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

‘Pulp Adventures’ #24

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

‘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

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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Johnston McCulley’s The Bat

Posted by at 10:00 am Monday, October 3, 2016 in Altus Press, Hero Pulps, Johnston McCulley, Reprints, Review, Thrilling

Johnston McCulley’s The Bat

'The Bat Strikes Again and Again!'Most pulp fans are familiar with The Black Bat, but how many know of the early character called only The Bat?

The Bat was published in Thrilling Publications’ Popular Detective pulp from November 1934 to February 1935. This is before both Thrilling’s The Black Bat or DC’s Batman, who appeared in 1939, but after all the major pulp heroes who started in the early ’30s (The Shadow, Doc Savage, Phantom Detective, Moon Man, G-8, The Spider, Secret Agent X and Operator #5). Altus Press has reprinted the whole series as The Bat Strikes Again and Again!

Now, these four short stories of this character were published under the C.K.M. Scanlon house name. Per Will Murray, in the introduction to the Altus Press reprint, this hid, for some reason, Johnston McCulley, the creator of Zorro. Many fans may not know that McCulley created several other early pulp characters, which I’ve covered previously. One would think that with his fame, they would not have wanted to hide the fact that he wrote them.

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Pulp comics: ‘Fatale’

Posted by at 10:00 am Friday, September 30, 2016 in Comics, H.P. Lovecraft, Pulps, Review, Weird Fiction, Weird Menace Pulps

Pulp comics: ‘Fatale’

"Fatale" Vol. 1A different pulp-inspired comic from the team of Ed Brubaker and Sean Philips is Fatale. It followed their interesting Incognito series, which was inspired by pulp heroes.

Fatale is inspired by a mix of crime noir and Lovecraftian horror. And like Incognito, we get a series of essays in several issues from Jess Nevins and others. The series ran 24 issues (originally planned as 12) from 2012-14.

The story concerns a mysterious femme fatale named Joséphine. She seems long lived and never ages, with flashbacks at different parts of her life going back to the ’30s, with the main storyline set in modern times. Jo is being pursued by a dangerous cult that wants to sacrifice her to their Lovecraftian gods. And the leader has very real and sinister powers.

Jo has an effect on men, something she can’t always control, that compels them to help her — as a lover, guardian, or the like. And it usually doesn’t work out well for the men in question.

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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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Fanzine focus: Pulp Adventures #21

Posted by at 10:00 am Wednesday, August 3, 2016 in Cthulhu Mythos, Detective Pulps, Fanzines, H.P. Lovecraft, New Pulp, Reprints, Sherlock Holmes

'Pulp Adventures' #21Pulp Adventures #21 (Spring 2016) is the seventh issue of the new version from Bold Venture Press.

Once again we get a collection of classic and New Pulp fiction (with some notes), all under a Norman Saunders cover (a detective one). And do we get some goodies this time!

In my view, this blend of new and old pulp fiction (with occasional pre-pulp and post-pulp) that doesn’t focus on one pulp genre — we get horror, science fiction, crime & detective, railroading, and pulp hero in this one — makes this one of the best pulp fiction fanzines coming out now. You might not like everything that appears in an issue, but I know you will like something.

The issue kicks off with Ron Fortier providing a Brother Bones tale: “The Hideout.” His Undead Avenger has appeared in several short stories and a couple of novels. And soon a roleplaying game and a movie!  Sadly, I have to admit that Brother Bones is probably the only major New Pulp Hero that I haven’t read.

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