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

Pulp comics: Dynamite ‘Shadow’ 1-shots

Posted by at 10:00 am Friday, April 28, 2017 in Comics, Review, The Shadow
Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

Pulp comics: Dynamite ‘Shadow’ 1-shots

'The Shadow Over Innsmouth'Since 2012, Dynamite has had the rights to do The Shadow comics. Since then in addition to an on-going series (now ended), they have had several mini-series and one-shots with The Shadow. This is the third of three articles looking at what they have produced, here focusing on the several one-shots.

The one-shots are The Shadow Over Innsmouth, The Shadow Annuals 2012 & 2013, The Shadow Special, The Shadow Special 2014, The Shadow #0 (One-Shot) 2014, and The Shadow #100. There is also Altered States: The Shadow, which I covered in another posting, as I did for the 2014 one-shot.

The Shadow Over Innsmouth has The Shadow along with Margo Lane in fog-bound Innsmouth, after they landed their seaplane there. After getting a tale told them of Captain Marsh, the South Seas, the Deep Ones, and more, they discover that it’s just a cover to scare people off from a major bootlegging operation that even includes a submarine. But The Shadow makes short work of it. The coda at the end has H.P. Lovecraft hearing the same tale, which we assume is the source of his story, “A Shadow Over Innsouth.”

Read more

Read More

More Nina & Eddie

Posted by at 10:00 am Wednesday, April 26, 2017 in Review, Techno-Thriller
Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

More Nina & Eddie

'The Valhalla Prophecy'I have previously posted on Andy McDermott‘s series starring archaeologist Nina Wilde and her bodyguard/ex-SAS/boyfriend and now husband Eddie Chase.

As noted, the first eight Wilde and Chase novels comprised a loose series, as they had a secondary story-line dealing with Atlantis that started with the first novel and is wrapped up with the eighth.

The next novel, The Valhalla Prophecy, starts a new phase for both characters. It’s interesting that even the cover style changed with this one. Here they learn of an ancient and deadly substance found by the Vikings with can cause death and mutations.

The Russians had discovered one source of it and knew it was so dangerous, they destroyed it and setup a group to monitor and discover any other sources. Wilde and Chase team up with them to find the other known source and destroy it before a dangerous American can obtain it and use it. But in doing so, this has unexpected consequences for both Nina and Eddie that leads to them leaving the International Heritage Agency, the UN agency formed to protect Atlantis and that Nina finally got to head.

Read more

Read More

A look at Street & Smith’s ‘Crime Busters’

Posted by at 10:00 am Monday, April 24, 2017 in Detective Pulps, Hero Pulps, Lester Dent, Street & Smith
Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

A look at Street & Smith’s ‘Crime Busters’

'Crime Busters' (November 1937)Street & Smith kicked off the hero pulp trend with The Shadow in 1931. They eventually followed that with Doc Savage in 1933. While those were successful, their subsequent series were not, as they tried western (Pete Rice), detective (Nick Carter), and air adventures (Bill Barnes).

Next they tried to copy the success of The Shadow and Doc with The Whisperer and The Skipper.

Walter Gibson suggested something different. A pulp magazine that would contain about three novelettes (long short stories) of different serial pulp heroes, from which successful ones could be spun out in their own magazines. Editor John Nanovic decided to go with that idea, but made some changes (probably not for the best).

In 1937, they dumped The Whisperer and The Skipper, and retitled Best Detective Magazine (which was mainly reprints) as Crime Busters.

Read more

Read More

Galactic Central & the FictionMags Index

Posted by at 10:00 am Friday, April 21, 2017 in Commentary, References, Review
Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

Galactic Central & the FictionMags Index

'The Hero Pulp Index'While I was an early science-fiction fan (including pulp sf), I also got into comic books as a kid, and later started to collect them. A resource I started to obtain was the annual Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide. The first edition I got was #9 from 1979, after seeing #8 in a bookstore. But here was the thing.

