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

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.

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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.

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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!

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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”!

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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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A closer look at The Moon Man

Posted by at 10:00 am Monday, February 8, 2016 in Ace, Hero Pulps, Moon Man, Review
Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

A closer look at The Moon Man
The Moon Man gets the drop on a bad guy in "Silver Death" ("Ten Detective Aces," January 1934)

The Moon Man gets the drop on a bad guy in “Silver Death” (Ten Detective Aces, January 1934)

One of the more different pulp heroes is Ace Magazines’ Moon Man. Written by Frederick C. Davis, he appeared in Ace’s anthology title Ten Detective Aces from 1933 to 1937 for a total of 38 stories. The same number as Wade Hammond, who also appeared in that pulp, but fewer than Secret Agent X, who had 41 stories.

The Moon Man was really Det. Sgt. Stephen Thatcher, son of Great City’s Police Chief, Peter Thatcher. As the Moon Man he wore a globe of Argus glass (one-way mirrored glass) that gave the appearance of the moon, hence his name.

Not really a vigilante, the Moon Man was more a Robin Hood-like character, who took from the unjust rich and gave to the poor of Great City. In this he was aided by former boxer Ned “Angel” Dargan.

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