Thursday, January 22, 2009

FIGHT KLUB FRIDAY - The new site is open!!!

There is a lot of new stuff to visit on the all new Fight Klub site. The Founding Mentors are testing the site and getting it ready for the general public. There is some fun stuff in there, so here are a few peeks behind the curtain. In a few weeks, the site should be open to everyone.

Some upcoming characters...



Polls to have a say in what cards get made...

And of course, the store. The only place you can buy Fight Klub...

It's getting close... Cards will be on sale in a few weeks. Soon enough we'll have Rambo VS Chuck Norris and Ash Williams VS Jason. There will be six new characters in every set. The Terminator is coming soon, too!

That address isn't working quite yet, but soon it will be. To access the site you will be asked who invited you. That person will be your Mentor. When you get to the door that asks "Who Sent You?", think Spike.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Tannhäuser Tuesday - Lobster Johnson Tokens

Here is an updated version of Lobster Johnson's Two Page Character Sheet. It had numerous aesthetic issues so I have corrected those. The only thing that would affect future game play is the addition of "Pulp Hero" to the card. This will be used in the future to allow the Pulp Heroes to combine into one team. If the occasion arrives, I will do the same for Pulp Villains.

Next week, Savage Tales is on Holiday in Puerto Rico, so look for Tannhäuser Tuesday in two weeks!


© 2009 Peter Miller

My custom additions to Tannhäuser are not created by, distributed, or endorsed by Take on You, Asmodee, or Fantasy Flight. Tannhäuser and all related characters are trademarks of Take on You and © Take on You LTD. Lobster Johnson is trademark and © Mike Mignola. All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Tannhäuser Tuesday - Lobster Johnson

The U-Chronic History
Lobster Johnson

No one knows the true identity of Lobster Johnson, but he has the resources to gather a team of assistants and pay for their warehouse headquarters in his fight against organized crime and Reich saboteurs and spies.

So far, over 100 victims have been found bearing the Mark of the Lobster - a claw insignia burned into their forehead.

As the war lingered on, the Lobster found himself facing the Reich and especially the agents of the Obscura Korps more and more often. Because of this he was eventually contacted by Trevor Bruttenholm and invited to join the newly formed BPRD. The Lobster declined, but has served many missions with the BPRD.

The Lobster is a tough, formidable opponent who can be recruited only by the BPRD, the Union, and other Pulp Heroes. Lobster Johnson is freely available to join the BPRD, however, other factions must pay 1 Victory Point to recruit the Lobster.

In his time with the Union forces, the Lobster has fought on land, sea and air to stop the Reich menace from corrupting American soil.

Lobster Johnson is a pre-painted figure from the Heroclix Indy set and is available for 75 cents or less at many online sellers. I also purchased a few extra D&D minis and popped the Lobster figure off the Clix base and glued him to one of the D&D bases for that Tannhäuser look.

Look out for more BPRD coming soon!!!


© 2008 Peter Miller

My custom additions to Tannhäuser are not created by, distributed, or endorsed by Take on You, Asmodee, or Fantasy Flight. Tannhäuser and all related characters are trademarks of Take on You and © Take on You LTD. Lobster Johnson is trademark and © Mike Mignola. All Rights Reserved.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Brilliant Pulp Illustrator Edd Cartier - RIP

Edd Cartier, best known for illustrating "The Shadow" and "Unknown" magazines for Street & Smith, passed away on Christmas Day. Cartier was 94. In 1936 he graduated from the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. One of his teacher was an Art Director at Street & Smith and offered Cartier illustration work.

When the regular Shadow illustrator left the magazine, Cartier got the job. He kept with the established style drew over 800 illustrations for The Shadow. It wasn't until he got to work on Unknown (more than 200 illustrations) that he could let loose with his own style; clean line work with a bit of humor. It was his sense of whimsey coupled with his realistic style that made his work stand out.

In addition, Cartier illustrated for Astounding Science Fiction (more than 300 illustrations), Wild West Weekly, Movie Action, Detective Story, and (close to my heart) Doc Savage Magazine.

Cartier enlisted in the Army in 1941 and was wounded in the Battle of the Bulge. He earned a Purple Heart and the Bronze Star. After the war Ed Cartier married and had a family. Georgina, his wife of 64 years, passed away in 2007.

Edward Daniel Cartier was a fantastic artist whose work will live on for quite some time to come; especially his art from The Shadow and Doc Savage. Those titles are still in print from Nostalgia Ventures.

Thanks, Edd for all the brilliant work.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Tannhäuser Tuesday - Ikarus Faith-lift

by littlewars

A while back I worked with Plageman to make a character card and tokens for his custom character, Ikarus Faith. There were a couple of graphic errors that always bugged me, so I decided to revisit this and fix up the card. Most of the changes are cosmetic so you can continue to use the old card. You can read all about the origin of Ikarus Faith in my earlier column.

I created a new printable PDF for Ikarus Faith that you can download here.

The new document contains:
• Revised card and token graphics
• Complete rules written by Plageman
• Equipment Pack reference cards

As a bonus this month, I have also made a print friendly PDF of Ikarus Faith's bonus token from my earlier column. It is available here. I really recommend using this if you are going to be playing Ikarus. Compared to the knife, it is a much cooler Hand to Hand weapon.

