Pulp Empire

Attentive readers of the Lowbrow Reader will light up at the name Paul S. Hirsch, whose sparkling essay in issue #9 offered a definitive account of Funnyman, the ill-fated crime-fighting comedian. Comic history fans can now rejoice further: This month, the wise-asses of University of Chicago Press introduce Dr. Hirsch’s landmark book, Pulp Empire: The Secret History of Comic Book Imperialism. Elegantly written and lavishly illustrated, the tome documents the author’s deep dive through the creepy archives of the United States government. Hirsch turns up some seedy stuff: pornography (naturally!) but also proof that the government, while busy castigating comic books, was simultaneously employing comics in a propaganda war against Nazis, Soviets and other mid-century miscreants. It’s a lurid, fascinating tale, narrated with pep and grace. What are you waiting for? Get thee to a bookstore—or more sordid sectors—and buy Pulp Empire at once!