Monday, February 28, 2011


Tommy Hancock, Editor in Chief of Pro Se Productions and Pulp Ark Coordinator, announces that voting has closed for the 2011 Pulp Ark Awards, the first awards given in association with this inaugural Pulp creators' conference/convention.

The Winners of the 2011 Pulp Ark Awards are-

BEST BOOK-Tales of the Red Panda: The Android Assassins by Gregg Taylor (Autogyro Press)

BEST SHORT STORY-The Mountain Goats of Madness by Phil Bledsoe (Phil Bledsoe)

BEST COVER ART-Tales of the Red Panda: The Android Assassins by Thomas Perkins (Autogyro Press)

BEST INTERIOR ART-The Rook Volume 5-Anthony Castrillo, (Wild Cat Books)

BEST PULP RELATED COMIC-Boston Bombers (Red Bud Studios)

BEST PULP MAGAZINE-Masked Gun Mystery  (Pro Se Productions)

BEST PULP REVIVAL-Green Lama -Green Lama Unbound by Adam L. Garcia (Airship 27/Cornerstone)




The awards, 8X10 engraved wooden plaques, will be awarded in the middle of Pulp Ark, the evening of Saturday, May 14, 2011.  Hancock stated that all winners as well as nominees are encouraged to attend, but any winners who could not would receive their awards by mail.  Pulp Ark thanks all who nominated, all who voted, and congratulations to all the nominees and especially to the winners of the first ever Pulp Ark Awards!



This week, Cliffhanger Fiction from Moonstone takes a different turn into the pulpiness of HORROR!  And who better to do this with than the Lord of Vampires himself in the capable hands of Martin Powell!  If you're interested in getting the whole collection this story of Dracula appears in, then follow the link at the end of the tale...

A Prequel to
Bram Stoker’s Novel
Martin Powell

          The night fog glided in like a dimly glowing ghost, brushing wetly across the weathered window sill.  A soft grey drizzle droned through the empty branches scratching against the single pane as the cottage girl hummed a sweet sigh alone in her bed.
Outside, the darkness was waiting to get in.
Through dreamy half-closed lids the girl’s eyes dilated slowly, engorged with the night, sleepily shuddering in her intimate invitation.  The small room grew suddenly colder, despite the crisply crackling hearth.  Without a sound, except for the thunder in her veins, a looming black presence filled the bedchamber eclipsing the firelight.
She drew down the bedclothes languidly, breathless in her anticipation.  A pale luminescent face separated itself from the mist as if it had been a part of it, the feral nostrils pulsing with the girl’s moistened fragrance.  Shining eyes the color of polished pennies smoldered in the shadows of hollow sockets.  The creature bowed and poured its long black form across the bed, caressing the heaving hips and panting bosom of the girl like a carnally weighted shadow.  They both wanted this.
Her delicate features winced only slightly at the sight of the sharp white teeth between livid lips the colour of bruised wine.  Shuddering against the chill of the gaping mouth fastening upon her naked throat, the girl tightly curled her toes against the gentle hurt.
Hours passed and the dark thing remained with the girl, nursing at the slope of her whitening neck until she was gone.  Drawing upon now hollowed veins the creature remained fixed, unsatisfied, with the life it had stolen.  No matter how beautiful, how bountiful the woman, it was never enough.
Only the crow of the impending dawn slaked the passion of the daemon’s thirst.  The black shroud of its cloak melted and leathered into scalloped wings swimming the shadows in the sky, returning to the oppressive castle upon the jagged mountain.
Alone, within the great stone sarcophagus deep beneath the ancient battlements, Count Dracula’s eyes stared wide in his unholy sleep, bloodily bloated with his spent lust. The terrible face lined with fear, knowing the horror of Purgatory which claimed his monstrous soul during the seeming eternity of the daylight hours.
There was an escape from Hell, Dracula knew.  His great brain burned with the brilliance of his inspired scheme.  Soon his perennial fiery tortures would cease forever.  Even in the throes of agony the ancient vampire’s cruel lips fixed upon a triumphant, leering smile.  This much the Count was certain, more than anything else…
Time was on his side.


