Blog: Commentary from the den of a pulp super-fan

Pulp comics: ‘Doc Savage: Spider’s Web’

Posted by at 10:00 am Friday, September 23, 2016 in Comics, Doc Savage, Review

'Doc Savage: The Spider's Web' #1Dynamite published its second Doc Savage mini-series, the five-issue The Spider’s Web. It was also written by Chris Roberson and is set after the first one.

Unlike the first series, this one has a more consistent storyline through the series, though almost each issue has a flashback scene to an earlier case, as Doc and associates discover that their current case is tied to several in the past.

The storyline launches with the first issue when Doc and his organization helps with an earthquake. They soon figure out that it was man-made, caused by technology Doc had encountered back in the 1930s. A flashback shows Doc and his crew in 1933 dealing with that tech, and Doc tracking it to down to a rich industrialist, who accidentally kills himself attempting to do in Doc.

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‘The Shadow in Review’

Posted by at 10:00 am Wednesday, September 21, 2016 in Non-fiction, Review, The Shadow

‘The Shadow in Review’

'The Shadow in Review'A new guide to The Shadow pulp series is out: The Shadow in Review. It’s written by John Olsen, who writes the companion blog That’s Pulp!, and published by Pulplandia Press (through Lulu).

This massive work (over 500 pages) has a review of each Shadow story from the pulp series, plus a few more. It’s a labor of love that the author spent nearly 20 years reading every story twice and writing a review for each one.

Each review runs about a page or two. We are told the volume and issue number, publication date, and the submission date, and the submitted title if different from the final title. Who wrote each story is noted. And each stories rated from zero to five guns.

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Rick Brant, science adventures

Posted by at 10:00 am Friday, September 16, 2016 in Juvenile fiction, Review

Rick Brant, science adventures

'The Rocket's Shadow'A juvenile series that was in counterpoint to Tom Swift Jr. was Rick Brant.

Published by Grosset & Dunlap (like Tom), but owned outright by G&D and not the Stratemeyer Syndicate, the series actually pre-dated Tom, starting in 1947 and lasting until 1968 for 23 volumes. A 24th would be published in 1990.

Credited to “John Blaine,” the series was created and written by Harold Goodwin, who had a technical and scientific background (though he had assistance on the first three). He wrote the series books as a sideline to his work for the government in various scientific roles. In addition, he wrote several popular science works aimed at kids, as well as some other juvenile fiction works. Even for the Rick Brant series he did a non-fiction book on science projects (what would have been a whole series of such works that never happened).

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‘Skelos’ takes on weird fiction, fantasy

Posted by at 10:00 am Wednesday, September 14, 2016 in Fantasy Pulp, Fanzines, Weird Fiction

‘Skelos’ takes on weird fiction, fantasy

'Skelos' #1A new magazine that has come out is Skelos. It’s billed as “the journal of weird fiction and dark fantasy.” Like others, it was launched with Kickstarter, but you can still order issues. I subscribed to the first four and recently received the first issue.

As noted, the focus is on weird fiction. In an editorial, this is given as the fiction that came from Weird Tales and from a variety of authors: Arthur Machen, Ambrose Bierce, Lord Dunsany, and on into H.P. Lovecraft, Robert E. Howard, Clark Ashton Smith, C.L. Moore, and the many who followed them. And it also includes artists like Margaret Brundage, Virgil Finley, and the like. So pretty impressive company.

The first issue (Summer 2016) seems to set the stage for future issues. We get a collection of short fiction, a couple of novelettes, and some poetry. But we also get some essays and even an illustrated story. There is also a selection of a half-dozen book reviews.

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Fanzine focus: ‘Blood ‘n’ Thunder’ #46-48

Posted by at 10:00 am Friday, September 9, 2016 in Fanzines, Hero Pulps, Reprints, Review, Western Pulps

Fanzine focus: ‘Blood ‘n’ Thunder’ #46-48

After too long we get two more issues of Murania Press‘ excellent magazine Blood ‘n’ Thunder.

Blood ‘n’ Thunder covers not just pulps, but their dime novel forerunners, movie serials, and early radio. But every issue has something of interest to pulp fans, and these are no exceptions, having both new articles, and reprints of both fiction and non-fiction. As I noted in my previous review, editor Ed Hulse‘s plan is to continue the magazine until #50, then continue it as a series of books.

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Vic Challenger #1 & 2

Posted by at 10:00 am Wednesday, September 7, 2016 in Edgar Rice Burroughs, New Pulp, Review, Tarzan

Vic Challenger #1 & 2

"Vic Challenger: Double Trouble"I have previously posted about the Vic Challenger series, having received the fifth novel in the series. Set in the 1920s, the series stars young Victoria Custer who discovers she is the reincarnation of a cave girl, Nat-ul, born and died 100,000 years ago.

Using the name Vic Challenger, she works as a travel writer (and adventurer) while looking for her soul mate from 100,000 whom she thinks is also reincarnated. But in her travels she gets into various dangers, and her past life as a cave girl warrior helps her out.

The first two novels, Time Doesn’t Matter and Mongol are available together in one volume titled Double Trouble, and I got that. In reading the first novel I discovered that the character actually comes from Edgar Rice BurroughsThe Eternal Lover. The first half of the novel consists of a retelling of that novel, but here Victoria doesn’t meet her reincarnated lover Nu as in the original, which sounds a little hokey. But Victoria does have all the same adventures in Africa, and Tarzan does appear (though never referred to as such, but only as Lord Graystoke, probably for copyright reasons). The Burroughs novel is in the public domain, but I am sure calling the character “Vic Challenger” makes it easier to copyright this different take on the character.

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American chronicles of Sherlock Holmes

Posted by at 10:00 am Wednesday, August 31, 2016 in Pastiche, Sherlock Holmes

American chronicles of Sherlock Holmes

"Sherlock Holmes and the Red Demon"With the wide range of Sherlock Holmes pastiches, a few have given him adventures in America. But as far as I know, the only extensive series of Sherlock Holmes stories in America are by Larry Millett, all set in Millett’s home state of Minnesota.

Millet is a now retired journalist and architecture critic, and makes use of this background in crafting his Holmes stories, which heavily uses the local history.

The series includes:

  • Sherlock Holmes and the Red Demon (1996)
  • Sherlock Holmes and the Ice Palace Murders (1998)
  • Sherlock Holmes and the Rune Stone Mystery (1999)
  • Sherlock Holmes and the Secret Alliance (2001)
  • The Disappearance of Sherlock Holmes (2002)
  • “The Mystery of the Jeweled Cross” (2002, available from Amazon)
  • “The Brewer’s Son” (2006, in Twin Cities Noir)
  • The Magic Bullet (2011)
  • Strongwood: A Crime Dossier (2014)

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