Monday, April 26, 2010

Pulp-Powered Comics: The Perhapanauts

This week I am going to take some time to focus on a few more modern interpretations of the pulp genre. First stop: The Perhapanauts.

More accurately titled Todd and Craig’s The Perhapanauts, the comic first debuted in 2006 as a four issue limited series from Dark Horse Comics. It returned as another limited series a few months later before moving to Image for its current (sporadic) edition.

The book treads a lot of ground with its concept: a secret government agency devoted to unlocking the secrets of cryptids, strange beings that populate the earth in unexplained ways: bigfoot, chupacabra, ghosts, and the like. What makes the Fearless Five-esque unit fun is that they represent those cryptids. Bigfoot (nicknamed Big), the Chupacabra (nicknamed Choopie) and a ghost named Molly are all members of our main team. The mystery guy MG (clever initials there) and team leader Arisa (a psychic) round out the team.

The book tends to take the team’s adventures literally everywhere as they seek to uncover the truth and often haphazardly stumble their way through each adventure. They meet monsters from the Chimaera to the Jersey Demon to Filipino vampire known as the aswang.

In some ways it is similar to the early stories of its fellow modern pulp Hellboy, only The Perhapanauts never gets half as grim as Mike Mignola’s creation. Writer Todd DeZago (Tellos, Sensational Spider-Man) brings a lighter, more exciting prose style to the book. Impulse and Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane artist Craig Rousseau’s light pen work and deft character designs turns DeZago’s words in to page after stunning page, all colored perfect by Rico Renzi. The book looks good and can best be compared to the adult cartoonish style of Powers’ Michael Avon Oeming.

After its move to Image, the book failed to bring in enough money for the team to keep it afloat as a monthly title. A few issues have been published sporadically, but Rousseau seems to have moved on to work for Marvel, including the recent debut of Marvel Her-Oes, the worst titled comic since Giant Sized Man-Thing. Trades are still available though, and I highly recommend them to anyone that enjoys a good comic or a good heroic pulp. Highly Recommended.

Note on the links: Though its labeled as volume one, Triangle is actually the third book in the series. First Blood and Second Chances come before it.

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