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

‘Blood ‘n’ Thunder Presents #1: Pride of the Pulps’

Posted by at 10:00 am Wednesday, June 21, 2017 in Non-fiction, Pulps, References, Review
Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

‘Blood ‘n’ Thunder Presents #1: Pride of the Pulps’

'Blood ‘n’ Thunder Presents #1: Pride of the Pulps'Last year when the great fanzine Blood ‘n’ Thunder ended with issue #50 (actually a double issue of #49/50), we were promised that BnT would continue as a series of standalone themed books.

Well, we now have the first of these: Blood ’n’ Thunder Presents #1: Pride of the Pulps!

Pulps, of course, were usually looked down upon regarding their literary quality. But a few, very few, published stories on par with the “slick” fiction magazines. So the focus of this volume is on the handful of top all-fiction pulp magazines, Adventure, All-American Fiction, Short Stories, The Popular Magazine, Famous Fantastic Mysteries and West (just the 1920s issues), that accomplished this.

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Night Raven: Marvel UK’s pulp hero

Posted by at 10:00 am Wednesday, June 21, 2017 in Comics, Pulps
Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

Night Raven: Marvel UK’s pulp hero

Night Raven: The Complete Stories“Where brooding darkness spreads its evil wings, the Night Raven stings!”

Marvel Comics for several years had an imprint in the U.K. publishing their comics: Marvel UK. Basically, it just reprinted American comics in a format expected in the U.K.

Instead of monthly titles with a long story focused on a single character, British comics were anthologies published weekly or biweekly with each character getting one or two pages each issue, so a story would be serialized over several issues. Also, titles were usually in black and white.

However, Marvel UK started doing some original content. First it was Captain Britain, though produced in the U.S. before British creators took it over. Out of the several original characters and series, another standout was Night Raven. He was a pulp hero set in 1930s America who fought crime similar to The Shadow or The Spider.

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‘Awesome Tales’ #5

Posted by at 10:00 am Wednesday, June 7, 2017 in Fanzines, Pulps, Review
Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

‘Awesome Tales’ #5

'Awesome Tales' #5After a little longer then expected, we get the fifth issue of Awesome Tales (Spring 2017), a fanzine produced by Black Cat Media (R. Allen Leider) and packaged/published by Bold Venture Press.

Science fiction is the theme this issue, kicked off with a Tom Corbett story, which is the cover feature. For those who don’t recall Tom Corbett, Space Cadet, it was a fairly popular TV series from the space-crazed 1950s. It spawned a comic strip, juvenile book series (eight total), comic books (from Dell and later Prize), and radio show (he was originally developed for radio). We get an intro to the story that gives some basic background on the character.

“Tom Corbett and the Mutant Masters,” by R. Allen Leider, has Tom and his associates looking into kidnappings on Mars. And they find the cause: a mad scientist who is doing genetic experiments.

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A look at ‘Buckaroo Banzai’

Posted by at 10:00 am Friday, May 26, 2017 in Movies, Pastiche, Pulps, Review
Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

A look at ‘Buckaroo Banzai’

In 1984 I was thrilled to see a new movie that seemed (to me) to have some pulp inspirations: The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai: Across the 8th Dimension. We got to see Dr. Buckaroo Banzai, neurosurgeon, physicist, musician, and adventurer, in action alongside his band-mates, the Hong Kong Cavaliers, who were all top experts in their fields. They worked to stop the evil Red Lectoids from Planet 10 escaping from Earth and causing the good Black Lectoids to destroy the Earth to stop them.

Buckaroo Banzai and his Hong Kong Cavaliers: actors Jeff Goldblum (from left), Clancy Brown, Peter Weller (as Buckaroo), Pepe Serna, Billy Vera, and Lewis Smith.

Buckaroo Banzai and his Hong Kong Cavaliers: actors Jeff Goldblum (from left), Clancy Brown, Peter Weller (as Buckaroo), Pepe Serna, Billy Vera, and Lewis Smith.

And at the end we were promised a sequel in which Banzai and his friends went up against the World Crime League!

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Michael Crichton’s ‘Congo’

Posted by at 10:00 am Wednesday, May 17, 2017 in New Pulp, Pulps, Review
Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

Michael Crichton’s ‘Congo’

'Congo'Mention the name Michael Crichton and most people will think of Jurassic Park (or at least the movies). Maybe some of his other works turned into movies like Andromeda Strain or Westworld.

But, no, this time I look at one novel of his written specifically in the pulp adventure tradition of H. Rider Haggard: Congo (1980).

And, yes, it was turned into a movie. But the book is better.

In Congo, you have several groups of people searching in Africa for the lost city of Zinj. Located near a volcano, the city is the source for rare blue diamonds, which are needed for faster communications. The main group is from a company called ERTS, which needs the diamonds to keep their technological edge. They have already sent and lost an expedition. Everyone in that expedition was all killed by something.

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Armchair Fiction’s Lost World-Lost Race series

Posted by at 10:00 am Monday, May 15, 2017 in Pulps, Reprints, Review, Science Fiction Pulps
Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

Armchair Fiction’s Lost World-Lost Race series

'Forgotten Worlds'Some may be familiar with Sinister Cinema, a company that has for years made various “B movies” available on VHS and now DVD. In 2010 they expanded with their Armchair Fiction series of reprints.

First it was classic science fiction, fantasy, and horror done in double novel format, similar to that used in the old Ace Double series, which they’ve just put our their 200th volume in their D series (and started the new E series). They expanded to Mystery-Crime Double novels (the B series) and have a few other series such as Masters of Science-Fiction (the M series), Horror Gems and Science Fiction Gems (the G series), as well as Science-Fiction Classics (the C series), which are single novels or collections. What they reprint is stuff that appeared either in pulp magazines or early paperbacks, and sometimes earlier works.

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