As 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
In the next in this series of articles, I take an overview of one of the major pulp publishers and their pulp heroes: the Frank Munsey Co.
Frank Munsey is very important to the pulp field because he created the idea of pulp magazines: inexpensive all-fiction magazines published on cheap pulp paper. The first pulp magazine is considered The Argosy. Other early pulps his company published would include Munsey Magazine, All-Story Magazine, Cavalier and others.
It was in Munsey’s magazines that characters like Tarzan, Zorro, Semi-Dual, The Mongoose, The Park Avenue Hunt Club, and others were published. Munsey passed away in 1925, but the company continued until they sold out to Popular Publications in 1942 which continued several of their magazines.Read More
Pulp and comics have long had a connection, something that most average comic book fans are unaware of. (I think more pulp fans are aware of this.)
Many pulp characters have become comic book characters (in some cases, under different names, something I think is also unknown to many); and many comic book characters (especially the earlier ones) were inspired by pulp characters.
If they are wearing a suit and hat (example: the original Sandman, The Spirit, the original Crimson Avenger, etc.), they were inspired by pulp characters.
In recent years, there seems to have been a revival in pulp-inspired comic book characters. Sadly, most have not been faithful to the original material. But that’s not the focus of this post. (We’ll get to that subject in a future posting.)
Part of the reason for the pulp-comics connection is that most pulp publishers were actually part of larger companies that also published comic books — and often many other types of magazines, and sometimes books as well.Read More