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

‘Pulp Adventures’ #26

Posted by at 10:00 am Wednesday, October 25, 2017 in Adventure Pulps, Detective Pulps, H.P. Lovecraft, New Pulp, Pulps, Reprints, Review, Weird Fiction
Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

‘Pulp Adventures’ #26

'Pulp Adventures' #26Bold Ventures Press is back with another new issue of Pulp Adventures, #26 for the Summer of 2017.  And we get another Norman Saunders cover.  Was wondering if he’s return.

As always, a mix of old and new pulp in a wide range of genres:  mystery, western, horror, adventure, pulp hero and more.  Some stories are almost a 100 years old!!

From classic pulp we get the following:

“The Doting Burglar” by Ben Hecht is a fairly interesting tale that appeared way back in 1917 in All Story Weekly.  The author, whom we learn more from the blurb is as interesting.  He was a journalist and writer from the 1920s until he passed in 1964.  Like many pulp writers he also wrote plays and film scripts, and even lyrics.  He got 6 Academy Award nominations.

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‘The Pulpster’ #26

Posted by at 10:00 am Friday, July 28, 2017 in Detective Pulps, Fanzines, Non-fiction, Review
Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

‘The Pulpster’ #26

'The Pulpster' #26It’s summer 2017, and that means a new Pulpfest and a new issue of The Pulpster, #26!

The main focus of this issue is “dangerous dames” and “psychos.” The first seems apropos, what with the recent Wonder Woman tearing up the movie screens. But Wonder Woman is not pulp. Who, then are some of the dangerous dames of the pulps?

Well, Ron Goulart and Bill Pronzini provide us with a pair of articles on that.

Ron is up first with a look at some of the few female detectives from the pulps, many that I wasn’t aware of. There is Madame Storey who appeared in Argosy and Mystery in the 1920s and ’30s. Violet McCade appeared in Street & Smith’s Clues Detective Stories in 1935-37 (around the same time as I.V. Frost). Longer running is Theodore Tinsley‘s Carrie Cashin who appeared in S&S’s tryout pulp Crime Busters (later renamed Street & Smith’s Mystery Magazine) for nearly 40 stories from 1937 to ’42, the whole run of the magazine. Then we have Sarah Watson in Detective Fiction Weekly from 1935-38. Finally, and surprisingly, we have Sally the Sleuth, who starred in short two-page comic stories in the spicy pulps where she often lost most of her clothes. Sadly, none of these are readily available today. I keep hoping Sanctum Books would at least reprint some Carrie Cashin.

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A look at Street & Smith’s ‘Crime Busters’

Posted by at 10:00 am Monday, April 24, 2017 in Detective Pulps, Hero Pulps, Lester Dent, Street & Smith
Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

A look at Street & Smith’s ‘Crime Busters’

'Crime Busters' (November 1937)Street & Smith kicked off the hero pulp trend with The Shadow in 1931. They eventually followed that with Doc Savage in 1933. While those were successful, their subsequent series were not, as they tried western (Pete Rice), detective (Nick Carter), and air adventures (Bill Barnes).

Next they tried to copy the success of The Shadow and Doc with The Whisperer and The Skipper.

Walter Gibson suggested something different. A pulp magazine that would contain about three novelettes (long short stories) of different serial pulp heroes, from which successful ones could be spun out in their own magazines. Editor John Nanovic decided to go with that idea, but made some changes (probably not for the best).

In 1937, they dumped The Whisperer and The Skipper, and retitled Best Detective Magazine (which was mainly reprints) as Crime Busters.

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Fanzine focus: Pulp Adventures #21

Posted by at 10:00 am Wednesday, August 3, 2016 in Cthulhu Mythos, Detective Pulps, Fanzines, H.P. Lovecraft, New Pulp, Reprints, Sherlock Holmes
Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

'Pulp Adventures' #21Pulp Adventures #21 (Spring 2016) is the seventh issue of the new version from Bold Venture Press.

Once again we get a collection of classic and New Pulp fiction (with some notes), all under a Norman Saunders cover (a detective one). And do we get some goodies this time!

In my view, this blend of new and old pulp fiction (with occasional pre-pulp and post-pulp) that doesn’t focus on one pulp genre — we get horror, science fiction, crime & detective, railroading, and pulp hero in this one — makes this one of the best pulp fiction fanzines coming out now. You might not like everything that appears in an issue, but I know you will like something.

The issue kicks off with Ron Fortier providing a Brother Bones tale: “The Hideout.” His Undead Avenger has appeared in several short stories and a couple of novels. And soon a roleplaying game and a movie!  Sadly, I have to admit that Brother Bones is probably the only major New Pulp Hero that I haven’t read.

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The Argosy Library, Series II

Posted by at 10:00 am Monday, April 25, 2016 in Adventure Pulps, Altus Press, Detective Pulps, Occult Detective, Pulps, Science Fiction Pulps
Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

The Argosy Library, Series II

"Champion of Lost Causes"About a year ago, Altus Press started a new line called the “Argosy Library,” which is composed of several series of 10 books each highlighting some of the great fiction that appeared in the early pulps.

All are taken from the pulps started by Frank A. Munsey, who started to convert his fiction magazines to pulp paper and reduced their price, making them more profitable. He published the well-known Argosy magazine, which got its start in the late 1800s, and several other popular magazines such as The All-Story and Flynn’s Detective Fiction Weekly. Series I came out last year, and now we get Series II.

Series II consists of:

  • Champion of Lost Causes, by Max Brand
  • The Scarlet Blade: The Rakehelly Adventures of Cleve and D’Entreville, Vol. 1 by Murray R. Montgomery
  • Doan and Carstairs: Their Complete Cases, by Norbert Davis
  • The King Who Came Back, by Fred MacIsaac
  • Blood Ritual: The Adventures of Scarlet and Bradshaw, Vol. 1 by Theodore Roscoe
  • The City of Stolen Lives: The Adventures of Peter the Brazen, Vol. 1 by Loring Brent
  • The Radio Gun-Runners, by Ralph Milne Farley
  • Sabotage, by Cleve F. Adams
  • The Complete Cabalistic Cases of Semi Dual, The Occult Detector, Vol. 2: 1912–13 by J.U. Giesy and Junius B. Smith
  • South of Fifty-Three, by Jack Bechdolt

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Fanzine Focus: ‘Pulp Adventures’ #19

Posted by at 10:00 am Wednesday, February 10, 2016 in Detective Pulps, Fanzines, Fu Manchu, Pulps, Reprints, Review
Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

Fanzine Focus: ‘Pulp Adventures’ #19

'Pulp Adventures' #19Pulp Adventures #19 (Fall 2015) is the fifth issue of the new version from Bold Venture Press. We get a collection of pulp fiction, and some new stuff, all under a Norman Saunders crime cover. As I’ve noted in reviews of previous issues, we don’t have any similar series of pulp reprints out there now, and this is a great series.

The big selling point of this issue is a Sax Rohmer thriller. Not one of his Fu Manchu stories, but a similar work, “The Daughter of Huang Chow.” This one stars Inspector “Red” Kerry, and is part of a short series of crime stories set in Chinatown, based on a real person! Rohmer’s Red Kerry series has two novels (Dope and Yellow Shadows), and a couple of short stories. In this one, while investigating murder and opium smuggling, Kerry comes across a woman whose feminine charms render him powerless to resist!

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