In this week’s episode of Pulp Crazy, I discuss Swords against Death by Fritz Leiber. This is Book 2 of the Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser Series. The collection is comprised of 10 pieces of short fiction. It’s notable for the first appearances (from an internal chronological standpoint) of Sheelba of the Eyeless Face and Ningauble of the Seven Eyes, the patron warlocks of The Gray Mouser and Fafhrd respectively. Swords against Death also includes the cleverly titled, “Bazaar of the Bizarre.”
In this weeks episode I will be discussing Mimic by Donald A. Wollheim. Mimic is a short story that first appeared in the December 1942 issue of Astonishing Stories. Mimic served as the inspiration for the 1997 film of the same name directed by Guillermo Del Toro and starring Mira Sorvino, Jeremy Northam and Josh Brolin. The short story is only a little over 2 pages in length, so the film expands upon the concepts introduced in Wollheim’s short story.
This weeks episode is a first for Pulp Crazy, as I’m reviewing a work of non-fiction. The title of the book is The Way They Were: The Histories of Some of Adventure Fiction’s Most Famous Heroes and Villains. It is written by researcher and fiction writer Jeff Deischer and published by Westerntainment Books. It is available to purchase on Amazon in paperback and eBook format.
The Way They Were covers a broad range of topics that will be of interest to pulp fans. Among this collection of essays are chronologies and deductions pertaining to Classic Literature and Pulp Magazine characters including: Doc Savage, the Avenger, Tarzan, Captain Nemo, Robur the Conqueror, James Bond, Count Dracula, Frankenstein and more.
In this weeks episode I will be discussing Doc Ardan: City of Gold and Lepers written by Guy d’Armen and adapted and retold by Jean-Marc & Randy Lofficier. The book is published by the Lofficier’s Black Coat Press and is available in paperback, nook and kindle formats. The cover is illustrated by Dean Zachary.
Doc Ardan’s full name is Doctor Francis Ardan, he is a french pulp hero created by Guy d’Armen (likely a pen name according to the Lofficier’s) and first appeared in 1928. The City of Gold and Lepers was his first appearance. It was published in the french magazine Science et Voyages from the May 1928 through November 1928 issue.
Doc Ardan first appearance in 1928 pre-dates Doc Savage’s first appearance in 1933, so he wasn’t originally a character who physically resembled Doc Savage, as he does on the covers of the Black Coat Press books. The original artwork shown on the Black Coat Press site kind of depicts him as a traditional explorer. It appears the Lofficier’s leave the possibility open for Doc Ardan to be a young Doc Savage operating under an alias. According to the introduction, Ardan or Ardent (the t being silent in french) means fierce, fiery, wild or savage, which would be a fitting alias. The Lofficier’s also speculate in the forward that Ardan may be related to Michael Ardan from the story From the Earth to the Moon and Gale Arden from the Flash Gordon series.
In this weeks episode I will be discussing two short stories written by Pulp authors that are about Batman. 2014 marks the 75th Anniversary of the Dark Knight Detective. His first appearance was in Detective Comics #27, which first hit the stands on March 30, 1939. Making this past Sunday his 75th birthday. It’s no secret pulp heroes played a major influence in the creation of Batman, but what some people might not know is that two pulp authors have actually written Batman stories. There may be more than these two, but I’m not aware of them. The two pulpsters I am speaking of are Walter Gibson and Isaac Asimov. Walter Gibson’s “The Batman Encounters Gray Face” was published in Detective Comics #500 in March of 1981. I read Isaac Asimov’s “Northwestward” in The Further Adventures of Batman collection edited by Martin H. Greenberg published by Bantam Books in 1989.
In this episode I will be discussing Half Past Danger by Stephen Mooney. It’s comic book mini series published by IDW done in the style of classic pulps and cliffhanger serials of the 30’s and 40’s. The series is a period piece taking place in 1943 and it features many elements that pulp fans will find attractive.
In this episode I will be discussing The Price of Vengeance by Hugh B. Cave. It was first published in the August 1929 issue of Action Stories. It was later reprinted as “The Red Trail to Zanzibar” in the Summer 1950 issue of Jungle Stories, where it was credited to the pseudonym of John Starr, an Adventure House pen name.
The story takes place in the African Jungle and features two men, Bruce Kerman and another man known only as Corony. Corony has been tracking Kerman for 4 years through the African jungle hoping to extract revenge on him for killing his brother. Corony finally tracks him down to a hut just before local natives launch an attack in response to Kerman killing their chief earlier in the day. Kerman and Corony are forced to put aside their differences and join forces to repel the invaders.