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

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.

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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

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.

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Review: ‘Tales of the Shadowmen, Vol. 5’

Posted by at 10:00 am Wednesday, April 23, 2014 in Arsene Lupin, Belphegor, Doctor Omega, French pulp, Madame Atomos, Nyctalope, Pulps, Review, Roulatabille, Sherlock Holmes, Wold Newton Universe

Review: ‘Tales of the Shadowmen, Vol. 5’

Tales of the Shadowmen, Vol. 5“Tales of the Shadowmen: The Vampires of Paris” (2009) is the fifth volume of this eclectic anthology series from Black Coat Press.

Based on Philip José Farmer‘s Wold Newton theories, this collection includes:

• Matthew Baugh: “The Way of the Crane” has Madame Atomos (the vengeful Japanese scientist from a series of French sf novels) try to recruit the Green Hornet‘s associate Kato into her campaign against the U.S.

• Michelle Bigot: “The Tarot of the Shadowmen” an interesting art portfolio depicting various heroes and villains as the Major Arcana of the Tarot.

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Review: ‘Tales of the Shadowmen, Vol. 2’

Posted by at 10:00 am Wednesday, January 1, 2014 in Arsene Lupin, Belphegor, Doctor Omega, Fantomas, French pulp, Proto-pulp, Pulps, Review, Roulatabille, Sar Dubnotal, Wold Newton Universe

Tales of the Shadowmen: Gentlemen of the Night“Tales of the Shadowmen: Gentlemen of the Night” (2006) is the second volume of an eclectic anthology series from Black Coat Press.

It makes use of a concept of Philip Jose Farmer that has various fictional characters set in the same “universe,” thus they are able to met and interact. Don’t make the assumption that all the stories are linked. They often are not. Most are standalone, usually can be read in any order.

What can be daunting is that this series uses characters of popular literary culture (mainly written, but sometimes film and TV), and not “high brow” characters. And the characters are taken from American, British, French, and other countries’ culture, so often if you’re not familiar with those characters, it can be confusing. Or, it could lead you to start reading the original stories of these characters, which Black Coat Press does (such as Fantomas, Nyctalope, the Black Coats, Belphegor, Judex, and many more).

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Belphegor, the Phantom of the Louvre

Posted by at 10:10 am Monday, May 6, 2013 in Belphegor, French pulp, New Pulp, Villain Pulps

BelphegorOnce again, Black Coat Press presents a translation of a French novel featuring a character they have been using in their “Tales of the Shadowmen” series. This time it’s Belphegor, the so-called “Phantom of the Louvre.”

As far as I know, the movie serial this is based on is not available on DVD.

Black Coat Press has used this mysterious villain who “haunts” the Louvre several times, and now we can read the original story. The character was created in 1927 by Arthur Bernède, who was trying to create a film character to rival Fantomas or Judex, which he co-created 10 years prior.

“Belphegor” was originally filmed as a silent in 1927. Considering its later remakes and revivals, Bernède did succeed to a degree. Apparently visitors at the time of the original serial’s release asked to see the room where the Belphegor statue resided, which was non-existent!

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