-== What is it? ==-
The Adventures Of The 19XX (19XX) is a pulp web comic that has been bound and published by it’s creator, writer, and artist Paul Roman Martinez. The collection of web comics are split into two stories called Rise Of The Black Faun and Montezuma 1934. Each story is bound into a separate hardback book. Funding for the books was conducted through a kickstarter.
The 19XX books have color covers and beautiful color interior art. The books are 10.25” x 6.75” and are roughly 130 pages in length. The pages are not numbered so it is a bit hard to calculate the exact length of each book. I am reviewing print copies of 19XX that I bought through the kickstarter.
-== What I Like ==-
The 19XX is a group of elite heroes who travel around the world on a massive zeppelin called the Carpathian. They use their talents to fight evil before the start of World War II. Adventures have some mystical elements that really pump up the storytelling.
The writing for 19XX is top notch. Each storyline is split into several action filled chapters. Tension builds in each chapter until is reaches a climactic finish where the stakes are very high. This is great pulp writing.
The various main characters and people that they meet along the way are dynamic and chock full of pulpy goodness. Some of my favorite 19XX characters include the baseball swinging Penn, The Kid and his intelligent rabbit friend Togo, and Vera the tank driver. Some really memorable villains include the undead Shining Skull, the elder god tainted Demonhand, and the twisted beekeeper Modomnoc. One really neat addition to the stories is the presence of historical figures. The main characters will meet or mention people like Nikola Tesla, Howard Hughes, Freida Khalo, and the ghost of Isambard Brunnel.
The artwork in 19XX is detailed but not cluttered. Focus is put on the characters and the gear/vehicles. Backgrounds are often left empty or lightly rendered. You can tell that the artist took a lot of care when drawing the various vehicles. It really adds a nice touch of authenticity to the stories.
The production quality of the books is wonderful. The front covers for the 19XX books are full color with cloth bindings. The interior pages are bright and vibrant. These are high quality books.
One really fun aspect of the 19XX “franchise” is that you can pickup lots of different products related to the property. From the online store you can get the books, patches, t-shirts, bags, models, and prints. I got some of the patches and they are top quality. Next I think I may get a t-shirt…but which one!!!
-== What I Don’t Like ==-
My only complaint with the storytelling in 19XX is that sometimes the pacing can feel a bit jerky. I think this is because each strip was initially presented as an individual web comic. In my opinion this is more evident in the first book. The second book flows a bit better.
There are a lot of main 19XX characters, villains, and side characters. (See the associated picture with this article. This picture shows the 19XX heroes only.) At times I wanted to hear more about a given character. As part of the kickstarter I also pledged for books called Secret Files. These books contain additional information and stories about some of the characters from the books. These really added to the experience for me. I recommend purchasing these with the main two collections.
-== Summary ==-
The Adventures Of 19XX might be my favorite pulp comic strip and I have read quite a few of them. I’m waiting for the next story to finish so I can buy the third book. Each book has a price point of $19.95 which is VERY reasonable for the quality of the presentation, artwork, and storytelling. If you want high-action stories full of pulpy goodness then look no farther than The Adventures Of 19XX.
I give it 9 out of 10 paws.
You can get copies of the books at this URL for $19.95. Here is a link to the main 19XX site.