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

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.

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Captain Hazzard is back!

Posted by at 10:00 am Wednesday, April 12, 2017 in Airship 27, Captain Hazzard, Hero Pulps, Jim Anthony, New Pulp, Review
Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

'Captain Hazzard: Custer's Ghost'Captain Hazzard is sadly a one-hit wonder in the pulp world, and is one of the more blatant Doc Savage clones. Originally published by Ace Magazines, his one issue came out in 1938, though a second story was written.

Ron Fortier of Airship 27 Productions decided to make full use of the character. He revamped the original novel and then did the same for the second, which had be turned into a Secret Agent X story. These became the first and third volume of a new series of Captain Hazzard books. He wrote new novels, which are the second and fourth volumes.

Now after too long we get a fifth Captain Hazzard novel: Custer’s Ghost. A welcome addition to this story is we get Super-Detective Jim Anthony added to the mix, and a return of Azlea O’Hara from volume two. It’s been awhile since Airship 27 had done anything with Jim Anthony, another original pulp hero and yet another Doc pastiche.

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Meet I.V. Frost, science detective

Posted by at 10:00 am Monday, April 10, 2017 in Hero Pulps, Pulps, Review, Street & Smith
Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

Meet I.V. Frost, science detective
'Clues Detective Stories' (April 1935)

Clues Detective Stories (April 1935)

Another pulp hero who has been largely overlooked by most pulp fans is I.V. Frost. A science detective created by Donald Wandrei, he appeared in Street & Smith’s Clues magazine in 1934.

S&S was frustrated that Clues, their newly-acquired dedicated mystery pulp, was being outsold by Black Mask. So they commissioned Wandrei to create a continuing character that would attract and keep readers.

Ivy Frost ran for 18 stories from September 1934 to September 1937. Several stories were cover featured. Was it successful? I don’t know, but Clues/Clues Detective Stories lasted until 1943 and appears to have ended due to the wartime paper shortages.

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Review: ‘The Adventures of Lazarus Gray, Vol. 6’

Posted by at 10:00 am Wednesday, April 5, 2017 in Lazarus Gray, New Pulp, Pro Se Press, Review
Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

Review: ‘The Adventures of Lazarus Gray, Vol. 6’

'The Adventures of Lazarus Gray, Vol. 6'Lazarus Gray is a New Pulp character from writer Barry Reese (The Peregrine, Gravedigger, and other works) with several volumes out so far. The Adventures of Lazarus Gray, Vol. 6 actually follows the events of Gotterdamerung, which was a team-up of Reese’s various pulp heroes (and a few others), to stop the end of the world.

That story ended with the death of Gray.

But clearly, Reese had other plans. And, so, yes, this volume has his return. And it has Gray and his friends of Assistance Unlimited — with some additional help — going after several foes, both new and returning.

For those who have yet to read Gray (and why haven’t you after six volumes?), he is sort of inspired by the classic pulp hero The Avenger. Gray has setup a group similar to The Avenger’s called Assistance Unlimited. He is located in a fictional town called Sovereign City (created by Pro Se Press publisher Tommy Hancock), and is part of the larger Sovereign City Project. He is also set in the same universe as Barry’s other characters, so has crossed over with them.

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Review: ‘Super-Detective Jim Anthony,’ Vol. 3

Posted by at 10:00 am Monday, January 9, 2017 in Altus Press, Hero Pulps, Jim Anthony, Review
Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

Review: ‘Super-Detective Jim Anthony,’ Vol. 3

 'Super-Detective Jim Anthony,' Vol. 3Here we have a new collection of original stories of Jim Anthony, a sort-of Doc Savage clone published by Trojan/Culture Publications in the early 1940s, a publisher of the “spicy” pulps, a kind-of soft porn magazine.

He lasted 25 stories, and Altus Press is reprinting the whole series. We now have the third volume, with the seventh, eighth and ninth novels.

Jim Anthony was “half Irish, half Indian, and all-American.” More emotional than Doc, Anthony was a physical and mental marvel. He had a penthouse in the Waldorf-Anthony Hotel he owned and had a secret mansion in the Catskills called “The Tepee.” He was assisted by a small group of people including Tom Gentry, pilot and right-hand man; Mephito, his shaman grandfather; Dawkins, his butler; and Dolores Colquitte, the daughter of a U.S. senator and his fiance (something unusual, as while some pulp heroes had a love interest, none were noted as their fiance). He also owned the New York Star and other papers, and made use of them in his adventures.

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Meet Mark Hazzard

Posted by at 10:00 am Monday, December 19, 2016 in Ace, Altus Press, Hero Pulps
Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

Meet Mark Hazzard

Hazzard: The Complete SeriesMark Hazzard is a battling district attorney who, when the scales of justice go the wrong way, takes matters in his own hands to right wrongs. And he has a dangerous secret.

“Mark Hazzard” was a short-lived pulp series written by Frederick Davis, who created both the Moon Man and Ravenwood for Ace Publications. Hazzard ran as a backup for six issues in Ace’s Secret Agent X. A couple of months after it finished, Davis started the short-lived Ravenwood series. Altus Press has reprinted both the Hazzard and Ravenwood series in similar trade dress. It’s out with Hazzard: The Complete Series.

We’re introduced to Hazzard in the first story. Described as red-haired and fiery tempered, he is the young and new district attorney for King County. What state is unclear. He is aided by a few others. There is Ann Nash, his secretary and potential love interest. Dan Carey is his assistant in going after crooks unofficially. Carey’s a former cop who was framed for murder, convicted and escaped from prison. Hazzard hides him in his house. And then there is Inspector Trencher, who is the main cop Hazzard deals with.

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