Thoughts on Crime Pulp

Crime Suspenstories

Inspired by his recent appearance on Geek Gab: On the Books, the Injustice Gamer offers some additional thoughts on the crime genre in the pulps:
Let's start with a definition of the Crime genre(yes, I know genres are mostly marketing tools). It's not inherently a mystery story, though it might be.  A great proportion of these feature "protagonists" on the other side of the law. There's a lot of deceit in the several characters, possibly including the narrator. Commonly, there's a lot of violence, and sex and language content is generally within the norm.
I wrote an overview post on the genre of crime comics. While this is a good start, it's also very much an incomplete view. There were a slew of crime comics before the comics code came into being, notably from EC, the biggest victim of the code. On the recent side, Hard Case Crime has been partnering with Titan Comics to bring some interesting stories to graphic format, and if they do quality work long enough, will unseat Vertigo as the crime comics king. 
Read the whole post.

As a kid I stumbled upon the Gladstone-Cochran reprints of EC comics at the local supermarket. The intense art and effective, if formulaic, writing hooked me immediately, and I convinced my dad to buy me an issue each week. Those old issues are still around here somewhere. I'll have to dig them out.

Another treasure of my youth was a paperback biography of EC publisher William M. Gaines, better known as the founder of Mad magazine. The episode of Gaines' cold medicine-impeded testimony before the senate hearings on juvenile delinquency stuck with me. Along with Werthan, those hearings brought an end to the golden age of EC crime and horror comics.

What a strange turn of events that now it's publishers who are engaging in censorship to keep ideas they deem dangerous from corrupting readers.

Happily, publishers don't have the power to muzzle writers anymore.

Want to read something really scary?

The Soul Cycle - Brian Niemeier


1 comment:

  1. Brian:

    Can I direct your attention to 2 websites that are dedicated to the crime/detective/black novel?

    http://crims.cat/ (publisher in both Spanish and Catalan)
    http://lameva.barcelona.cat/bcnegra/ (THE convention in Europe and one of the more important ones in the world)
    the crime novels are one THE genre in Catalan (the other is the historical novel). It covers everything from the snooty literary pretensions to the pulpy kinds. There a ton of translations from contemporary American, British and Italian crime writers and they're often invited or guests of honour.
    I've read some of the Catalan ones and I enjoyed them.

    One of the salient things about the novels is how they provide an opening to reflect on society and the human conditions. Yeah some do it rather heavy handedly but most don't as the Catalan market is so small that the writers simply can't afford to insult their readers.
    Also, they have a good work ethic and by in large they really love the genre and really appreciate their fan base. This really shows both in the quality and the sheer variety (and I include mixing genres like historical+fantasy+realism for example)

    Scifi/fantasy in Catalan is a very tiny market. The writers do a fine job but they tend to cover other genres and jobs (for example one of the more prolific authours Salvador Macip is a doctor who works in England and has mixed genres like medical horror scifi; satire; he coauthoured a ultra pulpy scifi book about a lesbian heroine trust me it's absolutely hilarious and would definitely trigger the social zombies to no end)
    Marc Pastor is another one but I forget what his job is.
    So I think the fact that most Catalan authours can't really live off their books ironically gives them a competitive edge in terms of writing.

    Maybe that's something some aspiring authours could ponder. Perhaps they won't be able to quit their day jobs but they can use them to craft good stories.

    Sorry for the prolix post but I hope you and your visitors can be inspired to mix black novel with scifi or even fanatasy