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

‘The Greystoke Legacy Under Siege’

Posted by at 10:00 am Wednesday, October 11, 2017 in Edgar Rice Burroughs, New Pulp, Review, Tarzan
Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

‘The Greystoke Legacy Under Siege’

'The Greystoke Legacy Under Siege'I have previously posted about the pulp works of Edgar Rice Burroughs. His most well-known work is Tarzan, who has spawned a wide range of works, though a character whom I never got into, at least in prose.

Burroughs established ERB Inc. to maintain ownership of his works. And it’s strange or sad that while they have allowed new stories of his characters to appear in movies, TV, radio, comics, and comic strips, new prose works have been few and far between. And in a few cases, permission has been withdrawn for works in progress.

Tarzan has had but a few authorized novels since Burroughs passed away. That seemed to change recently when Will Murray was allowed to write a new Tarzan novel, Return to Pal-ul-don, under the heading of “The Wild Adventures of Tarzan.” I thought this would lead to further new Tarzan novels from Altus Press (and Murray). So was confused when I did see a listing of further new novels, not from Altus Press, but though ERB Inc. These would be under the new heading of “The Wild Adventures of Edgar Rice Burroughs” and looks to include more than just Tarzan.

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‘The Man Behind Doc Savage’

Posted by at 10:00 am Monday, August 21, 2017 in Doc Savage, Lester Dent, Non-fiction, Review
Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

‘The Man Behind Doc Savage’

'The Man Behind Doc Savage: A Tribute to Lester Dent'In 1974, Robert Weinberg edited and published a short booklet (130 pages) titled The Man Behind Doc Savage: A Tribute to Lester Dent. For a while I just thought it was a bio of Lester Dent, but I recently obtained a copy of it and found it’s much more than just a bio, containing several short articles on Dent and his works, as well as two reprints.

First off is a short biography of Dent by Weinberg.  For those familiar with Dent’s life, nothing new here.  For unfamiliar, this may give you some insight.

Robert Sampson provides three articles. First off we learn more about Oscar Sail, Dent’s character from a pair of stories that ran in Black Mask. I really wish someone would reprint these two stories in some form. Then we get a look at the trio of works that ran in Argosy: “Hades,” “Hocus Pocus,” and Genius Jones. I’ve reviewed all three previously. While I have the reprint of “Hades” and “Hocus Pocus,” I wish these would be reprinted again for others to read. Finally we get a look at the later works of Dent, from the digest Docs to his last non-Doc novels. Again, I wonder why no one has reprinted these non-Doc novels?

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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.

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Meet The Black Star

Posted by at 10:00 am Monday, April 3, 2017 in Johnston McCulley, Pulps, Villain Pulps
Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

Meet The Black Star

"Detective Story Magazine' (March 5, 1916)Johnston McCulley, the prolific writer who created Zorro, created many other serial pulp characters that many of today’s pulp fans are unaware of.

His first serial character was The Black Star, a villain who appeared in Street & Smith’s Detective Story Magazine from 1916-30, though most stories appeared between 1916 and 1921. The stories appeared under both McCulley’s name and one of his pseudonyms, John Mack Stone.

The Black Star pre-dates Zorro by a couple of years (and Zorro doesn’t appear to have been created with the intention of making him a serial character).

The series sets down several elements we will see in further McCulley characters. The Black Star wears a sack-cloth hood, black with a jet black star on it. (He also wears a mask underneath the hood.) Such a hood will be used by characters such as The Thunderbolt, The Bat, and The Green Ghost.

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‘Pulp Adventures’ #24

Posted by at 10:00 am Wednesday, March 22, 2017 in Comics, Fanzines, H.P. Lovecraft, Reprints, Review
Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

‘Pulp Adventures’ #24

'Pulp Adventures' #24Pulp Adventures #24 (Winter 2017) kicks off 2017 with this great pulp fanzine from Bold Venture Press. As always, we get a collection of classic and New Pulp fiction (with some notes) and this time also a pulp graphic novel, under an Emmet Watson cover, which ties to one of the stories reprinted here.

For classic pulp, we get:

The cover feature, “Sheridan Rides Again,” is a post Civil War adventure by Sam Merwin Jr. that first appeared in an issue of Thrilling Adventure in 1941. Accompanying this reprint is an article that appeared in the same issue by Merwin that explains the historical background of the story. A prolific pulp writer (mysteries and science fiction mainly) and editor (several leading science-fiction pulps), most of his works are out of print. Bold Venture plans on reprinting more of them soon.

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Not Zorro, it’s The Whirlwind

Posted by at 10:00 am Monday, October 17, 2016 in Altus Press, Hero Pulps, Johnston McCulley, Review, Thrilling
Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

Not Zorro, it’s The Whirlwind

Alias The WhirlwindAltus Press has given us yet another complete collection of one of Johnston McCulley‘s lesser-known pulp characters, with Alias The Whirlwind.

This is the third such collection, and reprints all the stories of The Whirlwind, another pulp character set in the 1700s Spanish California. He ran for seven stories over about a year (around 1934) in Thrilling Adventures magazine. I like that the cover design fits in with the other McCulley collections they’ve done.

I was surprised by how much this character is like Zorro, but also different. I wish I had read some of the Zorro stories, to better be able to see the differences and similarities. My knowledge of Zorro is through the movies and TV shows, plus Alex Toth‘s Zorro comics.

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