Besides posting book reviews, once in a while I will be posting articles on the subject of pulps. I hope we can generate more interest for the Blog. If you would like to share an article on the pulps, you can send me a message in the Comments of a post.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Another Gotham Round Table

Another Gotham Round Table

The Pulp Hermit: More visitors so soon after my last old friends left, I’m beginning to feel very honored by so many of my heroes stopping in. While we are talking about the old days, I thought I would bring something up that is becoming more common today, and that is young, impressionable fans becoming masked vigilantes and roaming the streets to fight crime. I knew an idiot, and I use the term politely for this guy, who used to call me long distance in the 1970s and tell me that at night he was wearing his Shadow cape and hat into the crime-ridden areas of his city to watch for criminal activity. He lived in a large city, which had many murders, rapes, robberies, and gang activity. I would tell the guy to hang the outfit in his closet and stay off the street. I’m wondering what my guests think about this current situation. Costumes are readily available at many costume stores online, and it’s giving ideas to impressionable kids.

The Crimson Mask: I think you’re asking the wrong heroes, my friend. We see this on television all the time, and are aware of the phenomenon ourselves. Our magazines sold little gimmicks to our fans – rings, Club Membership Cards, etc., but we never encouraged little boys and girls to put themselves in danger. I gave them lemon drops in my drugstore, not masks and guns!

The Masked Detective: My masked brother is correct. From what I have seen on the news, the costumes are comic book oriented. Super heroes may think a bullet would bounce off their flesh and bone body, and they are able to leap tall buildings, but that happens only in comic books. Those who read our exciting adventures in the pulps know that we were human. Even though we had special training, we could still be hurt. Did you bring any lemon drops with you, brother?

The Green Ghost: That Marvel comic book guy started a lot of this with a television show about super heroes a while back. Now these young people think they can be real super heroes and battle evildoers. Their ideals may be honorable, but not only may they be breaking the law, but they may cause more harm than good. My advise to them is leave crime fighting to the police. They are equipped to handle these situations. Have you seen my latest magic trick?

New Masked Guy: Looking up from a Mighty Mouse comic book: Did y’all watch Sponge Bob this morning?

The Pulp Hermit: The first question was indeed a serious subject. I bought all the best Golden Age comic books when I was a kid, and was lucky to unload them for a fortune when I grew up. Sure, I put on capes and jumped off porches, pretending I could fly, and I lived on Skidrow for three years, but I never thought about fighting the crime on that street! The sale of all those comic books gave me enough money to buy my true love, the pulps. I think that at some point children should grow out of comic books, and leave the capes and tights in a closet. But to move on, for my second question, how do you feel about new authors updating your stories to modern sensibilities?

The Crimson Mask: Good grief, there is a pile of our stories still untold. Why tell new ones with so-called modern sensibilities? So far, I’ve only seen one new author spin one of my adventures, and he didn’t do too badly. But I have to admit, I’m afraid of what some will do to my companions and me. How can modern sensibilities apply to sixty years ago?

The Masked Detective: Like CM, there’s only been one new adventure for me too, and it was okay. Although I am all for new adventures, I honestly wish there was someway we could keep control of who writes our stories. You know, make sure they do us proud, not turning us into comic book caricatures of our true selves. We belong in the period of the 1930s and ‘40s, and the world was a lot different back then. Why update, just create your own characters. Geez, leave us alone!

The Green Ghost: My distinguished brothers haven’t fared too badly as yet. Like them, I have had one new story written by a modern writer, which was okay. But there was also a horrible comic book caricature of me. For some reason, modern writers and artists want to change us into something we aren’t, and never were. I agree with MD, we need a tighter control on how we are presented to the modern readers. Unfortunately, that will never happen, so I only hope new writers will study our old cases before trying to update us. Thanks for the lemon drops, CM.

New Masked Guy: Stacking his comic books together: I missed the magic trick. Would you do it again?

