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

Pulp comics: Dynamite’s ‘The Shadow’ mini-series

Posted by at 10:10 am Friday, March 3, 2017 in Comics, Review, The Shadow

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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From comic strips to pulps

Posted by at 10:00 am Friday, February 10, 2017 in Comics, Hero Pulps

From comic strips to pulps

'Dan Dunn Detective Magazine' (September 1936)Several pulp heroes made the transition to comic books (and one case comic strips). A few comic book characters became pulp heroes. And very few comic strip characters did the same. Strangely, the three that did were done by the same company.

In late 1936, CJH Publications put out a trio of short-lived pulp magazines using popular comic strip characters: Dan Dunn, Flash Gordon, and Tailspin Tommy. Not much is known of this short-lived company that lasted about a year, other than the “H” in the company name was for Harold Hersey, founder of Ace Magazines, who at the time was doing a variety of new publishing efforts after selling Ace off several years prior.

Interestingly, these pulps were not like your typical pulps. The cover artwork was more comic book/strip line art than the painted covers we would expect, and, from descriptions, were saddle stitched. Each issue came out in short succession, and it’s unclear what killed the line. Poor sales? One article claimed the rights to one of the characters weren’t properly secured, which sounds kind of sloppy but happens. But as the three characters used were from different syndicates, that hopefully wouldn’t kill the whole effort. Sadly, I was only able to get access to reprints of a couple of the original stories.

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‘Echoes Revisited’

Posted by at 10:10 am Wednesday, February 8, 2017 in Fanzines, G-8, Non-fiction, Phantom Detective, References, Review, Secret Agent X, The Avenger

‘Echoes Revisited’

'Echoes Revisited'The fanzine Echoes ran from 1982 to 2002, before the advent of print-on-demand changed pulp fan publishing and ushered in the current New Pulp era.

Echoes was published by Tom and Ginger Johnson for 100 issues and then for a period of time it was an “newszine.” Its last new issue was Echoes Revisited, published in 2002 as a 20th anniversary special issue. This one had a color cover (The Shadow by David Burton) and special binding. There were also 100 numbered copies.

This issue celebrates Echoes with a collection of articles new and old, along with several art portfolios and photocopies of some pulp covers. Sadly, I don’t know which articles are reprints, or from where, nor where some of these articles have appeared since. The articles are grouped by their authors.

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Review: ‘Super-Detective Jim Anthony,’ Vol. 3

Posted by at 10:00 am Monday, January 9, 2017 in Altus Press, Hero Pulps, Jim Anthony, Review

Review: ‘Super-Detective Jim Anthony,’ Vol. 3

 'Super-Detective Jim Anthony,' Vol. 3Here we have a new collection of original stories of Jim Anthony, a sort-of Doc Savage clone published by Trojan/Culture Publications in the early 1940s, a publisher of the “spicy” pulps, a kind-of soft porn magazine.

He lasted 25 stories, and Altus Press is reprinting the whole series. We now have the third volume, with the seventh, eighth and ninth novels.

Jim Anthony was “half Irish, half Indian, and all-American.” More emotional than Doc, Anthony was a physical and mental marvel. He had a penthouse in the Waldorf-Anthony Hotel he owned and had a secret mansion in the Catskills called “The Tepee.” He was assisted by a small group of people including Tom Gentry, pilot and right-hand man; Mephito, his shaman grandfather; Dawkins, his butler; and Dolores Colquitte, the daughter of a U.S. senator and his fiance (something unusual, as while some pulp heroes had a love interest, none were noted as their fiance). He also owned the New York Star and other papers, and made use of them in his adventures.

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Pulp comics: Dynamite’s The Spider

Posted by at 10:00 am Friday, January 6, 2017 in Comics, Pulps, The Spider

Pulp comics: Dynamite’s The Spider

Dynamite's 'The Spider' #1In 2012, Dynamite got the license for The Spider from Moonstone. They soon did a comic with The Spider, written by David Liss. But they moved the character into modern times and made various changes to all of the secondary characters. I, like many fans, wasn’t very pleased with what I saw. Hopefully you’ll see why.

So, a brief recap of The Spider and his associates.

In the pulp, Richard Wentworth is a former Army major and wealthy playboy. It’s established that his parents are dead. He is accompanied in his adventures with several characers: his fiance, Nita Van Sloan; his Sikh manservant, Ram Singh; his butler, Jenkins; his chauffer, Jackson, who had served under him in the army; and Professor Brownlee, who provided him with weapons. He had to deal with his friend Commissioner Kirkpatrick, who figured that Wentworth may be The Spider, but couldn’t prove it.

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More Doc Ardan

Posted by at 10:00 am Wednesday, December 28, 2016 in Doc Ardan, Doc Savage, French pulp, Pastiche, Reprints, Review

More Doc Ardan

'Doc Ardan: The Abominable Snowman'I have posted before on Doc Ardan, and Black Coat Press has come out with a volume of new and old Doc Ardan stories.

So let’s be clear. French writer Guy d’Armen created young adventurer Doctor Francis Ardan in a trio of sf-adventure novels: The City of Gold and Lepers (1928), The Troglodytes of Mount Everest (1929), and The Giants of Dark Lake (1931), serialized in a French pulp magazine. All tell of Ardan’s adventurers going up against several super-science villains in distant areas of Asia. The first novel actually occurs after the second and third.

Because of his similarities to Doc Savage, Jean-Marc and Randy Lofficier made some tweaks to their translation to have “Francis Ardan” be an alias used by a young Clark Savage before his pulp adventures. This allowed for others to use Doc Ardan as a Doc Savage pastiche in Tales of the Shadowmen series and other works. As the earlier works were never available in English, claiming they were an influence on the creation of Doc Savage is a bit much.

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