Barry Reese

Pulp Writer Extraordinaire

PD1BI’m trying to put the finishing touches on my Liberty Girl project, which adapts The Return storyline published by Heroic. As soon as I’m done with that, I’m starting research for my Phantom Detective story that will appear from Airship 27. I have a fun idea that I think will greatly please Airship’s captain, Ron Fortier. Hardcore pulp fans are probably familiar with the Phantom Detective but he’s not as well known with “civilians” (non-pulp fans) like Doc Savage or The Shadow. He made his debut in February 1933, one month before Doc Savage.  He was the second major pulp hero to get his own magazine (following, of course, The Shadow) and it ran for an incredible 170 issues, which means only The Shadow and Doc had longer runs. Lots of people wrote the series, which featured Richard Curtis Van Sloane, an orphan who inherited great wealth. Before World War I, Sloane lived the life of an idle playboy but after becoming a war hero, Sloane found himself bored by the life he returned to. After using his intellect to help the police solve a crime, Sloane becomes convinced that he’s found his true calling. Transforming himself into a master of science, investigation and disguise, Sloane becomes The Phantom (he’s referred to such in the stories — he doesn’t call himself “The Phantom Detective”).

The Phantom’s true identity is known only by his friend Frank Havens, who publishes the Clarion newspaper. His love interest was Frank’s daughter, Muriel.

The quality of the stories vary dramatically but something about the character allowed him to outlast most of his competitors. I hope to capture the basic appeal of the domino-masked hero while putting my own personal spin on things.

I believe Airship 27 is hoping for an early spring 2013 release but that will depend on when the stories all come in — I hope to finish mine off during the month of January.

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