15 Favorite Pulp Heroes / Characters and the meaning of Pulp! Pt. 1 of 2!


Price The Avenger Chronicles Here!

We’ll begin this with a definition of pulp, pulp heroes, and pulp writing, then get into my list of favorite pulp characters and pulp runs.

The perceived definition of a pulp character tends to be a character that takes place in the 20s to 40s, in an America besieged by the spectre of War, and consists of slam-bam action, and a colorful larger than life hero and outlandish villains.

It’s with the cementing of pulp heroes to a specific milieu, a specific time, that I take issue with that definition. Characters such as THE SHADOW and DOC SAVAGE and the AVENGER were pulp sensations AT THE TIME OF THEIR PUBLICATION because they spoke to present fears and issues, in colorful imaginative ways.

But now the nostalgia bunch wants to calcify the definition of pulp adventure to a particular time frame or particular writers. I don’t think pulp heroes need to be set 80 or a 100 years in the past, that’s not what Marcel Allain, Norvell Page or Walter Gibson or Paul Ernst (writing as Kenneth Robeson) or any of the pulp writers we idolize today, were doing.

Now I’m not saying ignore the pulp heroes of yesterday, or not set new pulp stories in the 20s or 30s if you want. But what I am saying is… you’re largely missing the point of what the pulp writers were really doing. They were putting these heroes in a world that really needed them, the present world.

I am saying the pulp fiction of Warren Murphy’s REMO WILLIAMS or Marc Olden’s BLACK SAMURAI or Don Pendleton’s MAC BOLDEN are far truer representations of pulp fiction, pulp heroes, than today’s current writers who are making nostalgic re-workings of 1920s, 1930, and 1940s stories.

Again I have no problem with modern writers setting stories in that time frame, I quite enjoy and have championed many of them, but there seems to be this faulty conclusion in the minds of modern writers and readers that setting them in a specific past time frame, makes it pulp. No. Nothing could be further from the truth. Setting it in that time frame makes it a pastiche.

If Gibson or Page or Allain were writing today their heroes would be set in today, and their horror and villains… expressions of timely concerns. Allain’s FANTOMAS or Gibson’s SHADOW would be hanging the president of Exxon or Shell out of a window, saying “You want to explain those gas prices to me now?”

That’s why I love books like BLACK SAMURAI and THE DESTROYER because they are the pulp aesthetic continued, and have original things to say and original menaces to say it to, rather than simply the tendency to nostalgia, and aping dead writers.

When pulp heroes of yesterday fought nazis and gangsters, that wasn’t simply kitschy entertainment, that took some balls. Because gangsters were very much real things, and Nazis a very real threat, and nobody wanted to touch these topics. The way no one today wants to deal with topics of Guantanamo Bay, or Middle Eastern massacres, or corporate over-lobbying of representatives.

Pulp fiction of the 10s (the wonderful, and horrifying Fantamos),20s and 30s and 40s… was timely and controversial. Pulp fiction (and pulp heroes) was about giving the common man a hero who could stand up against the evils of the day, be those evils foreign or domestic. That is pulp fiction, not this nostalgic, safe, hermetically sealed, removed from any relevance of today, pastiches that people want to sanctify.

True pulp fiction, is a fantastic, white-knuckled, adrenalin inducing and entertaining tirade against the evils of its time. Sometimes in-dispute evil.

People forget there was a portion of America, the loud vocal right wing that were pro-hitler and pro the nazis, right up to and even after Pearl Harbor. So for these books to come out in the 1930s with Nazi Villains took balls. It was controversial. They got their share of grief from the Rush Limbaugh’s of the day.

So when people say “Well, true pulp fiction/pulp heroes needs to be set in the 20s to the 40s”, to that I say “only if you’re living in the 20s to the 40s”. True pulp heroes are an answer… an answer to the truths and the lies of your nightly news.

So while it’s wonderful we have this resurgence of so many writers doing pastiches in the pulp vein, it’s unfortunate so few modern writers are actually doing real pulp novels ala Warren Murphy or the late Marc Olden or even the late Ian Flaming.

So few current writers are doing books with great, even salacious covers, breakneck speed, thrilling action, and larger than life protagonists in conflict with outlandish villains, set in a present/timely context. That is the definition of true pulp fiction, and true pulp heroes… and what we are in dire need… of more of.

-to be continued-

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Part II will bring you the list of 15 favorite pulp heroes. Your jaw will drop!!! ๐Ÿ™‚

Copyright 2000-2012 Masai Inc

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FOLLOWING THE FOLLOWERS Episode #2


Well the first episode of FOLLOWING THE FOLLOWERS was well received, so I thought it was worthwhile to kick out episode #… TWO!!!!

