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
Paul Malmont appeared on the New Pulp scene in 2007 with his first book, The Chinatown Death Cloud Peril.
This novel made used of several pulp authors as characters in a fictional adventure. The main ones were Lester Dent (the creator and writer of Doc Savage) and Walter Gibson (the creator and writer of The Shadow), but there were various other science fiction pulp authors who appeared, along with L. Ron Hubbard (later founder of Scientology).Read More
Lester Dent, the co-creator and major author of Doc Savage, is too often overlooked in regards to his non-Doc work he did before, during, and after he wrote the character. I’ve done previous posts on several of his “gadget heroes” and other works, and am sure I’ll do further posts on his other non-Doc works.
One particular episode of his career is when, during a too brief lull in writing Docs, he was able to try breaking into other markets. This allowed him to try to get stories in Argosy, the long-running and well respected Munsey pulp. Out of this was two novelettes: “Hades” and “Hocus Pocus,” and the long novel “Genius Jones,” serialized over six issues. All three stories have some similar elements. All have several interesting characters, many who seem influenced by Doc and his associates. And all have a higher level of humor than his regular output, with “Genius Jones” the most explicit version of this.Read More
While most people when dealing with pulps focus on the later periods of the 1930s, ’40s, and ’50s, the hero pulps that occurred then, the crime, detective, mystery, science-fiction and fantasy of those eras, it’s important to also look at the pulp fiction that preceded those eras.
The pulp magazines got their start due to Frank A. Munsey, who started to convert his fiction magazines to pulp paper and reduced their price, making them more profitable. He published the well-known Argosy magazine, which got its start in the late 1800s, and several other popular magazines such as The All-Story and Flynn’s Detective Fiction Weekly.
Now, Altus Press has started a new line called the “Argosy Library,” which is composed of several series of 10 books each highlighting some of the great fiction that appeared in those magazines, now often overlooked.Read More
The first of Lester Dent’s “gadget heroes” was Lynn Lash. This short-lived character came out before Doc Savage was created, and it’s said that these stories helped Dent get the Doc gig.
Lash appeared in two published and one unpublished stories. They appeared in 1932 in Ace’s Detective Dragnet. All three are collected in the Altus Press collection, “Hell in Boxes.”
Lynn Lash has many elements we would see in Doc Savage. The hero worked out of a skyscraper headquarters and tackled scientific threats the police couldn’t. Lash has some association with the police, such that he gets a lot of special treatment from cops (similar to what Doc received). The source of his income is never mentioned. (Is he paid by the police? Independently wealthy? He only seems to do stuff for the police.) The third story adds some elements we see in Doc: a gun shooting mercy bullets, a special apartment with a secret elevator, a basement with special vehicles, the villain hooking up with the hero to keep an eye on the investigation, and Lash working out the solution midway, but not revealing things until the end.
Sadly, there aren’t many secondary characters that are used through all the stories. The first and third stories has Lash’s boyish secretary. A reporter is the main helper in the second story, but we don’t see him in the third.Read More
Published by Jay Ryan‘s Solace of Fortitude Publications, the books are done in conjunction with the Doc Cons. After skipping a year, this volume ties into the recent Doc Con XVII in 2014. Clocking in at 242 pages, this volume isn’t the biggest, but is among the bigger ones.
We get a variety of articles in this issues. There is a nice article looking at Ham, Will Murray gives a retrospective on 50 years with Doc, Jay gives a overview of 60 years of Doc, and a few others.Read More