The Pulp Hermit: As always, I want to thank my distinguished guests for dropping by. Your insights into modern writing and new authors are precious. Let’s face it, we can learn from those who preceded us if we’ll just take the time to listen.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Conversation With Heroes

The Old Pulp Hermit sent me an envelope containing the following discussion he conducted with several famous pulp figures recently on tape. He mentioned that these men visited him at the Gotham Rest Home, where he now resides. It must be nice having friends who will visit you at a Rest Home. Maybe that’s something we should all think about. Well, with no further delay, here is the Round Table discussion with some pretty big names in the pulps.

Conversation With Heroes

The Pulp Hermit: With such distinguished guests, I felt it a perfect opportunity to discuss our favorite subject, the pulps. Gentlemen, there has been much talk today that the writers of the pulps were not as professional or sophisticated as writers today. And the product they produced was less than exciting or interesting than the stories being written today. Would you care to comment?

The Phantom Detective: Robert Wallace and G. Wayman Jones were both highly educated, and were able to bring my Casebooks into focus, showing the danger and excitement of my murder investigations. I don’t think the ones saying such nonsense about the stories have ever read one. End of statement.

The Black Bat: The Phantom is correct. I knew Mr. Jones personally, and he was as intelligent as any one writing today. Maybe more so, from what they are saying! Let them investigate the type of crook I was involved with. Especially the Nazis, and I’ll bet they’ll become an Ostrich darn quick.

Secret Agent X: Not exciting? Not Interesting? Wait till I tell Brant House about this. The truth of the matter is, he’s already upset because of some of the stuff they’re passing off as my cases. Some of the people they are saying I met, I never knew. Who are all these people helping me with my cases? Phew!

New Masked Guy: What was the question?

The Pulp Hermit: Yes, what “X” just said brings up a good point. I don’t remember any of you guys ever needing assistance from one another. Each of you was quite capable of solving the case on your own. In fact, in one case recently, X was in a fight with another of Gotham’s heroes, and they basically fought to a draw. How could it be otherwise? That’s why it’s a bad idea pitting you guys against each other.

The Phantom Detective: Certainly. We are the best, that’s why we do what we do. The Black Bat or X would just get in my way, so why would I ask them for help?

The Black Bat: I don’t need any help. Don’t get in my way.

Secret Agent X: Someone actually thinks I need help. Who?

New Masked Guy” What was the question?

The Pulp Hermit: For my last question, what do each of you think of new writers creating new stories about you? Evidently, they aren’t taking any of them from your personal Casebooks.

The Phantom Detective: Well, really, what they think is new cases is probably cases that just weren’t revealed in our Casebooks. Remember, the magazines ceased publication before all of our stories were revealed to the public. The concerns I have are that they be honest about my companions and me. I heard someone had me taking drugs in order to bring villains to their end. I never used drugs! One writer had me dumping Muriel for someone else, then turned Miss Havens into a murderer. Please!!!

The Black Bat: (laughing) They have me hearing voices, Phantom! And I argue with myself. Plus, I now kill execution style. Forget gangsters, I’m now fighting the supernatural; alien floating heads, no less! Remember, it was you who said these guys never read one of our Casebooks; no wonder they don’t know anything about us. And they’re writing our exploits?

Secret Agent X: You guys think they’re recreating you! Regardless of what they are doing to me, what upsets me the most is they make Betty Dale a moll, and make her look like a hooker. They don’t even know about the people in my universe. Good grief, I’m running with the Domino Lady and fighting with Dan Fowler. Like I couldn’t whip that fed with one arm tied behind my back!

New Masked Guy: What was the first question again?”

The Pulp Hermit: I hope we can do this again some time. Maybe we could discuss a solution to the problem when we meet again.

As the tape came to an end, I heard four automatics click as rounds were slammed into the chamber of barrels, and I heard The Pulp Hermit ask: “Who was that masked guy who just left in such a hurry?”

Stay tuned, Amigos, there’s more to come from the Old Pulp Hermit.