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

DC Comics’ pulp connections

Posted by at 10:00 am Friday, March 31, 2017 in Comics, Pulps
Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

DC Comics’ pulp connections
Major Malcolm Wheeler-Nicholson

Major Malcolm Wheeler-Nicholson

In the past I’ve written on the pulp-comics connections with several of the major and minor pulp publishers. And recently I posted on the pulp roots of Marvel Comics. But I guess I need to take a look at DC Comics.

The pulp connections at DC Comics are even more obscure then Marvel’s. Not helped that, again, most are not aware of DC Comics “origins” as a company.

What we now know as DC Comics was formed as National Allied Publications by Major Malcom Wheeler-Nicholson in 1935. The Major was a pulp writer, but never a publisher until he formed National Allied. The major change he brought to the comic-book industry was to publish original comic-book work, not just comic strip reprints. That was actually kind of daring, and increased his costs (and risks).

However, when he was trying to get his third title out, Detective Comics, he had to take on backers. These were Harry Donenfeld and Jack Liebowitz. Within a couple of years Donenfeld and Liebowitz forced out Wheeler-Nicholson and took over his company. And that is putting in mildly. Most liken it to a “hostile takeover.”

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Jess Nevin’s ‘The Pulps: A History’

Posted by at 10:00 am Wednesday, March 29, 2017 in Foreign Pulps, Non-fiction, Pulps, References
Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

Jess Nevin’s ‘The Pulps: A History’

'The Pulps: A History'For those who don’t know him, Jess Nevins is probably one of the main pure researchers today in the world of pulp. And not just pulps in the U.S., but also overseas.

He has in the past maintained several websites that had information on a wide number of pulp characters. He has also put out several encyclopedic books on the topic, most out of print. He works as a research librarian, and so has access to information that most of us can only dream of.

Thankfully Nevins has shared much of that information. And his recent small book, The Pulps: A History, is but his latest.

While not flashy or the like, this small little tome provides a lot of data on the pulps that too many are either ignorant of or overlook. It seems that part of the reason for putting out this work is to correct all the misleading or inaccurate information out that. As an evocative historian in several areas, I can understand where he is coming from. I’ve tried as best I can in this blog to present as much accurate information as I can, usually hampered by what I have access to.

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‘Pulp Adventures’ #24

Posted by at 10:00 am Wednesday, March 22, 2017 in Comics, Fanzines, H.P. Lovecraft, Reprints, Review
Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

‘Pulp Adventures’ #24

'Pulp Adventures' #24Pulp Adventures #24 (Winter 2017) kicks off 2017 with this great pulp fanzine from Bold Venture Press. As always, we get a collection of classic and New Pulp fiction (with some notes) and this time also a pulp graphic novel, under an Emmet Watson cover, which ties to one of the stories reprinted here.

For classic pulp, we get:

The cover feature, “Sheridan Rides Again,” is a post Civil War adventure by Sam Merwin Jr. that first appeared in an issue of Thrilling Adventure in 1941. Accompanying this reprint is an article that appeared in the same issue by Merwin that explains the historical background of the story. A prolific pulp writer (mysteries and science fiction mainly) and editor (several leading science-fiction pulps), most of his works are out of print. Bold Venture plans on reprinting more of them soon.

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Clive Cussler’s ‘Isaac Bell’ series

Posted by at 10:00 am Wednesday, March 8, 2017 in Pulps, Techno-Thriller
Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

Clive Cussler’s ‘Isaac Bell’ series

'The Chase'I have previously posted on Clive Cussler‘s many series, mainly his Dirk Pitt series, but have touched on his other series.

One series that is a bit different from the rest is his Isaac Bell series. Unlike the others, this one is set in the early 20th century and focuses on Bell, the lead investigator for the fictional Van Dorn Detective Agency. Also unlike the prior series, nautical matters don’t play a big part.

One element of this series, we often see the villain in action without knowing who he (or she) is at first. And usually there is a follow-on part set years or decades after the main action, to sort of put an end to the story.

The first novel was written by Cussler, the rest have been co-authored by Justin Scott, who holds the record of not only co-authoring the most novels with Cussler, but being the sole co-author of one of the Cussler series.

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Young Harry Dickson

Posted by at 10:00 am Monday, March 6, 2017 in Fantomas, French pulp, Harry Dickson, Pastiche, Sherlock Holmes
Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

Young Harry Dickson

'The Man in Grey'I have posted in the past about Harry Dickson, the American Sherlock Holmes. While the character started off as nothing more than an unauthorized version of Sherlock Holmes published in Germany, he became a character in his own right in Belgium and France, rivaling even Holmes himself.

In looking at the history of the character and where he got his name, some have justly looked at an early and popular character, Allan Dickson, King of the Australian Detectives. Created by Arnould Galopin, who also created Doctor Omega, Allan Dickson appeared in several short stories and a few of novels between 1906-12.

The folks at Black Coat Press have put forth the idea that Allan Dickson is Harry Dickson, but just a younger one, as the main period of Harry Dickson’s career is the mid-1920s to mid-’30s. Plus, Allan Dickson is shown being mentored by Sherlock Holmes, and Harry would move in to 221B Baker Street (I guess after Sexton Blake also moved out?).

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Pulp comics: Dynamite’s ‘The Shadow’ mini-series

Posted by at 10:10 am Friday, March 3, 2017 in Comics, Review, The Shadow
Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

Pulp comics: Dynamite’s ‘The Shadow’ mini-series
'The Shadow: Year One' #3

The Shadow: Year One #3

Since 2012, Dynamite Entertainment has had the rights to do The Shadow comics. In addition to an on-going series (now ended), they have had several mini-series and one-shots with The Shadow. This is the second of three articles looking at what they have produced.

Here I will be looking at the several mini-series staring The Shadow: Year One, Shadow Now, Midnight in Moscow, and Death of Margo Lane. Masks and other minis that have The Shadow with other characters will be covered in other postings.

The Shadow: Year One (2013-14, 10 issues) is written by Matt Wagner, and as the title indicates, is meant to show The Shadow’s first year of operating in New York. It actually starts in Asia, with The Shadow on the trail of another man. We will learn The Shadow’s background as the aviator-spy The Dark Eagle, and sadly adds in that in Asia he became a drug lord (an element I never cared for) and later would be taught by masters in Shamballah in the psychic disciplines.

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Marvel Comics’ pulp roots

Posted by at 10:00 am Monday, February 27, 2017 in Comics, Pulps
Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

Marvel Comics’ pulp roots
Publisher Martin Goodman

Publisher Martin Goodman

Most everyone knows of Marvel Comics, publishers of Spider-Man, Captain America, X-Men, Iron Man, and all the rest. But few know of the man behind Marvel (and I don’t mean Stan Lee): Martin Goodman.

Goodman got into the early days of pulp/comic-book publishing along side some of the founders of MLJ/Archie and DC Comics. Like them, he diversified into a wide range of publishing: magazines, pulps, comics, and books. And sadly he did this under a wide range of shell companies, which can make it a bit confusing.

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