Monday, December 15, 2008

Pulp of the Week - High Adventure #100

High Adventure Magazine #100

This is the first issue of High Adventure that I have read, despite its 17 year history. I don't know how I missed it all this time; perhaps my recently renewed interest in pulps finally forced me to notice John Gunnison's terrific pulp reprint magazine from Adventure House.

Mr. Gunnison went all out in the 100th issue, with 11 adventure tales by some of the best writers in pulp. I don't know how many different fiction magazines were being published during the pulp era, but Gunnison draws from 10 of them in 7 genres for this issue. In the back of the magazine is a list of all the stories published in the first hundred issues of High Adventure. I will have to get my hands on some of those issues. They are full of adventures unread...

My favorite stories were:

Shanghaied Mitts by Robert E. Howard (writing as Mark Adam) originally published in the Summer 1939 issue of Fight Stories. Howard has such a gift of character and dialect. This is the story of a tough brawling sailor that is shanghaied out of a bar in rural costal Mexico. He is convinced (given no choice) by the cowboys that kidnapped him to fight their miner rivals champion.

An excerpt:
At that I gave a roar of rage and heaved up, upsetting the table and a couple of cow-hands. "You low-down land-sharks," I roared. "You doped my grog!" "Grab him boys!" yelled Slim, and three or four nabbed me. But I throwed 'em off like chaff and caught Slim on the chin with a clout that sprawled him on the back of his neck. I socked Red on the nose and it smashed like a tomater, and at this instant Pete belted me over the head with a gun-barrel. With a maddened howl, I turned on him, and he gasped, turned pale and dropped the gun for some reason or other. I sunk my left mauler to the wrist in his midriff, and about that time six or seven of them cow-punchers jumped on my neck and throwed me by sheer weight of manpower. I got Yuma's thumb in my mouth and nearly chawed it off, but they managed to sling some ropes on me, and the drug, from which I was already weak and groggy, took full effect about this time and I passed clean out.

The Lost Legionnaire by Norman Daniels originally published in the December 1938 issue of 12 Adventure Stories. In this tale of the French foreign legion fighting in North Africa, a young amnesiac American comes under suspicion of being a spy. Who he was or where he came from, he cannot remember. But clearly, he was a soldier. They call him Legionnaire Smith. His rival is the treacherous Sergeant LaFond. But when Smith is accused of being a traitor, selling the Legion out to the Arabs, Smith slowly starts to remember his past and who he was has everything to do with saving the French Foreign Legion.

The Everglades Horror by Hugh B. Cave originally published in the January 1937 issue of Thrilling Mystery. This is my first Cave story. I know of him, but had never read any of his works prior to this. Blasphemy, I know... The Everglades Horror is the story of one horrifying night for Ed Baker when his girlfriend goes missing in the swamp.

An excerpt:
"He slammed the brake down abruptly. Behind him in the darkness a man was screaming horribly. The high flat voice rode eerily through the night. Ed Baker flung the car door open and leaped out. Black mud clung to his boots as he ploughed past the machine and went stumbling down the road toward the screaming thing. But he couldn't see the thing. He guessed it must be a negro with who he had exchanged words only a moment before, but nothing in that Cimmerian dark was visible. Then suddenly there was something. It was not Leke Kendall. It was not human. It was a huge, ungainly mass of glowing vapor advancing sluggishly through the dark. The screams of terror seemed to be coming from a focal point in the murk toward which the uncanny monster was creeping."

Agents of Doom by Robert Leslie Bellem originally published in the December 1940 issue of Detective Novels Magazine. Bellem created popular hard boiled dick, Dan Turner which premiered in Spicy Detective magazine. He later wrote for the George Reeve Superman TV show as well as Perry Mason show, 77 Sunset Strip and others. Here he turns in a story about a falsely disgraced test pilot named Dan Luther that is blackmailed into delivering a squadron of bombers to America's enemies. Part of what I enjoyed about the story is that much of the action takes place within a few miles of my home. I also like how Luther gets himself out of the jam.

I also liked:

The Bull's-Eye Ace by Arch Whitehouse originally published in the February 1941 issue of Sky Aces. I liked this story, but it ends so suddenly I wondered if a page was missing. I am interested in more pulp stories of the air aces of the Great War.

Let Me Forget by Jean Francis Webb originally published in the November 1935 issue of Sweetheart Stories. I almost didn't read this as it is the "love story" of the issue, but it turned out to be a well written story of love lost and then almost found again.

She Herded Him Around by E. Hoffman Price from Spicy Western Stories February 1941 is about a cowboy that won't let women get the best of him until a particularly attractive and wily one does.

My favorite quote:
She wore a filmy garment over a lace paneled gown; the two garments together wouldn't have been enough to wad a shotgun.

All in all this issue is jam-packed with adventure from many genres of the Pulp Era. Editor John P. Gunnison has put together a great magazine. I just picked up the newest issue, #103 containing two tales of Ki-Gor, a Tarzanesque character. Until next time, keep reading and keep adventure alive!

No comments: