Saturday, November 2, 2013
Daggone that Barry Reese. You may recall that awhile back Barry posted over at his blog a list of his 10 Favorite Classic Pulp Heroes. Me being a blatant copycat I quickly followed suit with my own list.
Well, now he's done it again but this time it's a list of his 10 Favorite New Pulp Heroes. And quite naturally I again have followed in his illustrious footsteps and done the same.
Some of you might nitpick about my placing Captain Hazzard on this list as he was created back in 1937. My argument for that is this: there was only one story published and with his four Captain Hazzard novels, I consider Ron Fortier to have sufficiently re-imagined the character enough for him to qualify as a New Pulp hero. If you think I'm wrong, feel free to let me know and we'll jaw about it. Okay? Okay.
And I also have a special shout out of my own to Joel Jenkins who made my list twice. So without further delay here's my list of my Favorite New Pulp Heroes:
10: The Imposter (Created by Richard Lee Byers)
9: The Merkabah Rider (Created by Ed Erdelac)
8: Captain Hazzard (Re-Imagined by Ron Fortier)
7: The Pulptress (Created by Tommy Hancock)
6: Damage, Inc. (Created by Joel Jenkins)
5: The Gantlet Brothers (Created by Joel Jenkins)
4: Elisa Hill (Created by Percival Constantine)
3: The Black Centipede (Created by Chuck Miller)
2: Lazarus Gray (Created by Barry Reese)
1: Mr. Brass (Created by Joshua Reynolds)
More information about Mr. Brass can be found here and if you haven't yet read any of his adventures, I heartily suggest you do so.
Saturday, October 19, 2013
Over at his blog Barry Reese put together a list of his 10 Favorite Pulp Heroes. Never being one to resist a good game of “monkey see, monkey do” I decided to throw together my own list of favorite heroes. So here we go, counting down from 10-1. And playing by Barry’s rules, I kept it to Classic Pulp Heroes.
Here we go:
10. John Carter
9. Secret Agent X
7. Eric John Stark
6. Solomon Kane
4. The Avenger
2. The Shadow
1. Doc Savage
Anybody who knows me well enough isn’t surprised at Doc Savage being #1. I got hooked on Doc when I was around 14 or 15 which is just about the perfect age for a red-blooded All-American boy to get hooked on Doc Savage.
In times past my first three slots would automatically be taken by Doc Savage, The Shadow and The Avenger, The Holy Trinity of Pulp Heroes. But that was before I discovered The Spider. Good googlymoogly, his adventures are so barking mad and he’s such an hysterically epic character that he’s replaced The Avenger in The Holy Trinity. I had heard about The Spider for years but it’s only been in the past two or three years that I’ve actually read his adventures and they’re terrific.
Bit of explanation about Eric John Stark. Leigh Brackett created him back in the fifties for a series of space opera stories taking place on various worlds in our Solar System. Stark himself is an orphan raised by a tribe of aborigines on Mercury but I didn’t read any of those earlier adventures until much, much later. I read “The Skaith Trilogy” back in the mid-70’s which took Stark out of our Solar System to have adventures on a far distant world. I immediately fell in love with Stark because the way Leigh Brackett described him, it was obvious to me that Stark was a black man and I was thrilled to be reading about a black hero having exotic, thrilling adventures on strange and distant worlds.
On the cover of the first book of the trilogy, Jim Steranko drew an Eric John Stark that looked to me like Steranko was attempting to stay true to the character’s ethnic background by hiding him in shadow so that if the art director said anything, he could claim it was the shadows that made him look dark:
I don’t think he was able to get away with it because the next two covers were bright enough so that there was no doubt whatsoever to potential readers thinking about picking up the book that the hero was a white guy:
In any case, do yourself a favor and get hold of any Eric John Stark stories you can. Leigh Brackett was a fantastically gifted writer and she knew how to tell a ripping good yarn. She wrote western movie screenplays for John Ford and she worked on the screenplay of what is in my opinion (and many others) the best of the Star Wars movies; "The Empire Strikes Back" There's a reason she was known as The Queen of Space Opera. if you don't know the work of Leigh Brackett, I suggest you educate yourself.
So what’s Your 10 Favorite Pulp Heroes?
Thursday, December 29, 2011
By now, thanks to the relentless huckstering of myself and Tommy Hancock you should know all about THE ADVENTURES OF FORTUNE McCALL. It’s a special book in a lot of ways. I’ve written other stuff for Pro Se previous to this but this one here is a major deal.
For one, it’s my contribution to The Sovereign City Project which so far has been represented by Barry Reese and Lazarus Gray. And represented quite well, if I may say so. Tommy’s Doc Daye is waiting in the wings for his turn in the spotlight and if plans go the way they’re supposed to, there will be an epic crossover featuring all three characters in one dynamite story. When that will happen I can’t say as yet but rest assured that when I know, you’ll know.
