Turning pulp inspiration into a career

It wasn’t teachers or any form of schooling that helped me to read. It was amazing tales that I first discovered in comic books and then in pulp adventure stories.

Two of my classmates from school introduced me to the paperback reprints. A very appreciative thanks goes to Smitty and Nelson. I never realized it until I grew up but the nicknames of their youth made them sound like a couple of pulp magazine characters.

Paperback versions of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ John Carter of Mar series.

Paperback versions of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ John Carter of Mar series.

This was when I found and fell in love with the character pulp magazines. These along with many other pieces of classic literature were available during the late 1960s and early 1970s in paperback reprints. It wasn’t long before I dabbled in collecting a few copies of some great pulp magazines.

My favorite pulp heroes were Doc Savage, The Shadow and The Avenger. While I still enjoyed the comic book stories of Batman, Spider-Man, etc., it was the pulps that really excited me. I probably had at one time over 100 copies of pulp reprints from my three favorite pulp characters as well as a few of The Shadow magazines that I’d bought at comic book conventions. The Tarzan stories were great, too, as were the John Carter of Mars series from Burroughs. The narratives of Doc Savage and The Shadow truly sparked my imagination enough to ignite my interest in creating my own stories. It was the beginning of what would become my nearly lifelong dream of becoming a writer, a storyteller on the level of Kenneth Robeson, Maxwell Grant and other hard-working scribes who according to some were “hacks” but to me were the creators of classic American literature for the masses.

Unfortunately, I let all of this go by the wayside as I grew up and became interested in other things. I made a terrible mistake in my 20s by allowing my mother to sell off my entire collection. It’s not the thought of what the monetary value of that collection might be now that upsets me the most. It’s the fact that the format in which I originally discovered those priceless jewels of imagination is now gone and I have no one else to blame for that than myself. While it’s possible to physically replace most of what is gone, the memories of those times are truly history.

The pulp adventure stories helped me along the years to work on various story ideas of my own. Now, I’ve just recently been able to have one of my own original stories published. My book Wings of the Valiant is an epic-length, science fiction, adventure story that is very reminiscent of the pulp tales that I read in my youth. It’s the first of a planned series and I’’m currently working on one of four planned sequels.

While my work may not achieve the notoriety of the adventures of the Man of Bronze, I hope it entertains all who are interested in stories that have been created by someone who loves the spirit of what I’d like to call escapist literature.

About the author: Mark Edward Jones is a Kentucky native and has been writing most of his life. As a child he would create his own comic books and write fantastic adventure stories. He was first published, while still in high school, in “New Voices in American Poetry” in 1977. For a brief period during his senior year, he was a sports reporter for his hometown newspaper, the Grayson County News-Gazette. He attended the University of Kentucky. He’s held various occupations, from sales, management, bookkeeping and laboratory phlebotomy. Currently, he is working on four sequels to Wings of the Valiant and resides in Bowling Green, Ky., with his family.