Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!


The Savage Tales Blog

art by Uchronic Cover Artist

Sunday, December 23, 2012

 Uchronic Tales: The Studio Specter is now available!

The Uchronic Press is proud to release Uchronic Tales: The Studio Spectre. This action packed novella by W. Peter Miller (Jungle Tales Vol. One) features cover art by Mike Fyles (Amazing Spider-Man, Iron Man Noir.)

Investigator Clark Tyler is joined by a new hero—The Jade Monk—as they are thrust behind the scenes and into the line of fire in Hollywood's Golden Age.

A spirit is on the loose and terrorizing the cast and crew of The Mayan Mummy and it is up to these unlikely allies to get to the bottom of the secrets behind… The Studio Spectre.

The third exciting pulp adventure featuring Ace Insurance investigator Clark Tyler is now available in ebook form on the following platforms:

The iBook and Sony stores should follow soon... 

Now, I'm waiting for the printed proofs to arrive and it they are ok then Amazon will be selling the printed version as well.

Pick the cover contest winners Bixby and Erwin will each be getting one of those proofs.

Here is a look at the front and back of the final cover layout and you will notice that I used both covers for the printed version!

Next up - Uchronic Tales: The Claim - it all comes full circle as I finally release the expanded version of the first thing I wrote that got me into this whole pulp writing thing.

Pulp is back, bigtime!

The genre of Pulp, the fiction with no genre, is making strong inroads in many aspects of pop culture. This is most apparent to the public at large in comics. The number of new and classic pulp characters that are available in new adventures in comics and prose fiction on a monthly basis is staggering. Here is a partial list:

New Characters:

Lobster Johnson
Avengers 1959
Atomic Robo
Jim Broadmore's Lord Cockswain
Mystery Men
The Black Beetle
Athena Voltaire
League of Extraordinary Gentlemen
Tom Strong

Comics Publishers
Prose Publishers
My Uchronic Tales series
Wild Cat Books
Find Many New Pulp publishers here...

Classic Characters:

John Carter / Dejah Thoris
Red Sonja
Green Hornet
Lone Ranger
Masks (team up of Shadow, Green Hornet, Kato, The Spider, Black Bat, Miss Fury, Black Terror, Green Lama)
Sherlock Holmes

Doc Savage
Green Hornet
Captain Midnight
Captain Action
Moon Man
Secret Agent X
Lone Ranger

So get out there are read some New Pulp

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Presentation Review - The Hobbit Imax HFR 3D

Tonight I screened The Hobbit at the AMC Burbank in Imax HFR 3D. (HFR= High Frame Rate) How was it? The movie is good, but long. With getting there early enough to get a good seat I was sitting there from 6:45 to 10:10. That's 3 hours and 25 minutes. 

Ahhh, you ask (or maybe not), but how was the presentation? Did the image look good? The 3D? Did the scenes look video-ish? The Hobbit was shot at 48 frames per second in 3D with the Red Epic camera and presented in Imax 4K. So how does the image stand up to a big screen, a silver screen at that?

The Imax passive 3D requires polarized glasses, which is not great considering I already wear eyeglasses, however, it is less cumbersome than the shutter glasses that Imax had used in the past.

The 3D is very good throughout, immersive and at times wonderous. However, the texture of the silver screen gives the bright areas a gritty texture (which is true of all polarized 3D). Unfortunately, shutter glass 3D is not succeeding like polarized, so everything is on a silver screen which results in a bright spot ("hot spot") in the center of the screen and that grittyness to the bright scenes.

Addressing the HFR - there is definitely something odd going on with the bright scenes and the 48fps. I don't know if I was convincing myself, or if I was actually seeing it, but in daylight skies and other very bright scenes I felt I could see the edgyness of the pixels - like TV scan lines. The overly bright sequences were mostly in the early parts of the movie, but as soon as we were in darker interiors, the movie looked great.

I have seen 70mm at 60fps and that indeed looks spectacular. The film grain just goes away and you are left with a beautiful image. Here, the 48fps images (provided they were not dominated by bright or white) looked great. The 3D was as good as I have seen it - well done and immersive. This is probably the best I have seen since Avatar, again probably due to the high res 4k image, but certainly the 48fps probably helped there.

My verdict? I think the 4k is reason enough to see the Imax version or the AMC ETX version and I would approve of the 3D as well. I would have to see it again to compare the ETX 3D to the HFR 3D to see if there really is a big difference. But... as I said, the 3D in the 48fps version was excellent.

