Sometimes the best ideas come from people outside the comic and magazine industries. Next week, on Thursday September 27th, a brand new monthly story magazine males its debut in newsagents, the brainchild of Richard Kavanagh, a bricklayer from Warwickshire.
Pulp Detective No.1 will be an A5 size publication with 136 pages for £3.25. The contents are based around three illustrated short stories. The stories are all set in a fictional 1930’s American city called Bay City, a city over run with organised crime.
The first story of each issue is written from a third person perspective and follows the life of Federal Agent John Munro, as he takes on Bay City’s most notorious criminals. The intention is for the story line to be ongoing through each separate issue, so that the reader always wants the next instalment. This is the same for the second story, which is written from a first person perspective (which works well for private detective novels) and follows the life of Private Detective Henry Reed as he goes about Bay City solving his cases.
The third story in each issue will be random each month. Bank robbers, prize fighters, hit men and other criminals will be the centre of these stories all still set in the underworld of Bay City.
Each story is around 14,000 words and intended for a predominantly male readership of around 10 to 18 years of age. "An age range which, in our opinion, is currently poorly catered for by the magazine industry" says editor Richard Kavanagh.
There are also other features within the magazine like the Character Profiles, Bay City Babe, Gang Territory Map and others that will change each month and evolve with the magazine.
As a recent article in the Coventry Evening Telegraph revealed, the idea for the magazine came to Richard last year when he and his wife Carly, a primary school teacher, were browsing through the Horrible Histories books which use a mixture of prose and comic strip. It occurred to them that a similar approach could be taken with crime and detective stories in an entertaining way to encourage boys to read. (As this article from The Guardian explains, there is a problem today with boys in Britain not developing satisfactory reading skills. See also this article on the subject.)
Perhaps the most remarkable achievement so far is that Pulp Detective has landed a deal with Seymour Distribution to be sold in WH Smith and selected newsagents across the country. Considering that Smiths often have a reluctance to accept children's magazines unless they're based on a known brand and bagged with a toy this is very impressive.
Equally impressive is that Richard, and his company Plesio Publishing Ltd, have produced a press pack and have set up a nicely designed website. Not only does the site provide information on the magazine it also includes a store locator for people to find the nearest shop that stocks the mag.
Up until a few decades ago newsagents sold paperback books, story papers, and science fiction "pulps". Today you'd be unlikely to find any prose fiction publication in those shops other than The People's Friend and, if you're lucky, InterZone. (Not helped by the fact that story papers and most pulps have died out of course.) No wonder that so few teenage boys develop the thirst for reading. Let's hope that Pulp Detective manages to rectify that. Good luck to Richard Kavanagh and his team with the launch on September 27th!
Official website: http://www.pulpdetective.com/
Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Pulp-Detective/158121290979222
Pulp Detective on Twitter: https://twitter.com/pulp_detective