By Jason Mott
January 24, 2008 - 11:08
Ready to journey back to the wild, carefree, Smash!-Bang!-Pow! days of the classic pulp comics? Looking for those days to be a little more fleshed out than they used to be? Possessed of a little more heart? A little more humanity? Then Pistolwhip: The Yellow Menace is for you. PTYM is the story of two men and a bygone era. Harkening back to the days of adventure radio and adventure comics, PTYM exists in this distant world and updates it with the complex, character-driven habits of modern writing. The product of mixing these eras and styles is a book that is seductively hard to put down and deeply rewarding—especially for those of us nostalgic over comics from “back in the day.”
With PTYM Jason Hall has woven a surprisingly elaborate tapestry of both plot and character. The overall story of PTYM is relatively straightforward: a radio/comic personality is traumatized after the death of his child and becomes a real-world hero. But this recapping of events doesn’t do justice to the degree to which Hall has made the plight of his hero, Orson Lang, visceral and tangible for the reader. With beautifully smooth (and still creative) page layout as well as inserting sections of Pulp-Comics-Era prose, Hall has created something that mixes genres and emotions with masterful skill.
Not to be outdone, Matt Kindt has done an equally impressive job of mixing visual art styles capable if mirroring Hall’s wonderfully anachronistic approach to writing. Kindt uses a pared back, minimalist style that reminds one more of preliminary sketches than finished product. But, where this could be a flaw in other venues, it works wonderfully here and furthers the feeling that this is a work from a bygone era, a raw, still young genre trying to discern the particulars of its own appearance in the mirror. The end result is a clean, professional, unique project that Matt Kindt should be quite proud of.
Overall: 4 out of 5.
Whip that pistol.