Showing posts with label Walter Mosley. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Walter Mosley. Show all posts

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

You Liked It Before...

‘BLACK PULP’ A PHENOMEMON, PUBLISHER ANNOUNCES SECOND VOLUME

In April 2013, Pro Se Productions, a Publisher known for balancing tales harkening back to classic Pulp Fiction with stories pushing the boundaries of modern Genre Fiction, released a title that caused a ripple in the Genre Fiction and Pulp communities.  BLACK PULP is a collection that takes the wonderful style of Pulp Fiction, established in the early 20th Century, and wraps it around fully realized black heroes and heroines, something that was not done in Pulp’s classic era.  This bestselling collection features work from a variety of authors, including bestselling authors Walter Mosley and Joe Lansdale as well as notable authors such as well-known crime author Gary Phillips, Imaro creator Charles Saunders, Mel Odom, Christopher Chambers, Gar Anthony Haywood, Ron Fortier, Kimberly Richardson, Michael Gonzales, D. Alan Lewis, Derrick Ferguson, and Tommy Hancock.



Co-editor of BLACK PULP, crime novelist Gary Phillips observed, “While revisionism is not history, as the films “Django Unchained” and “42” attest, nonetheless historical matters find their way into popular fiction. This is certainly the case with New Pulp as it handles such issues as race with a modern take, even though stories can be set in a retro context.”

Pulp fiction of the early 20th century rarely, if ever, focused on characters of color and the handful of black characters in these stories were typically portrayed stereotypically. BLACK PULP brings some of today’s best authors together with up and coming writers to craft stories of adventure, mystery, and more -- all with black characters in the forefront.



BLACK PULP offers exciting tales of derring-do from larger-than-life heroes and heroines; aviators in sky battles, lords of the jungle, pirates battling slavers and the walking dead, gadget-wielding soldiers-of-fortune saving the world to mystics fighting for justice in other worlds.

Various outlets, including the Los Angeles Review of Books and The Huffington Post, covered the release of BLACK PULP and positive reviews continue to stack up.

“BLACK PULP,” Pro Se Productions publisher and Black Pulp co-editor Tommy Hancock, "has been a phenomenon for Pro Se.  Not simply because sales have been spectacular for the resources available to us, but also because this title has brought awareness of the company to many writers, whole communities that we’re happy to be associated with.  And it’s not simply because it’s a great book with fantastic talent telling unbelievably good stories. It’s more about discussion, about bringing new stories into this classic style, individuals and entire groups getting a voice in a way they didn’t because of society in the early 20th Century.  New Pulp is what we call this type of fiction because of the chance to blend the best of the past with the sensibilities of today. You really see that with BLACK PULP and the impact it’s had.  And we want that to continue. It’s why there will be a BLACK PULP II and other similar volumes as well.”



Currently, ASIAN PULP is in development from Pro Se and will, like its predecessor, feature Pulp stories, this time with Asian protagonists.  ASIAN PULP is slated for a mid 2014 release.
BLACK PULP II is currently being developed as well. Many of the authors in the original volume are returning, as well as new names.   BLACK PULP II is scheduled for late 2014/early 2015 release.

The collection that started it all, BLACK PULP features a new essay on the nature of Pulp, both classic and modern, by award winning bestselling author Walter Mosley.



The other writers contributing original works to the anthology are: two-time Shamus award winner Gar Anthony Haywood, two time Award finalist Kimberly Richardson, Dixon Medal winner Christopher Chambers, critically acclaimed novelist Mel Odom, hip-hop chronicler Michael Gonzales, and award winning leading New Pulp writers Ron Fortier, D. Alan Lewis, Derrick Ferguson, Charles Saunders, Tommy Hancock, and Chester Himes award winner Phillips. This collection also features a classic story by Joe R. Lansdale, winner of the Edgar Allan Poe award, and multiple Bram Stoker awards.

BLACK PULP is available now from Amazon at http://tinyurl.com/d8wjtph
and via Pro Se's own store at https://www.createspace.com/4248056!

