Leo Pulp, back to hard-boiled
Author: Claudio Nizzi
Artist: Massimo Bonfatti
Publisher: IDW Publishing (originally Sergio Bonelli Editore)
He vaguely looks like a badly-drawn caricature of the standard movie private eye. He lives and works in a foggy, damp, hot 1940s Los Angeles. His first case involves a guy called Dashiell Chandler. He will charge you “25 bucks per day, plus expenses”. He is not a private investigator: he is THE private investigator.
Written and created by Claudio Nizzi, well known in Italy as one of the most prolific authors of Tex, a series set in the Wild West that seldom fails to sell more than 200,000 copies per month, Leo Pulp brings us back to the heyday of hard-boiled fiction and movies.
Despite the comedic style of the art, Leo Pulp is a pedal-to-the-metal, story-focused mini-series (originally three 94-page one-shots). Alternatively supported and, more often, hindered by his “friend”, the local chief of police Nick Tracy (whom he tends to call Dick), Leo stomps through the city leaving behind him a trail of dead bodies and broken hearts. But, at the end of the trail, there is a solution to the case. And Norma, the owner of his local diner.
The tributes to hard-boiled literature are continuous: in the names of the characters, in the inside-jokes found here and there in the plot, in some details of the art.
Load your pea-shooters and keep your head down: Claudio Nizzi is driving, Los Angeles is shooting back. Intrigues, the lifestyles of the rich and famous, failed actors and screenwriters, serial killers, over-concerned parents, merciless criminal gangs. And Leo’s first-person voice-over, that I dare you to imagine not being gritty and world-weary, accompanying you through the events.