Wednesday, October 20, 2010


Introducing a new ALL PULP recurring event-ALL PULP FOCUS!  The purpose of this is to take up a topic within the Pulp community, much like ALL PULP  does with its panel, and broadening the focus to include other parts of ALL PULP.  This focus is on the concept of pulp for kids.  Is pulp appropriate for children?  Is there a distinct area within the genre that can be identified as 'kids' pulp'?  A new panel will be posted later today for the Spectacled Seven to look at this concept, but for now enjoy throughout the day reviews of stories from Martin Powell that just could be kids' pulp....if there is such a thing..

TIPPIN' HANCOCK'S HAT-Reviews by Tommy Hancock
Writer-Martin Powell
Artist-Victor Rivas


The story is the one everyone knows and that story at its most basic is a scary tale indeed.  A little girl traipsing through the woods on a humanitarian mission to her elderly grandmother, a chance encounter with a smooth talking wolf, that same wolf in grandmother’s clothing, and a slice of an axe ending the lupine evil makes the tale of Little Red Riding Hood a horror story in its own right.   What Powell and Rivas do in their graphic novel retelling of this popular legend is take that innate fear and terror to a whole new level.

Powell puts several distinct turns on this already twisted children’s tale that take it out of the realm of ‘fairy tale’ and put it squarely in the pulp area.   The story opens with an elderly woman visiting a fortune teller she’d visited before and that fortune teller giving her a warning of sorts and a gift colored in red.  The story becomes somewhat familiar at that point, the little girl wanting to visit her sick grandmother wearing the red hood made by said relative.  Where this story really takes a horrific twist is the introduction of the wolf.  Rivas’ interpretation of the wolf is basically a lot of jagged dark lines all converging into a face that is simultaneously pleasant and horrendous.  Powell continues that image by writing the Big Bad One less as a creature of the forest and more like a potential child molester grooming its prospect. 

Powell also ups the ante with Red Riding Hood, too.   She becomes the ultimate pulp heroine, facing the evil one on one and without her greatest protection even.  The final scene in the grandmother’s home and the subsequent chase through the woods on many levels had the intensity of any climactic scene in any horror movie.   Rivas’ art is as creepy as it is endearing and cute, adding to the disturbing content of a story that boils down to a little girl left alone in the woods to be ravaged by the evils in the shadows.  Well, this Red Riding Hood definitely ain’t down with that. 

The storytelling gets awkward at a couple of points and transition from scene to scene is a bit jerky, but overall RED RIDING HOOD in the hands of Powell and Rivas is a wonderfully delightful, scary ride through a children’s classic

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.)