It is also available via Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Smashwords as an Ebook, with format and design by Russ Anderson.

With a pulse pounding original cover by artist Adam Shaw and stunning cover design by Sean Ali, BLACK PULP delivers hair raising action and two fisted adventure out of both barrels!

For more information concerning BLACK PULP, BLACK PULP II, or ASIAN PULP, including interviews and review copies when available, email Morgan Minor, Director of Corporate Operations at Pro Se at directorofcorporateoperations@prose-press.com.

For more information on Pro Se Productions, go to www.prose-press.com. 

Like Pro Se on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ProSeProductions.


=

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Black Pulp Gets PULPED! Featuring Walter Mosley!



In the latest episode of PULPED! THE OFFICIAL NEW PULP PODCAST, Tommy Hancock rides herd on the contributors to the historic best selling BLACK PULP from Pro Se Productions! This collection contains stories running the gamut of genre fiction that feature Black Lead Characters!  Westerns, Mysteries, Supernatural, Folklore, Pirate tales, Jungle stories and so much more fill the pages of BLACK PULP! Some of the most noted writers working today fill the volume as well!  Hear from Gary Phillips, Idea Originator and Co-editor as well as contributor to the project, as he discusses where the concept came from and reasons for it as well as his story.  Also, PULPED! co hosts Ron Fortier and Derick Ferguson appear as guests, each talking about their tales in this tome!  Authors Michael A. Gonzales, Gar Anthony Haywood, Christopher Chambers, Kimberly Richardson, D. Alan Lewis, and Mel Odom join in to discuss their stories as well as their viewpoints on the concept and the comments BLACK PULP has received, both negative and positive! This fantastic episode closes with Best Selling Author Walter Mosley contributing his thoughts on Pulp in general, BLACK PULP in specific, and what this thing we call Pulp, this style of writing, truly is and should mean to all of us.  The largest, best episode of PULPED! ever!  Listen, enjoy, and even learn as Pro Se's BLACK PULP gets PULPED!


Monday, April 15, 2013

From the "Victory Lap - The End of the Big Project" File...


Since this is my blog you’re used to me running off at the mouth in this space here that I’ve carved out for my thoughts and updates and news on my projects. But this time I’m turning it over to Sean E. Ali. He’s the extraordinarily talented cover designer for Pro Se Press and the genius behind so many of their covers that readers and fans of Pro Se have salivated over. He also did the artwork and designed the cover for “Dillon And The Pirates of Xonira.” He’s wonderful at his job and his latest project is yet another important milestone in his career.

But it’s also important to Sean in a very personal way and I thought it was only fitting that he be allowed space here to express how important this project is to him. He originally posted it on his Facebook page but it’s so heartfelt and so touching I felt compelled to re-post it here along with the front and back cover of BLACK PULP so that it will hopefully be seen by a wider audience and not lost in an avalanche of FB posts that come after it.

And I think I’ve spoken quite enough. Mr. Ali, the floor is yours…






Now that it's done, I can talk about the latest project I've done for Pro Se, BLACK PULP.

In advance this is more of an op ed thing that's just for me. You're not obligated to read it.

To give you the highlights BLACK PULP is a volume of fiction being published by Pro Se Press which features stories with an African American focus and features stories by : Joe R. Lansdale, Gary Phillips, Charles R. Saunders, Derrick Ferguson, D. Alan Lewis, Christopher Chambers, Mel Odom, Kimberly Richardson, Ron Fortier, Michael A. Gonzales, Gar Anthony Haywood, Tommy Hancock and features an introduction by WALTER MOSLEY!

Yeah "Devil In A Blue Dress - Denzel was in the movie version" Walter Mosley…

Which made this the biggest damn deal name wise this side of Barry Reese's Rook as our first major licensed property. So that's the short version, you want to slog through the longer part below, think of it as the unofficial afterword for BLACK PULP from my point of view…

Here endth the disclaimer.

Some time ago, long before the vast majority of us were born, the public entertained itself with cheaply produced fiction magazines called pulps, that pretty much took them from the Great Depression and the prospect of a second World War into hidden civilizations, steamy underworlds where masked vigilantes dealt out two-fisted justice and literally hundreds of other variations on genres that explored fantastic situations populated by extraordinary people.

