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

‘The Red Road to Shamballah’

Posted by at 10:00 am Monday, September 18, 2017 in Adventure Pulps, Reprints, Review, Thrilling
Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

‘The Red Road to Shamballah’

'The Red Road to Shamballah'An interesting serialized novel I obtained is The Red Road to Shamballah by Perley Poore Sheehan (1875-1943) and published by Black Dog Books.

Serialized in Thrilling Adventures over 1932-33, this reads as what I would imagine a Talbot Mundy-style novel would be (never having read Mundy).

American Pelham Rutledge Shattuck has lived in Asia most of his life. He knows many languages and is able to move more or less freely. But politics of the times causes problems. The Russians are expanded their influence, as are the British. He sometimes finds himself unwelcome in some areas as different sides think he’s on the other.

Read more

Read More

Eric Trent: a short-lived air-adventure series

Posted by at 10:00 am Monday, August 7, 2017 in Ace, Altus Press, Aviation Pulps, Review
Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

Eric Trent: a short-lived air-adventure series

The Complete Adventures of Eric TrentEric Trent was Donald Keyhoe‘s final serial air-adventure character in Flying Aces. More realistic than his previous character series (Richard Knight and Philip Strange), this short-lived series ran 12 stories from 1940-42.

Trent is an American who gets involved in Nazi plots and threats just before the U.S. entered World War II, and a bit after. He is not a formal agent, but more of a freelancer. He flies around and tries to sell the inventions of his associate, Mortimer Crabb. And they usually get involved with some plot or issue. As they aren’t agents, they have to extract themselves from the problem, including dealing with police and government agents who think they are part of the problem.

Read more

Read More

More Moon Man

Posted by at 10:00 am Monday, July 24, 2017 in Ace, Hero Pulps, Moon Man, Review
Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

More Moon Man

'The Complete Adventures of the Moon Man,' Vol. 2I have posted previously about the Moon Man, the Robin Hood-like pulp hero who ran in Ace Magazine’s Ten Detective Aces for several years (1933-37). Altus Press is reprinting the whole series, and I have written about the stories in the first volume. As I noted there, I was surprised by how much the stories fit together, where actions in one story have repercussions in following stories.

I recently obtained the next three volumes, which each contain about five or six stories each, and its interesting to see how this continues.

The heart of volume 2 is the four-part series dealing with the “Red Six.” This criminal group blackmails people to commit the crimes that benefit the group. And they have their hooks into the Moon Man! So not only is he being blackmailed by the group, but he has to both stop them and prevent his identity from being exposed. But his identity is exposed: to his fiance Sue McEwan. This ushers in a new phase in the series now that Sue also knows who the Moon Man is.

Read more

Read More

Norvell Page’s Ken Carter: a proto-Spider?

Posted by at 10:00 am Monday, July 17, 2017 in Ace, Pulps, Reprints, Review, The Spider
Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

Norvell Page’s Ken Carter: a proto-Spider?
Norvell W. Page

Norvell W. Page

For most pulp fans, if they’ve heard of Norvell Page (1904-61), it’s for his longtime work on The Spider, where he was responsible for the bulk of the stories and turning the character from an ordinary vigilante hero into the manic character going up against weird menaces.

But he had a long career in the pulps, and one of the earlier works he did was the short-lived Ken Carter series. This series should be of interest to many because it was apparently this series that brought Page to the attention of Popular Publications and landed him the job of The Spider, which he started with the third issue (after The Spider creator RTM Scott left) in December 1933. Page would write 92 of the 118 issues!

Read more

Read More

The pulp heroes of ‘Flying Aces’

Posted by at 10:00 am Monday, July 3, 2017 in Ace, Aviation Pulps, Hero Pulps
Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

The pulp heroes of ‘Flying Aces’

'Flying Aces' (April 1935)Flying Aces, published by Ace Magazines/Periodical House, is one of the rare pulp magazines that continued past the pulp era, by evolving beyond being a pulp magazine.

Launched in 1928, it was your typical air adventure pulp magazine, with stories contributed by many writing in that area: Archie Whitehouse, Joe Archibald, Donald Keyhoe, Robert Sidney Bowen, Major George Fielding Eliot, and others. In the early years, most stories were stand-alone, with only the rare serialized characters. Later the magazine had a lot of serialized characters.

A major change in the magazine occurred in 1933. It went from being published on pulp paper to slick paper, and added plans for model planes as well as non-fiction articles, to make it more appealing to a wider range of airplane enthusiasts.  They even plugged it as being “3 magazines in one”!

Read more

Read More

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.

Read more

Read More