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

Sunday, June 29, 2014

More Pulp Heroes

More Pulp Hero

The Spider was dated October 1933, and was pretty much a copy of The Phantom Detective for the first two issues. Long-time author R. T. M. Scott created the series, rewriting his characters from Secret Service Smith into the more violent Spider. Smith had already appeared in numerous novels and short stories in the 1920s. The Spider actually came into his own with the third story, December 1933, when Norvell Page took over the series under the Grant Stockbridge house name. Though very popular, the series only lasted 118 issues, ending in 1943 when the war paper shortage put an end to many magazines. The Spider was in reality Richard Wentworth, wealthy man-about-town, and amateur criminologist, until he put on the black slouch hat and cape, and became the nemesis of the underworld. New York is virtually destroyed in every story, as some menace releases deadly viruses and vermin among the people, and mobsters run wild in the streets.

Captain Satan was a fun series, and not quite as violent as The Spider. Written by William O’Sullivan, it lasted but 5 issues in 1938, and then was dropped. Very possibly influenced by Johnston McCulley’s The Rollicking Rogue in the December 1930 issue of ALL STAR DETECTIVE STORIES, about a young man whose family had been ruined by a group of millionaire businessmen, he’s now out to remove their ill-gotten gain, wearing a devil costume to do so. Captain Satan, on the other hand, is a master criminal with a squad of assistants, consisting of safe crackers, and other specialists. A gentleman, he only goes after other crooks (another gimmick used by Johnston McCulley). Extremely rich already, Cary Adair divides the spoils with his men, and keeps them in line so that no innocents are harmed.

The Masked Detective was one of the latecomers to the pulp hero class. Likely due to the success of Superman in the comic books, between 1938 and 1940 the pulps quickly came out with a long string of new pulp heroes to attract more young readers to the pulps. Ned Pines’ STANDARD pulp line brought out several to compete with the growing comic book super heroes. One such was The Masked Detective, a reporter like Clark Kent, he was Rex Parker, a poorly paid crime reporter for a rag newspaper who had a secret: a martial arts expert – in savate – he donned a mask and went after the bad guys. A lot of fun, though a lot of the pulp heroes was using la savate and judo at the time. Again, the war paper shortage ended many new characters during this period too soon. The Masked Detective only lasted 12 issues in his own magazines, from Fall 1940 to Spring 1943, and then a 13th story was printed in the back pages of THRILLING MYSTERY in Fall 1944, probably shortened from novel length. The series was written under the house name of C. K. M. Scanlon, created by prolific author Norman Daniels, and then turned over to a variety of other scribes.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

The Pulp Heroes

The Pulp Heroes

From 1931 through 1953 the single character pulps dominated the newsstands. I’ve already mentioned Doc Savage and The Shadow in previous posts. They were undoubtedly the most popular of the pulp heroes. But they were not the only ones. Fanzines, like BRONZE SHADOWS, were the first to introduce the “other” heroes to a new generation in the 1960s, a decade after the character magazines ceased publication. Nick Carr was the first to chronicle many of them in essays in his book, THE PULP HERO in 2001. I will talk about a few of these this week, and more in the future, but these will just be short notes, nothing indepth.

The Phantom Detective was the second single character hero pulp to hit the stands, following close behind The Shadow. His first issue was dated February 1933, but likely appeared in December 1932. It would become the longest running of the pulp character titles, ending in the Summer 1953 issue, with 171 novels. The Phantom, as he was more commonly called, was Richard Curtis Van Loan, a millionaire man-about-town, who was bored with his idle lifestyle and wanted excitement in his life. His friend and mentor, Frank Havens suggested he try to solve a vicious crime that was baffling the police. Van Loan, a WWI pilot, was familiar with danger, and within a few days walked into the police station with the killer in custody. Not knowing who he was, the police called him the “phantom detective”, and the title stuck. He became a master of disguise, and the police or Frank Haven’s, publisher of a string of newspapers, soon began calling on him for difficult cases. His stories were bylined originally G. Wayman Jones, then Robert Wallace, but his exploits were written by the major pulp writers of the day, many stories have yet to be identified by author.

Secret Agent X came out a year later, dated February 1934, but probably released December 1933, the Agent was an ex WWI intelligence officer, and now worked for a mysterious government official known as K-9. His job was to uncover and battle domestic crooks and foreign spies. Unlike the Phantom Detective, he did not have police approval; in fact they considered “X” a master criminal. Extremely popular today, he may not have been in the ‘30s. His run ended in 1939, with only 41 novels. There was no name associated with him, and he was always in disguise. A war wound in his side, the scar resembling a crude “x”, gave him the code name of Secret Agent X. The house name given to the author was Brant House, but Paul Chadwick created the series, then numerous writers took over after his contract expired.

The Ghost Super Detective, later changed to The Green Ghost was a latecomer to the character pulps, the first issue dated January 1940, but probably released in late ’39. The novels were originally narrated by the main character, George Chance in first person, but were later changed to third person. Chance was a master magician, raised in the circus, and taught many things, including knife throwing. He seldom carried a gun because he couldn’t hit the side of a barn – from the inside. He usually used magic tricks to catch the killer. The author was G.T. Fleming-Roberts, a popular writer of the pulps. Sadly, the series only lasted 7 issues in his own title, and then relegated to THJRILLING MYSTERY and THRILLING DETECTIVE for another 7 issues, and then ended. But the paper shortage due to WWII caused many magazine cancellations, so this may not have been due to a lack of popularity for the series. The character just drew the short straw, and was dropped.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Dark Ryder & Sidekick

