A few months ago, Barry Reese interviewed Michael Brown, a noted fan of Pulp. This interview has received many positive comments and nods, so this will be something we will be doing periodically, checking in with the biggest fans of Pulp we can find and getting their thoughts on all things Pulp...so, without further ado, please meet--
STEVEN HAGER-PULP FAN
SH: First, thanks for this opportunity! I was raised on a small farm in PA and have a degree in Chemistry and work as a analytical chemist for a generic drug company. But let's get to the good stuff! I have many hobbies such as reading comic books, listening to old time radio, 50's sci-fi/horror movies, and of course pulp fiction. Also I am an actor at the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire , write and self publish the comic Dutchy Digest and study paleontology. Like Doc I study many things but I unlike him no doctorates! lol
AP: We’ve already identified that you’re a fan of pulp fiction and other related areas. Before we get into what you like specifically, let’s talk generally. What about pulp fiction appeals to you enough that you’d call yourself a fan?
SH: I believe the escapism is a big part of it for me. We all need to escape from the world and our problems at some point and pulps are an excellent way of doing it. The thrilling adventures set in a different time and in a world that seemed much larger and still in need of exploration really appeals to me. The Pulp heroes also seem more human to me. They are extraordinary which I enjoy but not super human.
AP: What are your some of your favorite pulp characters? Classic or modern, doesn’t matter? Favorite pulp authors?
SH: My favorite classic characters are the mainstays The Shadow, Doc Savage, The Avenger and the Spider, but I also like Green Lama, The Secret Six and Secret Agent X. Like many others I have a deep respect for the work of Edgar Rice Burroughs, Robert E Howard and HP Lovecraft. The Modern writer’s that I have been enjoying are Ron Fortier’s Captain Hazzard, the work of Barry Reese and Gregg Taylor’s Red Panda.
AP: There’s a lot of discussion lately about whether or not classic characters should be updated or simply left as they were originally conceived in any new works based on them. What are your thoughts on this? And more to the point, did you see THE GREEN HORNET yet?
SH: It is important that classic characters survive. Whether they evolve with the times or stay static in their niche it all depends on how well it is handled. I would have never thought Sherlock Holmes could be updated to modern times successfully but after watching the BBC’s Sherlock I changed my mind. It was excellent show and moved Sherlock into the 21st century. I did see Green Hornet and enjoyed it. Could it have been better? Certainly. But now more people are aware of the character and may be interested enough to learn about his history. Without the movie would we have gotten Dynamite’s wonderful series Green Hornet: Year One by Matt Wagner and Aaron Campbell?
AP: Why is pulp still around? A genre that had its golden age seventy or more years ago and has fallen on hard times in the past still persists and now new writers and creators are flocking to it every day. As a fan, what do you attribute the strength of pulp to remain viable to?
SH: People love edge of your seat adventure! I think the current renaissance has a lot to do with the age we are living in. The ease of print on demand publishing, the ability to connect with like minded people on the internet, and the fact that some characters are now in public domain. I love when creators bring us new characters but there is something really cool when an old character is brought back to life.
AP: Any existing pulp characters that you haven’t seen written in new tales yet that you’d like to see?
SH: That’s a good question! Everyone is doing such a great job bring back their favorite characters in their original form or in pastiches. I would like to see more adventures of The Secret Six and perhaps the return Dr Skull from The Octopus/Scorpion series.
SH: Oh certainly! Old Time Radio was the TV of it’s day. Many characters had their own programs. The Shadow, Doc Savage and The Green Lama first come to mind. Unfortunately only 4 Green Lama shows exist and no recordings of Doc Savage at all. Another favorite that is not adapted from pulps is I Love a Mystery. Great pulp action adventure! And if you like classic science fiction X-Minus One adapted a lot of the classic 50”s stories.
AP: Do you feel that audio drama is a medium that modern pulp writers should be capitalizing on to further their work and expose a larger audience to it?
SH: Certainly! My favorite modern audio drama is Decoder Ring Theater. All I know is that I will buy anything from Gregg Taylor from Decoder Ring Theater/Red Panda fame because I love his podcast! I believe Gregg has done a lot to introduce new people the pulp genre through his well crafted, always on time and definitely pulpy stories. He currently has three novels out and I have them all.
AP: Even though you’re not a pulp writer, you do self publish a rather interesting comic. What can you tell us about DUTCHY DIGEST?
AP: As a fan, what would you like to see in future pulp stories, not just characters or storylines, but in the way of techniques, issues addressed, etc.?
SH: Perhaps I would like to see some humor in the future. And I am not talking parody or satire but just fun adventure tales in the style of Robert E Howards’s Breckenridge Elkins stories. But actually I have very little complaints from all the modern pulp stories I have read and I am looking forward to the titles that have already been announced for 2011!
AP: Steven, it’s been great! Thanks!