Wednesday, September 14, 2011

All Pulp Interviews: Moonstone’s Return of the Monsters - Mike Bullock

Cover Art: Dan Brereton
This Halloween, Moonstone heads back to their monstrous roots with the Return of the Monsters Event. Return of the Monsters features four stand-alone tales of pulp’s mightiest heroes facing off against some classic monsters. One of those titles is The Black Bat vs. Dracula by Mike Bullock and Eric Johns. All Pulp sat down with the writer about this upcoming book.

All Pulp: Hi, Mike. Tell us a little about yourself and your pulp interests.

Mike Bullock: Well, I'm a guy who loves escapist fiction. Mostly the kind that goes on inside my head. I don't have much time anymore to spend reading great books or watching thrilling movies, so that love burrows deep into my mind and sinks its fangs into the wellspring of imagination constantly flowing through my thoughts.

My pulp interests began with sword and sorcery stuff, then sci fi and space opera stuff. I was never much into the hard-boiled detective type stuff and somehow missed the boat on Doc Savage, but I love Conan, John Carter, Flash Gordon and the more fantastical stuff like Captain Future, Gladiator and the like.

Oh, and, I love pizza.

Art: Eric Johns
AP: Your story for the Return of the Monsters Halloween event is called The Black Bat vs. Dracula. What can we expect from this titanic throw down?

MB: It's a game of cat and mouse and cat as Death Angel investigates a serial killing only to discover the killer is after her next and he doesn't want to kill her, but to make her his eternal lover. A fateful game of huntsmanship through the historic Phaidor hotel, brought to life by the zealous pencils and pens of Eric Johns.

AP: The Black Bat vs. Dracula has a pulp hero battling a classic monster, a combination that even though done in some regards hasn't ever really been done the way Moonstone is doing it with the Return of the Monster event. What do these genres have in common and how do they differ in ways that complement each other?

MB: I'm sure everyone has their own view of how to answer that, but since you're asking me, here's mine: Both pulp and the classic monster tales use some really imaginative characters that are far outside the ordinary and place them into situations that force the ordinary to become extraordinary. Frankenstein, Dracula, werewolves, mummies and zombies all seem to come from the same wellspring I mentioned above, and so do characters like Black Bat, Phantom Detective, Domino Lady, Spider and Death Angel.

I also think both "genres" (I use that word very, very loosely) appeal to a similar audience, people looking for escapism with a solid sense of right and wrong, the heroic and villainous. There aren't many shades of grey in either, although characters on both sides of the table do have both human and monstrous sides to their personas.

AP: The Black Bat vs. Dracula also features your creation, Death Angel. How does this modern day creation hold her own against these two classic characters?

Art: Eric Johns
MB: I think that's up to the readers to decide. I'd have to be pretty egotistical to think a character I came up with just a few years ago could compare to the likes of Dracula and Black Bat. Those are two creations that have stood the test of time for a very long time and will continue to do so. I can only hope 'Angel is still remembered when she's been around as long as those two heavyweights. Honestly, I'm just tickled that people seem to dig her as much as they do.

AP: The Return of the Monsters Halloween event brings back several classic monster archetypes to Moonstone’s lineup. How does this version of Dracula compare and contrast to previous versions of the character?

MB: I haven't seen all the previous versions, but my take on the Prince of Darkness is fairly 'classic' I think. He's young in appearance, charismatic, self assured, powerful and someone who is very used to getting his way. Until this story, Death Angel had never met her equal in a fight and it's made her a bit overconfident. After this encounter, if she survives, that confidence will be shaken to the core.

AP: What appeals to you about pulp heroes battling classic monsters? What was it that excited you about pitting the Black Bat against the lord of the vampires?

MB: For me, it was a classic "Battle to Rule The Night" scenario. Black Bat, Death Angel and Dracula all exist in the shadows, stalking their prey through the darkness, using fear as a weapon. But, while their methods are all very similar, their motives and desired goals are definitely not. Black Bat wants justice, Death Angel wants revenge and Dracula wants blood. Aim those three at the same crossroads and get ready for the "big one".

AP: You’ve been spearheading the Black Bat’s comic book adventures for Moonstone. What’s ahead for the book and character?

MB: At some point the second Black Bat graphic novel will come out, concluding the "Black Death" story begun in the first graphic novel. I also have a Black Bat/Spider crossover tale coming in the Spider prose anthology. After that, I think the majority of new Black Bat tales will come in prose form. I'd like to start building him ground up in a series of prose tales, but we'll have to wait and see what the future holds.

Art: Eric Johns
AP: What, if any, existing pulp, monster, or comic book characters would you like to try your hand at writing?

MB: Pulp - Conan, John Carter. Monster, more Dracula and possibly some Frankenstein. I wrote a Frankenstein tale years ago I might dust off, polish up and release in eBook format sometime. For comics, I'd love to write Moon Knight, Firestorm and Captain "Shazam" Marvel, and to a minor extent would love to do some Silver Surfer and eventually Batman.

AP: What does Mike Bullock do when he’s not writing?

MB: Spend entirely too much time on the phone discussing writing with clients, publishers, artists and friends. When not doing that, I love to spend time with my beautiful wife and awesome son.

Cover Art: Dan Brereton
AP: Where can readers learn more about you and your work?

MB; Read the tea leaves. They know everything. If not, roll the bones; the runes never lie. But, if you don't have access to tea leaves and rune stones, you can check out my studios' website at and the sister site

AP: Any upcoming projects you would like to mention?

MB: Anyone out there who is into sword and sorcery should stay tuned for my first prose novel, coming from Airship 27 early next year, "The Runemaster." It's a Viking epic in the vein of Conan, Braveheart and Beowulf. After that, check out my second novel, coming from Pro Se entitled "Janus: Guardian of Worlds." Janus exists in the late 1930s where he finds himself as the lone guardian between our world and an infinite number of others inhabited by all sorts of nasty creatures, unimaginable evil and supernatural forces all hell-bent on the destruction of everything we know. And you thought the Nazis were the only thing to worry about back then…

AP: Thanks, Mike.

MB: You're welcome. Thanks for the interview and thanks for everything All Pulp does for those of us with an addiction to fiction.

The Black Bat vs. Dracula is solicited in August Previews for an October in store release.