The locomotive emerged through the icy London fog with a pungent hissing halt of oily steam.  Monsignor Russell’s weathered bulldog of a face brightened immediately upon spotting an energetic wide-shouldered, reddish-haired man of forty departing the train.  The passenger’s fierce blue-grey eyes darted about, straining to see through the clinging mist.
“Abraham!” the Monsignor heartily waved him down, “Abraham Van Helsing!”
The two men vigorously shook hands.
“It’s so good to see you again, Leslie,” the severity instantly left Van Helsing’s eyes, although they remained as piercing as ever.  “What has it been…nine years, isn’t it?  As a physician and as your friend, I must say that you’re not looking very well.  I suspect you sent for me just in time.”
Monsignor Russell hailed a cab, taking his companion by the elbow and clamored inside its relative warmth.
“I didn’t bring you from Amsterdam to discuss my health, Abraham.”
Van Helsing nodded and fondly tapped his friend’s shoulder.
“Quite right,” he affirmed.  “Your cable was very sparse.  I need to know more about this man before I can arrive at a possible prognosis.”
The elderly Monsignor’s face grew graver still.
“He’s staying at the Rectory.  Says he doesn’t feel safe anywhere else.  I dare not admit him to Saint Bart’s, they would deem him insane and have him put away.  Still, as I said in my telegram, I’m convinced his malady is more of the spirit than of the mind.”
The suspended fog softly muffled the clatter of the hooves upon the cobblestones, and the streetlamps skulked by the cab windows looking unreal.  Van Helsing sat in silence admiring the eerie beauty of the common London street, made most extraordinary by the elemental pallet surrounding them.
“Is he still having the nightmares?” he asked at last.
The Monsignor’s frown saddened and deepened.
“Worse.  Now he’s hearing voices.”

At the Rectory, he paced the hardwood floors like a caged animal.  A large middle-aged man with wild eyes, mumbling Latin incantations beneath his breath, while continuously crossing himself with madly twitching fingers.  Some great, nameless fear seemed to quicken and swell within him like a living thing.  Incessantly, he darted glances of dread at the dimming light behind the stained glass windows.  Daylight was fading.
The Monsignor and Van Helsing had hardly stepped foot into the door before the man crumpled to his knees in front of them.
“Why did you leave me? Night is falling and I was alone!” he gasped, his eyes wilder than before.”
“Calm yourself, sir,” Monsignor Russell scolded gently.  “I brought a man whom I believe can help you.  This is Dr. Van Helsing from the Continent.”
The quivering wild man shot Van Helsing a venomous glare.
“There’s nothing wrong with me that your pills can cure,” he spat out contemptuously.
Van Helsing’s eyes hardened, then brimmed with pity.  His strong, intelligent face lifted in a soothing smile.
“I am more than merely that kind of doctor and I am confident that I can help you, my poor friend,” Van Helsing offered his sun-bronzed muscular hand.  “Please tell me your troubles, Mister--?”
The man immediately lost much of his wildness, the glazed eyes slowly softening into brimming tears.  With a trembling gesture he clasped Van Helsing’s hand.
“Renfield,” he murmured low.  “Roderick Matthias Renfield.  Forgive me, Doctor.  If you can truly save me, then I am your obedient servant.”


Transylvania, the Land of Phantoms.
Nightfall swallowed the Carpathian valley, letting loose all its moving, hunting shadows.  Pale things, dead by day, crawled forth, shrouded in grave-dirt as howling bristling horrors lurched through the haunted forests.
Looming over all with trident spires of diabolical majesty was Castle Dracula, whose unholy foundations were old when Eden was new.  No one spoke of the dreadful place.  No one went there.
Except a man with nothing more to lose.
“All is prepared for you, my Master,” the peasant bowed within the gloom of the courtyard, cold sweat blurring his vision.  “The Vesta sails in two days.  The crew has been bribed as you directed.  Your…cargo is already onboard, bound for London.  The one you seek is there.”
Count Dracula stood at the top of the time-worn stairs, unmoving.  Only his smoldering eyes seemed alive on the grim, waxen face.  For a long moment there was a terrible stillness, as if the world had stopped.  Then, abruptly, the Count glided down, his boots soundless upon the cold stone of the steps.
“Master…?” the peasant dared to follow.  “My…my daughters…my girls…you promised to release them if I served you…”
Dracula paused, the moonlight turning his long shadow into something unnamable.  He nodded slightly toward a darkened crevice in the ancient stone, and then, inexplicably, his imposing figure shimmered into nothingness.  It was as if Dracula had become the Night itself.
The peasant drew in a shuddered breath, turning slowly, following the icy prickles running down his spine.  Six glowering eyes burned at him from the shadows of the edifice, followed by three emerging figures resembling young women.  Their low, savage laughter was almost musical in the stillness of the castle.  Flesh, pale and bloodless, took form over their ghostliness like the guttural drip of a melting candle.  Voluptuous lips, purpled from famine, curled back over their glinting animal teeth.
The peasant screamed only once, as fiends who were once his daughters fed deeply and lustfully from their own flesh and blood.


