Sunday, August 21, 2016

Pulp of the Week - The Explorers Guild Vol.1

The Explorer's Guild Volume One

 Illustrated by RICK ROSS

The 2015 novel, The Explorers Guild is a beautiful book written by Jon Baird with input and collaboration by actor / director Kevin Costner. It is extensively illustrated by Rick Ross. The book is a 770 page hardcover and a thing of beauty. The story follows a young Corporal Buchan in the waning days of the Great War. He is in the Cavalry, and sent on a mission that goes far beyond anything he could have imagined. There are secret cities, treacherous voyages, dashing flappers, secret passages, majestic airships and villainous rogues.

The book mixes images and text freely is a wonderful way. The text and art really do support each other well and both are used to drive the narrative forward.
While the book is thick at 770 pages, the narrative moves at a breakneck pace and the art is used brilliantly to save text and enhance the experience. It is not either a graphic novel or a traditional novel, but it is a wonderful book. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I picked it up on the discount table at Barnes and Noble, autographed!

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Savage Tale - Seven Tigers


Art - Mike Fyles

July 17, 1934

The first tiger surprised Helene Vaughn. The young aviatrix was trying on outfits in a small dressing room at the Robinson’s department store in Beverly Hills. She put on a cute Tartan plaid skirt and short-sleeved white top she hoped to wear to her pal Martha Mansfield’s birthday party. She opened the dressing room door to get the sales girl’s opinion.

The girl wasn’t there.

A tiger looked up at Helene and snarled. Helene screamed, jumped back, and slammed the door in the beast’s face. 
Moments later she heard the sales girl come running, “What’s the problem, Miss…?” The young woman screamed - apparently she saw the problem - screamed again, and ran off.

Helene grabbed her purse, stepped up on the dressing room bench and peeked over the thin wall. The tiger sniffed at the crack under the door. Helene’s eyes were as big as saucers. She moved to the side and looked over the wall into the neighboring changing room.

An older woman looked up at Helene indignantly, “Do you mind?”

Helene said, “No, not really.” She looked back in her changing room and saw tiger paws pulling at the flimsy changing room door. Helene turned back and smiled at the woman below her and said, “I’ll need your room for a minute…”

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

The Clark Tyler

In the spirit of my pulp adventure hero, Clark Tyler, I have created a cocktail in his honor. Try one next time you're reading a pulp or listening to your favorite radio drama.

Juice 1/2 a Grapefruit
Juice 1 Mineola Orange (3 Tangerines may substitute)
Juice 1/2 Lime
1 Tablespoon Raw Sugar
2 Shots Tequila

Put 6 Ice Cubes in a Shaker
Pour in all the liquids and the sugar
Cap the shaker and shake like Capone is on your tail.
Pour into a tall glass and enjoy!!!

Goes great with Mexican food and Film Noir

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Pulp of the Week - Doc Savage - Nov 1936

November 1936 - Resurrection Day

Resurrection Day is a unique Doc Savage adventure for many reasons. The tale begins when Doc's five men print an announcement in all the nations' morning newspapers. The message urges the nation to look to the next day's papers for an announcement from Doc Savage. The next editions include an announcement that Doc Savage will address the nation on radio that evening. Finally, the bronze man himself speaks directly to the American people: "It is in my power to bring a dead man back to life. Only one man may be brought back to life." One person from all of history is to be chosen. Doc Savage has come forward to the public to let them have a say in who is to be resurrected.

While the public debates which person would be most worthy, and the choices are wide ranging, Doc must make the final decision. Due to the nature of creating this elixer of life, it has taken Doc 10 or more years to make enough to revive just one person. A blue ribbon panel has been chosen and after lengthy discussion, they have selected Soloman.

Well, as can be expected in a Doc Savage story, things go awry and a nefarious party swaps mummies for one of their choosing - an ancient king who's vast treasure has spent millennia hidden from even the greatest of treasure hunters and this is the man resurrected.

There is a chase and great discovery, action and thrills, that lead to ancient ruins and danger, excitement, and death.

This is a pretty good tale and I'll give it an 8.5 out of 10.

The pulp cover is by Walter Baumhofer and the paperback cover is one of James Bama's best for the series.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Pulp of the Week - Doc Savage Aug, Sept, Oct 1936

Well - Life has interrupted this blog….

