Currently Watching / Quote of the Day : PULP FICTION The Golden Age

I am currently watching PULP FICTION: THE GOLDEN AGE OF SCI FI, FANTASY AND ADVENTURE, courtesy of Youtube and Roku (the only way I watch a Youtube video), and it is just a riveting watch. If you are a fan of books and writers or simply history, and 20th century Americana, this deep dive into the early years of a uniquely American art form, pulp fiction, you will be riveted by this feature. It is less than an hour in length, and get past the incredibly hokey opening, it gets serious and informative and impressive, very quickly.

 

There is a line in the feature that, while being a patron of pulps and pulp writers and knowing this to be true, still actually gave me chills to hear it so succinctly laid out.

 

‘The fascinating thing about the writers who were working in Pulps, was they were writing what was considered disposable fiction, trash. I mean, most of these stories you’d read them and throw them out, and yet… the top writers in these fields, whether Westerns or Science Fiction or Horror or Mystery, they are now considered the literary giants of the 20th century.’

—Marc Zircee, Historian

That line gave me chills. And it is still the case. The writers who are moving the needle here in the still early days of the 21st century, are writers who wrote in under appreciated genre fields.

Similar to successful pulp writers Ray Bardbury, Issac Assimov, Harlan Ellison, Walter Gibson, HP Lovecraft, Sax Rohmer, Dasheil Hammett, L Ron Hubbard, Raymond Chandler, Norvell Page, Cornell Woolrich and Stan Lee (who as a kid started writing pulp stories in the comics, 20 years before he and a cadre of artists would give birth to the revamped Marvel Comics) and others who survived the brutal starvation years of the pulps, and did not join the mass of such writers… who died young and broke, but continued at it, to write, and write, and write, and transition their forward looking pulp sensibilities to the new mediums of radio, and television; that is what is happening today.

 

And not to be remiss the pulp artists, both cover artist and interior were equally important. They gave the astounding, jaw dropping artwork that got you to stop and pick up the story, and the spot illustrations that powered you through it. And like the pulp writers of the day, the artists were woefully underpaid and horribly overworked to barely eke out a living. Most died broke and unknown, with their work not even credited by the publisher, but a few rose above the carnage of those years to create work that is remembered, geniuses like Norman Saunders, J. Allen St. John, Elliott Dold, George Rozen, Jerome Rozen, Rudolph Belarski, Frederick Blakeslee, John Newton Howitt, HJ Ward, Virgil Finley, and the criminally neglected Barye W. Phillips who did one of the best pulp covers ever with FANTASTIC #1 from 1952. I will be doing an article on the artists in an upcoming installment.

The pulp work… wins out.

The perseverance and love… wins out, and those trash/pulp writers of the 20th century are the ones who are celebrated and rediscovered today, where the ‘serious’ writers are largely forgotten and unread by the masses.

The pulp writers who were pushing the needle in the 20th century, with fast, hard,ugly, brutal, and imaginative tales that did not fit the sensibilities of the ‘serious fiction’ of the day.

That unruly challenging and imaginative fiction they were writing then… about our basest desires and wildest hopes remains…. today, still relevant. The way Mary Shelley’s FRANKENSTEIN will always be relevant, the way Shakespeare will always be relevant, the way Chester Himes’ Digger and Coffin Joe, will always be relevant. Because people then, as people now, understand the extremes of hope and despair, and that is the place pulp writers evoked for us best.

Now the modern equivalent are writers such as Stan Lee and Alan Moore and Frank Miller and Pat Mills and Neil Gaiman and Mark Olden and Warren Murphy to name a few.  People who slaved away in the late 20th century in the looked down upon realm of Comics or Pulp novels, but wrote about our hope and our fears writ large, modern myths to reflect our modern fears. And like always men who define the conversation of the extreme (the dreamers), in their own time, end up defining the conversation of the masses for their children’s time.

And today we have a new generation of talented pulp writers. From Dennis Lehane to Walter Moseley to John Ridley to Derrick Ferguson to Thomas Ligotti to John Jennings to Joe Hill to Charles Saunders to Percival Everett to John Sanford to Collin Whitehead to Victor LaValle to Richard Gavin to Ed Brubaker to Christopher Priest to Warren Ellis to Brian Michael Bendis to Robert Kirkman to Al Ewing to Eric Powell to David Walker to name a few.