“I’ve actually heard of you, Doctor,” Renfield sat uncomfortably, repetitively glancing at the great ticking clock in the Monsignor’s book-lined study.
Van Helsing listened intently through his stethoscope, nearly finished with Renfield’s physical examination.
“Ah, your heart is rapid, but strong.  A good sign,” the doctor amiably nodded.  “Please follow my finger with your eyes, Mr. Renfield.  Now then…how is it that you know me?”
Renfield’s face brightened suddenly, making him appear rather younger and more intelligent.
“You’ve been published, sir,” he beamed.  “I’m quite a voracious reader, especially upon scientific matters.  In fact, I am something of an amateur entomologist, the species Psychodidae being a particular specialty of interest.”
Peering deeply into his patient eyes, Van Helsing smiled quite satisfied.
“Of course, the common moth fly.  They can be quite a nuisance, can they not?” he gave Renfield a gentle, comforting pat on the knee.  “Now then, you’re vision and reflexes are normal.  In fact, except for being somewhat malnourished, overall your health is quite excellent.”
Again, Renfield stabbed a look at the clock.  His face grimaced for an instant, as if in sudden pain, then smiled sadly at the physician.
“So, Doctor,” he flushed in shame, “you’re telling me that this is all in my mind?”
Van Helsing rinsed his hands in a water basin, and blotted them with a clean towel.  He regarded the question silently, and seriously, for a moment and then smiled again.  There was something calming, something comforting in his manner.  He had an inner strength about him and Renfield clearly and gratefully felt it.
“I notice that the clock worries you, does it not?  Why is that, pray tell?” it was peculiar how Van Helsing’s Dutch accent sometimes grew more pronounced when he was concentrating.
          “The night…” Renfield started, then sadly shook his head.
          “Ah, then.  It is the coming of night that you fear, Mr. Renfield,” Van Helsing offered at last.  “Is that not so?”
Renfield nodded, reluctantly.
“You say you suffer from lucid nightmares,” the doctor continued, “which I also have experienced from time to time.  They can be, I know, very terrifying.  However, there is something much more than merely bad dreams tormenting you.  You’ve complained that something is following you, devouring your very thoughts.  You feel weakened and empowered at the same time.  You don’t trust your own mind.  All this started, you tell me, when your only daughter became tragically stricken with consumption.  Now you feel something has, how again did you say it?  ‘Invaded your soul’, you said.  You feel as if someone, or something, is looking out through your own eyes.  Spying on the rest of us. Yes?”
Renfield’s haunted eyes glazed with tears.
“Am I…am I quite insane, Doctor?” he managed, at last.
Van Helsing frowned, narrowing his eyes.  The sudden hush in the room was jarring. 
“You’ll find that I differ considerably from my esteemed colleagues, sir.  I believe a metaphysical explanation may be in order, something along the lines of clairvoyance or precognition,” Van Helsing turned grimly to Renfield, his strong, bronzed face grown a bit grey.  “In all truth it is even possible that you may be possessed.”
“I refuse to believe in such rot,” Renfield flushed, defensively.
“These things, and more, exist in this world as few others would ever begin to suspect.  I have spent my lifetime, such as it is, in pursuit of these obscure truths about the world.  I have journeyed far and wide, seeing things with my own eyes that defy intelligent explanation.  To those ends, I have, myself, become convinced of the reality of the unearthly and the unnamable.  The Supernatural will not go away simply because we disapprove, or even disbelieve in it, Mr. Renfield.”
Van Helsing paused a moment, then clasped Renfield by the shoulder.
“Tell me about these voices.”
Renfield peered at the clock, stood and took to pacing.  He hesitated for a full minute, then Van Helsing’s patient smile brought out his trust.
“Only one voice!” he, at last, stated desperately.  “Something dark, terrible…it’s knows all my secrets.  God help me, Dr. Van Helsing…it promises that after my daughter dies— she will live forever!”