It was an amazing time in popular culture. Literally, people were on the verge of the first real wave of mass produced popular media. It was entertainment and escape packaged behind luridly illustrated covers that beckoned to its potential audience with a promise of a story that you'd lose yourself in and, while it wouldn't solve your immediate problems, you'd be satisfied knowing that your heroes came through for you and made their corner of the fictional universe safe for all until your next visit. The best part? You had heroes who were usually from the people, they were special, but for the most part, they were just like you...

Or at least that's how it was for the vast majority of the population.

In most of the minority communities, the representation of race in those early days of the 1930s, 40s and into the 1950s was less than flattering. Given the times and the publisher, African Americans, or (for the sake of accuracy) let's go with the more diplomatic terminology of the day using either Negros or Colored People, found themselves represented in most media of the day as slow witted or under educated clowns and buffoons - caricatures which were holdovers from the old minstrel shows where bugged out eyes, incredibly huge lips and flaring nostrils were pretty much the standard and actually kinder than the bone through the nose, grass skirt wearing variation or the stooped over monkey/ape variant (that still enjoys a certain amount of favor among some classes of the ignorant, bigots and racists today). The surge of graphic entertainment with the emergence of comic books in general and superheroes in particular turned those stereotypes into standard fare for readers, projecting perhaps some of the views of the creators involved as well as reflecting society's view of race at that time.

The one major possible exception may have been in the pages of a particular pulp that clamored for attention on the newsstands.

One of the best examples of diversity from that time in pulp fiction was an organization called Justice, Incorporated. The group was fronted by a swashbuckling adventurer in the form of Richard Benson, known to the public-at-large as the Avenger. He formed a group of like minded individuals in a war against crime which included a Negro couple, Josh and Rosabelle Newton, who were both accomplished academics with college degrees (from Tuskegee Institute, now University) who actually used the stereotypes of their race to infiltrate the underworld and relay information and assistance to their chief as the story needed them. If Benson hadn't shown up in their lives, they probably would've continued on with their lives after their initial appearance in "The Sky Walker", but thankfully someone in the editing department didn't have an issue with the Newtons coming on board as a part of the team. 

Justice, Incorporated was unique even among the pulp hero set, with the possible exception of Diamondstone the Magician who had a Negro sidekick, in giving these two not only equal status, but one that ran counter to the current perception of race at that time. The Shadow had a guy in the ranks of his agents, and while Doc Savage didn't have a Negro cast member, he was generally respectful of the ones he encountered along the way. Josh and Rosabelle were about as close as I got to an African American version of Nick and Nora Charles in detective fiction, or Jonathan and Jennifer Hart from TV's Hart to Hart.

Which is around where I came in.

As a kid I literally went on safari every weekend in used book stores. In downtown Oakland near 14th and Harrison there was this huge used bookstore, which has long since gone away (to this day one of the biggest losses from my childhood), where I had my first encounter with the like of Conan, Doc Savage, The Shadow and The Avenger and Justice, Inc. All of these heroes were caught in a distilled reprinted form and repackaged as paperbacks. I would fill my weekends with these guys who were an extension of the comics I read then and the old time radio shows that I would encounter in the near future and had a fondness for the Avenger in particular because of the diversity of the group and the respect they showed one another despite their different backgrounds.

For the time that the stories were originally written, the Avenger was pretty progressive stuff. In the context of a child growing up in the near post Civil Rights era, it was a good thing to see heroes who looked like me even if they were supporting characters, contributing to the solution of the crisis and serving in a capacity that spoke of their intelligence and their ability to take the limitations tossed upon them based on their race and turn that to an advantage. They basically were a preview of the world to come, in a series that was ahead of its time. So, I went in search of other characters from that time because there had to be a "Negro Pulp Adventurer" series where people who looked like me were actually the lead characters and not just assistants or comedy relief, right?

Wrong.

Okay, maybe more of a "not really".

