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.

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‘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.

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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
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.

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Review: ‘Tales of the Shadowmen, Vol. 7’

Posted by at 10:00 am Wednesday, June 11, 2014 in Doctor Omega, Fantomas, French pulp, Fu Manchu, Judex, Nyctalope, Pulps, Review, Sar Dubnotal, The Black Coats, Wold Newton Universe, Zorro
Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

Tales of the Shadowmen: Femmes Fatale“Tales of the Shadowmen: Femmes Fatale” (2011) is the seventh volume of this eclectic anthology series from Black Coat Press.

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

Included in this collection are:

• Matt Haley: “My Femmes Fatales” is an art portfolio on various femme fatales shown in this series, with a brief intro to each one.

• Xavier Maumejean: “My Femmes Fatales” is a brief foreword on the character of the femme fatale.

• Roberto Lionel Barreiro: “Secrets” is a short tale having Jean Valjean (of “Les Misérables”) meeting Zorro, though both are disguised.

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Review: ‘Tales of the Shadowmen, Vol. 3’

Posted by at 10:00 am Wednesday, February 19, 2014 in Arsene Lupin, Doctor Omega, Fantomas, French pulp, Judex, Madame Atomos, Pulps, Review, Wold Newton Universe
Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

Review: ‘Tales of the Shadowmen, Vol. 3’

“Tales of the Shadowmen: Danse Macabre” (2006) is the third volume of this eclectic anthology series from Black Coat Press.

Tales of the Shadowmen: Danse MacabreIt makes use of a concept of Philip Jose Farmer that has various fictional characters set in the same fictional 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, can usually 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’ fiction, 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 BCP does (such as Fantomas, Nyctalope, the Black Coats, Belphegor, Judex, and many more).

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Review: ‘The Shadow of Judex’

Posted by at 10:00 am Wednesday, January 29, 2014 in French pulp, Hero Pulps, Judex, New Pulp, Pulps, Review, The Shadow
Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

Review: ‘The Shadow of Judex’

The Shadow of JudexJudex is an interesting old proto-pulp character that has returned to prominence in recent years. I’ve previously posted on this character, looking at the novelizations of his original serials. This posting is on a collection of new Judex stories, “The Shadow of Judex.”

What makes Judex of interest to many are The Shadow-like elements of the character. The character starred in two serials that came out in 1917 and 1918 in France, that were also novelized at the time. The first movie serial is available on DVD, but sadly the second one is lost. Only the first nine chapters (of 12) still survive. Black Coat Press has came out with translations of the novelization for both serials. Both translations were done by Rick Lai.

So who is Judex? Judex (latin for “judge”) is a mysterious avenger who wears a cloak and dark hat, is a master of disguise, has a group of agents helping him, has high tech devices, a mysterious headquarters, etc. Thus, very similar to The Shadow.

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