The first issue of BRUTE! was unleashed on an unsuspecting public in 1984. A satirical homage to the hard-boiled pulps of the 30’s and 40’s BRUTE! ‘s strategy was to revive the strident writing of the original texts whilst injecting a savage humor all of its own.
Authors Malcolm Bennett and Aidan Hughes invented an original concept in literature, ‘woodspeak’, which enabled them to concisely edit their stories into brutally short stabs of tabloid-style prose.
Visually BRUTE! also kept to the classic designs of the pulps but added a epic quality found in illustrated religious pamphlets of the 20’s. Its tiny (A6) format was designed specifically to fit in the pocket (portability equals accessibility). The first three issues achieved a small-scale notoriety until 1986 when they caught the attention of Blitz, a London-based style magazine.
The authors were commissioned to write and illustrate a monthly short story in the BRUTE! style (a TV series, narrated by actor Jack Klaff, was also broadcast during this period) which led to other related work in radio, TV and advertising.
The media exposure for the release of BRUTE! 6 attracted Sphere Books who published a compilation paperback which sold out its initial print run.
However, owing to complaints about the nature of its content, the publishers shied off from a second print run and a proposed sequel. Despite healthy sales and a die-hard fan-base, BRUTE! breathed its last in 1988 with issue number 7.
“Masterly.” – Literary Review
“One day all books will be written this way” – Time Out
“The best experimental novel of the decade” – Kazuo Ishiguro
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