by Shaun Knittel -
SGN Associate Editor
The third installment of the Gay City Anthologies, Gay City Vol. 3: Re-Pulped, is the hottest yet. Re-Pulped is jam-packed with sensational characters, lurid images, and scandalous storylines inspired by the 'pulp' era of the 20th century.
'In Re-Pulped, we are reminded that the pulp era was a time when every kid could dream of being a cowboy or a rocket ranger or a sword-wielding swashbuckler,' writes the anthology's editor, Vincent Kovar, in the book's introduction. 'It was a time when all good heroes were, in some way, a little unnatural. Now, by re-pulping the pulps, everyone can dream of having a happy ending.'
And re-pulp they did! Enlisting the help of artists and writers alike, from comics to photography to poems and short stories, the pulp washes over the reader as thick and sticky as maple syrup.
In the poem (Modern, Political, Radical) Pulp Friction, Michael Carosone uses a play on words, calling for pulp fiction to become pulp friction in the national Gay movement. "Pulp friction. Pulp friction. More friction. More friction. Less waiting. Less patience. Fight for your rights. Fight for your dignity. Fight for your freedom. Fight for your liberties. Fight for your love. Fight for your sexuality," Carosone demands, concluding with, "Repulp the friction. Raise your fists. Raise your voices. Reinvent. Refuel. Refuse. Reenergize. Renew. Reclaim. Recycle. Reuse. Represent. Repulp."
The 175-page anthology's other poet, Jeff Walt, offers up three unique and mentionable pieces: Jerk Off, Santa, and Seduced.
Cartoonist Tyler Dorchester sketches up comedy mixed with cruising in The Brotherhood, a seven-page multi-part soap opera of betrayal, lust, and redemption surrounding "Homosexuals Anonymous."
Steven Goupil, Re-Pulped's other cartoonist, draws the tale of Dickie Derringer, Semi-Private Dick. Also spanning seven pages, the reader gets to follow the exploits and adventures of Dickie as he finds true love in the last place he'd ever expect to find it: a Gay bar.
Four paintings by Charles Demuth (1883-1935) are included, each seemingly more erotic than the other. The reader is treated to a bathhouse orgy, a sailor circle-jerk, cruising in the woods, and soldiers' love on the battlefield. Without being too over-the-top, Demuth's images are a single snapshot of fantasy turned reality.
Re-Pulped also features photographs by Carl Van Vechten (1880-1964), Jack Johnston, Jan Stary, and R. Edward Jack. Although all of the photographers offer compelling images, it was the Polaroid scans of Johnston that caught my attention. In 1978, while living in New York City, Johnston took several hundred self-portraits with a Polaroid One-Step SX70. Acting as a "best of" from the set, Kovar selected eight photos, all very different and very personal, to display.
Where Re-Pulped really shines is in the short stories, as each writer brings their own version of pulp to life. Two writers, Eric Andrews-Katz and Ryan Crawford, really stand out.
The first, Eric Andrews-Katz, whose work appears in other Gay City anthologies, offers the reader The Gaucho's Way, the tale of Claudio Alveraz, an Argentinean dancer and womanizer, who is ultimately branded by a Gaucho. Andrews-Katz leaves nothing to the imagination as he describes the scene's scent, appearance, and feel so skillfully that you imagine you are in the room witnessing the scene yourself. Just when you think the ultimate violation is about to occur, Andrews-Katz shifts gears and offers a tale of payback and revenge on the Pampas.
The second, The West Gate by Ryan Crawford, tells the tale of a post-apocalyptic Seattle where Barack, a Gay man, is a part of a "tribe" of LGBT people, and Natives struggle to survive. There are many amazing layers to this story, as Crawford is a thoughtful and intense writer. The West Gate is the standout piece of the book.
Gay City Vol. 3: Re-Pulped is an anthology that is a breath of fresh air in that it is quality work and has a little something for everyone. Re-Pulped would be a welcome addition to your bookshelf; however, be warned that it is an addictive read that you may gladly breeze through in just one sitting.
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