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

‘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
Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

‘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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‘Pulp Hero’ epics of Wayne Reinagel

Posted by at 11:30 am Wednesday, November 25, 2015 in Doc Savage, New Pulp, Pastiche, Review, The Avenger, The Shadow, The Spider, Wold Newton Universe
Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

‘Pulp Hero’ epics of Wayne Reinagel

"Pulp Heroes: More Than Mortal"Wayne Reinagel is a New Pulp author who is creating an epic set of novels. The main series is called Pulp Heroes and will consist of three pulp novels plus two associated works. Another series is Modern Marvels, which I’ll cover in another posting.

The first Pulp Heroes novel is More Than Mortal.

This book is an obvious labor of love to create an epic pulp hero novel, teaming up pastiches of four of the major pulp heroes (and hints of several others).

Here, we have his takes on four major pulp heroes: Doc Savage (Doc Titan), The Shadow (The Darkness), The Avenger (The Guardian), and The Spider (The Scorpion), plus their aides and assistants.

It also uses the Wold Newton concept of Philip José Farmer, to create the backdrop to the story, weaving in various heroes and characters from earlier fiction. We see analogues of Tarzan, Captain America (and his two main Nazi villains the Red Skull and Count Zemo), Captain Satan and even the Angel Detective. Further, Reinagel uses the names of various people from pulp fiction for the names of minor characters. At times one wonders what the basis of certain characters. (Is there a background story to Skull Island/Wilder Island that I’m missing? Or the assistant to Doc Titan’s father, or the real identity of the Black Skull?)

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Pulp comics: Dynamite’s new ‘Justice, Inc.’

Posted by at 11:36 am Friday, November 13, 2015 in Comics, Review, The Avenger
Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

Pulp comics: Dynamite’s new ‘Justice, Inc.’

"Justice Inc." No. 1Many great characters came out of the pulps, but it’s sad that few were as successful in other media such as comics.

Take Street & Smith’s The Avenger. He was S&S’s attempt to repeat the success of The Shadow and Doc Savage, this time by combining of elements of both, and making the character more colorful like the new comic book characters. Yet he hasn’t done so well in that media as I’ve shown in previous postings.

Now, Dynamite has tried again, and we have what I think (despite some issues) is the best comic book version of The Avenger so far.

Some background. The Avenger is really former globe-trotting adventurer Richard Henry Benson, who has a range of skills and abilities, including knowing how to use two special weapons — Mike and Ike, a special .22 pistol and a throwing knife — and he’s wealthy, too. Losing his wife and daughter to criminals turned his hair and skin stark white, and caused the muscles of his face to become malleable. He is joined by others who have lost loved ones to criminals, and they formed “Justice Inc.” In some ways, they become a sort of new family.

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Review: ‘The Avenger: The Sun King’

Posted by at 10:00 am Wednesday, August 19, 2015 in Doc Savage, Hero Pulps, Moonstone, New Pulp, Review, The Avenger
Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

Review: ‘The Avenger: The Sun King’

Street & Smith’s pulp hero The Avenger "The Avenger: The Sun King"is one of the few original pulp heroes to get additional stories. After Warner Books reprinted the original 24 Avenger novels, they had Ron Goulart write 12 additional novels. Now, finally we get another new Avenger novel, “The Sun King,” from Moonstone — 40 years later!

Richard Benson, The Avenger, was S&S’s second attempt to repeat the success of The Shadow and Doc Savage, but this time combining elements of both. The Avenger also had stories that varied in style from Doc-like adventure tales to The Shadow super-crook tales. And like both characters, he had others who worked with him in Justice Inc.

This new story is set in the early period of The Avenger’s career. It’s a direct sequel to “The River of Ice,” but before “Murder on Wheels.” We actually get Cole Wilson in the story before he appeared in that novel.

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Prince Zarkon, Lord of the Unknown

Posted by at 10:00 am Wednesday, June 17, 2015 in Captain Hazzard, Doc Savage, New Pulp, Pastiche, Review, The Avenger
Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

Prince Zarkon, Lord of the Unknown

"The Nemesis of Evil"An interesting, if sometimes overlooked, pulp homage is Lin Carter‘s short-lived Prince Zarkon series. It ran for five novels in the 1970s and ’80s, and it was one I enjoyed when I was looking for something like Doc Savage or The Avenger, both of which this series resembled.

Lin Carter is too often overlooked or even looked down upon. A longtime fan, he wrote quite a bit, much of which is pastiche or homage of others, such as H.P. Lovecraft, Clark Ashton Smith, Edgar Rice Burroughs (his Green Star, Zanthodon, and Callisto series), Robert E. Howard and more.

He is sometimes better regarded as an editor and critic for works such as his excellent Ballantine Adult Fantasy series, which brought back into print several important works along with anthologies he edited, and his retrospective works on J.R.R. Tolkien and Lovecraft.

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Pulp comics: Dynamite’s ‘Justice Inc.’

Posted by at 10:00 am Friday, February 13, 2015 in Comics, Doc Savage, Review, The Avenger, The Shadow
Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

Pulp comics: Dynamite’s ‘Justice Inc.’

"Justice Inc." No. 1Long a stable of comic books, team ups of literary characters are much rarer. In the pulp world, they were non-existent until today. One team-up that many pulp fans have hoped for is one that brings together the 3 main Street and Smith characters: The Shadow, Doc Savage, and The Avenger.

Dynamite Comics finally did this in their recent “Justice Inc.” mini-series by Michael Uslan and Giovanni Timpano.

Up until now, there have been team-ups with two of the three from prior comic-book companies. DC teamed up The Shadow and The Avenger back in the ’70s (I covered this in a prior posting), this one also written by Uslan. Then DC teamed up Doc Savage and The Shadow when they had the rights to both of them in the ’80s. And later DC teamed up Doc Savage and The Avenger during their “First Wave” run (also covered in a prior posting). Now that Dynamite has the rights to all three, we get this team up.

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