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

‘Pro Se Presents,’ year one

Posted by at 10:00 am Friday, November 28, 2014 in Black Bat, Brother Bones, New Pulp, Pastiche, Phantom Detective, Pro Se Press, Review, Silver Manticore
Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

"Pro Se Presents" No. 1Tommy Hancock‘s Pro Se Press has in its short time in existence become one of the major New Pulp publishers. And they have even pushed for the use of the term “New Pulp,” even coming up with a New Pulp logo that other publishers can use as well, as a cross promotional tool.

One of their most interesting efforts was to bring back a feature of the original, classic pulps: of being published monthly. They did this in 2011 with a new, monthly digest series, Pro Se Presents. Each volume would be about 100 pages, and have different types of pulp stories. Not just hero fiction, but horror, science fiction, detective, fantasy, and more. Some volumes might have two or three or even four stories, some might have only one, or in a few cases serialized over a couple of issues.

In this posting, I look at the first 12 issues of Pro Se Presents, Volume 1:

#1, August 2011 kicks off the series with three unusual stories. One is a modern horror story, the second is more a fantasy story, with elements of horror, and the third is a detective story. Or is it?

#2, September 2011 this time has two stories. The first is shorter, a “John Sterling Chronicles” story of this original pulp-style adventurer. Don’t know if other stories of this character have appeared. The second is much longer, and is a fantasy story written by Nancy A. Hansen, who has since published further fantasy works through Pro Se Press.

#3, October 2011 contains a single story, “The Hunter Island Adventure,” by Wayne Reinagel. Wayne has his own imprint, so not sure why he published this here first. He is known for huge epic New Pulp works, of which he has three out so far. This one is a short Pam Titan novella. For those not aware, it stars the distaff characters of Wayne’s, all based on classic pulp characters.

There is Pam Titan, based on Doc Savage‘s cousin Pat Savage; Cassandra Greyson, based on The Avenger‘s aide Nellie Gray (and hinted to be possibly Tarzan‘s daughter); Whitney Van Pelt, based on The Spider‘s “girlfriend/fiance” Nita Van Sloan; and Megan Meriwether, based on The Shadow‘s agent Margo Lane.

Here they have their own adventure without the boys, set on Hunter Island. This island is the location of the classic story (novel and movie) “The Most Dangerous Game,” in which crazed Russian Count Zarkov hunts shipwrecked sailors. The island is now controlled by others, who are this time hunting criminals who got away with their crimes. They are led by the son of Lord Roxton, the character from Doyle’s “The Lost World.” As is usual in Wayne’s work, you wonder who among the other characters are based on other literary characters.

#4, November 2011 had four stories. The first is a short science-fiction story set in a prison. The second, is a horror-science fiction story. Next is another fantasy story by Nancy A. Hansen. And finally a short story dealing with a ronin, a masterless Japanese samurai.

#5, December 2011 is a holiday themed issue, with four stories. We kick off with “The Adventures of Nicholas Saint” by Tommy Hancock. Then another fantasy story by Hansen. Next is a Charles St. Cyprian adventure, one of Joshua Reynold‘s Royal Occultist stories. This is an original occult detective series by Reynold. And finally a short Christmas story.

#6, January 2012 this time has five stories, the most of any issue so far. First off is “The Hand of Yogul” from James Palmer. Then we have the first of P.J. Lovito‘s Silver Manticore stories. The Silver Manticore is a blending of several pulp and serial characters. (See my previous posting for more on him.) Next up is the first story of female detective Kitty McGee, which seems set in the ’30s or ’40s. Then we have the first story of modern female detective Aloha McCoy. Finally, we get a comic story that introduces The Rapier, a movie star turned pulp hero.

#7, February 2012 has three stories. We first have an occult horror story starring Levi Jacob Cohen, monster hunter in Prohibition-Era Chicago. Then we have the second of Lovito’s Silver Manticore stories. And finally, the first part of Van Allen Plexico‘s science-fiction story Hawk, Hand of the Machine, which will conclude in the next issue.

#8, March 2012 also has three stories. We conclude the Hawk story from the previous issue. The character and his story will continue in a book from Plexico’s own company, White Rocket Books. Then we get a short suspense story. Finally, a story of Chuck Miller‘s Black Centipede, his pulp hero character. Here he teams up with re-animated crime-lord, The Stiff. (See my prior posting on this character.)

"Pro Se Presents" No. 11#9, April 2012 and #10, May 2012 comprise a two-part series called “The Sons of Thor.” This story teams up several pulp heroes, including the Phantom Detective and the Black Bat in fighting a menace to the United States during WWII. (See my prior posting for a full review.)

#11, June 2012 has a pair of suspense and mystery stories. First off Hansen has a story with detective Kate Keener. In the second, a bizarre murder must be solved before more people are killed.

#12, July 2012 has a trio of stories, all different. We kick off with a story of Ron Fortier‘s Brother Bones, his un-dead pulp hero. Next is a strange story of mystical adventure. And finally, a story of revenge on a town for the evil it had done years prior.

The series continued, and I have another posting coming for the rest of the issues.