This new segment basically will select four or five followers of this blog (thanks to all of you who are now following this blog) and/or blogs I follow and just promote particularly interesting things I find on their pages:

Okay onto the promoting :):

Derrick Ferguson who is a fantastic pulp writer, a podcasting guru (I gave praise to his podcast BETTER IN THE DARK last time, you can subscribe to it here), as well as a great supporter of this blog, runs his own fun blog that covers flicks old and new. And even when I don’t share his enjoyment for certain movies (Ang Lee’s HULK,CLASH OF THE TITANS remake :)) his reviews are informed and fun reads. Great reviews on current flicks such as JOHN CARTER and classic flicks such as BUCK AND THE PREACHER. Take a gander here.

Jill of All Trades who writes the blog EXPERT OF NONE, has a really great blog post, that I think is applicable to a growing number of people in this economy. Namely, adults returning to school to advance their career or change their career path.

In my Dad’s day you got hired onto a job, and you stayed in it, till you retired with a pension and the thanks of a grateful company, or you dropped dead… whichever came first. But times have changed, corporate America has for the most part done away with the concept of pensions and indeed long term employees.

It’s a far more mercenary market today, where employers feel adversarial to employees and often to their customer base. So in this market, an employee has to expect to spend more time in job transition scenarios.

So Jill of All Trades really sums it up in one incredibly informative post. Her post was just what I needed to come across. Excellent job Jill of All Trades! And to those of you out there, like me, thinking of getting in some more education, whether for credit or just for life experience… swing by and check out her post here.

MesAyah- – Norwegian rapper does a writing a day, and also lists some of his favorite music. Swing by the blog and take a look here. Good stuff.

Brad runs the popular blog JIVIN ME TURKEY and on his site he picks out a movie and a quote from it, to highlight. Always fun stuff, the Mark Twain quote being a personal favorite. Swing by here and give a gander.

Jackie runs the site GET READING NOW. She has a fun review of several books. take a look here.

And last but certainly not least for this installment, Lesley and her husband run the hugely popular travel and adventure website BUCKET LIST PUBLICATIONS. One look at her site will either make you want to run out and jump out of perfectly good planes or seek medical attention. I’m leaning toward the latter. ๐Ÿ™‚ But in all seriousness it’s a great site for the travel and adventure minded!!

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Thanks for looking and come back next time for more… FOLLOWING THE FOLLOWERS! ๐Ÿ™‚ . Oh and here’s the link to episode #1.

FOLLOWING THE FOLLOWERS Episode #1

Holy Hanna my frigging back is killing me!

Is there a chiropractor in the house? A buxom masseuse? ๐Ÿ™‚

This is what comes of my Shaolin Temple training methods. Damn David Caradine and his Kung Fu TV show!! ๐Ÿ™‚ .

Well enough about that, onto some crazy (crazier?) blogging. I came up with this new segment that basically will select four or five followers of this blog (thanks to all of you who are now following this blog) and/or blogs I follow and just promote particularly interesting things I find on their pages:

Okay onto the promoting :):

THE SHADOW: The History and Mystery of the Radio Program, 1930 – 1954

Martin Grams Jr, the writer of the indispensable THE SHADOW:THE HISTORY AND MYSTERY OF THE RADIO PROGRAM:1930-1954 has an intriguing post on Studios cutting corners when it comes to presenting box sets of classic television programs, specifically why some episodes may be missing or music changed, from the show you remember, once it reaches DVD.

He Writes: “When Season Two of HAWAII FIVE-O came out, fans were shocked to learn that the episode, “Bored, She Hung Herself,” was not included. Taking a second look at the cover art, the box states “The Second Season” —- not “The Complete Second Season.” In this particular episode, a person was found hung to death and it appeared they performed a stunt of Yoga so complicated, they they strangled themselves to death. In real life, a man who did Yoga wondered if that position would indeed strangle the breath out of himself. He tried it, he died, and the family sued. During the settlement, producer Leonard Freeman agreed not to re-air the episode in re-runs. And it seems CBS preferred not to include it that episode in the Second Season box set.”

Well that’s pretty wild. I had never heard that story before. And while I definitely feel for the family, I seriously don’t see how you can hold the studio responsible, for what strikes me as, again with all possible respect, an act of incomprehensible stupidity.

It’s like me watching Looney Tunes, and deciding to drop a safe on my head to see if it will make me flat. :). I think my family would have sense enough to know I had gone insane, and the fault lies with me and not a TV show :), It’s ludicrous.

Anyhow, I’m not even a HAWAII FIVE-O fan, and now I have to see that stupid episode. Read the full very intriguing article here .

