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

Barry Reese’s ‘Gotterdammerung’

Posted by at 10:00 am Wednesday, August 24, 2016 in Black Bat, Lazarus Gray, New Pulp, Pro Se Press, Review, The Rook/The Peregrine

Barry Reese’s ‘Gotterdammerung’

"Gotterdammerung"It’s been too long since I read and reviewed one of Barry Reese‘s works. But the wait has been worth it.

Gotterdammerung is the long-awaited teamup between his three main characters: The Rook, The Peregrine, Gravedigger, and Lazarus Gray. It’s also part of the Sovereign City Project.

Okay, for those not aware, a quick overview of the three characters:

The Peregrine is Reese’s longest running character, a 1930/’40s era pulp hero with some elements of the occult. He is a well-trained fighter who also carries an occult knife. He fights a variety of foes, some supernatural, and has even organized a team of other heroes to fight similar threat (though that happens after the events of this story).

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Return of The Pulptress

Posted by at 10:00 am Wednesday, December 30, 2015 in New Pulp, Pro Se Press, Review

Return of The Pulptress

"The Pulptress vs. The Bone Queen"The Pulptress is a New Pulp character created by Pro Se Press that others can use, sort of a shared character. She is the daughter of two pulp heroes (not told who), and was raised and trained by the greatest pulp heroes (and some villains) in the world.

She first appeared in a self-titled collection of stories that I previously reviewed. In that collection, Andrea Judy introduced The Bone Queen. Judy later wrote a solo novel with just the Bone Queen (which I have yet to read).

Now, the Bone Queen returns to confront The Pulptress for the final time in Blood and Bone.

The Bone Queen has come to Epsilon, Ga., and set up shop. The Pulptress learns about this, and comes down at the request of the local coroner. They are soon teamed up with the living dead Aramis in confronting the Bone Queen.

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Review: ‘Jim Anthony: Red Shambhala’

Posted by at 10:00 am Wednesday, December 9, 2015 in Jim Anthony, Pro Se Press, Review

Review: ‘Jim Anthony: Red Shambhala’

"The New Adventures of Jim Anthony, Vol. 2: Red Shambhala"Pro Se Press has put out another new Jim Anthony novel from Joshua Reynolds: The New Adventures of Jim Anthony, Vol. 2: Red Shambhala.

For those not familiar, Jim Anthony was a sort-of Doc Savage “clone” published by Trojan/Culture Publications in the early 1940s.

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, which he owned, and had a secret mansion in the Catskills called “The Tepee.” He was assisted by a small group of people include Tom Gentry, pilot and right-hand man; Mephito, his shaman grandfather; his butler; and Dolores Colquitte, his fiance, and the daughter of a U.S. senator.

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Review: ‘The Adventures of Lazarus Gray, Vol. 5’

Posted by at 10:00 am Wednesday, July 29, 2015 in Lazarus Gray, New Pulp, Pro Se Press, Review

Review: ‘The Adventures of Lazarus Gray, Vol. 5’

"The Adventures of Lazarus Gray" Vol. 5Lazarus Gray is a New Pulp character from writer Barry Reese (The Peregrine, Gravedigger, and other works) with several volumes out so far. Now we get the fifth one.

Gray is sort of inspired by the classic pulp hero The Avenger. He 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.

This volume has five short stories. There are connections between most of the stories, so it’s best to read them in order. The first has a crooked financier who has built a huge zeppelin (for what purpose, is not clear, and not clear what happens to it after the main action) and who is after treasure on an outlying island from Sovereign City. This leads to his death and the release of an ancient evil.

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‘The New Adventures of Lynn Lash’

Posted by at 10:00 am Wednesday, June 24, 2015 in Lester Dent, New Pulp, Pro Se Press, Pulps

‘The New Adventures of Lynn Lash’

"The New Adventures of Lynn Lash"The first of Lester Dent’s “gadget heroes” was Lynn Lash. This short-lived character came out before Doc Savage was created, and it’s said that these stories helped Dent get the Doc gig.

Lash appeared in two published and one unpublished stories. They appeared in 1932 in Ace’s Detective Dragnet. All three are collected in the Altus Press collection, “Hell in Boxes.”

Lynn Lash has many elements we would see in Doc Savage. The hero worked out of a skyscraper headquarters and tackled scientific threats the police couldn’t. Lash has some association with the police, such that he gets a lot of special treatment from cops (similar to what Doc received). The source of his income is never mentioned. (Is he paid by the police? Independently wealthy? He only seems to do stuff for the police.) The third story adds some elements we see in Doc: a gun shooting mercy bullets, a special apartment with a secret elevator, a basement with special vehicles, the villain hooking up with the hero to keep an eye on the investigation, and Lash working out the solution midway, but not revealing things until the end.

Sadly, there aren’t many secondary characters that are used through all the stories. The first and third stories has Lash’s boyish secretary. A reporter is the main helper in the second story, but we don’t see him in the third.

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Semi Dual, occult detector

Posted by at 10:00 am Monday, June 8, 2015 in Occult Detective, Pro Se Press, Pulps, Review

Semi Dual, occult detector

The Complete Cabalistic Cases of Semi Dual, the Occult Detector, Volume 1: 1912I have already noted my interest in occult investigators, those who either confront occult mysteries or use occult abilities and knowledge to confront mysteries. These were a smaller sub-genre within the pulp world. But I was not aware of one of the earliest of the pulp occult investigators until recently: Semi Dual.

Semi Dual was really Prince Abdul Omar of Persia (father was a Persian nobleman, mother was a Russian princess), and was an astrologer, mystic, telepath, and psychologist.

His name, which is pretty clunky, 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.” But if you read the second story you’ll get a different explanation of the name. His authors would have him be referred to as Semi Dual, Dual, Mr. Dual or Semi.

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