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

‘The Encyclopedia of Pulp Heroes’

Posted by at 10:00 am Monday, June 5, 2017 in Hero Pulps, References, Review
Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

'The Encyclopedia of Pulp Heroes'A much needed work, Jess Nevin‘s new The Encyclopedia of Pulp Heroes (2017) is a “sequel” to his Encyclopedia of Fantastic Victoriana (2005). Now, to get his Encyclopedia, you have two choices. Get the whole thing from Amazon for the Kindle, or get four hardbacks from Lulu, with it broken up as Pulp Adventures, Fantastic Pulp Heroes, Pulp Cowboy, and Pulp Detectives. I have no idea of any plans for paperback editions.

The Encyclopedia is not a “be–all and end–all” work on pulp heroes. It’s great (and important) as a reference on the wide range of characters, and that includes pulp villains (the ones who “starred” in their own series such as Doctor Satan, Black Star, etc., as well as a very few notable foes of certain heroes). But don’t expect an exhaustive look at each character, or a source of story breakdowns. And the definition of “pulp” is pretty broad. Also included are characters outside pulp magazines (from movie serials, comic strips, but not comic books), and foreign “pulp” characters. Nothing that happens with these characters after the pulp period of 1902-45 is noted, so nothing on new works (comics, movies, reprints, new prose, etc.) is included.

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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.”

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A look at Street & Smith’s ‘Crime Busters’

Posted by at 10:00 am Monday, April 24, 2017 in Detective Pulps, Hero Pulps, Lester Dent, Street & Smith
Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

A look at Street & Smith’s ‘Crime Busters’

'Crime Busters' (November 1937)Street & Smith kicked off the hero pulp trend with The Shadow in 1931. They eventually followed that with Doc Savage in 1933. While those were successful, their subsequent series were not, as they tried western (Pete Rice), detective (Nick Carter), and air adventures (Bill Barnes).

Next they tried to copy the success of The Shadow and Doc with The Whisperer and The Skipper.

Walter Gibson suggested something different. A pulp magazine that would contain about three novelettes (long short stories) of different serial pulp heroes, from which successful ones could be spun out in their own magazines. Editor John Nanovic decided to go with that idea, but made some changes (probably not for the best).

In 1937, they dumped The Whisperer and The Skipper, and retitled Best Detective Magazine (which was mainly reprints) as Crime Busters.

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Captain Hazzard is back!

Posted by at 10:00 am Wednesday, April 12, 2017 in Airship 27, Captain Hazzard, Hero Pulps, Jim Anthony, New Pulp, Review
Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

'Captain Hazzard: Custer's Ghost'Captain Hazzard is sadly a one-hit wonder in the pulp world, and is one of the more blatant Doc Savage clones. Originally published by Ace Magazines, his one issue came out in 1938, though a second story was written.

Ron Fortier of Airship 27 Productions decided to make full use of the character. He revamped the original novel and then did the same for the second, which had be turned into a Secret Agent X story. These became the first and third volume of a new series of Captain Hazzard books. He wrote new novels, which are the second and fourth volumes.

Now after too long we get a fifth Captain Hazzard novel: Custer’s Ghost. A welcome addition to this story is we get Super-Detective Jim Anthony added to the mix, and a return of Azlea O’Hara from volume two. It’s been awhile since Airship 27 had done anything with Jim Anthony, another original pulp hero and yet another Doc pastiche.

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Meet I.V. Frost, science detective

Posted by at 10:00 am Monday, April 10, 2017 in Hero Pulps, Pulps, Review, Street & Smith
Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

Meet I.V. Frost, science detective
'Clues Detective Stories' (April 1935)

Clues Detective Stories (April 1935)

Another pulp hero who has been largely overlooked by most pulp fans is I.V. Frost. A science detective created by Donald Wandrei, he appeared in Street & Smith’s Clues magazine in 1934.

S&S was frustrated that Clues, their newly-acquired dedicated mystery pulp, was being outsold by Black Mask. So they commissioned Wandrei to create a continuing character that would attract and keep readers.

Ivy Frost ran for 18 stories from September 1934 to September 1937. Several stories were cover featured. Was it successful? I don’t know, but Clues/Clues Detective Stories lasted until 1943 and appears to have ended due to the wartime paper shortages.

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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.

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