“You needn’t be so shy about it, Dr. Van Helsing…I know that I’m dying.”
Miss Adelaide Renfield smiled with blind, beautiful eyes.  Though weak, her voice had retained a bit of the music it must have possessed before her illness.  She scarcely moved in her hospital bed, but her faded pallor still bloomed with some of its delicate sweetness.  Although she could not see him, Dr. Abraham Van Helsing couldn’t take his own saddened eyes off of her.
“I am so sorry, my dear young Miss,” he managed, pressing her forehead with his palm.  She was burning up.
Adelaide smiled again.  It was both uplifting, and heartbreaking, that smile.
“There’s nothing for you to feel sorry for, Doctor,” she gave his sinewy wrist a whispered squeeze.  “Death is a natural thing.  I find it almost comforting now.  I only wish my poor father was not so direly affected.  I know he feels guilty for not visiting me.  He shouldn’t.  I understand.  When my mother died, it nearly killed him.”
Van Helsing studied her shining grey-green eyes which, despite their sightlessness, warmed with an inner light.
“How long have you been blind?” he presented his comforting, professional tone.  The girl very visibly responded to its quiet strength.
“Almost since birth,” Adelaide’s pale lips curled in a bit of humor.  “I had scarlet fever as a baby.  You’d think there could be nothing more wrong with me, wouldn’t you?”
Van Helsing lightly stroked her hair, which fell so very dark and silken about her shoulders, with spun threads of blued sapphires.
“What I think,” he said after a long moment, “is that you are a very brave young lady.”
Van Helsing continued speaking with quiet, paternal patience as he answered the girl’s grim questions considering her consumptive illness.  He held nothing back, telling her everything of what to expect.  She never flinched, not even at the worst of it.  Afterwards, they passed a peaceful silence for a number of minutes.  Then, for the first time, Van Helsing saw a fretful frown crease her supple brow.
“Doctor…I’m fearful for my father,” she whispered at last.  “When Monsignor Russell comes to give me Holy Communion, I feel he is trying to protect me from something.  Is my father ill?”
Van Helsing took her hand, warming the chilled fingers.
“What makes you ask that?”
She stared passed his shoulder at nothingness and her eyes slightly rounded.
“I…I’ve been having dreams.  I suppose you could call them nightmares.  In my sleep, I sense something following him.  Something wild and vicious, like a thing from the jungle.  It…wants something from him.  Something terrible.”
Dr. Van Helsing leaned forward a bit.  Her voice was getting tired and fainter with every fitful breath.  The sudden shift of anxiety alarmed him.
“Sometimes a dream is just that, my dear Miss,” he gave her wrist a gentle pat, keeping her father’s similar malady to himself.
Adelaide’s eye grew wider, more pronounced in their catlike glimmer.
“But—sometimes, Dr. Van Helsing…sometimes my dreams come true.”
“Oh?  In what form does this happen?”
She took a slow, hurtful breath.  Van Helsing much too easily noticed the fluid rattle from her chest.
 “Last night…I dreamt of a sea vessel.  A rank, creaking ship pushed by evil winds toward our shores.  There was a hideous stillness on board.  Hushed voices of the crew stammered in horror.  The Devil was on that ship.”
 “Ah, yes.  You heard the grim news about the unfortunate Vesta, which docked late last night with its crew of madmen.”
The girl winced, painfully swallowed, and then coughed a bit of blood into her hand.
Van Helsing was glad the girl couldn’t see his sudden apprehension.  Her slight consumptive hemorrhage quieted and he spoke soothingly to her.  Just the sound of his voice seemed to take away much of the pain.
“Sister Charles reads the morning papers to me,” Adelaide finally managed, nearly recovered from the spasm.
Solemnly, Van Helsing reached into an inner pocket of his coat.
“I have just the cure for these nightmares,” he withdrew a small silver crucifix and draped its thin golden chain around her neck.  “This was blessed by his Holiness in Rome himself.  Never take it off.”
Adelaide’s unmoving eyes gained more brightness as they moistened.
“I must leave you, my dear,” Van Helsing lightly caressed her flushing cheek, renewing its warmth.  “However, I will return again tomorrow, to be charmed by you all over again.”
The girl’s questing fingers caught at his sleeve.
“Doctor,” she asked with an expression like a child, “is it still daylight?”
“Yes, Miss.  It’s late afternoon.  A beautiful day.”
Her face lifted again in a girlish smile.
“Could you open the curtains, please?  Although I’ve never seen it, I can still remember the sun on my face.  It always felt friendly.”
Left to herself, Adelaide Renfield was softly smiling, privately treasuring her own wild imaginings of what colour might be like.


