"MULP is an anthropomorphic comic book, a Pulp adventure set in a world of mice, by Matt Gibbs and Sara Dunkerton."
As soon as I heard about MULP, back in the beginning of April, I was intrigued. As a fan of Blacksad, Mouse Guard and Grandville, it sounded like another comic book that would be right up my street. As such, I wanted it to be my first review.
When an ancient stone tablet is unearthed in Egypt, it leads to the disappearance of Professor Walter Harvest-Scott's assistant, Sellsey. This prompts Cornelius Field to call in his friend Jack Redpath; Jack's an adventurer, and we can tell he's been around from what looks like a bite out of his ear. Also drawn into this is plucky reporter Victoria Jones who, along with the Professor's daughter Elizabeth, forms our tight band of heroes.
MULP hooked me from the very first page and didn't let go until the last. Sceptre of the Sun is an Indiana Jones-esque style of adventure that not only introduces its reader to an array of wonderful characters, but does the job of setting-up the world without ever feeling like the exposition gets in the way of the story. It's an entertaining plot - one told brilliantly by writer and artist alike - with every panel leaping from the page to capture the reader's attention; there's an intricacy to almost every panel that keeps the eye on it long after the words have been read.
Colours add to the period feel and no two characters look the same. There are some wonderful transitions between scenes (that trick of not-quite-overlapping dialogue works brilliantly), some of which feature the characters looking out of the page to another whose point of view we share, drawing us into the action. There are double-crosses aplenty, fistfights, sinster henchmen, and a femme fatale which - combined with the myths and legends of the world - serve to emulate rather than imitate the genre. It never feels like a spoof, or something that's been made deliberately quirky to attract attention. The care and detail is evident on every page - even the pyramids are to scale, being no taller than the palm trees that grow next to them.
Matt and Sara have created something wonderful here, a tale that will appeal to fans of Indiana Jones and Rick O'Connell, making MULP everything I hoped it would be, and more besides.