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.

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Not Zorro, it’s The Whirlwind

Posted by at 10:00 am Monday, October 17, 2016 in Altus Press, Hero Pulps, Johnston McCulley, Review, Thrilling
Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

Not Zorro, it’s The Whirlwind

Alias The WhirlwindAltus Press has given us yet another complete collection of one of Johnston McCulley‘s lesser-known pulp characters, with Alias The Whirlwind.

This is the third such collection, and reprints all the stories of The Whirlwind, another pulp character set in the 1700s Spanish California. He ran for seven stories over about a year (around 1934) in Thrilling Adventures magazine. I like that the cover design fits in with the other McCulley collections they’ve done.

I was surprised by how much this character is like Zorro, but also different. I wish I had read some of the Zorro stories, to better be able to see the differences and similarities. My knowledge of Zorro is through the movies and TV shows, plus Alex Toth‘s Zorro comics.

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Johnston McCulley’s The Bat

Posted by at 10:00 am Monday, October 3, 2016 in Altus Press, Hero Pulps, Johnston McCulley, Reprints, Review, Thrilling
Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

Johnston McCulley’s The Bat

'The Bat Strikes Again and Again!'Most pulp fans are familiar with The Black Bat, but how many know of the early character called only The Bat?

The Bat was published in Thrilling Publications’ Popular Detective pulp from November 1934 to February 1935. This is before both Thrilling’s The Black Bat or DC’s Batman, who appeared in 1939, but after all the major pulp heroes who started in the early ’30s (The Shadow, Doc Savage, Phantom Detective, Moon Man, G-8, The Spider, Secret Agent X and Operator #5). Altus Press has reprinted the whole series as The Bat Strikes Again and Again!

Now, these four short stories of this character were published under the C.K.M. Scanlon house name. Per Will Murray, in the introduction to the Altus Press reprint, this hid, for some reason, Johnston McCulley, the creator of Zorro. Many fans may not know that McCulley created several other early pulp characters, which I’ve covered previously. One would think that with his fame, they would not have wanted to hide the fact that he wrote them.

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Thrilling’s The Green Ghost

Posted by at 10:00 am Monday, September 26, 2016 in Altus Press, Green Ghost, Reprints, Review, Thrilling
Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

Thrilling’s The Green Ghost

"George Chance: The Ghost, Omnibus 1"I’ve looked at several of the pulp heroes from Thrilling Publications over time. One I haven’t gotten to is G.T. Fleming-RobertsThe Green Ghost (originally called just “The Ghost”).

This was because up until now the only complete reprint of this character was from the Battered Silicon Dispatch Box, and it’s a bit pricey. Now that Altus Press is reprinting them as George Chance: The Ghost omnibus series, I can finally read the originals.

So who is The Green Ghost? The character was created in the early ’40s by Fleming-Roberts, when Thrilling were coming out with more pulp heroes. He is the only one that Norman Daniels didn’t have a hand in. And, confusingly, we have another Green Ghost (created earlier by Johnston McCulley that I’ve covered before), and this character has gone through several name changes, as evident by the changes in magazine titles.

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Fanzine focus: ‘The Pulpster’ #24

Posted by at 10:00 am Wednesday, March 2, 2016 in Conventions, Doctor Death, Fanzines, H.P. Lovecraft, Non-fiction, References, Review, Street & Smith, Thrilling
Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

Fanzine focus: ‘The Pulpster’ #24

'The Pulpster' #24The Pulpster is the program book for PulpFest, and this time we look at the most recent Pulpster, #24, from Pulpfest 2015. I wasn’t able to attend, but got it.

Each issue of The Pulpster is packed with articles on the pulps, rounded out with artwork, and professionally printed. They stand up to any fanzine. Many articles are written by several of the major pulp researchers, and many articles are organized around the theme for PulpFest. For 2015, the theme was H.P. Lovecraft at 125.

The cover is a photo of Lovecraft taken at age 25. The rest of the issue features several great articles, plus one piece of fiction.

Tying to theme, we get a retrospective of Lovecraft’s legacy from several authors. Each one contributes about a half page write up, and many of the authors have themselves contributed Lovecraft-esque works. So these was an enjoyable set of pieces.

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A look at the Thrilling pulp heroes

Posted by at 10:00 am Monday, October 7, 2013 in Black Bat, Captain Future, Comics, Crimson Mask, Green Ghost, Hero Pulps, Phantom Detective, Pulps, Thrilling
Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

Thrilling AdventureIn the next in this series of articles, I take an overview of another of the major pulp publishers, the Thrilling Group, and their pulp heroes.

Thrilling was probably the second or third major publisher of hero pulp characters, depending on how you view them. Strangely, “Thrilling” is not the name of the company! Ned Pines established Pines Publications in 1928, and would publish both pulps and comics. They seemed to use similar company names over the years. For pulps, it was Beacon Magazines (1936-37), Better Publications (1937-43) and Standard Magazines (1943-55) until Pines shut down the pulps. The pulps had the byline “A Thrilling Publications” on the covers, plus several were named Thrilling this and Thrilling that (Thrilling Adventure, Thrilling Detectives, Thrilling Love, Thrilling Western, Thrilling Wonder Stories, etc), hence the name Thrilling (or Thrilling Group) for the overall line. The pulps were edited by Leo Margulies, a well-known editor, who later ran his own publishing company.

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