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

Review: ‘Tales of the Shadowmen, Vol. 4’

Posted by at 10:00 am Wednesday, March 19, 2014 in Captain Future, Doctor Omega, French pulp, Harry Dickson, Madame Atomos, Pulps, Review, Rocambole, Sar Dubnotal, The Black Coats, The Shadow, Wold Newton Universe
Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

Tales of the Shadowmen, Vol. 4“Tales of the Shadowmen: Lords of Terror” (2008) is the fourth volume of this eclectic anthology series from Black Coat Press.

It makes use of a concept of Philip José Farmer that has various fictional characters set in the same “universe,” thus able to met and interact. Don’t make the assumption that all the stories are linked. They often are not. Most are standalone, and 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, 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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A look at the Thrilling pulp heroes

Posted by at 10:00 am Monday, October 7, 2013 in Black Bat, Captain Future, Comics, Crimson Mask, Green Ghost, Hero Pulps, Phantom Detective, Pulps, Thrilling
Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

Thrilling AdventureIn the next in this series of articles, I take an overview of another of the major pulp publishers, the Thrilling Group, and their pulp heroes.

Thrilling was probably the second or third major publisher of hero pulp characters, depending on how you view them. Strangely, “Thrilling” is not the name of the company! Ned Pines established Pines Publications in 1928, and would publish both pulps and comics. They seemed to use similar company names over the years. For pulps, it was Beacon Magazines (1936-37), Better Publications (1937-43) and Standard Magazines (1943-55) until Pines shut down the pulps. The pulps had the byline “A Thrilling Publications” on the covers, plus several were named Thrilling this and Thrilling that (Thrilling Adventure, Thrilling Detectives, Thrilling Love, Thrilling Western, Thrilling Wonder Stories, etc), hence the name Thrilling (or Thrilling Group) for the overall line. The pulps were edited by Leo Margulies, a well-known editor, who later ran his own publishing company.

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Early pulp pastiches of Doc Savage

Posted by at 9:28 pm Thursday, April 11, 2013 in Captain Future, Doc Savage, Hero Pulps, Jim Anthony, Pastiche, Pulps, The Avenger, The Shadow, Thunder Jim Wade
Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

Early pulp pastiches of Doc Savage

Jim Anthony, Super-DetectiveThe two pulp heroes that kicked off the original “hero pulp” (or character pulp or single character magazines) movement are The Shadow and Doc Savage, both from the then-powerful pulp publisher Street & Smith. Both served as an inspiration to a wide range of follow-on characters from other publishers, and Street & Smith themselves.

But I wonder how many modern readers are aware of the range of original hero pulps that were inspired by Doc Savage?

We should make it clear the difference between the two characters. The Shadow is mainly a detective character, fighting against crooks (or supercrooks). So he inspired a wide range of similar masked detective characters also fighting crooks. Doc Savage was more of an adventurer character. He went up against bad guys, but they were seldom the standard menaces that the detective characters fought. Doc was a more public character, he didn’t hid his identity. And he was assisted by a group of talented people. Plus, Doc was a superlative individual, a “superman” of unique talents and physical capabilities. As an adventure character, he often went to exotic locations, finding lost and mysterious groups of people.

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