This Site is for essays on The New Pulp Heroes. It’s about time we catalog new characters appearing in books and anthologies. Since I do not have time to read everything being published, I will offer space here for legitimate creators of new pulp characters to send me their data, and I will post their essays. It is not my place to say what is, or what is not a new pulp hero, and the only changes I will make to essays will be editing and format. If you wish, include a jpeg of a book cover or b&w illustration if you have permission from the artist. By sending me your essays, you are giving me permission to promote and showcase this data. Essays should be up to 500 words, and include information on MC and back up characters, creator, title of books, and where the stories can be found. A paperback edition is now available for $12.00, plus $3.99 postage (US). The book will only be sold through us: Tom Johnson, 204 W. Custer St., Seymour, TX 76380. Send questions or data to fadingshadows40@gmail.com

Monday, November 25, 2013

Mr. Jones

Mr. Jones
Creator: Leo Margulies
Written By: Dennis Lynds (as Robert Hart Davis)
Dr. Samuel Sears (Mr. Jones)
Kim Ree
Miss Agatha Bridge
Commissioner Angelo Pinto
Detective Captain Murry Brian
Bon vivant and famed medic by day, scourge of the underworld by night, Mr. Jones is the man of a million faces! This is the story of Dr. Samuel Sears, brilliant society favorite, and successful plastic surgeon. Mr. Jones knows how to kill just as easily as Dr. Sears, his real self, knows how to live! As Mr. Jones, he can penetrate the inner circles of organized crime and bring his man to justice, dead or alive!
 A Lt. Col. in the Army medical field, Sears was transferred to OSS while in Korea. He has light brown hair and cool blue eyes, hard as sapphires. At 190 pounds, he is a shade under six feet tall. He was a deceptively slender man, with shoulders broader than they seemed. Mr. Jones could appear taller or shorter at will, and could control his facial muscles. When his friend, the police commissioner, had bitterly raged against a high-and-mighty criminal the police could not touch, Sears had instantly realized something he had wanted to do for many years— catch and punish the hidden criminals who walked free and above the law.
He had caught that particular high-and-mighty culprit, and another, and Mr. Jones was born. Sears had never regretted his second life: the disguises pleased him, the acting challenged his mind, and the pursuit excited him. He was forced to admit that he had always wanted to be a detective, even in secret. Sounds a little like The Phantom Detective, doesn’t it?
Kim Ree is Sears’ Korean chef, valet, and general major domo. He was a sergeant in the R.O.K. Army when he met Sears.
Commissioner Angelo Pinto is a small, peppery man. He speaks as much with his hands as with his voluble old-country-style voice. He knows the identity of Mr. Jones.
Miss Agatha Bridge is his medical assistant at the hospital. She’s a tough fifty-year old R.N. that runs the office like a chief petty officer.
Detective Captain Murry Brian is a short, stocky man. He wears an old gray suit, and battered felt hat over gray hair.
Sears lives in a plush apartment in The Carleton Towers on Park Avenue. The suite directly below his is rented year-round by Reginald Trott, a wealthy gentleman from Trinidad, but in reality belongs to Mr. Jones. Inside a locked closet in his apartment is a spiral staircase leading down to a secret room in the suite below. His offices are located at the Hippocratic House, a private hospital.
Pulp historians conclude that Captain Zero was the last pulp hero to be created during the pulp era, and perhaps basically this is true. However, Leo Margulies never lost interest in the pulp hero, or creating house names. For twenty years Leo was ramrod of Ned Pines’ Standard pulp house, and he oversaw the hero line of character pulps for their magazines. He probably created most of them—though possibly through editorial committee. The pulp line included The Phantom Detective, Dan Fowler (G-Men Detective), Black Bat (Black Book Detective), The Masked Detective, Purple Scar, The Eagle, and probably a few I’m forgetting. When Leo was let go from Standard as Head Editor, he quickly started his own publishing house, Renown Publishing, bringing out a slew of digest magazines. His mainstay was the Mike Shayne Mystery Magazine, but there were several companion titles: Satellite Science Fiction, Zane Grey Western Magazine, Shell Scott Mystery Magazine, Charlie Chan Mystery Magazine, and his highly successful Man From UNCLE and Girl From UNCLE titles; these latter were under the byline of one of his final house names, Robert Hart Davis, named in honor of an editor at Argosy who gave Leo his first job. Cylvia Kleinman Margulies, Leo’s wife, told me the “Hart” came about because of Robert Davis’ kind heart.
With the ending of the popular UNCLE series in January 1968, Leo was looking for a replacement title to fill the void. Keeping the Robert Hart Davis house name, he created his final pulp hero, Mr. Jones, ‘The Man of a Million Faces’. Mr. Jones was another wink at the old days, when one of Standard’s widely used house names was G. Wayman Jones. A byline used on the Black Bat, among others.
Although Mr. Jones appeared to be a mixture of both The Phantom Detective and Purple Scar, he did not wear a costume. The days of costumed pulp heroes were gone. However, he is a master of disguise, bringing to mind Secret Agent “X,” the Man of a Thousand Faces.
To test the water for a new magazine, Leo decided to publish the first story in Mike Shayne Mystery Magazine, and see how it went over with the readers. Preparing some notes on the character he wanted, he asked one of his prolific writers, Dennis Lynds, to come up with a good yarn.
Leo’s intentions were good, but Dennis wasn’t comfortable with the pulp concept, even though he had written the Belmont Shadow novels ten years earlier. He told Leo the story didn’t work, and he hated it. But Leo Margulies was determined to try for a new series. He ran the story in the June 1968 issue of Mike Shayne Mystery Magazine, and it met with poor response. The new magazine never got off the ground, and Mr. Jones died a silent death. A shame, I really think the time was ripe for a new character. Readers were still screaming for more Man From UNCLE stories. I’m afraid Dennis went into the story feeling the pulp style was wrong, and this hurt the story. Perhaps, if another writer had been given the task of writing the story, they might have put it over. Michael Avallone would submit a number of articles on the old pulp heroes for the M.S.M.M. a few years later, and the readers loved them. Five years later, Renown did launch a new magazine, the Charlie Chan Mystery Magazine, in November 1973. Although the title only lasted a few issues, it proved a new title might have worked in 1968.
But for pulp historians, Dennis Lynds goes down in the history books as not only bringing The Shadow into the 1960s, he was also tagged to write the final pulp hero novel, under the last pulp house name. Leo Margulies—the Little Giant of the pulps—saw to that!
The Man of A Million Faces MSMM (June 1968)

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