The movie is good, the cast stellar, but keep in mind that this is part one of three... If you are a fan of BBCs Sherlock, the actors that play Holmes and Watson are both in the film.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Pulp of the Week - Rocketeer: Cargo of Doom

Rocketeer Cargo of Doom

The Rocketeer: Cargo of Doom
Rocketeer created by Dave Stevens
Written by Mark Waid
Art by Chris Samnee
Color by Jordie Bellaire

The miniseries, Rocketeer: Cargo of Doom recently finished its run from IDW Comics and man is this a fun read. This mini-series introduces a new character to the team, Peavy's niece, Sally. She's a spunky teenager with a knack for both flying and mechanics. The story starts when an aircraft inspector is in flight with Sally and he gets a bit fresh and the plane gets in trouble and Cliff has to bail her out.


I enjoyed Cargo of Doom and I am happy the Rocketeer is back! I'll give the graphic novel an 8 out of 10 - very good, but things can get better and I hope they will as IDW continues with new adventures of the Rocketeer!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Pulp of the Week - Doc Savage #35

Doc 1936.01
January 1936 - Murder Mirage

Murder Mirage is one of the longer Doc Savage novels - 153 pages. The opening of this excellent novel by Laurence Donovan is classic pulp. It is the night of July 4th in Manhattan. The wind turns cold and snow begins to fall. The National Weather service calls it, "An all time mark in freakish weather." They are stymied and Doc and his team are watching with a careful eye. There is a full crew in this story - Doc, Renny, Long Tom, Johnny, Monk, Ham, and Pat Savage.

After a chase, a woman is subjected to a bizarre flash of light and then she is gone - vanished or vaporized. However, in the large plate glass window of  a music store, her dying form is frozen forever in time in the glass. The pulp cover illustrates Doc removing the image for safe keeping.

The story follows a villainous crew of Bedouins and gangsters from New York to the Middle East. The racism in this novel is more that many of the others and targets the middle easterner with some nasty stereotypes that haven't necessarily disappeared from popular fiction even today.

Murder Mirage utilizes yet another airship - a needle of a thing with no gondola hanging below. This one is streamlined for speed. (Doc must have warehouses full of airships - there have been at least 3 destoyed - one only a few issues earlier) This airship makes the transatlantic flight to the Syrian back-country in the Middle East. There the crew faces grave peril and emerges victorious.

Some things that stuck out to me - the word weasel is used in two paragraphs out of three; first in this quote - "The furtive youth that had been holding his hand under his coat was getting away with the speed of a weasel." Later, "The hammer-throwing weasel put on a burst of speed."

There are several uses of the word, "ferengi" which is described to mean foreigner in Arabic. Certainly the Star Trek writers knew this...

Here is a fun sentence - "The black fog of the morning in New York could not be compared to the pall that swiftly shrouded the silver sliver."

It is also revealed that Doc and Monk have devised a synthetic lifting gas that is "nonflammable and had greater lifting power than either helium or hydrogen." Well, no wonder Doc loved his airships.

I'll give Laurence Donovan's Murder Mirage an 8.5 out of 10 for the great opening and an exciting finish. The Pulp cover is by Walter Baumhofer and the Bantam Paperback (#71) is a wonderfully moody piece by Fred Pfeifer.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Pulp of the Week - The Burning Hand

Cover art by Mike Mignola with Dave Stewart

The second Lobster Johnson graphic novel is out in one volume and it is a good one. Set concurrently with my own "The Horn," in 1932, this book sees mobsters in New York pitted against the Lobster and his crew. 

However, since this is the Hellboy universe, it is not that easy and the gangsters have some unusual help. Throw in a plucky reporter and a mess of bullets and you get a pile of fun.

Gangster Arnie Wald is looking to make a killing in real estate by killing. All is going fine with his "haunted Indian burial ground" scheme until the Lobster steps in and reporter Cindy Tynan starts digging around. When the 'Indians' turn out to be gangsters, Wald brings in some help. Some 'Weird Tales' kind of help. Well, this being a Mignola universe story, you had to know that was coming.

There is some major mayhem and a bit of tragedy as the story unfolds. I really dig these Lobster Johnson stories. They have the perfect blend of horror, macabre, character, and pulp action.

I am pleased as can be with the New Pulp action in comics and books that is happening. There is more New Pulp than I can afford at this point, so I can pick and choose - but that is the topic of a future article.

Buy all things Lobster! Support New Pulp in comics and in prose.

For this review I read The Burning Hand trade paperback. The story is by Mike Mignola and John Arcudi. The Art is by Tonci Zonjic and the color is by Dave Stewart.