So what stories are between the covers of THE ADVENTURES OF FORTUNE McCALL? I thought you’d never ask. Attend:
“The Scarlet Courtesan of Sovereign City” introduces Fortune McCall and his cohorts to Sovereign City and vice versa as Fortune searches the city, hunting for a beautiful friend of his who is working for the British government. This friend has run afoul of some unsavory characters who are up to some decidedly dangerous business.
“The Day of The Silent Death” has Fortune trying to track down a killer who possesses a method of killing hundreds, possibly thousands within seconds without a sound or warning.
“The Magic of Madness” involves a husband and wife team of magicians who have incurred the wrath of a secret society and only Fortune McCall has a chance of saving them.
“The Gold of Box 850” has Fortune McCall once again getting caught up in British espionage. But this time he’s got a reason; five million dollars’ worth of gold is up for grabs. Unfortunately, he’s not the only one looking for it.
And I have to bring your attention to the simply stunning design work done by Sean E. Ali, Pro Se’s Art Director. So far I’ve been blessed with truly amazing artwork on the covers of my books but the cover of THE ADVENTURES OF FORTUNE McCALL is on another level altogether. He designed it and the actual cover was done by David L. Russell based on an illustration done by Peter Cooper. Here, take a look for yourself:
THE ADVENTURES OF FORTUNE MCCALL is available at www.amazon.com or through Pro Se’s site-www.prosepulp.com It's also available in various E-book formats from Smashwords.
Paperback: 158 pages
Publisher: Pro Se Press
So that’s enough of my beating you over the head about the book. I consider your arm to have been sufficiently twisted and I return it to you with my blessings.
Monday, October 31, 2011
Welcome back. Hope you’ve been enjoying the discussions we’ve been having so far as much as I have. Our next one is going to take us from Sebastian Red’s mystical Wild West for a bit. But don’t worry; we’ll be going back there soon enough. It’s just that I thought you’d appreciate some insight into the current project I’m working on so let’s go visit 1933 and Sovereign City, the current home of Doc Daye, Lazarus Grey and Fortune McCall
Fortune McCall is a character who, like most of my characters has been around for a long, loooong time. More than ten years in fact. He first found life in a fanfiction series I wrote for DC Legends entitled “Blackhawk International” where I created a 21st Century team of Blackhawks and Fortune McCall was handpicked to head up a new team by the original Blackhawk, now aged and running a worldwide multi-billion corporation.
It didn’t take me long to realize that Fortune and his team had far more potential as original creations so I requested that story be removed from the site and reworked the character. He was still set in the 21st Century but now he was an independent adventurer, sailing around the world on his luxury gambling ship, The Heart of Fortune and still assisted by his team of six close friends, all specialists in their fields.
And now that I had set him firmly in what my friends laughingly refer to as The Fergoverse, I reworked his background: Fortune McCall is a prince of the North African country of Khusra which I’ve mentioned in a couple of Dillon stories. As a prince he has enjoyed a spectacularly diverse education in America, Switzerland, England and France in disciplines both academic and martial. Equally at home in a laboratory, a classroom or a dojo, Fortune (I haven’t revealed his true name yet) is equally dangerous in a boardroom or a battlefield.
You see, his father wanted all of his sons and heirs to be equally capable of taking over as king so he never favored one over the other, making sure they all received the same education and training. However, tradition must be observed and the line of succession goes from oldest to youngest. And guess who the youngest is? Yep. Fortune. He’s the youngest of eight brothers.
Now, while some may find this a sucky situation, Fortune saw it as a wonderful opportunity. Enjoying considerable wealth as a Prince of Khusra, he didn’t have to worry about money. And since there are seven potential kings, the chances of him ever having to rule were slim to none. He could therefore enjoy all the benefits of his royal birth with none of the responsibilities.
So Fortune has his gambling ship built, takes on a whole mess’a his people to crew and work the ship and with his friends set off on adventure galore. As a huge fan of Marvel Comics’ The Black Panther, I envisioned Fortune McCall as a seafaring T’Challa, not bound to any one country. I could do one story with him in Italy fighting The Decided Ones and then in the next he could be in Australia hunting down packs of mutated dingoes roaming the streets of Perth.
Cackling wildly, I set about writing a Fortune McCall novel and got about 16000 words into the sucker when I got an invitation from Tommy Hancock. And that’s a name you’re going to hear a lot as we get deeper into this tale. So let me give you a brief background on this chap:
Tommy Hancock is a writer, living in Arkansas who I’ve known for a good 15, 16 years, now. We only met face-to-face for the first time at Pulp Ark but online we’ve collaborated on many a project and stayed up late many a night chatting on IM about characters, stories and ideas. In recent years Tommy has really made a name for himself as the spokesman and spearhead of The New Pulp Movement. But for our purposes here, we’re more concerned with his status as a publisher and editor.
Tommy and his partner run Pro Se Press which is creating quite the respectable reputation as a publisher of quality New Pulp fiction and Tommy also is largely responsible for the previously mentioned Pulp Ark.
The first thing you have to understand about Tommy Hancock is that he gets more ideas in a week than the average person has in a month. Even if he lived another 77 years he’d never be able to give adequate wordage to all the characters, concepts and stories packing the inside of his already full-to-busting brain.
