PulpX" phrase and hashtag.

     I just wanted to take a minute to discuss a comic book that I've become quite passionate about in the short amount of time it's been in publication. The comic book in question here is called The Black Bat and it's published by a company called Dynamite Entertainment. If you're not familiar with them I suggest you check out an earlier blog post of mine where I discussed Dynamite and their amazing line of comic books based on classic pulp heroes of the 30's and 40's in depth. It's an interesting read and a nice introduction to the modern pulp genre. A genre I am un-officially dubbing “PulpX”. If you follow either Dynamite Entertainment or myself on Twitter than you'll know that I coined that phrase recently and it was re-tweeted and adopted by Dynamite to describe their line of pulp hero books specifically, this being aside from their other styles of pulp they publish. This was a real highlight for me and I'm truly honored to be a part of it. But enough about PulpX for now as I want to spend some time discussing this amazing series at hand.
    The Black Bat is only on it's second issue as of this writing, but it's 2 published issues have lead me to absolutely fall in love with the character portrayed in this title as well as the surroundings and atmosphere this book gives off. It's writer, the very talented Brian Buccellato, has truly crafted a tale that is both refreshing and engaging with a main character so rife with life's hardships that it's a miracle he hasn't jumped off a bridge. Well, come to think about it he actually tried in issue #2, but that's besides the point. The point is that the hero of the story is at a severe disadvantage thanks to being blind and struggled to adapt to the society around him, but yet still finds a way to take out the criminals who litter his city. It's really neat. But what's even more neat is that he has solar-like vision that allows him to see in the dark, which is when most criminals tend to strike anyway so it works out in the end.
      On top of the amazing writing by Mr. Buccellato, the book features really nice interior art by an artist named Ronan Cliquet, who's work I actually didn't like a whole lot when he was penciling Green Hornet: Legacy for Dynamite prior to the “Legacy” branding. Ronan's style has been refined and he's pumping out some high quality artwork in The Black Bat, the dark settings and character visuals tend to work better for him more so than the colorful outfit of The Green Hornet and the daytime scenery in which he was working with before. All in all Cliquet's art is much improved and he gets a tip of the cap from me for his efforts in this comic, it's pretty crisp stuff and really worth checking out if you're into interior artwork like I am.
     The first issue was great. You get to see the city that the Black Bat protects from his POV while he takes on thugs and puts the word out that he's looking for a criminal known as The Brute, but while all this is going on you're taken back in time to see how he got his sonar vision as well as other personal traits that brought him to the current day. In the second issue we get even more current day story mixed with personal issues that took place previously that are masterfully woven together to make a thrilling and someone touching tale that brings you closer to the man behind the mask more so than the vigilante himself. Perfecto! This is storytelling stripped down to it's very core and layered with seasoning to bring forth a compelling tale of a classic hero who has been re-imagined in a new era.
     For those who don't know who The Black Bat is, well, there has actually been a couple pulp based characters known as The Black Bat. This particular incarnation came out right around the time that Batman did in the late 30's and both the publishers of the pulp novels and the creators of Batman spent some time bickering with each other until both characters changed up their look a bit, which in the end pleased all parties involved. To be honest though, the original Black Bat pre-dated Batman by several years and even though this incarnation is based on what I believe to be the 3rd version of the Black Bat I still think that he was created shortly before Bob Kane created the legendary “Dark Knight”. With that said, it does piss me off a little when I see some uneducated forum member online come into a thread pertaining to not only The Black Bat, but other pulp heroes too, and refer to them as rip-offs of current popular DC and Marvel characters. Some people just aren't hip to the fact that these pulp heroes predated them all. Damn shame, really. But for every fan who writes this series off as “Batman with guns” there is a fan who knows the true history of the character and realizes that this book stands on its own as being something quite special.
     I seriously can't comment enough about how much I love The Black Bat and I really hope that those who are reading this blog entry who enjoy comic books will give this one a shot. Trust me on this, it's damn good and you have a chance to hop on something fresh while it's still in it's infancy. It's one of those situations where you'll thank me later for suggesting it and I fully believe that based off of this one title you'll soon be investing in the rest of Dynamite's PulpX books. What do you have to lose? $4? You can dig that up out of your couch cushions and from underneath all the 2 month old pizza boxes you've got scattered throughout you're studio apartment, so go ahead.....purchase, read, and enjoy. Catch you on the flip side!

     On a side note: Since I hit Twitter this past week and coined the phrase “PulpX” it's really been taking off among the community of fans who read the Dynamite pulp heroes line of comics. But what does PulpX really mean? Well, to be honest, I don't really know. Whenever I read something that ends in an “X” like how kids/teens of the 90's were dubbed “Generation X”, or how they ad an X to the end of things to signify it being new or the next step in the evolution of a product it's always sort of resonated with me. So picture it like that. This new wave of pulp comics by Dynamite Entertainment is very much a new revolution for the genre, and with pulp now on the mind of comic book fans around the world I figured adding an X to the name would really give it a cool spark, and so far it has. So there you have it!

#PulpX lives on.

© 2013 Bill Mulligan

1 comment:

  1. who needs heroes with yellow spandex and fire balls when we have heroes with guns and physical skills lol, good one RVGA!!