The Strange Tale of… Catalyst!

Catalyst loResCatalyst, at least in the form of Nathaniel Caine, is one of my oldest characters. I created him way back in 1985 and he went through several permutations, popping up in various stories, comic book scripts, fanfiction and roleplaying campaigns over the years. When I finally became a professional writer, it was only a matter of time before Nathaniel would enter my Reese Unlimited universe. Why does he still linger, when so many of my other characters from my youth have fallen by the wayside? I’m not sure. He was the first creation of mine that I felt was worthy of saving… plus I always loved his green color scheme. Credit has to go to Cari Reese for taking my original (and very derivative) costume designs and merging them with the Kirby-esque Asgardian and New Gods looks that I desired. Other artists have depicted him since then but all of them have used her costume design.

So who or what is… The Catalyst?

Continue reading → The Strange Tale of… Catalyst!

What Happened to the Western Novel?

Auxiliary Memory

by James Wallace Harris, Thursday, May 24, 2018

thrilling_western_1951-11

Jess Nevins has some interesting data in his essay, “The Golden Age of Science Fiction” about the number of titles published yearly for each pulp genre. I’m not sure of his source, or how the numbers were compiled, but I’m going to copy his tables here for convenience. I’m assuming these numbers are the total titles publishing in a given year.

Pulp stats1Pulp stats2Pulp stats3

Notice, that of the six genres, western pulp titles were the most numerous every year between 1936-1949. The pulp magazine essentially died out by 1950, although a handful of science fictional and mystery titles continued as digest-size magazines. Some people claim television killed the pulps, others suggest various financial concerns and magazine distribution policies.

When I was growing up in the 1950s and 1960s westerns were extremely common on television, maybe even the most popular kind of show. The list on…

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The (fictional) women of my life

Rachel-Weisz-rachel-weisz-120258_800_1101I’m mostly known for my male creations — The Peregrine & Lazarus Gray, for instance — but I’ve spent a good bit of my career writing female leads. The Damned Thing, Rabbit Heart and Gravedigger all feature strong female characters and I’ve also written a couple of stories featuring Nightveil, from AC Comics’ comic book universe. I’m proud of those books, especially since the pulp field is still so testosterone-heavy. New Pulp does have The Pulptress, Elisa Hill and Callie but those are still just a drop in the bucket.

I’ve tried to add to the diversity of characters within the field while not making too big of a deal about it. The Lazarus Gray series not only features Samantha Grace as a major part of the storyline but I also have Eun Jiwon, a member of the team who is both homosexual and Korean. In Gravedigger, we have Li Yuchun, a Chinese American, and Mitchell, a British hero of African descent. I’m not doing this to make any kind of point, really — I simply want to reflect the real world, which the original pulps didn’t always do.

Continue reading → The (fictional) women of my life

Reese Unlimited Updates

Ava Gardner 1Things are always percolating at Reese Unlimited HQ – work continues on the 10th volume of Lazarus Gray, which will take our heroes into World War II. It’s a little strange for me, knowing that you guys haven’t seen anything past volume 7… publishing is a strange beast! You should expect to see 8 & 9 sometime in the first half of 2019 so you won’t see 10 until 2020, most likely.

Gravedigger Volume 3 continues to sell well and all the reviews thus far have been very positive – but there’s only been four reviews! This means that a lot of people have read the book and not shared their opinion… so if you’ve read the book, please post a review somewhere. Even if it’s not positive, reviews help build a book’s visibility!

Sometime soon we should see The Second Book of Babylon released by Pro Se and I’m anxious to see if you guys take to this very odd little novel.  You should also be looking forward to Assistance Unlimited: The Silver Age, which will explore what our universe is like in the Sixties.

Once I’m done with Lazarus Gray Volume 10, I’m planning to do something very different from what I’ve been writing for the past few years. It’s still in the pulp realm but I’m ready to move past the supernatural stuff that I’ve become known for.