One of these ideas is The Sovereign City Project. Tommy contacted Barry Reese and myself and asked us to each create a character for this city, which would be a shared environment between the three of us. The idea being that we’d lay the groundwork and foundation for Sovereign City and then after a year, the Project would be thrown open to other writers.
Now, I originally had no idea of placing Fortune McCall into this as I already had other plans in mind for the character, including a team-up with Dillon and indeed, pitched Tommy another character who was more or less a Shadow-analog to compliment Barry’s Lazarus Gray (an analog to The Avenger) and Tommy’s Doc Daye (a Doc Savage analog)
Tommy contacted me after reading my initial pitch and said that while he loved the character, he was puzzled as to why I hadn’t created a black character. Yeah, that’s right; the character I had pitched to Tommy was a white one.
My thing was this: at the time I’d never written a pulp character in the 1930’s. Since then, that’s changed (Details Later) and to be brutally honest, I wasn’t confident in my ability to credibly create and portray a black adventurer in the 1930’s. Given the climate, the culture, the racial issues…I admit it, I folded like Robert Duran in the seventh round of the Duran/Leonard rematch because I didn’t think I could pull it off.
However, Tommy had a little more confidence than I did…and we’ll talk about that the next time we get together.
Until then, feast your eyes on this: the artist is the infinitely talented Peter Cooper and I consider it the definitive look of Fortune McCall. I dunno if you can but I see a lot of Eisner and Simonson in there. And yeah, there will be more about Peter later on as well.
As always, thank you for your time and kind attention. Go read something good and I'll talk to you soon.
Sunday, October 16, 2011
I love it when I can economize and knock off two subjects in one post and this indeed is going to be one of those posts. I’ll be able to let you in on the background of some of the artwork in the title banner and hopefully give a word of encouragement as well. Here we go:
Invariably I will be asked by other writers; “You get a lot of reviews and attention and feedback. How come I don’t?” Actually, it’s not that blunt but you get the idea. My reply is usually the same: “You have no control over that. It’s strictly up to the readers if they want to inform you about how your work made them feel. All you can do is continue to produce the best work you can and continue to put it out there. One day it’ll be appreciated.”
Now I realize that isn’t very helpful to writers anxious to know what others think about their writing. I freely admit that. And believe me; I was once in those very shoes. I was writing in Internet Years about 10 years before anybody outside of other writers contacted me to tell me; “Hey, I really like what you’re doing.”
Yeah, you read that right. 10 mollyfoggin’ years. I was fortunate that I had guys like Russ Anderson, Tom Deja, Tim Hartin, Barry Reese and Tommy Hancock who recognized my alleged talent and were generous enough to provide me with their criticism and feedback. But yeah, comments from Plain Ol’ Reader Dan or Dora weren’t comin’. And let’s be honest, every writer gets a thrill out of hearing from a total stranger who took a chance and picked up a book or read a story of theirs and was excited enough by that book or story to take the time and let that writer know.
Now, one day I get this email from somebody I’d never heard of. A Belgian artist named Alain Valet. This gentleman informed me that he had read my Sebastian Red story; “Of All the Plagues A Lover Bears” and was inspired by some of the imagery in the story to go ahead and create pieces of art based on the story and here they are:
The two pieces are incorporated into the title banner but they deserve to be seen in entirety so that they can properly be appreciated. The one at the top is my favorite of the two as it’s actually from the story. Sebastian Red needs some information from a demon and plays a game of poker with it in order to do so. But believe me, I love and adore them both. Mr. Valet and I communicated for a while after that and even briefly discussed the possibility of him illustrating a Sebastian Red story. But as it happens so often on The Internet, folks fall out of touch. I haven’t heard from him in a number of years but he has made an indelible impression on me in my development as a writer.
So I guess the point I’m trying to make is this: you just never know who’s going to read your books, your plays or look at your artwork or listen to your music and be moved enough to not only respond and reply to what you did but to create something of their own. And isn’t that why we all strive to create? Because somebody wrote, drew, sang or said something that ignited our own creative fire?
If you come away from this post with anything (besides my typical shameless huckstering) I hope it’s this: continue to write, paint, draw, sing, speak, and dance…whatever it is you do. Because your own Alain Valet is out there. But he or she can’t speak to you unless you speak to them first.
Monday, October 10, 2011
Our own Derrick Ferguson steps into the spotlighted hot seat up on the chopping block for this episode which is so Ferguson packed that it is a two parter! Join Ron as he goes into the cracks and crevices of Derrick's background and then Tommy and Barry talk Derrick up about his latest Pulpwork book, FOUR BULLETS FOR DILLON! Enjoy all the manliness one Pulp show can handle when Derrick gets PULPED
Check out PULPED! and the New Pulp Movement at www.newpulpfiction.com and at the New Pulp forum hosted by Comic Related at
http://www.comicrelated.com/forums/ under NEW PULP! Also, like New Pulp on Facebook!
Ron Fortier Airship 27 Tommy Hancock Pulp Machine
Barry Reese Barry Reese