Dark Ryder & Sidekick

Bremy (Brianna) St. James – Sidekick
Indira – Dark Ryder
Pierce Stricklin (Reporter)
Jenny St. James (Bremy’s twin sister)
Atticus St. James (Bremy’s evil father)
Sultana (Master Villainess)

Bremy St. James leaves her evil father to make it on her own, but she isn’t doing so well with her life. Within the first month she’s in debt to her Mafia landlord for twelve hundred dollars, and forced to work at the Pink Beaver strip club. To pay the landlord off, she borrows the money from her equally notorious boss; then loses the money to a new master villain in town, Sultana. After stumbling into several bad situations with Sultana, she is rescued by the city’s paladin, super hero Dark Ryder, a masked vigilante who protects the city from evildoers. Deciding she wants to become Dark Ryder’s sidekick leads to even more problems.
In the first adventure we get to meet all the players in Auralee Wallace’s new universe of sexy super heroines and evil villains. Though culled from the Golden Age comic book heroines, the story is pure pulp action at its best in what is now being called New Pulp, which is not a bad thing.
Dark Ryder: She stood tall, feet slightly apart, ready to fight. Head to toe shiny black leather glided over her muscled curves in an intimidating display of beauty and power. Her skin, almost as dark as her cat suit, gleamed in the dying sun while her flame-colored hair burned down to her waist in a long braid. Incredibly, her ice-blue eyes were even more startling than the rest of her. Contrasted against the dark of her skin, they were terrifying…almost alien.
Sidekick: Here’s the way she describes herself: “How could I possibly describe it? It would be like trying to describe the love a mother feels for her newborn baby. I might say it looked as though the midnight sky had poured itself onto my body…but it was even more than that. Deep blue and purple undercurrents prowled over my skin, and when I moved, it shimmered—the fabric weaving an illusion of muscle and perfectly shaped boobs. I was ready. The transformation from self-indulgent princess to self-sacrificing hero had begun."
Dark Ryder is a mysterious woman we only know as Indira, with very little background. But she is athletic, strong, brave, and fearless. She selfishly defends her city from evildoers, regardless of her own danger.
Sidekick is really Bremy (Brianna) St. James, daughter of billionaire Atticus St. James. She was used to diamonds and expensive parties, people to wait on her, and everything she desired was given her. Until she discovered her father was evil. Now she wants to make it on her own.
Jenny St. James is Bremy’s twin sister, at childbirth she was injured when her sister had a hard delivery, and it left Jenny with brain damage and paralytic. But now her father’s experiments may give her mind the power to overcome her disabilities, and take her crippled body from the wheelchair; she becomes her father’s willing aide.
Pierce Stricklin is the muscular reporter for The World Chronicles who becomes Bremy’s love interest. He is from a small cornfield town not named, raised by adopted parents. Wanting to make it in the big city he leaves the farm and becomes a reporter. His adopted parents are killed when they come for a visit. Hmm, shades of Superman/Clark Kent.
Queeny is Bremy’s next-door neighbor, a Korean girl with weird taste in clothes, and not very friendly at first. Until she finds Bremy truly in need of help, and not just the poor little rich girl. Then she becomes a staunch ally, even designing her superhero costume (see above).
Choden is another mystery connected to Dark Ryder’s past. She calls him Uncle, and he seems to always be around when needed. He is balding, though we are not told his age. His one reason for life is service to Indira, Dark Ryder.
Bart owns an electronics shop, and is a genius with everything electronics. He becomes Bremy’s supplier of super gadgets, and weapons, as well as being her computer nerd.
Only one novel has been published so far, but by a major publishing imprint, and a second one is being written.
“Sidekick” ESCAPE PUBLISHING (Harlequin)

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Book Signing

Book Signing

Seymour, Texas, June 7th, 2014. What can one say about Seymour? What comes to mind is the comedian that used to say, “I get no respect.” Remember him? Now I’m not him. I do get respect, just not from Seymour (LOL). Let me tell you about a few of my book signings and see if you don’t agree. Several years ago, during the Fall Festival, I was booked for a signing at the county library; they put my table outside by the north door, on a cold windy day. Can you say, pneumonia? (brrr). Last year, also during the Fall Festival, I had a table, again outside on a cold, cold morning. Remember that pneumonia? See the picture below.

Haskell, Texas, lets me sign inside. See Below.

So does Books A Million & Hastings In Wichita Falls. See Below. Yes, I finally decided to shave off the gray hair, so please no comments (G).

Even The Senior Citizens Let Me Sign Indoors. See Below.

Now June 7th, the day the Whiteside Museum of Natural History has its Grand Opening, I requested a table to sign books; not just any books, my books about dinosaurs and prehistoric reptiles. After all, I am the Author in residence, and these are subjects that coincide with the Museum of Natural History. Guess where they put me? Yep, you guessed it, outside again. This time I sat at a table in over 100-degree temperature. Now, if I just don’t get heat stroke this time. Anyone want me to come to their town to sign books? I believe I’ll forget about Seymour next time. Ah, maybe I should have been a comedian after all. Enjoy the pictures from the museum.

Thankfully, we were in the shade, and had a nice wind. The heat never became much of a problem, though we did get a little hot. The sudden wind gusts did prove a problem, however, as my books went flying several times. Not a great day, but not a bad one, either. TREASURE OF JUR sold best, as people liked the tiger head on the cover. I didn’t have any new edition copies of PANGAEA: EDEN’S PLANET, but I did have the poster on hand.

Ginger went through the new museum first, while I sat with the table, and she took the pictures. I went after she returned, but my blood sugar took a sudden dive while inside, and I had to get out to my jellybeans before someone called an ambulance. I barely made it back to the table before collapsing.