Back in 2011 I illustrated crime pulp for a new A5 print magazine aimed at teen boy readers. The independent publisher sent me an impressively dense brief in the post, this booklet proposed their vision for Pulp Detective it was going to be a monthly featuring 3 stories of about 14,000 words each, the setting was bootleg era 1930's America, when Mobsters, Gangsters and corrupt officials ran rife.
The Editor called for an illustrative style something like Martin Brown's Horrible Histories and Massimo Bonfatti's Leo Pulp. A bold vision indeed I thought, there was nothing like this catering for that demographic that I could see. My only question was - how can you be so confident in this being successful today? We've done our research, was the Editor's matter-of-fact response. I trusted in his vision, thinking it would look great on the shelves of WH Smith, so I naturally jumped at this chance.
Each month I was tasked with one hardboiled character, a gumshoe detective.
I did 3 stories depicting 10 or so scenes (of my choosing) for each story. The artwork had to be oversized with backgrounds heavily detailed to allow some flexibility for chopping areas for further use elswhere in the magazine. This, to my mind, was insensible decorative whimsy involving extra work - I suspected the onset of 'mission-creep' but went along without complaint.
Would normally expect a layout (with image-spacing) set first, then I'd know exactly what scenes (with their dimensions) needed artwork, but instead I waited with nervous anticipation for the resulting first issue's proof-copy to arrive by post.
When it duely did, my jaw thudded the mat. Seems the Editor's publishing nous, much as I wanted to believe in it, wasn't up there with his enthusiasm for his favourite genre. He was without doubt a bona fide amateur enthusiast.
Subsequently a second attempt with minor improvements to its 'look' was delivered. Anyway, long story short, their backers who also being their distributors too, pulled the plug on this foolish venture so it consequently got rightly pulped.