What do you get when you combine the pulp genre with a masked vigilante? No, you don’t get the 1930s, Batman or Zorro. You get Francesco Francavilla’s The Black Beetle! Black Beetle is the 1930s-1940s dark hero of Colt City, who uses his pistol and gadgets to rid the city of crime.
The character started out in Francavilla’s blog Pulp Sunday as a webcomic. Later the pulp hero debuted in shorter series and stand-alone stories from Dark Horse Comics. Francavilla and pulp fans should have the bite of Black Beetle’s pulp bug by now. If you are still not sold by The Black Beetle, let me give you three reasons why you should be reading his comics!
1. Francavilla’s Art In The Black Beetle
The art in this series gives you the feel of pulp films such as Chinatown and the Raiders of the Lost Ark. The art on the covers also reminds readers of pulp movie posters and book covers from the 30’s and 40’s. Francavilla is well known for this type of art since he is a huge fan of the pulp genre.
If you see the images throughout this article, you will see they remind of you classic noir posters. The tags and lines Francavilla uses on the cover(s) to add the finishing Francavilla touch truly brings out the pulp feel. If you are a fan of Francavilla’s art, you will not be disappointed by this comic.
2. Pulp Plots For Everyone
The plots of Black Beetle showcase imagery from previous pulp works. It utilizes murder and conspiracy in the best of ways. The superhero element adds the pulp presence by providing depth to the character. Francavilla does a wonderful job at balancing both aspects in this comic. From murders, Nazis treasure hunters, supervillains, to city crime families The Black Beetle battles them all to save his beloved Colt City.
My favorite plot of the comic is The Black Beetle going up against the Nazis because it reminds me of WWII propaganda comics of heroes going up against the faction. Plus I love seeing the occult aspects of Nazism fleshed out in the comic format and getting beat up!
If you love Nazis getting beat up and crime stories, then this is the comic book for you!
3. Fan Letters
Reading the fan mail at the end of comics is always brings a smile to any reader’s face. The fan mail for The Black Beetle is worth a read due to how much people enjoy the pulp genre. Plus it is always great knowing that creators, such as Francavilla respond to their fans. The genre doesn’t always get the attention it deserves in mainstream comic books.
The Black Beetle helps address that concern. My personal favorite part of reading the fan mail in this comic is the opening. The opening sounds like a radio news reporter from the 30s or 40s is talking.
Let’s Start Readin’ The Black Beetle
Now that I provided you with the reasons why you should read the adventures of the masked pulp hero, go out and get yourself some The Black Beetle comics! The comic is perfect for casual and die-hard pulp fans for its plots and artwork.
Francavilla fans will also enjoy the art and the creator’s writing. Reading the fan mail of the comic shows the support for the pulp genre in the medium. The Black Beetle provides something for everyone to enjoy.