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Conductors of the Pit: Artaud, Holan, Cesaire, Vallejo, Csoori, Breton, Neruda, Radnoti, Rimbaud, Hierro, Bador, Juhasz, Szocs

Stella is one of my newer followers, and I do eventually make time to check out web links if you include them when you sign up. I followed Stella’s link and saw a poem she wrote called ‘You Might Kill Me” . The poem, her structure is very reminiscent of the poetry of Pablo Neruda as translated by Clayton Eshleman. Mixing elegantly our hopes with our despairs, our beauties with our horrors.


“I can tell by your eyes

youโ€™ve seen the vacant buildingsโ€™

toothless mouths”

It’s quite a stunning poem. You should go read it. And I hope she does more poems.

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One of the earliest followers I have is Wayland Productions, the crew who runs the audio series http://www.zombiepodcast.com. No doubt my coverage of all things audio drama, be it podcasts or old time radio put me on their radar. That said I’m not a fan of ghoul/flesh eating horror, what the west has misnamed zombie horror. Just no interest in the fetishizing of cannibalism and barbarism. I’m just not interested. That said, a lot of people are.

I’m a grumpy old fogie, and my weak stomach aside you have to give the talented cast and crew huge respect for their consistency. They’ve been putting out episodes since 2009. add to that they have one of the best designed websites out there. So give the site a gander and if ‘ghoul type’ horror is your thing, then give a listen here. I always support creativity… particularly in audio productions, and you don’t get any more creative than these guys and gals!

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Author and Monarch of Mayhem crowned writer Derrick Ferguson’s BETTER IN THE DARK is a podcast I’ve praised before, so I’m going to do it again and urge you to take a listen to their latest episode here.

Fun times!

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Thanks for looking and come back next time for more,,, FOLLOWING THE FOLLOWERS! ๐Ÿ™‚ .

Tonight’s Recommended Ghost Story: HOUSE OF MURDER

Wow what a packed week! Unfortunately, being this busy necessitated some deadlines getting pushed back, namely the WEDNESDAY WORDS segment, and this weekends MONARCHS OF MAYHEM interviews. However I think those of you who enjoyed this weeks Peckinpah and the Derrick Ferguson MONARCHS OF MAYHEM post will agree it was worth it.

So I’m going to recoup a bit, in the interim enjoy the following:

Tonight’s recommended ghost story: HOUSE OF MURDER!

From the Hermit’s Cave 1940s Horror Radio Show comes HOUSE OF MURDER. This is an atmospheric and fast moving tale of a scientist seeking seclusion from the living, but unfortunately finds… company of another kind. B+.Put on your headphones and Enjoy!

AUDIO OF THE DAY! HOW LOVE CAME TO PROFESSOR GILDEA from ESCAPE

“Can’t you feel how hideous it is for me! I can’t stop it! The thing makes love to me, caresses me. Whatever it is … it has no mind. That thing is a slobbering idiot!

But I didn’t tell you what it really did this evening, what came close to driving me insane.

The thing kissed me… but not from the outside! I could feel it, warm and wet, kissing my lips… FROM THE INSIDE!!”

— HOW LOVE CAME TO PROFESSOR GILDEA the February 28th 1948 Episode of ESCAPE

It’s as fantastic as that quote indicates. Just brilliant! Listen to it here!

THE THIRD MAN : One Never Knows!

“ONE NEVER knows when the blow may fall.

When I saw Rollo Martins first, I made this note on him for my security police files: “In normal circumstances a cheerful fool. Drinks too much and may cause a little trouble. Whenever a woman passes raises his eyes and makes some comment, but I get the impression that really he’d rather not be bothered. Has never really grown up and perhaps that accounts for the way he worshiped Lime.”

I wrote there that phrase “in normal circumstances” because I met him first at Harry Lime’s funeral. It was February, and the grave-diggers had been forced to use electric drills to open the frozen ground in Vienna’s central cemetery. It was as if even nature were doing its best to reject Lime, but we got him in at last and laid the earth back on him like bricks.

He was vaulted in, and Rollo Martins walked quickly away as though his long gangly legs wanted to break into a run, and the tears of a boy ran down his thirty-five-year-old cheeks. Rollo Martins believed in friendship, and that was why what happened later was a worse shock to him than it would have been to you or me. If only he had come to tell me then, what a lot of trouble would have been saved.”

-Graham Greene, The Third Man

First published in 1949 in the wake of the popularity of Carol Reed and Orson Welles'(star and uncredited co-director) THE THIRD MAN, the eponymous novel/novella was never really intended to exist. The novella was the first draft of Greene’s screenplay for the film. The film is the preferred format, even by Graham Greene. However the film’s extreme popularity spurred interest in the publication of the novel, as well as birthing a very popular score/record,

and a wonderful radio show (starring Orson Welles called THE LIVES OF HARRY LIME, it is brilliant).

