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

A look at ‘Buckaroo Banzai’

Posted by at 10:00 am Friday, May 26, 2017 in Movies, Pastiche, Pulps, Review
Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

A look at ‘Buckaroo Banzai’

In 1984 I was thrilled to see a new movie that seemed (to me) to have some pulp inspirations: The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai: Across the 8th Dimension. We got to see Dr. Buckaroo Banzai, neurosurgeon, physicist, musician, and adventurer, in action alongside his band-mates, the Hong Kong Cavaliers, who were all top experts in their fields. They worked to stop the evil Red Lectoids from Planet 10 escaping from Earth and causing the good Black Lectoids to destroy the Earth to stop them.

Buckaroo Banzai and his Hong Kong Cavaliers: actors Jeff Goldblum (from left), Clancy Brown, Peter Weller (as Buckaroo), Pepe Serna, Billy Vera, and Lewis Smith.

Buckaroo Banzai and his Hong Kong Cavaliers: actors Jeff Goldblum (from left), Clancy Brown, Peter Weller (as Buckaroo), Pepe Serna, Billy Vera, and Lewis Smith.

And at the end we were promised a sequel in which Banzai and his friends went up against the World Crime League!

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Young Harry Dickson

Posted by at 10:00 am Monday, March 6, 2017 in Fantomas, French pulp, Harry Dickson, Pastiche, Sherlock Holmes
Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

Young Harry Dickson

'The Man in Grey'I have posted in the past about Harry Dickson, the American Sherlock Holmes. While the character started off as nothing more than an unauthorized version of Sherlock Holmes published in Germany, he became a character in his own right in Belgium and France, rivaling even Holmes himself.

In looking at the history of the character and where he got his name, some have justly looked at an early and popular character, Allan Dickson, King of the Australian Detectives. Created by Arnould Galopin, who also created Doctor Omega, Allan Dickson appeared in several short stories and a few of novels between 1906-12.

The folks at Black Coat Press have put forth the idea that Allan Dickson is Harry Dickson, but just a younger one, as the main period of Harry Dickson’s career is the mid-1920s to mid-’30s. Plus, Allan Dickson is shown being mentored by Sherlock Holmes, and Harry would move in to 221B Baker Street (I guess after Sexton Blake also moved out?).

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‘Tales of the Shadowmen #13: Sang Froid’

Posted by at 10:00 am Wednesday, February 1, 2017 in Doctor Omega, Foreign Pulps, French pulp, Harry Dickson, Pastiche, Review, Roulatabille, Sar Dubnotal, The Black Coats, Wold Newton Universe
Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

‘Tales of the Shadowmen #13: Sang Froid’

'Tales of the Shadowmen #13: Sang Froid'There’s another volume of Tales of the Shadowmen out. The Black Coat Press series is now up to 13 volumes. This one is subtitled “Sang Froid,” which means “cold blood.” For me, I think of a murder mystery where someone is “murdered in cold blood,” but here it’s about the ability to stay calm in difficult or even dangerous situations — which many of these character have in spads.

As noted, 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.

This year’s volume gives us:

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Pulp comics: ‘Chimera Brigade’ vol. 2 & 3

Posted by at 10:00 am Friday, January 13, 2017 in Comics, Foreign Pulps, Pastiche, Review
Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

Pulp comics: ‘Chimera Brigade’ vol. 2 & 3

'The Chimera Brigade' Vol. 2After getting the first volume of The Chimera Brigade from Titan Comics, I got the second and third volumes. As with the first volume, these will soon be reprinted in comic-book form as the third through sixth issues. These two volumes reveals the Chimera Brigade, setting things down for what appears to be a coming war.

We are also introduced to several new characters, and I’m not always certain which are originals. First off, we meet the Brigade, four individuals who are released from Dr. Severac: the angelic Unknown Soldier; the mother goddess Matrikia; the intelligent bear Brown Baron; and the skeletal Doctor Serum.

Other characters introduced are: the mystic Palmyra, who operates in Paris; The Elastic Man, who had increase and decrease his size and was released in the last volume. Here, The Eye (the Nyctalope) and his C.I.D. capture him and send him against the Radium Institute. The evil hypnotist Cagliostro is defeated, but he doesn’t seem to have any connection with the Count Cagliostro. We also meet Odd John the Cosmic Man and his dog Sirius. These two characters were mutants created in novels of the same names by Olaf Stapledon in the 1930s. Here they are given powers more like Superman and Krypto.

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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
Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

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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Pulp comics: ‘The Chimera Brigade’

Posted by at 10:00 am Friday, December 23, 2016 in Comics, Doc Savage, Foreign Pulps, Harry Dickson, Nyctalope, Pastiche, The Shadow
Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

Pulp comics: ‘The Chimera Brigade’

'The Chimera Brigade'An interesting pulp-inspired comic-book series is The Chimera Brigade. Mainly because unlike making use of American pulp characters, it mainly makes use of European pulp characters, many of whom have been used in the Tales of the Shadowmen series (the author of this series writes for it, so if you’re read Tales, that will help). It originally appeared in France and has only recently been published in English.

Written by Serge Lehman with Fabrice Colin, and art by Gess, it first appeared in 2009. Recently Titan Comics reprinted it in three slim hardback volumes and is reprinting that in comic book form (two issues per volume) that should lead to further stories. I’m told there have been some changes in the comic from the books, but I can’t see that after comparing the first two comic books with the first volume.

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