These custom additions to Tannhäuser are not created by, distributed, or endorsed by Take on You, Asmodee, or Fantasy Flight. Tannhäuser and all related characters are trademarks of Take on You and © Take on You LTD. All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Pulp of the Week - Doc Savage #1

March 1933 - The Man of Bronze

It may be apparent that I am a fan of the Doc Savage character and the series of super-sagas originally published from March 1933 to Summer 1949. 181 issues. That is not a record for pulp characters (the Shadow ran for 325 issues) but that is a lot of stories featuring one character.

Recently I realized that I had not read a Doc Savage novel since, well, before many of you were born. I couldn't remember how far in the series I had read in my youth (book 70ish), so I decided to begin again with the first issue. If I read one a month, I should be able to finish them all in 16 years or so...

Clark Savage, Jr. was created by the publishers of The Shadow working with writer Lester Dent. The Shadow was a big hit and they were looking to create another. Doc was designed to be an unabashed good guy. Created in the Great Depression, Doc symbolized the hopes and dreams of many young men. He was smart, handsome, strong, fast, and rich. On the covers of the original pulps, Clark Gable was the visual inspiration for Doc.

Doc is considered by many to be the first super-hero. He is superhuman; but just barely. He is a little faster, stronger, and smarter than almost anyone else. His courage and confidence are unmatched.

One of the things that I really like about this story is that even though this is the first issue of a 181 episode series, there isn't a lot of exposition. The components for the series are already there. The characters have a life together, a history. Doc and the fantastic five, his group of friends from the Great War, are already a team. Clark Savage, Jr. is already Doc Savage. He and his friends already have deep bonds.

Doc's father was responsible for the offices on the 86th floor of an unnamed building in Manhattan. Doc and his friends have already had a number of adventures. However, in this first story, they become the group dedicating their lives to Doc and his mission. We could do far worse than to live by his ideals.

The Doc Savage Motto
"Let me strive every moment of my life to make myself better and better, to the best of my ability, that all may profit by it.
Let me think of the right and lend all my assistance to those who need it, with no regard for anything but justice.

Let me take what comes with a smile, without loss of courage.

Let me be considerate of my country, of my fellow citizens and my associates in everything I say and do.

Let me do right to all, and wrong no man."

This first issue is where the never-ending battle begins. This is where Doc steps out of the shadow of his famous father and onto the path he has trained his whole life to walk. He has performed a daily training regimen his whole life; two hours of grueling isometrics, mental exercises, and sensory challenges.

This first novel in the Doc Savage saga sets up the series nicely. Doc arrives in New York to meet with Clark Savage, Sr, his father. He arrives too late; his globetrotting adventurer father has been killed by mysterious means and a sniper-rifle toting Mayan means to kill Clark, Jr. next.

There is a terrific chase in the scaffolding of a skyscraper under construction that leads out onto the streets of Manhattan. Then we witness a taste of the scientific methods Savage employs. Clark's father has left a mysterious note (visible only by ultraviolet light) and some papers giving young Savage title to some Central America land in the small republic of Hidalgo.

Savage and his men travel via one of Savage's private planes:
"The approximately 900 mile flight to Miami they made in something more than 5 hours, thanks to the tremendous speed of Doc's superplane."

Doc and his men travel to Hidalgo, a small Central America republic. Here Clark seeks out the answers to his fathers mysterious legacy in a secret valley. Hidden by savage terrain, accessible only by air, the Valley of the Vanished holds all the secrets Doc is seeking.

I had forgotten just how good Lester Dent's writing is. Doc is not an emotionless automaton, a man without feeling. Rather, he is a man of morals and high ideals. He deals with logic to solve his problems, but shows a bit of emotion, too. He embraces adventure, accepting the danger but using everything in his power to mitigate that danger. He is not without feelings or attraction to the ladies; but he knows how dangerous his work is and chooses to avoid romance.

This first yarn is full of exciting scenes. Doc and his men chase a Mayan assassin up the scaffolding at the very top of the Empire State Building. A beach side shootout with a sniper shooting holes in the pontoons of Doc's plane. There are chases and deadly traps and escapes from certain death. We meet the good Mayan King Chaac and his lovely daughter Princess Monja who has eyes for Clark, Jr. There is a surprising amount of story for a 120 page novel. Mind you, this is not Pulitzer winning prose, it is Pulp at its finest. The characterization is not deep, but we start to see who these people are.

I am so glad I decided to start at the beginning because there is so much I had forgotten from reading this in my teens.

I give this novel a score of 10 out of 10.

For this review I read my copy of the Bantam paperback - 7th printing circa 1973. For some unknown reason, the Bantam paperbacks and the 2-in-1 reprints do not follow the original publication order. I would recommend reading the stories in their published order.

I highly recommend the Doc Savage stories. You can find the reprints from Nostalgia Ventures at Barnes and Noble or at Ebay and used book shops all over the internet. On Nostalgia Ventures online store they are having a special deal where they will send you 1 (random) slightly blemished issue for the cost of shipping.

The Nostalgia Ventures Reprint Front and back cover of Issue #14 (containing Pulp issues #1 and #2).

I have also recently discovered a fun gallery of Custom Doc Savage Bantam Paperback Covers by Keith at Monsterverse. Here are a few of my favorites:

© 2009 W. Peter Miller