The closest thing to an African American, Negro pulp magazine at that time was probably more like a version of Reader's Digest called the Negro Digest. Created by John Harold Johnson, founder of the Johnson Publishing Company (who publishes the magazines Ebony and Jet, among others), put together a magazine with a focus on information, opinion editorials, and artistic content relevent to the Negro community but solicited from a diverse number of contributors regardless of race. In fact a column called "If I Were A Negro", where prominent non Negro guest writers were invited to offer opinions and solutions to racial issues of the day led to the magazine's high note with a piece from then First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt which doubled the magazine's circulation overnight. But for me as a kid reading adventure fiction it wasn't quite the same thing as locating a "Black Doc Savage". There wasn't a hero to call my own from that era of pulp adventure outside of glorified sidekicks.

Granted, away from pulps, I came up during a time of great fictional Black heroes. A byproduct of the militant era, mixed with a healthy (or unhealthy) dash of Blaxploitation media, I had heroes in my day by the score, Shaft, Luke Cage Power Man, Black Panther, Storm of the X-Men, Cyborg, Green Lantern - John Stewart, and my personal favorite: Black Lightning. I also saw a surge of multiethnic characters that culminated in a whole comic book universe as the one bright shining moment in comics that I called "The Milestone Era".

Milestone, with the late great Dwayne McDuffie leading the charge, walked the walk on the page and behind the scenes. Their characters were bold brilliant and multi-everything. I had Black heroes, Latino heroes, Asian heroes and even some White heroes. It was everything I wanted to see in fiction in graphic form, in the media content I digested, in examples to my nephews and nieces of four color warriors who leapt tall buildings and saved the day and were accepted for the content of their character more than anything else. 

It was also an era that came to an end pretty quickly with the usual excuses of not having the readership or using the fact that a book where a minority lead was the title character just wouldn't sell. Which killed brilliant titles like Icon, Static, Hardware, Xombi, The Shadow Cabinet and the Blood Syndicate in Milestone and books outside of Milestone like Black Lightning or El Diablo (the series about a Latino City Councilman who wears a mask to fight crime but also deals with racial identity, political intrigue and illegal immigration that ran just under a year and a half) at DC or the brilliant, but barely seen in the mainstream, independent series, Brotherman. All of these being series that I recommend highly if you ever decide to go on an excursion to a comics shop and dive into a quarter bin or seek online at sites like Mile High Comics.

"Hey that's great, Ali," you say, "but what does this have to do with this BLACK PULP book?"

The answer is everything and nothing.

BLACK PULP is the fulfillment of personal dreams and goals that I set out to do "as a young designer more years than I want to remember" ago, which was to make a positive contribution at some point to the body of work displayed by creators that created what I playfully refer to as "content of color". In this book are a lot of creators whose work I've admired over the years: Walter Mosley, Ron Fortier, Joe Lansdale, Gary PhillipsCharles Saunders and Derrick Ferguson, and they are in this volume doing pieces that are not necessarily racial in content, but they have African American leads carrying the action and plot of these short stories. They're retroactively giving nine and ten year old me what I had been looking for then:positive examples of people who look like me, making their neck of their fictional worlds a better place by being who they are.



Granted this book is not going to change society at large in any noticeable way, shape or form. We won't read BLACK PULP today and wake up tomorrow joining hands singing "We Are The World", but I'm hoping you'll read it for the stories and enjoy it enough that you won't opposed to a Black Pulp 2 or a volume with an Asian focus, or a Latino focus, or a Female focus, or an LBGT focus, or a volume where all diversity in our culture is the focus, there's such a wide field of themes and subjects to be explored. It's my hope that this book will take you off your beaten track and make you curious about the possibilities we have yet to tap into, the richness of the larger diversity creative individuals can bring to you. 

In a very real way, this diverse group of writers are providing an example of that with characters of color, yes, but they're also characters with content, complexity with compelling stories to tell. The efforts of this group of authors, and the personal weight of being a kid who didn't have those kind of heroes readily available to him, fueled my own efforts in the design of the book to make sure that a person looking for a hero in the mirror would find one.