Van Helsing arrived at his room at the Northumberland Hotel some hours after sunset.  He had walked long and thoughtfully through the rattling, humming London streets pondering the events of the past few days.  As the long shadows cast themselves across the cobblestones, a chill of dread crawled over his skin.  Somehow the great city was different.  Tainted, he believed.  Something unnatural had mixed itself into its thundering swirl and rush of life.
Twice, Van Helsing felt certain he’d heard a voice softly speak his name.  Two times he turned, and no one was there.  For the first time in his observant life, the eminent scientist took intimate notice—and was unnerved by—the darting shadows of the moths fluttering around the streetlamps.
He felt colder than he should as he turned the key and stepped into his rented flat.
He was not alone.
The chamber was well-lighted, but somehow Van Helsing needed to strain his eyes in order to fully take in his unknown visitor.  He observed the towering figure of a man all in black, without a single speck of colour about him anywhere.  Motionless as an obelisk, only the figure’s unblinking eyes looked alive.
Finally, the bruised lips curved and spoke.
“Dr. Abraham Van Helsing…the great scientist, whose name we know even in the wilds of Transylvania.  I have crossed land and sea to make your acquaintance.  Only in you may I find salvation.”
Van Helsing took an uneasy step forward, toward the invader.
“How did you get in here?” he demanded.  “Who are you?”
White wolfish teeth smiled.
“I am Count Dracula.”

Come back next week for the next spine tingling terrifying chapter of this horrific tale.  Want more Moonstone Vampires?  Then go to and purchase VAMPIRES-DRACULA AND THE UNDEAD LEGIONS today!

MOONSTONE MONDAY-Newsletter from the Man in the Moon himself!

Awaken your sense of ADVENTURE!


Moonstone now carries a varety of audio CD's and movies! For this month, ANY purchase of these products will earn you a 20% of total spent on these items-GIFT CERTIFICATE in return! 
 (can be found under "action"). including an extremely rare sketch variant!!
 2. SAVAGE BEAUTY #1 ("action")
      the jungle girl concept in today's Africa!
      by fan favorite Phantom scribe Mike Bullock!
  3. BATTLE for L.A. HC! ("spider/action")
     the pulp team up story with an exclusive to this edition SPIDER tale!
  4. HONEY WEST #3 ("mystery")
 5. NORTHERN GUARD #2 ("action")
 6. The SPIDER Burning lead for the Walking Dead GN ("action")
   was $3.99 NOW JUST $1.49!!
     was $3.99, NOW JUST $1.99!
3.  PAT NOVAK for hire 
       great story, great dialogue, great art, noir!
       Steven Grant/ Tom Mandrake
     48pgs, was $4.95, NOW JUST $0.99!
4. ZEROIDS #1,2:
robots, zombies, aliens!
    many variants, all just $0.99!
5. Captain Action Special #1 48pgs, color,
    was $5.50, NOW JUST $2.99!
6. TWILIGHT CRUSADE (thriller)
     Heaven vs Hell in 5 books!
     was $3.99 each, NOW JUST $0.99!
Previously released:
 1.PHANTOM/Capt Action HC (action)
 2.  VOLTRON HC(action)
3.  The SPIDER/DOMINO LADY: (action)
4. The AVENGER: Justice Inc PREORDER 
 Chicks in Capes
More Tales of Zorro
Rotten #9
Rotten/Zombies vs Cheerleaders Flip book!
Kolchak Files #2
Coming up:
*HACK SLASH/Zomibies vs Cheerleaders
 one shot of mirth and merriment!
 a 3 issue mini series featuring SHEENA, Capt Action, The Spider,   Domino Lady, Kolchak, and Honey West!
Thanks for your kind attention,
Joe, your Man in the Moon


A Moonstone Monday exclusive!   Two pages from SAVAGE BEAUTY #2, the Moonstone comic that redefines the Jungle Girl genre!!!

