Sunday, July 10, 2011


The Lance Star: Sky Ranger interviews - Author Bill Spangler

Bill Spangler
With the announcement of Lance Star: Sky Ranger joining the iPulp Fiction Library, we wanted to introduce readers to some of the Honorary Sky Rangers involved with making these stories happen. Next up is Lance star: Sky Ranger Author Bill Spangler.

LSSR: Tell us a little about yourself and where readers can find out more about you and your work?

BS: I’ve been selling fiction for a number of years now. Primarily my work has appeared in comic books, but I’ve been selling prose short stories—such as “Talons Of the Red Condors”—too. My most recent credits are a graphic novel based on Tom Corbett, Space Cadet, the classic sf TV series from the 1950s, and “Mutual Assured Destruction,” a prose story featuring the Green Hornet. The latter is in the first volume of The Green Hornet Chronicles, published by Moonstone Books.
The Green Hornet Chronicles

You can order either of those through your local comics shop, or through Amazon.

My comic book work also includes The Argonauts, a pulp-adventure series in the tradition of Doc Savage and Buckaroo Banzai, and several series based on the animated TV show Robotech. Frankly, the best place to find them is probably in the three-for-a-dollar box at your local comics shop.

LSSR: How did you become involved with the Lance Star: Sky Ranger series?

BS: I wish I had an interesting story to tell you here, but the truth is I just don’t. Ron Fortier graciously asked me to participate, and I said, “Sure!” Ron and I have been corresponding since the late 1980s or the early ‘90s—you know, back when you actually sent paper letters to people—but, now that I think about it, I don’t think we’ve actually been in the same room together more than two or three times.

Talons Of The Red Condors
LSSR: Who is Lance Star? What makes pulp characters like Lance and the Sky Rangers appeal to you as a writer and a reader?

BS: Lance is an inventor, a pilot and an adventurer. From time to time, he and his team help out the government. You could say he’s part Doc Savage, part Indiana Jones and part Blackhawk. When I wrote “Talons,” I started to visualize Lance as a young Jimmy Stewart…or, his modern analog, Tom Hanks. He’s smart and competent, but a bit of a dreamer.

Personally, I’ve always found that to be an appealing mix. Some of my favorite characters fall into that tradition, like Tom Swift Jr., for instance, and the Tracy family from the Thunderbirds TV show. And I think some of the exotic airplanes in these stories are the ancestors of the gadgetry and vehicles in anime.

LSSR: Digital content has changed the publishing landscape. As a creator, what excites you about digital content? As a reader?

BS: I’m hoping that the minimal overhead of doing digital books will encourage publishers to take chances on stories and authors that you don’t see often in the big book store chains. With a little luck, publishers will be more willing to give authors the time to develop an audience or not demand that every title make Steven-King level profits. I guess that applies to me both as a creator and a reader because, in general, the stuff I want to write is the stuff I want to read.

Lance Star: Sky Ranger
LSSR: Your Lance Star: Sky Ranger story, "Talons Of The Red Condors" is currently available in print, as an eBook, and soon to be released individually at iPulp Fiction. What can you tell us about this story?

BS: Basically, I started out with the idea of wanting to do a big springboard, a big McGuffin, and I wanted to set it in a foreign country. So, “Talons” is set in Panama, and the bad guys perform an audacious…well, let’s call it a hijacking. There’s a lost city and a woman who changes sides during the course of the story, along with some other pulp riffs. I had a lot of fun researching it, and a lot of fun writing it.

LSSR: Thanks, Bill.
Release schedule for Lance Star: Sky Ranger tales on iPulp:
06/17: Lance Star: Sky Ranger - Vol.1 #1: Attack of the Bird Man by Frank Dirsherl (now available)
07/07: Lance Star: Sky Ranger - Vol.1 #2: Where the Sea Meets the Sky by Bobby Nash
07/27: Lance Star: Sky Ranger - Vol.1 #3: Talons of the Red Condors by Bill Spangler

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