Serious Fiction talks about what is, Pulp Fiction uses the past, present and future as allegories to talk about who we can be, when we screw our courage to the sticking place. And as such it will always be a place waiting for us… to discover.

I hope you like this post. if you did subscribe, give a like or comment. 

A word about subscribing, there are a lot of demands on our time, too much for all of us to be aware of all the cool people and cool things, we might like to be aware of. Wednesday Words was a well received feature I did years ago, and it was just a quick touch on people whose name and work you may want to have on your radar. Subscribing will get you, every two weeks a very short, but very informative edition of WEDNESDAY WORDS.

So if you haven’t subscribed, please do, and bring a friend with you. Collaborating, especially in these oft marginalizing times… seems like the right answer.

And for now, go to Amazon or your local bookstore or library and check out the writers mentioned in this piece. Till next time… be well!

 

 

For the love of all things good, STOP pressing and cleaning your old comics!!! You are DESTROYING them!

Watching these Youtube videos on line of people so-called pressing and cleaning their comics.

I can not believe what I am seeing  it is like giving baboons knives. 🙂

People do not press your comics yourself, and do not pay to have an ‘expert’ do it for you.

Why?

Few reasons.

1/All of these so-called experts are using t-shirt presses or steam irons to ‘improve’ your comic. They are all just winging it, with no real understanding of ph balances, and acidity and moisture content, before or after. It’s a bunch of hacks, each one with no understanding of reason 2.

2/ The application of heat and moisture to newsprint, jump-starts a chemical reaction in the pulp paper, the newsprint, that continues and accelerates long after the initial application is supposedly done. The process is called advanced deterioration. The two things you should never apply to pulp paper, to avoid early deterioration, heat and moisture. A whole slew of new and returned collectors are doing just that. In hopes of turning short term profits by slabbing and reselling their ‘hot’ comic. In the long term what they are doing is SHORTENING THE LIFE of that bronze, silver age or golden age comic.

It is far better that your comic has a spine roll in it, than you BURN IN heat and moisture and humidity deep INTO the fabric of newsprint paper. That as stated is kicking into high gear deterioration and breakdown of that pulp paper on a molecular level, that CONTINUES after you have it graded and slabbed in plastic.

And yes, it comes back on the surface looking flatter and squarer, but internally you have taken years (if not decades) off the life of that pulp paper.  And that deterioration process will continue, as well as the possibility for mold growth, IN THE SLAB. Particularly if there is not sufficient time between ‘pressing’ and slabbing.

I’ve seen warped books in a slab before, and the root cause appeared to be a disastrous ‘pressing’ job, immediately followed by slabbing that still humidity soaked book, in plastic.

Now of course the person who sells you the book, doesn’t care, as long as he is getting paid for the arbitrary grade on the slab, people only seeing the cover of the book in the slab, and having no idea of excessive humidity or ph levels in the actual pages of the book. So it becomes a game of hot potato, to not be the one stuck with this graded book, that when finally unslabbed from its protective case, will be found to be in worse condition than a similarly aged book that had not suffered heat and moisture intrusion.

So arguably people are paying more for slabbed books (that is what they call graded comics, that have been sealed in plastic after grading) that are actually shortening the life of their comics, that because of this mania of people seeking a ‘perfect’ cover, they are ruining the actual comic book pages by entrusting them to witch doctors claiming to ‘press and clean’ them.

And I’m sure there is at least one restorative service that is keeping ph levels and moisture content, in mind. However they are the conservationists at the Library of Congress, and are not the services selling themselves as pressers to help you increase the grading on your comic book. 🙂

This is not brain surgery. I do not know what it is about the 21st century , or America in the 21st century, where common sense is not common, and idiocy is contagious, and sought out over reason. How do we  jump on obvious idiotic band wagons like ‘Me too’ and ‘Let’s iron my old pulp comics!” 🙂

And before I get hate mail, I think crimes of abuse when proven in a court of law, people should of couse face the punishemnt prescibed. However, I think when punishment is applied by the mob, before the verdict is in, people losing their jobs, their families, their name before their day in court… that is not justice. And when you are making judgements on your biases and trama, and projecting your issues, or unapplied vengeance in your own life, over the facts of a case that has nothing to do with you, that is mob rule. That is lynch mob justice. That is a witch hunt. And calling it ‘ME TOO’ doesn’t make it any less so. Okay back to the regularly scheduled program.