Sunday, February 27, 2011




From Mike Chomko-
With Spring fast approaching, it’s time to get your Munsey Award nominations to PulpFest. All members of the pulp community, whether they plan to attend PulpFest 2011 or not, are welcome to nominate a deserving person for this year’s achievement award.

Named after Frank A. Munsey, the man who published the first all-fiction pulp magazine, the Munsey is presented annually to a deserving person who has given of himself or herself for the betterment of the pulp community, be it through disseminating knowledge about the pulps, publishing, or through
other efforts to preserve and to foster interest in the pulp magazines we all love and enjoy. All members of the pulp community, excepting past winners of the Munsey or Lamont awards, are eligible for this prestigious

For further details, please visit and make your nomination.

From Katherine Tomlinson-

This week, Mark Satchwill and I bring the Noir with a tale of secrets and sex.  We hope you like it.


In anticipation of the approaching announcement on March 1, 2011, of the winners of the 2011 Pulp Ark Awards, the first ever given from this new convention/conference for pulp creators and fans, Tommy Hancock, Pulp Ark Coordinator announced the planned design for the ten awards to be given Saturday, May 14, 2011 at the event.

"Each award is a wooden plaque," Hancock reported.  "8 X 10 with the outline of the state of Arkansas laser engraved into it.  Within the state's outline will be the PULP ARK name and year and the award and the recipient's name, also laser engraved.  I designed the award and local business owners Ron and Toy Siler of Southern Charm, a trophy and awards store in Batesville, will produce them.  Mark Herrington, a supporter of pulp creators and a local businessman in the area, is covering the costs of the awards."

Hancock stated that the winners of the Pulp Ark awards would be announced the morning of March 1, 2011.  Voting for all qualified voters ends at 11:59 PM, February 28, 2011.

Friday, February 25, 2011





This week on the Book Cave-Win Eckert is back and we find out about Crossovers and more.
Win Scott Eckert
Home page:

Crossovers: A Secret Chronology of the World 1 & 2 (Black Coat Press)

Tales of the Shadowmen series (Black Coat Press)

Sherlock Holmes: The Crossovers Casebook (Moonstone Books)

Meteor House (publisher of The Worlds of Philip José Farmer series)

Moi, Tarzan
A French documentary about the origin and history of Tarzan, with three Tarzan experts. Made for French television, it was shown on the TV channel Arte in 1996 and 2007. Features Philip José Farmer discussing Tarzan as a real person. Video-on-demand: Online at - in English, for $4.99 [Full-screen on your computer. The French is subtitled in English.]
Coming Attractions -
All Pulp -

Art and Ric are joined once again with writer Barry Reese as they talk about his current novel "The Damned Thing" along with his other books. Tommy Hancock returns this week with the All Pulp news.
Barry Reese -
Coming Attractions -
All Pulp -

Ron Fortier and Rob Davis joins Art and Ric to talk about the second annual Pulp Factory Awards coming to Windy City. My recording program stopped close to the end and muted my mic. You aren't missing much, just Ric yelling like a crazy nut trying to tell the others that he was no longer recording. I think it was a couple of minutes before they realized I was gone.  ;-)  no All Pulp news this week, Tommy Hancock couldn't get the nurses to let him out of his room in the nursing home. Be sure and check out the All Pulp site to see what is going on for this week.
Ron Fortier -
Rob Davis -
The pdf store is:
The Print on Demand store with the 25% discount off retail is:
Coming Attractions -
All Pulp -


From Noho Noir-

That’s right…This week there are two NoHo Noir stories…

Published today, “Fools Rush In,” a cautionary tale about a gambler who doesn’t know when to fold ‘em and the consequences of that.

Check it out:

Also from last week-  I think you'll enjoy this episode.  It’s a round-up of most of the characters. 

In other news…

The webseries pilot is a go.

If you Facebook, please “like” the NoHo Noir web page.!/pages/NoHo-Noir/111051172304683

It’s just been created so more functionality has to come. 

