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

More Moon Man

Posted by at 10:00 am Monday, July 24, 2017 in Ace, Hero Pulps, Moon Man, Review
Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

More Moon Man

'The Complete Adventures of the Moon Man,' Vol. 2I have posted previously about the Moon Man, the Robin Hood-like pulp hero who ran in Ace Magazine’s Ten Detective Aces for several years (1933-37). Altus Press is reprinting the whole series, and I have written about the stories in the first volume. As I noted there, I was surprised by how much the stories fit together, where actions in one story have repercussions in following stories.

I recently obtained the next three volumes, which each contain about five or six stories each, and its interesting to see how this continues.

The heart of volume 2 is the four-part series dealing with the “Red Six.” This criminal group blackmails people to commit the crimes that benefit the group. And they have their hooks into the Moon Man! So not only is he being blackmailed by the group, but he has to both stop them and prevent his identity from being exposed. But his identity is exposed: to his fiance Sue McEwan. This ushers in a new phase in the series now that Sue also knows who the Moon Man is.

Read more

Read More

Norvell Page’s Ken Carter: a proto-Spider?

Posted by at 10:00 am Monday, July 17, 2017 in Ace, Pulps, Reprints, Review, The Spider
Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

Norvell Page’s Ken Carter: a proto-Spider?
Norvell W. Page

Norvell W. Page

For most pulp fans, if they’ve heard of Norvell Page (1904-61), it’s for his longtime work on The Spider, where he was responsible for the bulk of the stories and turning the character from an ordinary vigilante hero into the manic character going up against weird menaces.

But he had a long career in the pulps, and one of the earlier works he did was the short-lived Ken Carter series. This series should be of interest to many because it was apparently this series that brought Page to the attention of Popular Publications and landed him the job of The Spider, which he started with the third issue (after The Spider creator RTM Scott left) in December 1933. Page would write 92 of the 118 issues!

Read more

Read More

The pulp heroes of ‘Flying Aces’

Posted by at 10:00 am Monday, July 3, 2017 in Ace, Aviation Pulps, Hero Pulps
Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

The pulp heroes of ‘Flying Aces’

'Flying Aces' (April 1935)Flying Aces, published by Ace Magazines/Periodical House, is one of the rare pulp magazines that continued past the pulp era, by evolving beyond being a pulp magazine.

Launched in 1928, it was your typical air adventure pulp magazine, with stories contributed by many writing in that area: Archie Whitehouse, Joe Archibald, Donald Keyhoe, Robert Sidney Bowen, Major George Fielding Eliot, and others. In the early years, most stories were stand-alone, with only the rare serialized characters. Later the magazine had a lot of serialized characters.

A major change in the magazine occurred in 1933. It went from being published on pulp paper to slick paper, and added plans for model planes as well as non-fiction articles, to make it more appealing to a wider range of airplane enthusiasts.  They even plugged it as being “3 magazines in one”!

Read more

Read More

‘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.

Read more

Read More

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.”

Read more

Read More

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.

Read more

Read More