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

‘The Bronze Gazette’ #78-80

Posted by at 10:00 am Wednesday, February 14, 2018 in Doc Savage, Fanzines, Non-fiction, Philip Jose Farmer, Review
Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

‘The Bronze Gazette’ #78-80

'The Bronze Gazette' #78I’m taking a look at all of The Bronze Gazette issues for 2017, as I’ve done for previous years, as subscriptions are taken for a year’s set of issues.

So here are issues #78, 79, and 80 of this excellent Doc Savage fanzine, along with the 2017 Doc Con Special (Special Issue #2).

#78 (Spring 2017) has a nice cover by comicbook artist Gary Chaloner, who gives us an article on his Doc pastiche, Red Kelso. I hope we’ll see Kelso in print sometime. Several good articles have a focus on art and artists.

We get an interview with JG Jones, who did several great Doc covers for the horrible First Wave run from DC, and the final (and pretty decent) Doc story there. Another interview is with Keith Wilson, the man behind the Doc fantasy covers. We learn how Bob Larkin got the job of doing Doc covers for Bantam. And finally we look into the mystery of why the same artwork by Fred Pfeiffer was used on two Doc covers. And maybe what we should have gotten as the cover of The Stone Man.

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‘Three With a Bullet’

Posted by at 10:00 am Wednesday, February 7, 2018 in Hero Pulps, Johnston McCulley, New Pulp, Pro Se Press, Review
Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

‘Three With a Bullet’

'Three With a Bullet'Three With a Bullet is a collection of three new stories by three different authors with three different classic pulp heroes: The Man in Purple, the Masked Rider, and The Purple Scar from Pro Se Press.

All three of those characters have (or are being) reprinted by Altus Press. Pro Se Press published Three With a Bullet, but not in their Pulp Obscura line, which has new stories of classic pulp characters. I was surprised by this because they have put out a collection of new Man in Purple stories, but none with the other two. In fact, Airship 27 has been putting out new stories of the Purple Scar.

The Man in Purple was one of Johnston McCulley‘s short-lived “bent heroes” from the 1920s. Richard Staegal — helped by his girlfriend, Betty, and his chauffeur and assistant, Broph — robbed from the unjust rich and gave the money to the poor, similar to McCulley’s better-known character The Crimson Clown. Richard would dress in an special all-purple outfit with hood, and once he had finished using the outfit he would use a vial of acid to dissolve it all. He was pursued by Detective Troman.

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Review: ‘Tales of the Shadowmen, Vol. 14’

Posted by at 10:00 am Wednesday, January 31, 2018 in Arsene Lupin, Black Coat Press, English Pulp, Fantomas, Foreign Pulps, French pulp, Fu Manchu, Harry Dickson, Judex, Madame Atomos, New Pulp, Nyctalope, Occult Detective, Review, Rocambole, Roulatabille, Sar Dubnotal, The Black Coats
Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

Review: ‘Tales of the Shadowmen, Vol. 14’

'Tales of the Shadowmen, Vol. 14: Coup de Grace'The end of 2017 meant that there’s another volume of Tales of the Shadowmen out. The Black Coat Press series is now up to 14 volumes. This one is subtitled “Coup de Grace,” which means final blow or death blow. But is it for good or evil?

As noted previously, this annual series makes use of Philip José Farmer‘s “Wold Newton” concept, mixing in a variety of literary characters, with a focus on the various pulp and pulpish characters of France and Europe, such as Arsene Lupin, Fantômas, The Nyctalope, Rouletabille, and many others, as well as those from other countries. Several authors will come back with further stories of the same characters, creating loose series within the volumes.

The latest volume gives us:

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Pulp comics: ‘Sandman Mystery Theatre’

Posted by at 10:00 am Friday, January 26, 2018 in Comics, Review
Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

Pulp comics: ‘Sandman Mystery Theatre’

'Sandman Mystery Theatre: The Tarantula'I have previously noted that many early comicbook characters were inspired by pulp characters. Many of these early characters wore suits (even if somewhat colorful), and later we got characters in more color spandex-like outfits. And in a few cases, some of the early comicbook characters changed their looks, dropping the suits for more superhero-like outfits (such as the Crimson Avenger, Blue Beetle, etc). A modern term used retroactively for such characters is “mystery men” rather than “superheroes,” as they don’t have any superpowers.

An early example of this is DC Comic‘s Sandman. Originally more pulp-inspired, he wore a suit, a hat, and a gasmask, and used a gas gun against bad guys. Now, his suit was a bit garish, in orange and green, with a purple cape or cloak. Later he was given a purple-and-yellow spandex outfit, a kid sidekick (in red and yellow) and dropped the gas gun for a “wirepoon” gun.

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‘Silver Manticore: Still at Large’

Posted by at 10:00 am Wednesday, January 24, 2018 in New Pulp, Pastiche, Pro Se Press, Pulps, Review, Silver Manticore
Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

‘Silver Manticore: Still at Large’

'Silver Manticore: Still at Large'P.J. Lozito‘s Silver Manticore is an interesting mix of pulp, radio, movie series, and comicbook characters that at times almost gets out of hand.

The Silver Manticore himself is a mix of the Green Hornet, The Shadow, and the Copperhead (the hero of the Mysterious Doctor Satan movie serial), and so creates a generational hero in which new people step into the role of the Silver Manticore. He is assisted by others who are pastiches of various pulp and comic characters, and his foes are also pastiches of various pulp villains (and later comicbook), first off being the Fu Manchu-inspired Hanoi Tsin and the Shiwan Khan-inspired Siam Khan.

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‘Jim Anthony, Super-Detective,’ Vol. 5

Posted by at 10:00 am Wednesday, January 10, 2018 in Airship 27, Jim Anthony, New Pulp, Review
Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

‘Jim Anthony, Super-Detective,’ Vol. 5

'Jim Anthony – Super Detective vs. Mastermind'After a bit, Airship 27 has a fifth Jim Anthony volume, Jim Anthony – Super Detective vs. Mastermind.

For those not familiar, Jim Anthony was a sort-of Doc Savage “clone” published by Trojan/Culture Publications in the early 1940s. Trojan was a publisher of the “spicy” pulps, a magazine line featuring risque stories.

But first, a little background for those who didn’t read my earlier postings on Anthony. Jim 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; Dawkins, his butler; and Dolores Colquitte, the daughter of a U.S. senator, and his fiance.

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