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

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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The Two Doctor Deaths

Posted by at 10:00 am Monday, September 16, 2013 in Doctor Death, Pulps, Review, Villain Pulps
Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

The Complete Doctor Death in All-DetectiveDoctor Death is one of the unique characters in pulp fiction. Not only is he a villain and the star of his own series, but there are in fact two different Doctor Death characters.

The first Doctor Death appeared in a series of short stories by Edward Norris. Norris’ Doctor Death was not really the star of that series. The hero of these stories was Nibs Holloway, a troubleshooter for a jewelry company. The first Nibs story (“The Death Gambler”) appeared in the May 1933 issue of Rapid-Fire Detective Stories, published by Rapid-Fire Publications. I have not seen that story.

The next Nibs story was in the July 1934 issue of Dell’s All-Detective magazine. All-Detective focused on “ultra-mystery”: melodramatic stories of tough detectives going up against diabolical masterminds and similar villains, where Doctor Death fit in perfectly. Doctor Death was introduced in that story as a mysterious and unknown international criminal, and killed off at the end.

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Here come the bad guys: villain pulps

Posted by at 10:00 am Wednesday, May 8, 2013 in Doctor Death, Doctor Satan, Fu Manchu, Pulps, Villain Pulps
Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

Weird Tales (August 1935)The practice of calling pulps devoted to, and often named after, the hero contained in them “hero pulps” is well understood. But some argue they should be called “character pulps,” because some of them had the villain as the star.

What? The villain is the main focus?

Yes. And actually this has been a long running, though lesser known literary phenomenon. There have been several fiction works (stories and novels, movies and movie series, and TV shows) where the villain is the main star.

In literature you have Dr. Nikola (1895-1901); in French pulps and movies you had Fantomas (1911-63); Belphegor (1927); Les Vampires (1915); The Black Coats (1843-75); and others. Probably the most well known of villainous characters is Dr. Fu Manchu (1913-59). Among European comics, you have several that star the villain, such as Diabolik, Satanik, Killing, etc.

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