I'll give The Burning Hand a 9 out of 10. Check it out.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Pulp of the week - Wonderstruck

The beautiful Wonderstruck is written and illustrated by Brian Selznick in the same style as his brilliant The Invention of Hugo Cabret. Wonder Struck ties together museums, silent films, wolves, loneliness, and dioramas with charm, grace and heart.

The tales follows two stories - one in the 1920's and one that is contemporary. In the modern story a boy from Michigan travels to New York searching for the secrets of his past and his identity. He soon finds that a Wolf Diorama in the New York Natural History Museum holds to the key to his identity.

In the past, the daughter of a flapper is struggling with similar issues and soon the two stories seems locked on a collision course.

The prose is lovely and the story touching. The art is, like in Hugo, sublime. It is the intersection of the two and the placement of the art pages with the text that makes Selznick's work so wonderfully compelling. At times the tension is so tight that you blast through the art and soak in the images eager to see what that next page turn will bring. The control Selznick has with the pacing, by controlling the reader with the art when needed and the text to slow down, to add detail, is brilliant.

Selznick seems to pick topics that I love (natural history museums and the early days of cinema) so I am sure that adds to my joy, but I think it would be the rare reader that would not be charmed by Wonder Struck.

I'll give Wonder Struck a 9 out of 10. This is another brilliant book.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Pulp of the Week - Doc Savage #34

The Fantastic Island - December 1935

Written by Ryerson Johnson and Lester Dent

What do I love about the Pulps? Stories like this one…

Take an island in the Galapagos, add escaped Russian royalty, Komodo Dragons, and an active volcano… what do you get?

Pure Pulp Goodness - that's what Johnson and Dent gave us in The Fantastic Island. The story begins with an expedition led by Johnny disappearing in the vicinity of the Galapagos Islands. Something happens to him and the Pat Savage, Monk, and Ham just happen to be on a yacht on vacation in Panama, so they head off to find Johnny

There is an attempt to make a big deal out of a mysterious hole that appears periodically punching through people's skulls… This reveal was particularly uninspired. The best parts were The set up and the locale was quite evocative. There were good character bits when Johnny, Monk, and Ham were thrown into pits and forced to dig. Pat was taken to a castle on the mountainside where a Russian expat attempted to woo her. An ever-present active volcano added a nice ticking clock - I'll have to remember that one - and Pat Savage is always welcome.

Once again, Bantam's release order baffles me. The end of Fantastic Island (Bantam paperback #15) leads directly into the beginning of Murder Melody (Bantam #14.) All the Doc stories have a paragraph at the end and usually they were cut by Bantam. But not this one, so why not just publish them in the same order as originally published? If you read the Bantams in order, you couldn't help but notice.

Other things of note - Doc has a mechanical doppelganger  called "Robbie the Robot!" This is the first known instance of the name. There are some scenes in this one where Doc gets Savage like he did in the early days. There is a cool crab swarm attack. I loved this phrase as a huge candelabra is knocked around - "Candles showered down, their flames whipping like tiny comets."  There was a well written end of the 2nd act summary that launched us right into the third act.

On the whole this was a good, but not great story. I'll give it a 7 out of 10. The Bantam cover is by James Bama and the Pulp Cover is by Walter Baumhofer. The interior illustrations from the pulp are by Paul Orban. I have linked this art from Chris Kalb's site.


Given all the crazy set up, I was disappointed that the horrible monsters ended up being 'merely' extra large iguanas. In the story (as in life), these beasts can be 10 feet long and weigh 150 pounds which is double the normal size. That's kimodo dragon size. I was hoping for triple size, massive, lost dinosaur stuff, but they went with a realistic choice - especially after the utterly fantastic elements in Murder Melody. I guess I'll see if this becomes a trend. This story was only missing Renny and Chemistry has yet to show up again. Phew.

NaNoWriMo - Day 4 report - B.O.T.

Day 4 - 6050 words.

Hey kids, it's that time of year again. Though I skipped last year, this year I am writing a novel from beginning to end in a month as part of the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) event. The goal is to write a 50,000+ word novel in the month of November. That's an average of 1666 words per day.

I'm doing OK considering I didn't write much the first day. I am only about 600 words behind. 

Shocking Announcement 1 - I am not writing pulp.
S. A. 2 - I have no outline. I wrote up a bunch of character bios and did some world building and figured out a basic plot. This is seat of the pants writing.