I do not have a major issue with drycleaning, provided the person knows what he is doing, however If you love your comics, for the love of GOD, spread the word to have people stop pressing their comics. If you have to get out an overwrap or wrinkle, do it the old fashioned way, apply weight and time, to the book. Not heat or moisture.

That should be common sense to anyone over twelve years old, especially anyone who is a comic fan. The fact that it isn’t… disturbing.

Not trying to be belligerent, I’m a collector, so I hate the idea of people shortsightedly ruining collections, in this new speculator’s bubble we find ourselves in, a couple decades after the last speculator bubble popped.

Love the hobby guys, and avoid the snake oil salesman. 🙂

Here endeth the public service announcement. 🙂

 

What’s Hot on the Web: THE FERGUSON THEATER


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Lot’s of places on the web are catching my attention this weekend, among them…

FERGUSON THEATER- By Pulp Writer Derrick Ferguson features reviews of the films that are catching his attention these days, and helps introduce me to things to try. I like that he covers films that I may have missed or not put on my radar; and further he gives these eloquent dissertations on why the covered material works or fails to.

Some recent highlights for me his thumbs down on Tarsem Singh’s SELF/LESS (I think Tarsem Singh is a visually stunning and experimental director, but is unable to add to those visuals a coherent or compelling story).

I also quite like Ferguson Theater’s take on why Josh Trank’s FANTASTIC FOUR failed. I haven’t seen the movie, and have no real rush to see it; the trailers and posters alone just did not add up to good. I do find funny, for all the hoopla about casting, that Michael B. Jordan as the HUMAN TORCH, across the board it seems, is the only bit of casting that did work.

Also, it is so interesting to hear Josh Trank and Kevin Smith on Smith’s podcast FATMAN ON BATMAN for three weeks pontificate, and really have a little love fest, on the upcoming FANTASTIC FOUR movie, then when the movie comes out Josh Trank does not return to do the fourth planned episode. Go listen to those episodes, it is an interesting insight into how someone can feel themselves on the right track, and ultimately end up so far off the mark.

And FT also puts on my “must see” radar, the films SOMETIMES SALVATION and MACKED, HAMMERED, SLAUGHTERED AND SHAFTED. As a huge fan of David Walker’s defunct magazine BADASS MOFO (and congrats on David Walker’s recent success in the comic book scene) I’ll be buying the DVD of MHSS as soon as it is available.

But yeah, Derrick Ferguson’s FERGUSON’S THEATER is filled with such captivating observations on films old, new, and overlooked. Check it out for yourself at the link below.

FERGUSON THEATER

And I also direct you to Kevin Smith’s fun podcast FATMAN ON BATMAN.

An Artist’s Artist : The 1952 FANTASTIC pulp covers of Barye Philips

There is little written about the pulp cover artist Barye Phillips, no books dedicated to his work or his deft watery and fluid style, which is something of a shame considering he was known as “King of the Paperbacks” by his industry. His work marries a sleek sensuality with elements of the surreal and sinister to make for some of the standout covers of the pulp era.

Here are two of his covers used to launch the long running FANTASTIC pulp title. He only did two issues of this weird fiction pulp, and they stand as not just the best covers done for FANTASTIC but among the best and most striking of the medium and of Phillip’s work. His issue #3 cover art being noteworthy for being one of the earliest examples of a wraparound cover.

Fantastic_1952_3

435px-Fantastic_1952_Summer_front

Sites where you can view additional Barye Phillips work:
http://www.pulpinternational.com/pulp/keyword/Barye+Phillips.html
http://www.tumblr.com/tagged/barye-phillips
http://www.thrillingdetective.com/trivia/triv277.html

The Best James Bond Movie Posters of the 1970s!

The Best James Bond Movie Posters of the 1970s!

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Brought to you by MONARCHS OF MAYHEM Indiegogo campaign!
Go view it and back it here! Thanks!

http://igg.me/p/437605/x/2628928

The Best James Bond Movie Posters of the 1960s!

The Best James Bond Movie Posters of the 1960s!

from_russia_with_love_xlg

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IF

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Brought to you by my MONARCHS OF MAYHEM Indiegogo campaign
Go view it and back it here! Thanks!

http://igg.me/p/437605/x/2628928