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

Night Raven: Marvel UK’s pulp hero

Posted by at 10:00 am Wednesday, June 21, 2017 in Comics, Pulps
Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

Night Raven: Marvel UK’s pulp hero

Night Raven: The Complete Stories“Where brooding darkness spreads its evil wings, the Night Raven stings!”

Marvel Comics for several years had an imprint in the U.K. publishing their comics: Marvel UK. Basically, it just reprinted American comics in a format expected in the U.K.

Instead of monthly titles with a long story focused on a single character, British comics were anthologies published weekly or biweekly with each character getting one or two pages each issue, so a story would be serialized over several issues. Also, titles were usually in black and white.

However, Marvel UK started doing some original content. First it was Captain Britain, though produced in the U.S. before British creators took it over. Out of the several original characters and series, another standout was Night Raven. He was a pulp hero set in 1930s America who fought crime similar to The Shadow or The Spider.

Read more

Read More

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

DC Comics’ pulp connections

Posted by at 10:00 am Friday, March 31, 2017 in Comics, Pulps
Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

DC Comics’ pulp connections
Major Malcolm Wheeler-Nicholson

Major Malcolm Wheeler-Nicholson

In the past I’ve written on the pulp-comics connections with several of the major and minor pulp publishers. And recently I posted on the pulp roots of Marvel Comics. But I guess I need to take a look at DC Comics.

The pulp connections at DC Comics are even more obscure then Marvel’s. Not helped that, again, most are not aware of DC Comics “origins” as a company.

What we now know as DC Comics was formed as National Allied Publications by Major Malcom Wheeler-Nicholson in 1935. The Major was a pulp writer, but never a publisher until he formed National Allied. The major change he brought to the comic-book industry was to publish original comic-book work, not just comic strip reprints. That was actually kind of daring, and increased his costs (and risks).

However, when he was trying to get his third title out, Detective Comics, he had to take on backers. These were Harry Donenfeld and Jack Liebowitz. Within a couple of years Donenfeld and Liebowitz forced out Wheeler-Nicholson and took over his company. And that is putting in mildly. Most liken it to a “hostile takeover.”

Read more

Read More

‘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.

Read more

Read More

Pulp comics: Dynamite’s ‘The Shadow’ mini-series

Posted by at 10:10 am Friday, March 3, 2017 in Comics, Review, The Shadow
Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

Pulp comics: Dynamite’s ‘The Shadow’ mini-series
'The Shadow: Year One' #3

The Shadow: Year One #3

Since 2012, Dynamite Entertainment has had the rights to do The Shadow comics. In addition to an on-going series (now ended), they have had several mini-series and one-shots with The Shadow. This is the second of three articles looking at what they have produced.

Here I will be looking at the several mini-series staring The Shadow: Year One, Shadow Now, Midnight in Moscow, and Death of Margo Lane. Masks and other minis that have The Shadow with other characters will be covered in other postings.

The Shadow: Year One (2013-14, 10 issues) is written by Matt Wagner, and as the title indicates, is meant to show The Shadow’s first year of operating in New York. It actually starts in Asia, with The Shadow on the trail of another man. We will learn The Shadow’s background as the aviator-spy The Dark Eagle, and sadly adds in that in Asia he became a drug lord (an element I never cared for) and later would be taught by masters in Shamballah in the psychic disciplines.

Read more

Read More

Marvel Comics’ pulp roots

Posted by at 10:00 am Monday, February 27, 2017 in Comics, Pulps
Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

Marvel Comics’ pulp roots
Publisher Martin Goodman

Publisher Martin Goodman

Most everyone knows of Marvel Comics, publishers of Spider-Man, Captain America, X-Men, Iron Man, and all the rest. But few know of the man behind Marvel (and I don’t mean Stan Lee): Martin Goodman.

Goodman got into the early days of pulp/comic-book publishing along side some of the founders of MLJ/Archie and DC Comics. Like them, he diversified into a wide range of publishing: magazines, pulps, comics, and books. And sadly he did this under a wide range of shell companies, which can make it a bit confusing.

Read more

Read More