The book is called B.O.T. and guess what? Yep, it's about big (15-20 foot) fighting robots. Well, they're not really robots, they're more like two legged tanks, with a pilot at the controls. The world is kinda a cross between Mad Max and VOTOMS.

B.O.T. is a Young Adult Science Fiction Novel.

Free copy of the book (when finished) to the person who can correctly name the full, unabreviated title of the book.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Pulp of the Week - Death Star

Japanese Book Cover that I like better as it highlights main characters.

Death Star
by Michael Reaves and Steve Perry - 2007

Death Star takes place in the moments just before and during the events of the original Star Wars - you know, the real one where Luke blows up the Death Star with a proton torpedo shot through a tiny vent the size of a womp rat.

What is interesting about this story is that the heroes of the original story are only minor characters here. The Imperial characters are the leads, especially Grand Moff Tarkin and Darth Vader. Leia is also featured.

One of the unique features of the book is that in each of the first twenty chapters a new character is introduced. These include (in no particular order) a bar owner, her bouncer, a prison guard, an architect, a smuggler, a librarian, an ace TIE Fighter pilot, a doctor, and the Superlaser trigger-man.

The tales follows the construction of the Death Star and follows through its life and death. I appreciated that the events of the original movie are not retold (mostly). The book sees those events through other eyes, and shows the effects of them on the characters. I liked the second half of the book far better than the first, but it is tough introducing that many characters without just having a lot of exposition. Once everyone is in place, the story hauls ass.

As I was reading, I first thought the book would be the story of the creation of the Deathstar, but it went farther that that and the characters were forced to consider their part in the war and the in the Empire and make some tough choices. If the authors, Reaves and Perry, had faltered here, the book would have been a bit of a dud. However, as the stakes grew higher, and the choices tougher, the book got better and better.

Grand Moff Tarkin is a strong presence throughout the story and he is written as a ruthless, driven man. Human, but heartless (almost) and played well. Tarkin is somewhat irritated by the presence of the Emperor's domineering foot soldier, Vader. But Tarkin is believable and well written. However, as with Vader, our sense memory of the film's classic performances by James Earl Jones, David Prowse, and Peter Cushing (?) help enormously with the characterizations. Especially Tarkin, who is given some backstory and relationships that are new (to me, anyway.)

This book takes place after Death Troopers and before (and during) Star Wars (the one you younger folks call A New Hope. To me it will always be Star Wars.) I would give Death Star a 7, but the last third gets an 8.5. This is a fun read.

There was one boneheaded reference in the book where there is a blaster battle in a Death Star corridor and reference is made to the walls and floor being coated with a substance that prevents blaster fire from going through to other levels. I think the Empire might have won the war had they used this coating on their storm trooper armor...

For this review I read the hardcover novel from the Burbank Public Library. I'll give Death Star a 7.5 out of 10 for the weird every chapter is a new character for the first half of the book, but an 8.5 overall. This was a fun read and I'll be reading more Star Wars novels.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

New York Comic Con Saturday

On to Saturday... VERY crowded throughout the con. Artists Alley was very crowded, the IGN theater was always full, and the cosplay was over the top. They were everywhere, and it really helps make a con fun.

And the demographics - I think in 10 years I have watched cons have go from 90% male to (at least at NYCC) over half female. The cosplayers and steampunkers are all very much gender equal, if not leaning heavier to female. I like the trend and I hope that adding half the population as potential readers will help sustain the comics industry. 

Twilight, Hunger Games, Doctor Who, and Harry Potter are major contributors to the gender balancing trend.And here are the pictures...

The Javits Convention Center in Manhatten
The calm before the Saturday onslaught.

The first panel of the day for me was for Sega's upcoming game for PS3 and X-Box 360 - Aliens: Colonial Marines - the authorized Alien universe sequel to James Cameron's Aliens. Fox considers the content of the game as part of the official canon of the Aliens universe. These fan Marines were ready and the man on the right had a fully articulated Smart Gun. Great stuff.

Lance Henriksen was a surprise guest. As you can see the fans were thrilled. He told lots of stories about Aliens and the game uses quite a few of the actors whose characters survived the events of Aliens. It was great to see him again since it had been so long since I edited him in Nature of the Beast. Lance is a great guy and a great actor.

No costume, just had cosplayers sign him...

Bruce Campbell came out for the Evil Dead (reboot) panel to massive applause. The footage played great as well.

Bruce Campbell and Jane Levy
Here's the scoop on the Aliens: Colonial Marines Collectors Edition. It releases Feb 12th and this fancy edition is $100...

Farewell, NYC! Maybe I'll be back again next year!