Tagged: Airship 27

Ed Catto: Ron Fortier, Pulp Fiction & Geek Culture


Geek Culture is a big term that’s used to describe various aspects of Pop Culture. Comics, superhero movies, games and graphic novels are at the center of it all, but it’s a big crazy quilt composed of so much more: anime, cosplay, RPG’s… the list goes on and on. This week, I sat down with one of the standard bearers of another flavor of Geek Culture – modern pulp fiction. Ron Fortier is a writer, a publisher and an all around good guy to chat with over a beer.

620923Ed Catto: Ron, it’s a pleasure to have this opportunity to speak with you. I was first introduced to your comics writing, and especially loved your work, on Now Comics’ Green Hornet series. Can you provide me with a little background on your comics career and that series in particular?

Ron Fortier: Hi Ed, happy to be here, my friend. As I recall, I came home from the military in 1968 and immediately got back into comic collecting… and writing. Really wanted to break into the business and all that happened in 1976 when I sold my first story to Charlton Comics out of Connecticut. Shortly after that I was approached Mike Friedrich of Star-Reach Agency and signed on as a client. It was Mike who prompted me to go to the San Diego Con in 1989. There I met the good people at Now Comics and landed the job of writing the Terminator series for them. Before leaving the con, I gave them my proposal for a new Green Hornet comic series. Four months later they called to say they’d gotten the license, based on my proposal, and gave me the go ahead to start writing the book for them.

EC: As a guy named Catto, I’ve always liked the Green Hornet’s sidekick, Kato. You introduced some fresh innovations in the Now Comics series, and I feel your clever innovations have almost become “industry standards” for reboots. What do you think?

HornetRF: Honestly, Ed, I think my major innovation was eschewing the whole reboot from scratch idea in the first place and instead incorporate all the various incarnations that came before. By creating a family saga that started with the characters from their radio days through the two cliffhanger serials and the popular 60s TV series, I was purposely attracting all the Green Hornet fans to one book. So you could say, I inadvertently invented what has since become known as “legacy characters” in the industry.

EC: In retrospect, it seemed pretty gutsy to develop a new publishing imprint like Now. What do you think they did right and what could they have done better?

RF: That’s a rather easy one. Now followed the old 60s Dell Comics formula of going after licensed properties from film and TV. By the time we did the Green Hornet for them, they were already doing comics based on Ghostbusters, Speed Racer, Terminator and Fright Night to name a few. If something is popular in one medium, you’ve a pretty good shot at selling it in another. As to what they did wrong, well that’s the business end. They couldn’t manage their cash flow and soon were not paying their creators or distributors, which eventually cause them to go into bankruptcy. Really a shame. With smart business practices they could still be around today.

Air-16EC: The Green Hornet wasn’t really a Pulp character, having been created for radio, but at some point you became enamored with Pulp. What sparked that for you?

RF: Anyone who is a true comic book fan will invariably learn its history and discover comics evolved from the hero pulps of the 1930s and 40s. When those pulps died out, many of the pulp writers and artists gravitated to comics after World War II. Thing is there has always been an active pulp fandom and a little over ten years ago, just out of curiosity, I attended one of the very last Pulp Cons in Dayton, Ohio. From that came the idea of bringing back these great classic characters in brand new stories and thus was born Airship 27 Productions.

EC: Airship 27 is a fascinating publishing imprint, and obviously a labor of love.

What’s the best part about Airship and what have enjoyed the most?

RF: Well, as I just said, getting to bring back such great pulp characters to an entire new audience of readers has been truly gratifying while at the same time we think we’ve given the entire pulp fandom a much needed shot in the arm in keeping alive and healthy for future generations of genre readers. And perhaps the most rewarding part of publishing has been our opportunity to give new, super talented young writers and artists their first big breaks in establishing their careers. You just can’t put a price on that.

Haz3EC: And for Airship 27, what do you have planned for the future?