If you need more coffee cups, check out the swag Mark Satchwill created in his zazzle store: 

There are also t-shirts with some of the designs from episodes like “Cosmos” and “Blockbuster” and “Molecules.”

If you have time to sign up on the patch site, please do and comment.  The sites are now being run by Ariana Huffington and our mandate is “interaction” with the readers.  Hitting the “like” and “recommend” buttons is great; but actual comments are even better. 

As always, thanks for your support.

Thursday, February 24, 2011


Here's a Panel Topic everyone should sound off on. We all know that DC announced this week that its FIRST WAVE line, the one that combined Batman, Doc Savage, the Spirit, and other Golden Age pulp and comic characters into one sort of 'timeless' universe where dirigibles and cell phones coexisted, is being cancelled. This extremely controversial line of comics, made so by the fact that many pulp fans saw the portrayals of their favorite characters as mishandled at best, blasphemous at worse, has definitely stirred up a lot of talk. Here's the panel topic-Was DC's First Wave as bad as all that? If so, why? What does the cancelling of this line mean for the future of pulp centered comics, if anything? Email your panel responses to and they'll be posted here!

From Teel James Glenn, writer in the pulp tradition....

Why did the First Wave fail? the art wasn't bad and even some of the ideas were interesting, but the basic premise seemed to be that even though pulp chracters have endured in their original form for 70 years the writers at DC knew how to 'fix' them. Why fix what isn't broken? I doubt any of the writers actually read any of the books they were 'improving' by changing basic premises and characters. It is the same problem most movie adaptations have; everyone thinks they can violate the very core of the creations they SAY they are 'reimagining. Bullflock!

Uncreative people feed off other people's creations and bring the level down. You have to honor the work of those who came before and then you can prehaps--prehaps- move forward with new creations that can interact with them. Always look at the 'character/series' bible and honor it as if it was gospel--because it is.
If DC wanted to do pulps right they should have hired pulp writers not guys who said in interviews "I never read the books"--arrogance like that deserves to be discarded...

From Barry Reese, Member of the Spectacled Seven....

Where do I start? DC mismanaged the entire line, starting with a series of interviews from creators that alienated the hardcore fans and made newer fans wonder why they should try a bunch of characters that even the main writer talked about with disdain. Then go on to the launch miniseries, which still hasn't finished... Here's a clue: don't launch a new line of books with a book that's supposed to set up the whole thing but doesn't come out on time. Makes the entire affair look half-assed and poorly planned. Then you have a book (Doc Savage) that after a mediocre beginning slides into outright crapitude with shifting writers and artists. And don't get me started on The Avenger stuff, which was such an insult to the original characters that I wish DC had just renamed it.

They shouldn't have solicited the kickoff mini until it was completed. They should have hired people who not only understood the characters but who genuinely loved them -- you can update the characters and still maintain their core... but you have to *want* to do that. And why include Batman in this universe if his only appearances would be in a one-shot special and the mini? They should have had a Bat-Man series set in this universe that the other books could have orbited around -- the Bat guy sells, you know.

Mishandled and poor creative decisions. I'm surprised it lasted as long as it did.


From Tommy Hancock, another of the Spectacled Seven

Mine will be short.   It will be short because I didn't read anything but the first issue of the FIRST WAVE mini series and the first three issues of DOC SAVAGE.  Well, I say the first three issues, I actually only read the full first issue because I couldn't stomach anymore of what they jokingly referred to as THE AVENGER.

I am not a purist.  I am also not a 'we have to make changes to everything' sort either.  I like what I like and I like companies and writers to produce things I like.  It helps when they are producing stuff I like based on other stuff I already like.  What didn't work in this regard is DC not only didn't produce stuff that I liked based on characters I adore, but they ignored me.  I didn't want DC to ask me my opinion, well, maybe I wanted them to, but didn't expect it.  But I, being a pretty big pulp fan, was simply left out of the equation when DC got their hands on these great characters.  My opinion, my interests, my desire to see these characters live again...didn't matter at all.  The bad part for DC was that these new readers I guess they were trying to appeal to...didn't have any buy in at all to these concepts and saw them for what they were...poorly handled editorially misdirected imitations at best, toilet paper with pictures on it at worst.  And me, my buy went to Moonstone, Doc Savage reprints, and new pulp...

Just sayin'...