While I haven’t been posting, I still have been reading (slowly) more Doc Savage stories. Here are some mini reports…

The Midas Man - August 1936 - Bantam #46

This adventure is most notable for having a mind reading helmet that actually works.

There is a scene where a couple of crooks discuss what happened to a crook friend that got caught by Savage. “There’s a rumor that he don’t ever kill anybody,” explained the crook. “But he does something queer to ‘em. I know this guy that had a brother that this bronze guy got. My pal later met his own brother on the street. The poor guy didn’t even know him.” 

Also Doc gas bombs a building and later has the police check on it to be sure that no one is injured (he doesn’t mention that he was the one that gassed the building, however.

At one point Ham gets hit by a bullet. “Ham’s head swam. Awful lights jumped in his eyeballs.” He was ok due to his bulletproof vest, but I liked the detail.

James Bama provided an evocative cover - the helmet is wonderfully low tech.

Cold Death - September 1936 - Bantam #21

Writer Laurence Donovan brings back the Cold Light from Land of Always Night as a horrible weapon that destroys a whole city block in Manhattan.

 South Pole Terror - October 1936 - Bantam #77

Doc and crew chase down a world threatening weapon at the South Pole. A good story by Dent and the paperback has a Fred Pfeiffer cover that also graces The Stone Man.

next up - back to full reviews

Monday, September 15, 2014

Pulp of the Week - Doc Savage 41

July 1936 - The Black Spot

The Black Spot starts while Pat Savage is attending a costume party with a mobster theme at the ritzy Vandersleeve estate in tony Westchester. The party is so high profile and the guest list so exclusive that a newsreel cameraman is present. When the host is killed, Pat and cameraman Red Mahoney are witnesses and get involved in a real gangster mystery.

The Black Spot is a New York centered tale of villainous intentions penned by Laurence Donovan. A killer has invented an vicious and most mysterious murder technique that leaves the victim dead with only a small black spot on their chest. The killings start out in the ritzi suburbs of the Westchester hills outside of Manhattan. The black spot killer quickly moves to Manhattan and continues to target the super-rich.

This is a much smaller-scale story than Donovan's previous effort, but ultimately far more satisfying. There is tension here, and Donovan writes the team well, with a satisfying, exciting finish. My favorite non-Dent Doc Adventure thus far.

The pulp cover is by Walter Baumhofer and the Bantam paperback cover is by Fred Pfeiffer. I'll give The Black Spot a 9 out of 10.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Pulp of the Week - Indiana Jones and the Peril at Delphi

Indiana Jones and the Peril at Delphi
by Rob MacGregor

There is a great used book store called Movie World in downtown Burbank that stocks a mountain of books including plenty of Science Fiction paperbacks. The SF books cover a wall ten feet high and fifteen feet wide. In some spots they are shelved 3 books deep.

One day last year I decided to pay attention to the novelizations that were stacked horizontally by the door. The Indiana Jones novels caught my eye and took a look at them. They were not novelizations, but original stories. I bought a pile of them that were written by Rob MacGregor.

Indiana Jones and the Peril at Delphi is the first of MacGregor's books. The bulk of the story takes place in 1922, but flashes back two years briefly for some antics at his college graduation.

MacGregor's series follows graduate student Jones on an adventure that takes him from the dawn of the jazz age in Paris, to the ruins of Greece, and into an adventure and romance or two. As the title states, Indy ends up in Delphi where famous oracles in the ancient past would enter the caves, breathe in mystical vapors and emerge having received prophetic visions.

Indy has been hired (possibly just seduced) into following professor Dorian Belecamus to Greece and into a political, ethical, and potentially fatal web of deceit and betrayal.

Author MacGregor writes a great tale that despite Indy being college age, really feels like an Indiana Jones story, not a Young Indy story. He weaves in a few character building bits and by the end of the tale,  Grad Student Henry Jones, Jr is one step closer to being the Indy that we know and love.

I highly recommend Indiana Jones and the Peril at Delphi. It also features a great cover by Drew Struzan, the fantastic movie poster artist, that did the Raiders One-Sheet and so many more. His cover contributes considerably to setting the tone that this is Indiana Jones. I give the book 8.5 out of 10.