RF: Hmm, I guess we just want to keep the old Airship 27 flying as long as we can and that means embracing the various media venues out there. Aside from traditional book publishing, we’ve become stable of the big pulp shows and have started branching out to comic cons to show off New Pulp to comic fans. Four years ago we began doing digital copies of our titles and Kindle sales exploded through the roof. Now, within a few weeks, fans will be able to get audio book via our new deal with Radio Archives. Every single one of our titles will soon be available as an audio book. What’s next beyond that? Movies? TV? Who knows?  If you are going to dream, I say dream big.

EC: Airship 27 is a big supporter of Pulp conventions. Can you compare and contrast them to comic conventions? Are they really just another flavor of Geek Culture?

RF: Pulp fandom is really much smaller than general comic fandom but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Whereas most comic cons today have evolved away from comics to become media cultural events focusing primarily on films and TV rather than comics, pulp cons have remained true to their subject. Oh sure, they do sell books, DVDs, posters etc., but their continued reason for existence is pulp magazines and books …old and new. If you’ve never been to a pulp con, I recommend both the Windy City Pulp & Paper show in Chicago in the spring and Pulp Fest in Columbus Ohio in late summer. Both are wonderful shows and tons of fun.

EC: Tommy Hancock is one of the leading voices for and supporters of New Pulp Fiction. Can you tell me a little about him?

RF: Tommy got his start in pulps by submitting a western story to Airship 27 Productions. We hit it off immediately and after his story was published in our Masked Rider – Tales of the Wild West Vol One, Tommy was hooked on pulp writing. But if you know Tommy, he never settles for just one taste of anything. Within months of that story’s publication, Tommy went out and launched his own new pulp company and called it Pro Se. And yes, they are by far our main competitor in the field and we love it. Why? Because having another quality publishing outfit doing New Pulp raises the stakes for all of us, pushing us to do better and better books and thus the readers of pulp fiction benefit. Tommy has become one of the leading proponents of this movement and remains a dear and close friend to this day.

EC: Thanks, much, Ron.

RF: This was fun – thanks, Ed. Only next time we do this, I’ll buy the beer.



Nik Poliwko Roughs Up Rick Ruby!

Illustrator, Nik Poliwko shared a new rough sketch for an upcoming illustration for the upcoming The Ruby Files Vol. 2, a companion to the illustration at left.

The award-winning The Ruby Files returns for a second volume of pulpy detective yarns in 2013 from Airship 27 Productions. The Ruby Files Vol. 2 features stories by Ruby Files creators Sean Taylor and Bobby Nash and authors Alan J. Porter and Ron Fortier. Interior illustrations provided by Nik Poliwko under a cover by Mark Wheatley. Rob Davis returns as book designer.

Keep watching http://rickruby.blogspot.com for more The Ruby Files vol. 2 news as soon as it becomes available.

The Battling Bagman Returns

New Pulp Publisher Airship 27 Productions has released New Pulp Author B.C. Bell‘s The Bagman vs. The World’s Fair.
Airship 27 Productions is delighted to announce the release of its latest pulp title, THE BAGMAN vs THE WORLD’S FAIR by B.C. Bell.

It is the summer of 1933 and the Windy City is hosting the fabulous World’s Fair. The famous Navy Pier along the shores of Lake Michigan is invaded by thousands of tourists from around the nation and the world; all there to marvel at the newest scientific advancements on display.

But within this glittering pleasure park of wonder lurks a devilish fiend set upon causing mass destruction and ruining the Fair; a scientist turned mad employing a bizarre sonic cannon to commit murder and chaos amongst the innocent throngs.  Now it will be up to the unlikeliest hero of them all, the odd, notorious Bagman, to save the day.

Writer B.C. Bell sends his one time petty crook, Frank “Mac” McCullough back into action in this, the Bagman’s first full length adventure.  Along with his loyal buddy, the ace mechanic, Crankshaft, Chicago’s most unusual mystery man must find the lunatic inventor and put an end to his heinous attacks before more people will die.

“The first time I read a Chris Bell Bagman story, I actually chuckled aloud,” says Airship 27 Productions Managing Editor Ron Fortier.  “Bell’s ability to combine both fast paced, pure pulp action with slapstick humor is sheer genius. The Bagman is one of the most original of the new pulp heroes we have today.  His fans will not be disappointed with this new, longer adventure.”
The book features nine interiors illustrations by Andy Fish and sports a truly colorful painting by Laura Givens with book designs by Rob Davis.  As an added bonus, the story also features a very special cameo by Canadian writer Calvin Daniels’ own new pulp hero, the Black Wolf.

