Monday, October 11, 2010


TIPPIN' HANCOCK'S HAT-Reviews by Tommy Hancock

Writer-Mike Bullock
Artist-Mike Metcalf

Pulp stories, in comic or prose, are known for their action, over the top characters, and the concept of good over evil.  That doesn’t mean, however, that pulp cannot have relevance or not comment on social issues.   The latest story to review for Moonstone Book’s upcoming Pulp Magazine, told in wide vision format, does just that, combining the fast paced wildness of pulp with social commentary.

The story opens with a man in his basement.  He is not alone in there, in more than one way.  Surrounded by cages, some of them with occupants, this man is alone with his perversions, passions, and playthings.  Oh, and then there’s that other thing in the basement with him.  His worst nightmare. 

Mike Bullock crafts a tale about a man lost to his own vices that is both hard to read and hard to put down simultaneously.   The description of how Lester Ginn feels about what he does in his basement makes my mind feel dirty and leaves a bad taste in my mouth.  That is what makes his eventual meeting with Death Angel and his literal judgment so satisfying.  This character in this story does what so many readers of newspapers and watchers of cable TV news wish they could do at one point or another.  Deliver justice as deserved.

For the most part, the story is taut, well focused, and clearly shows in a short period of time the downfall of a man, not only at the hands of Death Angel, but also by his own unrestrained impulses.  The only downside to this tale was the ending.  There was a clear and definite resolution, no doubt and it was most appropriate.  I’m referring to the actual ending.  It sort of just stops, which is a little jarring.  Other than that, Bullock has put down one heckuva trial and justice pulp tale.

Along with Bullock’s words, this story is told with Mike Metcalf’s images.  The shading is suggestive of something darker in every image, like there are secrets to be found within the basement, things we cannot see but know are there.  The descriptions match line for line Bullock’s words and the scenes with Death Angel are truly disturbing.  There is one, however, that is completely unsettling and yet, like Bullock’s tale, I can’t stop looking at it.  The way Metcalf captures the moment that Lester meets his ‘jury’ causes a huge shiver, but grabs on to the reader, at least this one, and insures, no matter how bothered I am, that I am following Death Angel to the very end.

Four out of Five Tips of Hancock’s Hat (usually reserved for heads of state, arresting officers, and little old ladies, which is pretty darn good.)