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Pulp Magazine reviewed

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As promised, The review of the new bigger Pulp.

The July issue of Pulp has been available for about a week now, regular reader will notice a major change before they even open the magazine, this one is thick, 216 pages as opposed to 128 pages, that's 69% more pages. Yet despite the increased size, one thing hasn't increased, the price, in fact the price has remained at US$5.95 since the first issue was released for December 1997.

But as we all know, bigger isn't always better.

First of all, a look at why it's bigger, what was added, and what was removed. When Pulp was first released it contained 4 Manga series (Strain, Dance Till Tomorrow, Black & White and Banana Fish). This was increased to 5 with the addition of “Voyeur/Voyeur's, Inc.“ in June 1998, and in September 1999 Bakune Young replaced Black & White which had only completed 2 thirds of it's run (The 3rd part can be independently purchased in the form of a Viz Graphic Novel). In addition to the series, Pulp's Manga department was completed with the Gag Manga “Heartbroken Angels”. The good news on the Manga side is that nothing has been removed, there have only been new additions. A new series called “Benkei in New York” and a new Gag Manga called “Short Cuts”. This is good news, even if you don't like the additions, the old favorites (except Black and White) are all there.

In addition to Manga, Pulp has always featured articles and reviews; a typical issue of Pulp consecrated 5 or so pages to these, and another 1 or 2 to letters. The new issue of pulp has about 30 pages of editorials, articles, reviews and interviews. Most of this content is new content, of the original 5-6 editorials, only 2 were kept, “Pulp Cult” and “Shiratori's Laboratory”. Alt Lit, Hi Fi/Lo Fi and j-pop.hard.copy were given the ax. One rather interesting addition is “Vulgarity Drifting Diary” a diary of a sex worker that was originally published on the internet in Japanese.

One thing that might strike new readers is the content of the editorials and articles; most have very little, if anything at all to do with Manga or Anime. In fact Izumi Evers, Coordinating Editor and Designer, calls Pulp “a magazine about the various forms of Japanese pop and subculture”. The new sub title of Pulp (Previously “Manga for Grownups”) is “The world from a manga point of view”, I think “Japan from a Manga point of view” would be more suitable.

Many magazines have found it necessary to increase their editorial content in order to be taken more seriously and attract more lucrative advertisors, however Pulp remains almost entirely add free, I counted 3.5 pages dedicated to advertising, including the inner covers, and the back cover. There was also pull out cards for Animerica subscriptions. Not included in my tally were 2.5 pages dedicated to older issues of Pulp and coming issues.

Any way you look at it, the new pulp is an improvement over the old one, even if you don't like the new features, the old stuff is still there, and the price hasn't increased. Time will tell if things remain that way, Viz might wait a month or two then raise the price, or maybe next month's Pulp will be full of adds, but right now, if you used to like Pulp, then the new Pulp is as good or better. And if you've never read Pulp, but are interested in adult (Not Hentai!) Manga and Japanese sub culture, then it's worth a look.

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