So slap another clip in your .45, straighten your tie and put that bag over your head, pulp fans; here comes the Bagman, delivering justice in his own peculiar way. 

AIRSHIP 27 PRODUCTIONS – Pulp Fiction for a New Generation!

Available now from Amazon in paperback.

Learn more about B.C. Bell’s The Bagman here.


Airship 27 Patches Available

New Pulp Publisher Airship 27 Productions has a way for loyal airmen to show their pulp support with the new Airship 27 patches.
For the first time ever, we offered all our Loyal Airmen a premium quality Airship 27 Crew Patch.  These we debut at the Windy City Pulp & Paper Con to a truly wonderful response.  Then we took them to PulpFest with the same results, our readers truly enjoyed them and remarked at the quality of the item.
Now, with the cons behind us, we are offering them to all you Loyal Airmen via mail.  Each quality 4″ x 4″ crew patch is only $3 plus a small shipping and handling fee.  They look great on shirts, jacket shoulders or even baseball caps.
If you would like to join the ever growing ranks of Airship 27 Productions’ Loyal Airmen by sporting one of these super cook patches, simply write Rob Davis at (robmdavis@me.com) for further information.
Captain Ron

Prohibition Writer Terrence McCauley Wins Award

All Pulp congratulates author Terrence McCauley for winning a Stalker Award for the Most Criminally Underrated Author. The award was presented by the blog, Pop Culture Nerd, and more than 1,900 crime-fiction fans voted for their favorite books and authors in the 3rd annual Stalker Award. More information on the award can be found here.

McCauley won the award for his Airship 27 novel, Prohibition, as well as for his other work.

“Sometimes an award is most aptly named as this case. Terrence McCauley is one of the finest new crime novelist on the scene today and it is high time readers discovered this guy.”
Ron Fortier Managing Editor Airship 27 Productions

Peter Rozovsky of the blog Detectives Beyond Borders, recently wrote that “McCauley harks back to [authors] Dashiell Hammett and Paul Cain (and to writers and movie makers who harked back to Hammett and Cain). While his book’s themes of loyalty, doubt, and betrayal are confined to no one era, the cover of the novel…quite accurately reflects the early- and mid-twentieth-century gats ‘n’ gloves mythos to which McCauley makes a modern-day contribution.”

McCauley lives in Amenia, NY, near the Bronx. He graduated from Fordham University in 1996. McCauley is the Manager of Government and Community Relations for MTA Metro-North Railroad.

The publisher of Prohibition, Airship 27 Productions, is among the leading publishers of the New Pulp Movement, keeping alive the classic pulp literature of the 30s and 40s while producing newer pulp themed titles by today’s brightest writers and artists. The publisher now offers sixty novels and anthologies, and all titles are available digitally via Amazon’s Kindle as well as at several other outlets. Some are available as e-books. To learn more about Airship 27 and the books they publish, go to airship27.blogspot.com or http://airship27.com.

Green Lama – Mystic Warrior Takes Flight at Airship 27

Green Lama Illustration: Neil Foster

New Pulp Publisher Airship 27 Productions has released teaser art from the upcoming addition to their best-selling anthology series with The Green Lama – Mystic Warrior.

“THE GREEN LAMA – Mystic Warrior is now in production,” said Airship 27 head honcho, Ron Fortier in a post on his website. “It will feature two reprint stories from our first ever Green Lama anthology, by Peter Miller and Kevin Noel Olson. Plus two brand new Green Lama adventures by Nick Ahlhelm and Robert Craig.”

All four stories in The Green Lama – Mystic Warrior will feature brand new illustrations by artist Neil Foster.

All Pulp will post more as the project develops.

Airship 27 has also joined Twitter. Follow Ron Fortier at @airship271 and Michael Leal at @AirshipCaptainM for the latest Airship 27 news and updates.