 

Art Profile: The Covers of Terror Tales

Through the Shattered Lens

From Wikipedia:

Terror Tales was originally published by Popular Publications. The first issue was published in September 1934.   One of the most successful horror magazines, it was joined shortly afterwards (1935) with its sister horror pulp, Horror Stories, also from the same publisher. Some of the writers whose work appeared in Terror Tales included E. Hoffmann Price, Wayne Rogers, Wyatt Blassingame (who later wrote nonfiction books for children), Ray Cummings, Paul Ernst, Arthur Leo Zagat and Arthur J. Burks. Rudolph Belarski provided several covers for the magazine. Terror Tales ceased publication in March 1941.

Below are just a few covers from Terror Tales.  When possible, the cover artist has been identified:

by John Newton Howitt

by John Newton Howitt

by John Newton Howitt

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The Covers of The Avenger

Through the Shattered Lens

Long before Captain America, Iron Man, and Thor, Richard Henry Benson was The Avenger.  Benson was a globe-trotting adventurer and millionaire who, with his team of assistants, battled evil wherever he found it.  From 1939 to 1942, his adventures were detailed in The Avenger Magazine.  The majority were written by Paul Ernst under the pen named Kenneth Robeson.

There were 24 issues of The Avenger.  The majority of them featured covers by artist Harold Winfield Scott.  Have a look at a few of them below:

by Harold Winfield Scott

by Harold Winfield Scott

by Harold Winfield Scott

by Harold Winfield Scott

by Harold Winfield Scott

by Harold Winfield Scott

by Harold Winfield Scott

Artist Unknown

Artist Unknown

Artist Unknown

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Properties that need to be translated to prose – ASAP!

night-forceMy buddy Jim Beard and I have had some success translating the Captain Action toy line into prose and we’ve certainly seen novels based on tv shows, comic book characters and so forth over the years. But there are some properties out there that I’d love to get to see in prose… and maybe even write myself!

What things am I thinking about? Let’s see…

The Six Million Dollar Man – These days, he’d have to be updated to Six Billion or more, right? Anyway, I always thought this was a pulpy kind of show and I think it would be fun to see new prose adventures that followed the television continuity.

Challengers of the Unknown – Let’s pretend the Ron Goulart novel from the 70s never happened, okay? The notion of these guys living on borrowed time is a great one and would translate easily into a New Pulp take.

Sheena, Queen of the Jungle – Everybody loves a good jungle girl story, right? I think Sheena is ripe for a revival and updating. If Sheena were unavailable, maybe we could get the tragically aborted Savage Beauty concept revived and explored in prose.

Micronauts – This toy line spawned a classic Marvel comic book but revivals since haven’t been able to hit the right notes. I actually read a prose trilogy based upon one of the later continuities… and I think there’s a lot of potential here, even if it hasn’t always been present since Marvel lost the license.

Sandman Mystery Theatre – This comic series dripped with pulp flavor and I can think of a number of writers working in the pulp field today that would knock this out of the park.

Night Force – This Wolfman/Colan creation was a lot of fun from DC Comics back in the day and I’d be ready to follow them into prose adventures, as well. Baron Winters is a great character and the premise is just made for a continuing series of adventures.

What old properties would you like to see revived in prose?

 

Doc Savage, Monk and Women: The Talking Devil and the Running Skeletons

Fraser Sherman's Blog

As I’ve mentioned before, Lester Dent didn’t bother much with continuity. If one of Doc’s team has a moment of character development beyond the standard characterization, Dent doesn’t follow up on it. However after establishing in The Devil’s Black Rock that the guys were trying to break Monk of his skirt-chasing, Dent has been referencing it regularly, as in May 1943’s THE TALKING DEVIL. Not that it works any better here than in previous books.

The book starts with Doc’s crew introducing him to wealthy millionaire Montague Ogden whose right-hand man Sam Joseph is suffering dementia centering around a grotesque devil figureine Joseph thinks talks to him. After consulting with some top brain experts, Doc decides it’s a brain tumor. He operates … but there’s no tumor. And the other doctors insist they only agreed with him because they couldn’t think of questioning such a legend.

Oh, and…

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