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.