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.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Top Secret Kill

The D.C. Man #1: “Top Secret Kill” by James P. Cody*. Brian Peterson works in DC as a Lobbyist. However, he has become better known as a go-to man to solve your problems, and in Washington senators always end up with problems. Ex-football player, and ex-military intelligence operative, he knows how to use weapons, including judo and karate. Senator Haynes Brickman has a leak in his committee, and classified documents are being passed to foreign governments. He hires Peterson to investigate and stop the leak, no matter what it takes. A fairly good story, with some good action, and a nice plot, but the really interesting thing about this series is, it was written by a priest. *James P. Cody is his birth name, but when he joined the priesthood he took the name of Peter T. Rohrbach. I didn’t uncover this data, someone else did, and I apologies for not remembering the researcher’s name. It’s obvious that the author read some men’s action novels before writing his own series. This is a lot more tame than most of the men’s action novels, still the author did a good job on his first outing with Top Secret Kill.

Monday, February 26, 2018

The Corinth/Regency Paperbacks


       In the early 1960s, a West Coast publisher – CORINTH/REGENCY started reprinting the Phantom Detective, an early pulp magazine character, in paperback. Jon Hanlon, a pulp enthusiast, presumably was the editor for the several series that followed – and was possibly the reason behind the reprint series.
         CORINTH/REGENCY was basically a pornographic publishing house, and had very few straight stories being printed under their imprint.
         But for 48 issues – CR 101 – CR 148 – CORINTH/REGENCY reprinted 22 Phantom Detective stories, 8 issues of Operator #5, 7 issues of Secret Agent X, and 4 issues in the Doctor Death series 3 novels by Harold Ward, and 1 short story collection from the magazine. They also reprinted 5 titles from Dusty Ayres – 4 novels of Dusty Ayes and 1 issue containing short stories from the magazine. And finally, two issues from the Terror Tales series, consisting of short stories from that magazine title.
         Due to poor distribution these series were hard to locate at the time, and too, when most paperbacks were selling for forty and fifty cents, the CORINTH/REGENCY line was priced at sixty cents, which hurt their sales tremendously. The series ended in the mid 1960s. There were several reasons for this: threatened lawsuits, plus the defeat of a California pornography law. Today this series is a most sought after collection, and the one time price of sixty cents has now shot up to $10.00 or $15.00 per copy, if you can even find them now.
         The covers were beautiful and gaudy, but very little good girl art. Following is a brief synopsis about the character and pulp history of the series reprinted.
         The Phantom Detective: The character was based on D. L. Champion’s Mr. Death that ran in 1932. Leo Margulies, head editor of the Ned Pines pulp house, BETTER PUBLICATIONS, had Champion make some changes to his story, and in February 1933 the Phantom Detective was born full-grown in his own magazine. It lasted for twenty years, ending in 1953 with 170 issues.
         The character was very popular in its day, and the stories must have been written by just about every big name in the field back then. Robert Wallace was the house name used on the series, but because of the many writers involved, the stories were very uneven, and the character seemed to change with each story.
         Operator #5:  One of the most sought after series in the pulp magazines at one time. This series was begun in April 1934 in POPULAR PUBLICATIONS. The author writing under the Curtis Steele house name at the time was Frederick C. Davis, but after the first year or so other writers took over the series – most notably, Emile C. Tepperman. The series only lasted for 48 issues, ending in November 1939.
         Secret Agent X: The super spy was never given a name. The character was created by Paul Chadwick, under the Brant House house name, but was eventually turned over to several writers. It began with the February 1934 issue, lasting for 41 stories, and ending with the March 1939 issue.
         Dusty Ayres: This series was written exclusively by Robert Sidney Bowen. Beginning with the July 1934 issue it only lasted for twelve issues, ending with the July 1935 issue. Bowen once stated the series was only planned for twelve issues, no more.
         Doctor Death: This series started as a short story character in ALL-STORY DETECTIVE, written by Edward P. Norris. It graduated to its own magazine with novel-length stories in February 1934, this time written by Harold Ward under the Zorro house name. The series only lasted in its own magazine for three issues, ending with the April 1935 issue.
         Terror Tales: These two novels were just filled with selected short stories.
The Paperbacks