It's my hope that reading BLACK PULP will make you hungry for heroes that look like you and more importantly that you find the imagination and will to create those heroes if none exist. And that in doing so, you not only give yourself something to look up to, but by sharing that perspective, you contribute to the greater appreciation of our greater diversity by everyone. Yeah it's a little "We Are The World"-ish, but at least it has the virtue of being a sincere hope.

I appreciate what Tommy Hancock has brought to the table here. I'm thrilled that Gary Phillips put the concept together and I'm impressed that such a wonderful array of talent came together in response to it all. And more importantly, I'm lucky to have been a part of bringing it to you. It's on my short list of works I'm really proud of. I hope it shows in the package we've put together.

And a shout out in particular to Derrick Ferguson who was my silent co-pilot on this one. his input during the creative process on this one was invaluable and appreciated.

BLACK PULP is here.  Be sure to check it out.

And more importantly, enjoy it.



Monday, January 28, 2013

Black Pulp


Publisher Announces BLACK PULP Collection
Featuring Best Selling Authors

Batesville, AR – 1/26/2013 – Pro Se Productions, a publisher of Genre Fiction, works to not only harken back to the classic fiction of Pulp magazines and adventure tales, but also to push the boundaries of modern Genre fiction in many directions. To that end, Pro Se Productions reveals a new anthology to be released in early 2013, a collection featuring the work of various authors, including bestsellers Walter Mosley and Joe R. Lansdale.

Black Pulp is a collection of stories featuring African characters in leading roles in stories running the genre gamut. Pulp Fiction of the early 20th Century rarely, if ever, focused on characters of color and the handful of black characters in these stories were typically portrayed as racial stereotypes. Black Pulp, a concept developed by noted crime novelist Gary Phillips, brings some of today’s best authors together with up and coming writers to craft adventure tales, mysteries, and more, all with black characters at the forefront.

Also co-editor of Black Pulp, Phillips observed, “While revisionism is not history, as Django Unchained signifies, nonetheless historical matters find their way into popular fiction. This is certainly the case with new pulp as it handles such issues as race with a modern take, even though stories can be set in a retro context. Black Pulp then offers exciting tales of derring-do and clear-eyed heroes and heroines of darker hues appealing to all.”

Black Pulp features a new original essay on the nature of Pulp, both classic and modern, by award winning author Walter Mosley. Known for his bestselling Easy Rawlins novel series as well as books featuring Private Eye Leonid McGill, Mosley is widely published in fiction, both literary and genre, and non-fiction. Mosley has received several honors, including a Grammy, PEN America’s Lifetime Achievement Award, and an O. Henry award.

Also featured in the anthology is a classic story by Joe R. Lansdale. Lansdale is not unfamiliar to Pulp, having written such notable characters as Tarzan as well many of his own original creations, including Hap & Leonard. Winner of the Edgar Award, multiple Bram Stoker Awards, The Horror Writers Association Lifetime Achievement Award and many others, Lansdale’s story provides his own take on Black Pulp.

Other contributing writers include Chester Himes Award winner Phillips, two time Shamus Award winner Gar Anthony Heywood, noted author Kimberly Richardson who currently has two works enlisted for Pulitzer Prize nomination, Dixon Medal winner Christopher Chambers, critically acclaimed novelist Mel Odom, hip-hop chronicler Michael Gonzales, Pulp Factory and Pulp Ark Award winner Ron Fortier, Pulp Factory Award winner Charles Saunders, Pulp Ark Award winners Derrick Ferguson and Tommy Hancock(also Publisher co-editor of Black Pulp), and noted writers Michael Gonzales and Alan D. Lewis.

Black Pulp is slated for print and digital release in early 2013 and features an original cover by Adam Shaw. For more information concerning Black Pulp and Pro Se Productions, contact proseproductions@earthlink.net.


Gettin' My Geek On...

...with Kylan & Dawn Toles of The GeekWatchOne Podcast. They were good enough to invite me to chat with them for a bit about Dillon, Bas...