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

Review: ‘Tales of the Shadowmen, Vol. 14’

Posted by at 10:00 am Wednesday, January 31, 2018 in Arsene Lupin, Black Coat Press, English Pulp, Fantomas, Foreign Pulps, French pulp, Fu Manchu, Harry Dickson, Judex, Madame Atomos, New Pulp, Nyctalope, Occult Detective, Review, Rocambole, Roulatabille, Sar Dubnotal, The Black Coats
Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

Review: ‘Tales of the Shadowmen, Vol. 14’

'Tales of the Shadowmen, Vol. 14: Coup de Grace'The end of 2017 meant that there’s another volume of Tales of the Shadowmen out. The Black Coat Press series is now up to 14 volumes. This one is subtitled “Coup de Grace,” which means final blow or death blow. But is it for good or evil?

As noted previously, this annual series makes use of Philip José Farmer‘s “Wold Newton” concept, mixing in a variety of literary characters, with a focus on the various pulp and pulpish characters of France and Europe, such as Arsene Lupin, Fantômas, The Nyctalope, Rouletabille, and many others, as well as those from other countries. Several authors will come back with further stories of the same characters, creating loose series within the volumes.

The latest volume gives us:

Read more

Read More

‘Awesome Tales’ #6

Posted by at 10:00 am Wednesday, January 3, 2018 in Detective Pulps, Domino Lady, Fanzines, New Pulp, Occult Detective
Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

‘Awesome Tales’ #6

'Awesome Tales' #6Awesome Tales #6 (Fall 2017) is now out from Bold Venture Press and Black Cat Media.

This issue’s theme is crime, and the cover feature this issue is the Domino Lady, the classic, sexy pulp heroine. Rich Harvey provides the first of a new series of Domino Lady stories, with her moving to New York and going up against a sinister blackmail ring. If you want to read the classic stories, Bold Venture Press has a collection of them, with a great cover by Jim Steranko.

KT Pinto is back with another story of her supernatural detective Raphael Jones, “The Platinum Membership.” For previous stories, you’ll have to check Awesome Tales #3 and 4. This time, Jones is in Nazi Germany and has to team up with the Gestapo to stop a threat.

Read more

Read More

The last of Gees

Posted by at 10:00 am Monday, November 6, 2017 in English Pulp, Occult Detective, Review
Estimated reading time: 7 minutes

The last of Gees

'Her Ways Are Death'I have previously posted on a new (to me) occult detective I discovered: Gees, real name Gregory George Gordon Green. Created by British author and editor Charles Henry Cannell (1882-1947) who may be better known by one of his pseudonyms, E. Charles Vivian, these novels appeared under his Jack Mann pseudonym.

There are eight novels in the series, and I have read and reviewed the first five. Recently I got the last three: The Ninth Life, The Glass Too Many, and Her Ways Are Death. All originally appeared, so I am told, in 1939 and ’40. All eight are available from Ramble House in paperback, but you need to look on both Amazon and Lulu. For those wanting a pulp connection, The Ninth Life was serialized in The Argosy in 1939, then reprinted in A. Merritt’s Fantasy Magazine in 1950. Her Ways Are Death was reprinted (and cover featured) in an issue of Famous Fantastic Mysteries in 1952.

Read more

Read More

‘The Complete Tales of Jules de Grandin,’ Vol. 1

Posted by at 10:00 am Monday, July 31, 2017 in Occult Detective, Reprints, Review
Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

‘The Complete Tales of Jules de Grandin,’ Vol. 1

'The Horror on the Links: The Complete Tales of Jules de Grandin,' Vol. 1I had previously posted on Dr. Jules de Grandin, one of my favorite occult detectives, though he’s probably overlooked today. Created by Seabury Quinn (1889-1969), de Grandin ran for over 90 stories in Weird Tales, from 1925 to 1951.

I was fortunate to obtain the six books of de Grandin stories edited by Robert Weinberg in the 1970s, and always wanted to read more of the originals. Weinberg had selected what he felt was the best of the stories in those six books, and had apparently put together a list of what would appear in the next six. I always would have liked to know what he had planned.

The only complete reprint of all the de Grandin stories has been a set of three large and very pricey volumes from the Battered Silicon Dispatch Box. I had always hoped for a more reasonably priced set.

Read more

Read More

More Gees, from ‘Mumps to Murder’

Posted by at 10:00 am Monday, November 14, 2016 in English Pulp, Occult Detective, Review
Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

More Gees, from ‘Mumps to Murder’

'Mumps to Murder'I recently posted on a new (to me) occult detective I discovered: Gees, real name Gregory George Gordon Green. Created by British author and editor Charles Henry Cannell (1882-1947), better known by one of his pseudonyms E. Charles Vivian, but these appeared under his Jack Mann pseudonym.

There are eight novels in the series, and I read the first and third. Recently I got the second, fourth, and fifth: Grey Shapes, The Kleinart Case, and Maker of Shadows. All originally appeared, so I am told, in 1938. All eight are available from Ramble House in both paperback and hardcover.

We are introduced to Gees in Gees’ First Case. We learn his background: a former policeman who has quite to form his own detective agency, to the disapproval of his father, a general. His agency is just him and a secretary, Eve Madeleine Brandon. But there is no hanky panky there. Gees investigates anything from “mumps to murder,” as his card says, and thanks to the funds he took from communist conspirators in the first story, he is free to take the cases that interest him.

Read more

Read More

Semi Dual, occult detector, vol. 2

Posted by at 10:00 am Monday, October 31, 2016 in Altus Press, Munsey, Occult Detective, Reprints
Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

Semi Dual, occult detector, vol. 2

Semi Dual, the Occult Detector, Volume 2As a fan of occult detectives, I was thrilled to learn of an early one I had never heard of when Altus Press reprinted a collection of the first stories of occult detective Semi Dual, with plans to reprint the whole series.

Semi Dual is really Prince Abdul Omar of Persia (father, a Persian nobleman; mother, a Russian princess), an astrologer, mystic, telepath, and psychologist. He appeared from 1912 to 1934 in several early pulp magazines, and has never been reprinted.

His name, we learn, of “Semi Dual,” is due to his methods of investigations: “by dual solutions: one material, for material minds; the other occult, for those who cared to sense a deeper something back of the philosophic lessons interwoven in the narrative.”

Read more

Read More