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

Review: ‘The Adventures of Lazarus Gray, Vol. 4’

Posted by at 10:00 am Wednesday, July 23, 2014 in Doctor Satan, Lazarus Gray, New Pulp, Pro Se Press, Pulps, Review, Thunder Jim Wade
Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

Review: ‘The Adventures of Lazarus Gray, Vol. 4’

The Adventures of Lazarus Gray, Vol. 4: Satan's CircleLazarus Gray is a New Pulp character from writer Barry Reese.

I have been reading his Rook series, but also enjoy Lazarus Gray as well as Gravedigger. He has a few other works, but those are the main ones I’ve been reading.  I’ve posted on his previous works.

Gray is sort of inspired by the classic pulp hero The Avenger.  He has setup a group similar to The Avenger’s called Assistance, Unlimited. He is located in a fictional town called Sovereign City (created by Pro Se Press publisher Tommy Hancock), and is part of the larger Sovereign City Project. He is also set in the same universe as Barry’s other characters, so has crossed over with them.

This volume, “The Adventures of Lazarus Gray, Vol. 4: Satan’s Circle,” is a collection of three items. First up is a short, two-page comic story that gives the background of who Lazarus Gray is, which first appeared in the third volume. It’s a good intro for new readers. The bulk of the volume is two novellas.

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Review: ‘The Good, The Bad, and the Unknown’

Posted by at 10:00 am Wednesday, December 11, 2013 in Doctor Satan, Hero Pulps, Moon Man, New Pulp, Review, Secret Agent X
Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

Review: ‘The Good, The Bad, and the Unknown’

The Good, the Bad, and the Unknown“The Good, the Bad, and the Unknown” is an interesting collection.

I originally thought it a single novel using three classic characters: Moon Man, Doctor Satan and Secret Agent X. Instead, it’s a collection: a novel-length tale of the Moon Man, followed by short stories of Doctor Satan and Secret Agent X. All written by Michael Frigon, and published by Wild Cat Books.

For those not aware, here is a quick run down of these three characters.

The Moon Man was a secondary pulp hero, published in about 40 stories in Ace Magazines’ Ten Detective Aces in the mid-1930s. He is different from most pulp heroes, being more of a Robin Hood character: stealing from the greedy rich, to distribute to the poor. And so is thought a criminal. He is really police detective Steve Thatcher, son of the Great City Chief of Police, and in love with the daughter of his boss, the chief of detectives. His fiance is the only one who knows he’s the Moon Man (so named, because of the glass globe helmet he wears, which is really a one-way mirror). Helping him is ex-boxer Ned “Angel” Dugan, who doesn’t know his identity, but who helps him distribute the money he steals. Only a few original stories have been reprinted, though there is a complete (but expensive) collection of all his stories. So I’ve never read an original Moon Man story, only new stories using him.

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The sinister Doctor Satan

Posted by at 11:00 am Monday, November 4, 2013 in Doctor Satan, Pulps, Review, Villain Pulps
Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

The sinister Doctor Satan

The Complete Tales of Doctor SatanMost pulp fans know Weird Tales magazine as the long-running occult/horror/fantasy pulp that published such greats as H.P. Lovecraft, Seabury Quinn, and many others.

While it did have some continuing characters like Quinn’s Julies de Grandin and Manly Wade Wellman‘s characters, it’s only foray into the world of “hero pulps” (or in this case “villain pulps”) was their short-lived series staring villain Doctor Satan, written by pulp scribe Paul Ernst (better known for The Avenger), who would be featured on the cover. Now Altus Press has released “The Complete Tales of Doctor Satan” so all can enjoy them.

Doctor Satan has the distinction of being the longest running of the pulp villains! He lasted for eight stories over the course of a year, from August 1933 to August 1934. During that time he appeared on the cover three times. Sadly, it appeared that the readers of Weird Tales did not take to the character. Despite the fact that WT had run prior occult detectives stories (the aforementioned Jules de Grandin, who lasted about 90 stories), the readers complained whenever Doctor Satan appeared, claiming that WT was changing.

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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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