Commentary from the den of a pulp super-fanNavigation
Blog: Commentary from the den of a pulp super-fan
Echoes was published by Tom and Ginger Johnson for 100 issues and then for a period of time it was an “newszine.” Its last new issue was Echoes Revisited, published in 2002 as a 20th anniversary special issue. This one had a color cover (The Shadow by David Burton) and special binding. There were also 100 numbered copies.
This issue celebrates Echoes with a collection of articles new and old, along with several art portfolios and photocopies of some pulp covers. Sadly, I don’t know which articles are reprints, or from where, nor where some of these articles have appeared since. The articles are grouped by their authors.Read More
There’s another volume of Tales of the Shadowmen out. The Black Coat Press series is now up to 13 volumes. This one is subtitled “Sang Froid,” which means “cold blood.” For me, I think of a murder mystery where someone is “murdered in cold blood,” but here it’s about the ability to stay calm in difficult or even dangerous situations — which many of these character have in spads.
As noted, 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.
This year’s volume gives us:Read More
An interesting, though short-lived comic-book series that came out several years ago is Captain Gravity. While mainly taking inspiration from movie serials, there are some pulp elements as well. Set in the backdrop of 1930s Hollywood, it has movie serial heroes, Nazis, and mystical powers like the Vril.
Published by Penny Farthing Productions, two mini-series were produced, along with a one-shot. The first mini of four issues came out in 1998 and was collected. A one-shot came out in 1999 (it was never collected). And then a second (and final) mini of six issues came out in 2004-05 and was collected in 2006. No word on any further series or stories being planned. The character was created by Stephan Vrattos, who wrote the first series and one-shot. Joshua Dysart wrote the second series.
The series centers around Joshua Jones, a young, black man working behind the scenes in Hollywood in 1938. There, he is the personal assistant to the head of a movie studio. This studio is creating a new pulp-inspired movie serial character “Captain Gravity,” who they feel will compete against characters like Spy Smasher and the like.Read More
A short-lived juvenile fiction series from the 1960s is the Biff Brewster series. Published by Grosset & Dunlap from 1960 to ’65, it was not created by the Stratemeyer Syndicate. Thirteen novels were put out during that five-year span, written by about four authors, under the house name of Andy Adams.
Biff is a 16-year-old boy. His father works for a mining company, which means frequent travels to various exotic locations. So on his vacations, Biff accompanies his father. There, he gets involved in some mystery, joined by a local boy that he befriends in each of these locations (luckily ones that knows English!), which considering the time period is pretty progressive. Also, because of the foreign locations, the books have an element of travelogue, giving a lot of local color to the story.Read More
William Hope Hodgson (1877-1918) is an author more people should be aware of. He wrote essays, short fiction, novels, and poetry, most in the genres of horror, fantastic, and science fiction. Much of his short fiction appeared in pulp magazines in the U.K. and U.S.
Because he had ran away to be a Merchant Marine at age 13, an experience he grew to hate, many of his stories were clearly influenced by this, especially his “Sargasso Sea” stories. Most pulp fans are probably aware of him due to his occult detective, Carnacki, or perhaps his various sea stories or mention of his works by H.P. Lovecraft.
For those wanting to delve further into Hodgson, there is a semi-annual journal, Sargasso: The Journal of William Hope Hodgson Studies. Three issues have appeared so far in 2013, 2014, and 2016. All are available on Amazon. These journals have essays, poetry, artwork, and even short fiction, all focused on Hodgson and his work. They are edited by Sam Gafford, a long-time scholar and editor of Hodgson’s works. I’ve gotten all of them over the years and look forward to each one.Read More
After getting the first volume of The Chimera Brigade from Titan Comics, I got the second and third volumes. As with the first volume, these will soon be reprinted in comic-book form as the third through sixth issues. These two volumes reveals the Chimera Brigade, setting things down for what appears to be a coming war.
We are also introduced to several new characters, and I’m not always certain which are originals. First off, we meet the Brigade, four individuals who are released from Dr. Severac: the angelic Unknown Soldier; the mother goddess Matrikia; the intelligent bear Brown Baron; and the skeletal Doctor Serum.
Other characters introduced are: the mystic Palmyra, who operates in Paris; The Elastic Man, who had increase and decrease his size and was released in the last volume. Here, The Eye (the Nyctalope) and his C.I.D. capture him and send him against the Radium Institute. The evil hypnotist Cagliostro is defeated, but he doesn’t seem to have any connection with the Count Cagliostro. We also meet Odd John the Cosmic Man and his dog Sirius. These two characters were mutants created in novels of the same names by Olaf Stapledon in the 1930s. Here they are given powers more like Superman and Krypto.Read More
Here we have a new collection of original stories of Jim Anthony, a sort-of Doc Savage clone published by Trojan/Culture Publications in the early 1940s, a publisher of the “spicy” pulps, a kind-of soft porn magazine.
He lasted 25 stories, and Altus Press is reprinting the whole series. We now have the third volume, with the seventh, eighth and ninth novels.
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 he owned and had a secret mansion in the Catskills called “The Tepee.” He was assisted by a small group of people including 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 (something unusual, as while some pulp heroes had a love interest, none were noted as their fiance). He also owned the New York Star and other papers, and made use of them in his adventures.Read More