From Derrick Ferguson, yet another of the Spectacled Seven

I read the first three issues of DOC SAVAGE (hey, there was no way I wasn't going read it) and was unimpressed.  I have to admit that the idea of all these classic pulp characters and certain DC characters like The Blackhawks and The Spirit, who in my mind are pulp characters, appealed to me.  But the execution was, in a word, lousy.
Here's what I can't wrap my head around: why in the world would you hire writers who plainly have no love or liking for the characters they're writing about?  Wouldn't it have made more sense to hire writers who actually know, love and have a true desire to write the best possible Doc Savage or Avenger stories they possibly could?  Stories that would not only thrill and delight old time fans but make newer readers sit up and understand why these characters are cool and remain so after so many years?
And yeah, I agree with Barry: it didn't help to have interviews with writers who I felt were giving me the digitus impudicus for loving pulp and had really snotty attitudes toward not only the work they were producing but who they were producing it for.

From Adam Garcia, Scribe of the Green Lama

I never read first Wave, but I think it's fair to say it failed on execution rather than concept. While I advocate change, I don't necessarily think you need to change everything, to make things effective. I'm more a believer that to keep things one specific way is a mistake and to open to adaptation. I'm 100% certain that First Wave would have been considered amazing if the story had been effective. Take the new Star Trek film as an example, a bottom to top reinvention that was overwhelmingly loved, or Batman: the Brave and the Bold or even the massive massive changes made to the Joker in Dark Knight. That's what I've been arguing. Reinvention isn't bad, it's frankly the nature of pop culture, but refusing to accept it is.
You may not like the adaptation, that's a fact of personal preference, but with licensed character adaptation is the only way the stay alive. So First Wave might have failed creatively, but I applaud the effort.


By Edward M. Erdelac
Damnation Books LLC
278 pages
Dec. 2009
ISBN 10 – 161572060X
ISBN 13 -  978-1615720606

Although the straight forward, no frills western genre seems to exist only in today’s paperback market, the proliferation of the “weird” western tableau is visible everywhere.  Comics and prose anthologies have been expanding this pulp theme strongly and recently Hollywood has joined in with films such as “Jonah Hex”  (a cowboy who can speak to the dead), “The Warrior’s Way” (pitting Japanese Ninja’s against cowboys) and the soon to be released blockbuster, “Cowboys VS Aliens,” (the name says it all).

Up until a few weeks ago, I’d pretty much thought there was nothing else to be done with bizarre westerns.  Happily Edward Erdelac has proven me wrong with his “Merkabah Rider – Tales of a High Planes Drifter.”  The giveaway is in the spelling of the word planes.  For you see, the hero of this book is a Hasidic Jew mystic known as a Merkabah Rider because of his ability to travel out of his body and explore the higher and lower realms of heaven and hell.  In fact the Rider, as he prefers to be called, actually travels the post Civil War southwest on foot, pulling a dirty white onager behind.  An onager is an Asiatic wild ass.  I had to look that up too.

Through the four stories in this volume, we learn that the San Francisco born Rider interrupted his religious studies to serve in the Union Army during the war between the states; a decision that turned many of the elders of his order against him.  He returns home to discover all the members of this enclave, known as the Sons of Essenes, have been murdered by his renegade teacher, a man known only as Adon.  Feeling spiritually tarnished by his association with Adon, the Rider begins his quest to seek him out and exact vengeance.  In the process he travels the globe until his quest brings him full circle back to American desert lands of the southwest.

Which is where this first book begins. In the quartet of adventures collected here, the Rider battles a foul Demon sacrificing children in an Arizona mining town, combats a dust devil that animates a hellish windmill in a Mexican border town, goes up against a cursed gunman who slaughters entire towns and confronts a powerful, alluring succubus said to be the first wife of Adam.  Through these travails, the Rider learns that Adon is conspiring with the demon world to bring about an earthly holocaust which will herald the end of all mankind.  Unless he, alone, can stop him.

“Merkabah Rider” is a terrific read that captivated me from the first page to the last.  The exhilaration of discovering something new and vibrant in an old setting provided this reviewer with complete and unabashed entertainment.  The Rider is the most original western hero since Clint Eastwood’s Man-With-No-Name and his background in the exotic magic of ancient Hebraic mysticism make him a character this reader will not forget any time soon.