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

‘Tales of the Shadowmen #13: Sang Froid’

Posted by at 10:00 am Wednesday, February 1, 2017 in Doctor Omega, Foreign Pulps, French pulp, Harry Dickson, Pastiche, Review, Roulatabille, Sar Dubnotal, The Black Coats, Wold Newton Universe
Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

‘Tales of the Shadowmen #13: Sang Froid’

'Tales of the Shadowmen #13: Sang Froid'There’s another volume of Tales of the Shadowmen out. The Black Coat Press series is now up to 13 volumes. This one is subtitled “Sang Froid,” which means “cold blood.” For me, I think of a murder mystery where someone is “murdered in cold blood,” but here it’s about the ability to stay calm in difficult or even dangerous situations — which many of these character have in spads.

As noted, 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, Fantômas, The Nyctalope, Rouletabille, and many others, as well as those from other countries.

This year’s volume gives us:

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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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Meet Rouletabille

Posted by at 10:00 am Monday, January 25, 2016 in French pulp, Roulatabille
Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

Meet Rouletabille
A 1907 illustration of Rouletabille

A 1907 illustration of Rouletabille

Phantom of the Opera. Most people have heard of that work, most likely due to the play or various movie versions. But most are probably not aware of its author, Gaston Leroux. Or his other works, including Rouletabille, a dashing young journalist who solved mysteries by use of pure deductive reasoning, what he calls the “good end of reason.”

“Rouletabille” is the nickname for the 18-year-old journalist Joséph Joséphin, who was raised in an orphanage. From a note in the first story, we learn that “Rouletabille” is French for “shooting your marble into the ring,” and may refer to the character rushing around. From 1907-22, Leroux wrote seven Rouletabille novels (two more authorized novels were written by another). Black Coat Press has made available two of them, but will probably not do additional ones. But both works are pretty important. One is considered a classic “locked room” mystery, and the other is considered one of the first secret agent novels.

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‘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:

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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.

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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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