‘Work for a Million,’ pioneering lesbian pulp fiction, gets graphic novel makeover

Work for a Million Lesbian Graphic Novel

A panel from the upcoming “Work for a Million,” a lesbian graphic novel that was adapted from the groundbreaking 1986 pulp fiction book of the same name. Photo: Selena Goulding/Bedside Press.

The groundbreaking book “Work for a Million,” the first pulp fiction book with a lesbian detective protagonist that also was penned by a lesbian writer, will be adapted into a graphic novel that’s scheduled for release next year.


Writer Eve Zaremba first introduced private investigator Helen Keremos, the first feminist lesbian detective, to the world in 1978 in “A Reason To Kill,” where her sexuality was strongly suggested through her relationship with other characters.

Zaremba brought Keremos out of the literary closet in her 1986 release “Work for a Million.” In that book, Karemos’ tough dyke exterior is matched only by her softness for a pretty girl in trouble.

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Zaremba, 88, lives in Toronto with her wife, Ottie, has helped organize the project.

The graphic novel will be released by Canadian publisher Bedside Press in January 2020 and is available for pre-order.


“This book, both in its original prose and in this new graphic novel, is an important part of crime fiction history, LGBT history, feminist literature history, and Canadian literature history,” Hope Nicholson, publisher of Bedside Press, said in a statement.

The graphic novel will be adapted by veteran lesbian writer Amanda Deibert (“Wonder Woman ‘77”) and artist Selena Goulding (“Susanna Moodie”), who identifies as bisexual.

“Even though it’s set decades in the past, the energy sparkling between our leads feels very fresh and exciting,” Nicholson said. “This is the perfect gift for those who love pulp and crime comics, with a Bogart-esque tough PI lead who still has a soft spot for vulnerable people to protect.”

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Described as witty, sly, and incredibly skilled at her job, Keremos wants to leave the hustle and bustle of Toronto for the peace and quiet of  Vancouver. Before she can leave, Keremos is hired for one last job, protecting singer Sonia Deerfield after the wealthy songstress receives threats.

As the danger around them grows, their mutual attraction also escalates.

“Crime novels are a genre where LGBT representation is overall pretty low, nonexistent, or insulting,” Nicholson said. “To have a novel that doesn’t focus on a lesbian character’s tragedy, but showcases her strength, charisma, and smarts, is incredibly unusual, let alone to have a romance in it too.”

About the author

Beatriz E. Valenzuela

Beatriz E. Valenzuela is an award-winning journalist who’s covered breaking news in Southern California since 2006 and has been on the front lines of national and international news events. She also covers all things nerd, including comic book culture and video games. She’s an amateur obstacle course racer, constant fact-checker, mother of three, and lover of all things geek.

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