The Lives of Harry Lime, Volume 1

Listen to Lives of Harry Lime for free Here!

But the novel really doesn’t sing by itself. It’s only in the audio-book format, when it’s tightened up a bit, and read by the cultured yet world wearied voice of the great James Mason that it becomes something brilliant and essential, and as haunting as the film.

The Third Man – Criterion Collection (2-Disc Edition)

As someone who considers THE THIRD MAN one of the greatest movies ever made, perhaps my favorite movie of all time, The James Mason read audio book (avoid the Martin Jarvis audio book, it’s just nowhere as good) is without doubt my favorite audio book.

The Third Man

I listen to it in the car and in my home… often.

And there’s something between the words, and the inflection of Mason’s voice that never ceases.. to enthrall.


“Happiness isn’t about getting what we want, it’s about appreciating what we have.”
—SPOOKS

DEALS OF THE DAY! From comics to DVDs to bookbags to survival gear!

So I’ve been putting off buying a lot of this stuff, but I can’t wait anymore!!

All of this stuff gets the big BUY from me today. I think when you see the list you’ll agree:

Sam Peckinpah’s Legendary Westerns Collection (The Wild Bunch / Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid / Ride the High Country / The Ballad of Cable Hogue)

Sam Peckinpah’s Legendary Westerns Collection (The Wild Bunch / Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid / Ride the High Country / The Ballad of Cable Hogue) – Four Peckinpah movies with special features including commentaries for less than $20!!!??? Nearly 80% off??? Duh! Talk about a no-brainer.

I’m on the whole sustainability/self-sufficiency kick, so the following wacky items were priced right for me today:

SE 6-1 Camping S. Steel Detachable Knife 4″ Body

SE 6-1 Camping S. Steel Detachable Knife 4″ Body- I’m a hobo at heart, so this well-reviewed stainless steel mobile cutlery set has my name written all over it. Just think how much plastic wouldn’t end up clogging up landfills if everyone carried around their utensils with them! ๐Ÿ™‚ (Yes, I do know I’m crazy. :)) And currently priced at nearly 70% off?! Comeon!! What more can you ask?

Well how about a candleless candle that burns for 100 hours.

100 Hour Plus Emergency Candles, Clear Mist – SET OF 3 Long-Burning Survival Candles

100 Hour Plus Emergency Candle Clear Mist – Emergency Essentials

Man my power goes down more than a hooker when the fleet comes in, so this candle was for me. I buy one every week or two, so now I have one in every room in my house. They don’t call me Heat Miser for nothing! (I have no idea, what that means. ๐Ÿ™‚ ) [One note on this, be careful of poor shipping from the seller, particularly if you’re getting the 3 pack. Stress that they securely pack and ship it.]

Brown Vintage Wayfarer Tear Drop Backpack with Leather Accents

Brown Vintage Wayfarer Tear Drop Backpack with Leather Accents

It takes me a lot of research before I decide on something worth buying. I mean minimum of a couple hours per item, just comparing styles, prices, reviews, construction. This book-bag is a case in point. Up all damn night, deciding on the right bag. Both stylish, and yet functional for carrying books, laptops, etc. My time… your gain.

And let’s round all this functional stuff off with some pure enjoyment:

THE SHADOW: The History and Mystery of the Radio Program, 1930 – 1954

THE SHADOW: The History and Mystery of the Radio Program, 1930 – 1954
Huge Old Time Radio and Shadow fan, so this exhaustive 800 page book is a must own.

Alexander the Great

Alexander the Great (1956) and Anthony & Cleopatra DVDs for less than the cost of rental??? Say it with me… No Brainer.

Targus CityGear 320 Capacity CD/DVD Album Case TDP019US (Black with Grey Contrasting)

Targus CityGear 320 Capacity CD/DVD Album Case TDP019US (Black with Grey Contrasting)- Holds over 300 DVDs/CDs for only $30 shipping included. SOLD!

Farscape: The Complete Series

Farscape: The Complete Series- The Bluray is coming out so you would think the DVD would go down in price. But Noooooo! The stupid thing has gone up over $20 from the cheap prince of $49 that it was at. But even at its new price… it’s a great deal.

The Well

The Well (1951)- Is a nice little 50s Drama/thriller that plays as a nice counterpoint to THE WORLD, THE FLESH, AND THE DEVIL.

Captain America by Jack Kirby Omnibus (Marvel Omnibus)

Captain America by Jack Kirby Omnibus (Marvel Omnibus- I own the comics and am still buying the Omnibus. Great stuff!

X-Men – Volume 2 Omnibus (Marvel Omnibus)

X-Men – Volume 2 Omnibus (Marvel Omnibus)- Neal Adams great run collected in over-sized format. Nuff said.

Okay, I’m broke now.