I didn’t care about comic book prices. Never did.

I got Overstreet for all the other information it had that I needed as a collector. When did a title start and end? What titles got renamed or merged? How many issues did it have? What issues of a title had certain backup series? Where did certain backup series go from one title to another? Which ones had certain creators work on? And so on.

When I got into reading pulp heroes, this sort of information was missing. Or at least for me in those early pre-Internet days, was hard to find. I was oblivious to the world of fandom at the time. I only later learned about stuff like The Hero Pulp Index. So as I focused on pulp heroes, it was hard to know how many stories a particular character had. Did this serial character run for four stories or six?

Read more

Read More

Captain Hazzard is back!

Posted by at 10:00 am Wednesday, April 12, 2017 in Airship 27, Captain Hazzard, Hero Pulps, Jim Anthony, New Pulp, Review
Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

'Captain Hazzard: Custer's Ghost'Captain Hazzard is sadly a one-hit wonder in the pulp world, and is one of the more blatant Doc Savage clones. Originally published by Ace Magazines, his one issue came out in 1938, though a second story was written.

Ron Fortier of Airship 27 Productions decided to make full use of the character. He revamped the original novel and then did the same for the second, which had be turned into a Secret Agent X story. These became the first and third volume of a new series of Captain Hazzard books. He wrote new novels, which are the second and fourth volumes.

Now after too long we get a fifth Captain Hazzard novel: Custer’s Ghost. A welcome addition to this story is we get Super-Detective Jim Anthony added to the mix, and a return of Azlea O’Hara from volume two. It’s been awhile since Airship 27 had done anything with Jim Anthony, another original pulp hero and yet another Doc pastiche.

Read more

Read More

Meet I.V. Frost, science detective

Posted by at 10:00 am Monday, April 10, 2017 in Hero Pulps, Pulps, Review, Street & Smith
Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

Meet I.V. Frost, science detective
'Clues Detective Stories' (April 1935)

Clues Detective Stories (April 1935)

Another pulp hero who has been largely overlooked by most pulp fans is I.V. Frost. A science detective created by Donald Wandrei, he appeared in Street & Smith’s Clues magazine in 1934.

S&S was frustrated that Clues, their newly-acquired dedicated mystery pulp, was being outsold by Black Mask. So they commissioned Wandrei to create a continuing character that would attract and keep readers.

Ivy Frost ran for 18 stories from September 1934 to September 1937. Several stories were cover featured. Was it successful? I don’t know, but Clues/Clues Detective Stories lasted until 1943 and appears to have ended due to the wartime paper shortages.

Read more

Read More

Review: ‘The Adventures of Lazarus Gray, Vol. 6’

Posted by at 10:00 am Wednesday, April 5, 2017 in Lazarus Gray, New Pulp, Pro Se Press, Review
Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

Review: ‘The Adventures of Lazarus Gray, Vol. 6’

'The Adventures of Lazarus Gray, Vol. 6'Lazarus Gray is a New Pulp character from writer Barry Reese (The Peregrine, Gravedigger, and other works) with several volumes out so far. The Adventures of Lazarus Gray, Vol. 6 actually follows the events of Gotterdamerung, which was a team-up of Reese’s various pulp heroes (and a few others), to stop the end of the world.

That story ended with the death of Gray.

But clearly, Reese had other plans. And, so, yes, this volume has his return. And it has Gray and his friends of Assistance Unlimited — with some additional help — going after several foes, both new and returning.

For those who have yet to read Gray (and why haven’t you after six volumes?), he is sort of inspired by the classic pulp hero The Avenger. Gray has setup a group similar to The Avenger’s called Assistance Unlimited. He is located in a fictional town called Sovereign City (created by Pro Se Press publisher Tommy Hancock), and is part of the larger Sovereign City Project. He is also set in the same universe as Barry’s other characters, so has crossed over with them.

Read more

Read More