Commentary from the den of a pulp super-fanNavigation
Blog: Commentary from the den of a pulp super-fan
Since 2012, Dynamite Entertainment has had the rights to do The Shadow comics. In addition to an on-going series (now ended), they have had several mini-series and one-shots with The Shadow. This is the first of three articles looking at what Dynamite has produced.
From 2012-14 they had an on-going series that ran 25 issues, broken up into several stories. They then did an issue #0 that lead into a volume two that lasted only five issues. These has since been collected into five volumes, so we’ll look at each of the story-lines.
The series kicked off with “The Fires of Creation” in issues #1-6. Written by Garth Ennis, this storyline had a version of The Shadow that in my opinion does not match with the pulp version. For me, the right way to view The Shadow is from the pulps: a spymaster now confronting crime and evil, making use of stage magic and disguise skills, along with a cadre of agents. And this is what they are: agents in play in his war on crime, not aides or associates or comrades in arm. If The Shadow picked up anything in the Orient, it would be martial arts and mental skills, but no occult skills like some try to give him.Read More
For those not familiar with DC Comics‘ multiverse (alternate universes), a bit of background.
DC Comics has been publishing their main three superheroes: Superman, Batman, and Wonder Women since the 1930s. They published other superheroes, but these were canceled after WWII. In 1956, DC Comics came out with new versions of these other superheroes (Flash, Green Lantern, Hawkman, the Atom, etc), launching what is known as the Silver Age of Comics. The Golden Age would be the late ’30s to early ’50s.
DC then decided that the new superheroes, now gathered as the Justice League of America, resided on Earth-1, and the Golden Age heroes, much older, and who had formed the Justice Society of America, where on Earth-2. And these heroes would start meeting on a regular basis. Soon DC was establishing other alternate earths: Earth-Prime is our world, Earth-3 had the evil counterparts of the JLA: The Crime Syndicate of America, Earth-S had the Fawcett heroes like Captain Marvel, et al, and Earth-X had the Quality heroes (Uncle Sam, Human Bomb, etc) where the Nazis won WWII. And so on.Read More
Probably the last hurrah for the classic juvenile book series was the Alfred Hitchcock and the Three Investigators series launched in 1964. Created for Random House by Robert Arthur Jr., the series ran for several years and has been kept in print until around 2003 or so.
Robert Arthur Jr. actually started as a pulp writer in the 1930s and ’40s, with stuff published in many of the major pulp magazines including Amazing Stories, Argosy, Black Mask, Detective Story Magazine, and more. He later moved into scripting TV shows.
In the ’60s he edited several anthologies aimed at kids for Random House, all under Alfred Hitchcock’s name, such as Haunted Houseful, Ghostly Gallery, Monster Museum, and more. I had several of those as a kid, and they are probably still at my parents’ house. Alfred Hitchcock was probably the only movie director who I knew of as a kid, until people like George Lucas and Steven Spielberg came along.Read More
I recently posted on a new (to me) occult detective I discovered: Gees, real name Gregory George Gordon Green. Created by British author and editor Charles Henry Cannell (1882-1947), better known by one of his pseudonyms E. Charles Vivian, but these appeared under his Jack Mann pseudonym.
There are eight novels in the series, and I read the first and third. Recently I got the second, fourth, and fifth: Grey Shapes, The Kleinart Case, and Maker of Shadows. All originally appeared, so I am told, in 1938. All eight are available from Ramble House in both paperback and hardcover.
We are introduced to Gees in Gees’ First Case. We learn his background: a former policeman who has quite to form his own detective agency, to the disapproval of his father, a general. His agency is just him and a secretary, Eve Madeleine Brandon. But there is no hanky panky there. Gees investigates anything from “mumps to murder,” as his card says, and thanks to the funds he took from communist conspirators in the first story, he is free to take the cases that interest him.Read More
I recently received the second new issue of The Bronze Gazette, #77, now published by Pulplications. This is the final issue for this year. They also did a special edition for the 2016 Doc Con, and I was able to order a copy (it wasn’t part of the subscription). Check, as they may still have copies.Read More
I have posted previously on Joseph Lovece‘s series, the “Steam Man of the West.” This is an original series inspired by the various “boy inventor” adventure series that ran in the dime novels, the late 1800s forerunners to the pulp magazines.
Known as the “Edisonades,” these included characters like Frank Reade Jr., Jack Wright and others who built steam- and electric-powered vehicles that went on the land, sea, and air.
Lovece’s series is obviously inspired by Frank Reade Jr., as the main character is young inventor Frank Rude Jr. I had read the five books, and now we have a new ones: Juan Nadie.Read More
As a fan of occult detectives, I was thrilled to learn of an early one I had never heard of when Altus Press reprinted a collection of the first stories of occult detective Semi Dual, with plans to reprint the whole series.
Semi Dual is really Prince Abdul Omar of Persia (father, a Persian nobleman; mother, a Russian princess), an astrologer, mystic, telepath, and psychologist. He appeared from 1912 to 1934 in several early pulp magazines, and has never been reprinted.
His name, we learn, of “Semi Dual,” is due to his methods of investigations: “by dual solutions: one material, for material minds; the other occult, for those who cared to sense a deeper something back of the philosophic lessons interwoven in the narrative.”Read More