Sneak Peek: Secret Agent X – The Comic Book

Secret Agent X by Fortier and Davis
Art: Rob Davis

New Pulp Publishers Redbud Studios and Airship 27 Productions shared a sneak peek at their upcoming Secret Agent X comic book. Press Release: Airship 27 Productions is once again teaming up with Redbud Studio to produce another classic pulp hero comic book.  SECRET AGENT X is a 38 page black and white thriller featuring the greatest pulp spy of them all; the Man of a Thousand Faces. The script is by Ron Fortier with all art by Rob Davis.  Here is a sneak-peek of page 4 as the super-spy received his latest assignment and is about to go into action.  No definitive date has been set for the book’s release.  Keep following the Airship 27 blog for future updates.

The Book Cave Presents Panel Fest Episode 26: Pulpfest 2013 Jim Beard

Jim Beard

New Pulp Author Jim Beard does a reading from his books at PulpFest 2013. Recorded by The Book Cave’s Art Sippo.

You can listen to Panel Fest Episode 26: PulpFest 2013 Jim Beard here.

About The Beard . . . . New Fictioneer!:
Jim Beard was introduced to comic books by his father, who passed on to him a love for the medium and the pulp characters that preceded it. After decades of reading, collecting, and dissecting comics, Jim became a published writer when he sold a story to DC Comics in 2002. Since that time, he’s written comic stories for Dark Horse’s Star Wars and IDW’s Ghostbusters and contributed articles and essays to several volumes of comic book history.


A native of Toledo, Ohio where he is a regular columnist for the Toledo Free Press, Jim broke into the world of “New Pulp” in 2012 when Airship 27 published Sgt. Janus, Spirit-Breaker, a collection of ghost stories featuring an occult detective, and Captain Action: Riddle of the Glowing Men, the first prose novel based on the 1960s action figure. Jim provides regular content for Marvel.com, the official Marvel Comics website, and has new and forthcoming comic and prose work from Bluewater, TwoMorrows, Airship 27 and Pro Se Productions.

On Saturday, July 27th at PulpFest, “The Beard” did a reading from Sgt. Janus, Spirit-Breaker, Captain Action: Riddle of the Glowing Men, and “The Parade of Moments,” a story published in Monster Earth, a shared-world anthology of giant monster tales. And to learn more about this exciting new writer, please visit The Beard: The Jim Beard Fan Page.

You can listen to Panel Fest Episode 26: PulpFest 2013 Jim Beard here.

Sinbad Sets Sail on Another New Voyage!

Cover Art: Kevin Johnson
New Pulp Publisher, Airship 27 Productions sets sail with a new volume of adventures for Sinbad the pirate as Sinbad: The New Voyages vol. 2 is released.
Press Release:
Pull up anchor, cast off the mooring lines and drop the sail, the good ship Blue Nymph is about to set sail for adventure once again with her famous seafaring captain at the helm.
Airship 27 Productions is thrilled to present the second volume of brand new stories starring the greatest seaman of them all, Sinbad the Sailor and his international crew of daring adventures.  Here are the Henri Delacrois, the deadly archer from Gaul, Ralf Gunarson, the strapping young Viking giant, Tishimi Osara the beautiful female samurai and of course Omar, the irascible first mate.  All of them bound together by their love of action and yearning to explore uncharted lands.
“We released the first volume of this series last year,” says Airship 27 Managing Editor, Ron Fortier.  “Reader response was overwhelming and we soon were getting lots of mail to do more.  It’s very clear there are lots of people out there who lovingly remember those old Harryhausen Sinbad movies.”
This volume contains a new novella by Ed Erdelac with short stories by Shelby Vick and Erwin K. Roberts. Capturing the feel of the old cinematic hero developed by the late Ray Harryhausen, the volume features illustrations by Steven Wilcox and a cover by Kevin Johnson with designs by Rob Davis.  Over the horizon awaits treasure, beautiful exotic maidens and monsters beyond imagining.  Dare you sign aboard with Sinbad El Ari? If so, then battened hatches and have your curved blade ready, heart pounding adventure awaits within these pages.
Available from Amazon.com in both hard copy and digitally for Kindle.