Barry Reese

Pulp Writer Extraordinaire

neal_adams__portfolio_piece__002We’ve seen lots and lots of great classic pulp heroes return in new stories since the New Pulp boom began but there are still a few out there that I’d love to see return with regularly published adventures. Several of these have seen print in comics or even the occasional prose adventure but I want something akin to what Altus Press and Will Murray are doing with Doc Savage or what Moonstone has been doing with The Spider. I want novels and anthologies featuring new adventures. I’m not talking about wild updates, either… I’m speaking of telling good stories that adhere to the core of the characters (again, see the Altus and Moonstone examples I cited above).

So who am I talking about?

Tarzan – The Edgar Rice Burroughs hero has had a new prose adventures over the past couple of decades but I’d like to see a full expansion of the character in a series of new novels, coupled with anthologies that would allow multiple authors the chance to write him. I know the copyright issues are somewhat confusing but let’s just go ahead and get the ERB estate to officially authorize this continuation, shall we?

Norgil the Magician – Created by Walter Gibson, Norgil is far more obscure than he should be. The premise of a famous magician who travels the country solving mysteries is ripe for exploitation. Tell me that it doesn’t sound like a great television series? And the original stories are really fun examples of Gibson’s skills as a writer.

Seekay – Created by Paul Ernst, Seekay is one of those disfigured detectives that were all the rage for a while in pulp. His adventures are reprinted in the excellent The Casebook of Seekay and Other Prototypes of The Avenger. If you know Ernst from Doctor Satan or The Avenger, you know how good a writer he was… and Seekay is an undervalued gem. He could (and should) be a major pulp figure.

The Shadow – I know Will Murray has been teasing the possibility of doing a Doc Savage/Shadow novel but I want to see a full return for pulp’s greatest crime-fighter. Dynamite seems to be doing well with the comics, so let’s a return to prose. My preference would be to see stories either picking up right where the original novels ended (1949, prior to the Belmont revival of the Sixties) or else set in the character’s classic period of the 1930s. I’d even be okay with continuing the pulp/radio amalgamation that we’ve gotten in the comics, though I’d really want to see a pulp-only version. Hell, I’ll take anything at this point.

Conan – When I was growing up, Conan novels were everywhere. Yes, many of them were not very good… but some were excellent additions to the saga. A few years ago, there was a series of books set in his world but not actually featuring our favorite barbarian… I’m not talking about things like that. I want new high-quality Conan novels!

What classic pulp heroes would you like to see revived in officially-sanctioned stories?

8 thoughts on “Classic Pulp Heroes That Need to Return

  1. Trey says:

    John Carter/Barsoom – the *other* big ERB series has had a big boom in comics & a pretty awesome film adaptation that nobody saw, but I’d love to see more prose featuring these characters and/or set on that world.

    Zorro – We got Zorro, A Novel, which amalgamated elements of film & literary versions of the character, and as with many other pulp heroes there have been some cool comics, but not much other prose work that I know of.

    Buck Rogers – (but no Twiki, please)

    1. I came really close to putting John Carter on my list — I would like to read new adventures with him, to be sure.

  2. Davide Mana says:

    Captain Future – handled by a good writer (like Edmund Hamilton himself certainly was) and with a minimum of update (more in terms of science than in terms of look & feel). A positive, optimist spokesman for science, knowledge and adventure – it would be great.

  3. I actually have plans for a Tarzan-like character! Keep an eye out for my superhero serialized novels.

  4. Justin says:

    Zorro. He came back for a short-lived comic series recently and it was pretty decent. He’s also one of my fav characters.

    Solomon Kane.

  5. Dale Harris says:

    The Shadow tops the list. Tarzan, of course. They have a few new ones, but they are horrible, as I bought the first two and they make Tarzan out to be the “Me Tarzan, you Jane” type. G-8 and Operator 5 would be nice, especially if they set Operator 5 in the real world and not the alternate one of the Purple Empire and Yellow threat. Zorro, Lone Ranger, of course. Lon Williams had a comedy Judge in the old west call Judge Steele. The stories are great and would make an excellent book, and the room for new stories is vast.

  6. Patrick O'Shea says:

    I’d second a new set of Zorro adventures. Mandrake the Magician would be neat to see, too.

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