CR 101       The Phantom Detective  (7/40)         The Vampire Murders
CR 102       The Phantom Detective   (6/37)         The Dancing Doll Murders
CR 103       The Phantom Detective   (7/37)         The Beast-King Murders
CR 104       The Phantom Detective   (2/38)         Tycoon of Crime
CR 105       The Phantom Detective   (8/38)         The Broadway Murders
CR 106       The Phantom Detective   (4/40)         The Daggers of Kali
CR 107       The Phantom Detective   (12/43) Murder Under The Big Top
CR 108       The Phantom Detective   (5/41)         The Trail To Death
CR 109       The Phantom Detective   (7/38)         Yellow Shadows of Death
CR 110       The Phantom Detective   (3/40)         Murder Trail
CR 111       The Phantom Detective   (11/40) The Green Glare Murders
CR 112       The Phantom Detective   (1/38)         Fangs of Murder
CR 113       The Phantom Detective   (2/41)         The Curio Murders
CR 114       The Phantom Detective   (12/41) Murder Stalks A Billion
CR 115       The Phantom Detective   (8/40)         Murder Money
CR 116       Operator #5 (7/35)  Legions of The Death-Master
CR 117       The Phantom Detective   (11/38)  Death Glow
CR 118       Doctor Death  (2/35) 12 Must Die
CR 119       The Phantom Detective   (3/43)         Stones of Satan
CR 120       Operator #5 (3/35)         The Army of The Dead
CR 121       Doctor Death  (3/35) The Gray Creatures
CR 122       Secret Agent X  (2/34) The Torture Trust
CR 123       The Phantom Detective  (9/40) The Melody Murders
CR 124       Operator #5 (5/34)         The Invisible Empire
CR 125       Doctor Death  (4/35) The Shriveling Murders
CR 126       Secret Agent X  (11/34)  Servants of The Skull
CR 127       The Phantom Detective  (5/40) The Uniformed Killers
CR 128       Operator #5 (9/34)         Master of Broken Men
CR 129       Doctor Death  (SS)        Doctor Death And Other Terror Tales
CR 130       Secret Agent X  (2/38) Curse of The Mandarin’s Fan
CR 131       The Phantom Detective  (7/39) The Forty Thieves
CR 132       Operator #5 (8/35) Hosts of The Flaming Death
CR 133       Dusty Ayres           (7/34)  Black Lighting
CR 134       Secret Agent X  (6.34)  City of The Living Dead
CR 135       The Phantom Detective  (8/38)  Death Under Contract
CR 136       Operator #5 (5/35)         Blood Reign of The Dictator
CR 137       Dusty Ayes  (8/34)           Crimson Doom
CR 138       Secret Agent X  (4/34)  The Death-Torch Terror
CR 139       The Phantom Detective   (12/37) The Corpse Parade
CR 140       Operator #5 (4/35)         March of The Flame Marauders
CR 141       Dusty Ayres           (9/34)  Purple Tornado
CR 142       Secret Agent X  (9/34)  Octopus of Crime
CR 143       Terror Tales #1 (SS) The House of Living Death And Others
CR 144       Operator #5 (6/35)  Invasion of The Yellow Warlords
CR 145       Dusty Ayres         7/35) The Telsa Raiders
CR 146       Secret Agent X  (1/35)  The Sinister Scourge
CR 147       Terror Tales #2( SS) Death’s Loving Arms And Others
CR 148       Dusty Ayes  (SS)   Black Invaders Vs. The Battle Birds   

         This was a good series for the paperback collector, especially for those that can’t afford the original pulp magazine editions, plus they are a neat set to have. The reprints were well done, except for some updating. The series gives a brief sample of a few of the great pulp heroes. The stories themselves were taken from the best of the series of pulps, and well worth reading. CORINTH/REGENCY was a pornographic publishing house that, for a brief period, reprinted a fantastic series of paperbacks. I wish there had been more.

Friday, February 9, 2018

Skin Deep

The Destroyer #49: “Skin Deep” by Warren Murphy (Molly Cochran). “Someone has made off with a nuclear-armed jet bomber just as world leaders are meeting in New York to discuss peace, requiring Chiun and Remo to come to the rescue.” Zoran, a Nazi doctor in the concentration camps during WWII has evading Doctor Smith for 36 years. Now, he has stolen a Stealth plane with atomic warheads, and plans on striking New York. He has a camp next a leper colony on an island near Miami, and continued his experiments on the lepers. Chiun and Remo reach the village of the damned where they learn of Doctor Zoran. Remo is captured while Chiun swims to Miami to contact Doctor Harold Smith, then Smith returns to finally capture the doctor he’s been hunting all these years. This was actually one of the better novels during this time period. A nice read.