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

Meet Fantômas

Posted by at 10:00 am Monday, March 7, 2016 in Arsene Lupin, Belphegor, Fantomas, French pulp, Fu Manchu, Judex, Roulatabille, Villain Pulps
Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

Meet Fantômas

Fantomas“Fantômas!”
“What did you say?”
“I said: Fantômas”
“And what does that mean?”
“Nothing…Everything!”
“But what is it?”
“No one…and yet, yes, it is someone!”
“And what does this someone do?”
Spreads terror!

Fantômas, Lord of Terror, Genius of Evil, is probably one of the most important villains in popular literature, more so that he carried his own series. When we think of villains who also starred in their own series, we think of Fu Manchu, maybe some of the very short-lived villain pulps, whereas Fantômas appeared before them and in many ways has had a wider influence.

Read more

Read More

‘Tales of the Shadowmen 12: Carte Blanche’

Posted by at 10:00 am Wednesday, January 13, 2016 in Arsene Lupin, Doctor Omega, Foreign Pulps, French pulp, Pastiche, Roulatabille, Sar Dubnotal
Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

‘Tales of the Shadowmen 12: Carte Blanche’

Tales of the Shadowmen 12: Carte BlancheIt’s the end of 2015, and we have another volume of Tales of the Shadowmen. The Black Coat Press series is now up to 12 volumes. It’s subtitled “Carte Blanche,” a term which to most people means “blank check,” but here means complete freedom to act without restrictions: heroes’ passion for justice unchecked, villains going wild, etc.

This annual series makes use of Philip José Farmer‘s “Wold Newton” concept, mixing in a variety of literary characters, with a focus on the various pulp and pulpish characters of France and Europe, such as Arsene Lupin, Fantomas, The Nyctalope, Rouletabille, and many others, as well as those from other countries.

This year’s volume gives us:

Read more

Read More

‘Tales of the Shadowmen 11: Force Majeure’

Posted by at 10:00 am Wednesday, January 28, 2015 in Arsene Lupin, Doctor Omega, French pulp, Judex, New Pulp, Nyctalope, Review, The Black Coats, The Shadow, Wold Newton Universe
Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

‘Tales of the Shadowmen 11: Force Majeure’

'Tales of the Shadowmen 11: Force Majeure'It’s 2015, and we have another volume of “Tales of the Shadowmen,” now up to volume 11. It’s subtitled “Force Majeure,” a term which means a catastrophic event or force.

This annual series makes use of Philip José Farmer‘s Wold Newton Universe idea, mixing in a variety of literary characters, with a focus on the various pulp and pulpish characters of France and Europe, such as Arsene Lupin, Fantomas, The Nyctalope, Rouletabille, and many others, as well as those from other countries.

This year’s volume gives us:

• Matthew Baugh: “Gilgamesh Revisited” is a retelling of Gilgamesh with various pulp characters in place of the major players, such as a certain Man of Bronze, “Devil Doctor” and Giant Ape.

Read more

Read More

Review: ‘Tales of the Shadowmen, Vol. 10’

Posted by at 10:00 am Wednesday, October 8, 2014 in Arsene Lupin, Doctor Omega, French pulp, Nyctalope, Pulps, Review, Rocambole, Roulatabille, Sar Dubnotal, Sherlock Holmes, The Black Coats, Wold Newton Universe
Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

Review: ‘Tales of the Shadowmen, Vol. 10’

'Tales of the Shadowmen, Vol. 10'“Tales of the Shadowmen: Espirit de Corps” (2013) is the 10th and latest volume of this eclectic anthology series from Black Coat Press.

Because it’s the 10th volume, it’s also the largest volume yet, clocking in at almost 450 pages! This collection fits into Philip José Farmer‘s “Wold Newton” concept.

The stories in this collection are:

• Jean-Marc Lofficier: “My Life as a Shadowman,” an introduction and followup to his prior intro in vol. 3.

• Matthew Baugh: “Quest of the Vourdalaki” is an interesting story with Cossacks and vampires, including characters from “The Vampire Captain” (from Black Coat Press) and Jean Rey‘s “Malpurtuis.”

• Nicholas Boving: “The Green Eye” returns with Rupert of Hentzau (“Prisoner of Zenda”), now in India, where he gets help from Phileas Fogg, and has a run in with English gentleman-thief A.J. Raffles and some of Rudyard Kipling‘s characters.

Read more

Read More

Arsène Lupin: gentleman-thief

Posted by at 11:52 am Monday, August 4, 2014 in Arsene Lupin, Foreign Pulps, French pulp, Sherlock Holmes
Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

Arsène Lupin: gentleman-thief

Arsène Lupin: Gentleman-ThiefOne of the most popular characters in French literature is Arsène Lupin. He holds a position similar to that of Sherlock Holmes, which is interesting as they came out around the same time, and Lupin even went up against Holmes in a few of his earlier adventures — though to avoid issues with Conan Doyle, the character was re-named “Herlock Sholmes.” Because it’s no longer necessary to do so, I’ve restored the name for this posting.

So who is Arsène Lupin?

Lupin is the literary descendant of characters like Rocambole. He starts out as a “gentleman-thief,” though he prays on people much worse than he is, and does it with style and panache. Over time he becomes more of an independent detective and adventurer, solving mysteries and helping others. One could think of him as similar to Simon Templar, the Saint.

Read more

Read More

Review: ‘Tales of the Shadowmen, Vol. 8’

Posted by at 10:00 am Wednesday, June 25, 2014 in Arsene Lupin, Belphegor, Doctor Omega, French pulp, Harry Dickson, Jim Anthony, Judex, Madame Atomos, Pulps, Review, Roulatabille, Sar Dubnotal, Sherlock Holmes, The Avenger, Wold Newton Universe
Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

Review: ‘Tales of the Shadowmen, Vol. 8’

Tales of the Shadowmen, Vol. 8“Tales of the Shadowmen: Agents Provocateurs” (2011) is the eighth volume of this eclectic anthology series from Black Coat Press.

This collection fits into Philip José Farmer‘s “Wold Newton” concept.

The stories in this collection are:

• Matthew Baugh: “Don Camillo and the Secret Weapon” stars a pair of Italian characters, Don Camillo and Peppone, who foil the efforts of a certain British agent and Eva Kant, the associate of Diabolik, the Italian supercrook.

• Nicholas Boving: “The Elphberg Red” takes us to back to the world of the “Prisoner of Zenda” as a group of characters, including Rudolf Rassendyll and Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, tries to stop the Countess Cagliostro from possessing the Elphberg Red.

Read more

Read More