Tagged: Arrow

Dennis O’Neil: Green Arrow and Lance Armstrong

Okay, sue me. Last week I blathered on about trying to know as little as possible about movies and television shows before seeing them. So comes Wednesday, the day the new Green Arrow series, catchily titled Arrow, was to debut and what to my wondering eyes should appear, in the arts section of the New York Times, but a review of that same series. What the hell, right? I read the piece and very favorable it was, too, and later I was in front of the set, tuning it to the CW, waiting for the latest incarnation of the emerald archer. And waiting. And waiting. Because what I was seeing was two hours of programming about football.


I mulled scenarios. Somebody screwed up getting Arrow and the show scheduled to follow it to the various broadcast outlets? Something in both of them outraged some easily offended poo-bah with enough clout to kill hundreds of thousands of advertising dollars? The football lobby got the shows pulled so it could hype images of big dudes bumping into each other?

The next morning, Mari met a friend at the swimming pool she frequents. Friend told Mari how much she’d enjoyed Arrow. Friend lives in our area.

Time to get seriously paranoid. I was having an acid flashback and I only imagined I was watching sports…The universe was punishing me for not keeping faith with the ComicMix readers…

Maybe not. But then, what? As of right now, I don’t know. If any explanation of the hijacking of the archer by the gridiron mob has appeared, I missed it.

But I did see a story about another hero that appeared on the front page of the Times and jumped to the sports section. It concerned a real-life American athlete who won cycling’s most prestigious event, the Tour de France, seven times.

And doped himself for at least two of those wins and maybe more.

And pressured his teammates to use performance-enhancing drugs.

And lied.

Lance Armstrong, take a bow, and try not to moon the crowd while you’re doing it.

So I missed Arrow and that might be a bigger cause for lament than it, at first glance, seems to be. Because maybe fictional heroes are the only ones we have left. The people we once admired – priests, law-enforcers, athletes, lawyers, and especially politicians, both in and out of office – seem to have feet of clay up to their eyebrows. Admire them? Hell no. Despise them, maybe.

Green Arrow wouldn’t have done what Lance Armstrong did. Unless he was a real human being and the pressure to compete,, to win, was so great that he virtually had to use any means necessary. Then he might go seeking an affable pharmacist. You might be right behind him and I’d be there, too, holding your coat, waiting my turn.

RECOMMENDED VIEWING: The Teaching Company is my favorite business organization. Wiggly, mind-wandering me has never been easy in classrooms – unless I’m standing at the front of them professoring, in which case I enjoy them ­but I kind of like knowing things. So, with its Great Courses program, The Teaching Company fills a vacuum for me. At very modest cost, it sends me audio and/or video recordings of the teachers you wish you’d had doing what they do best. The range of courses is long and large, and most of those I’ve sampled were terrific. I particularly want to recommend Big History: The Big Bang, Life on Earth, and the Rise of Humanity. Presented by David Christian. Absolutely the best course I’ve ever taken, in or out of school.

FRIDAY: Martha Thomases


Dennis O’Neil: Arrows

So okay, we can get our superhero fix without leaving the house. (And isn’t this what we all desire? And pass the chips…) SyFy’s Alphas, which is watchable, is back doing its weekly thing and this week we’ll see the debut of Arrow, based on a character who’s been around for 71 years. I mean, of course, Green Arrow created by Mort Weisinger and George Papp and, shall we say, “inspired” by The Green Archer, first a novel by Edgar Wallace and later a movie serial, and further inspired by the success of another costumed vigilante, Batman, who was getting mighty popular along about 1941.

I know very little about the television incarnation of – let me confess – my favorite arrow slinger beyond this: the TV folk are using the character’s first origin story, which has Oliver Queen, one of those soigne millionaires who littered the pop culture of the pre-war era, shipwrecked on a deserted island and learning to be a whiz with a bow in order to survive. That’s what I know. I don’t want to know more.

We are saturated with information about our entertainments and I wonder if that doesn’t get in the way or responding to them as evolution intended. We know that this actor is feuding with that actress and they’re both mad at the producer and… I guess we can still perpetrate a willing suspension of disbelief (which your English teacher told you was vital to enjoying fiction). But maybe such suspension doesn’t come as easily as it did in the pre-information age and maybe we bring to the story expectations fostered by show-biz venues which influence, for better or worse, how we respond to what we’re being shown. Maybe it’s becoming a chore to bring to the enterprise what some meditators call “bare attention” – simply responding to, and being amused by, what’s there in front of us. As for being surprised by plot twists and the like, once a staple of light drama… good luck!

Am I blowing smoke? If I am, I’m blowing it into a fan.

I used to enjoy Mel Gibson movies. But I can’t, not any more, not after his anti-Semitic ravings and espousal of Neanderthal Catholicism, all of which was thoroughly reported in the media.

A few months ago, I saw a Batman movie. I thought it was a fine movie and I still think so. But I knew that Talia – let me confess – my favorite daughter of a maniacal mass murderer, was in the story somewhere and I kept trying to jump ahead of the screenwriters and guess exactly when she would appear who she would turn out to be. (I was wrong.) Yep, nifty flick, all right, but maybe my enjoyment of it was just a bit dimmed.

On the other hand…Marifran said that if she’d known that the cult portrayed in the fine new film The Master was based on Scientology, she would have enjoyed it more.

It is not a one-size-fits-all universe.

But, dammit, I know that there’s information about Arrow available on the net. And I’m not going near it.

FRIDAY: Martha Thomases


Martha Thomases: TV or Hot TV

When I was a girl, back in the Stone Age, September was a big, big deal. School started, so we got new clothes. There were new model cars in the showroom.

(Here’s a joke from those days: What are the three holiest days in the Jewish Calendar? Rosh Hashonah, Yom Kippur, and September 29. What’s September 29? The day the new Cadillacs come out. I love that joke. I think it’s kind of anti-Semitic, but it makes me laugh. Also, I’ve only heard it told by other Jews.)

Most important to childhood me was the new television season. After a summer of re-runs, the three major networks would launch new shows. TV Guide would explain what the new series were about, and what changes were coming to keep the old shows fresh. It was so exciting!

Today, now so much. As this article reports, new shows premiere all the time, and, of course, there are many more than three television networks offering them.

And if you can’t watch a show when it airs, you don’t have to wait until the rerun comes around. You can record it on the DVR (which I still refer to as “taping” because I’m old. Sometimes I say “icebox”). You can watch it on On-Demand stations on cable, or on Hulu or other Internet sites.

You don’t even have to be home. You can watch on your phone, or your tablet.

It should be a golden age, but I find it causes me stress. Instead of making me feel safe, like I can actually live my life the way I want, I feel like I can’t keep up.

For example, on Sundays, there are currently four shows I want to watch between 8 PM and 11 PM. Two are on HBO, which means I can watch them at anytime either On Demand or on HBO Go. One is on a broadcast network, so I can “tape” it or, if I can stand commercials, On Demand. One is on BBC-America, and their On Demand is kind of dicey, so I tend to “tape.”

On Monday, there are also four shows I like, plus I’m out of the house for a part of prime time. More on the DVR.

Tuesdays are also packed, but a lot of what I like are the sit-coms, which tend to be 30 minutes and not 60, spit’s easier to find the 20 minutes of free time. And then, Wednesday there is hardly anything I like (at least so far). I can catch up.

Because if I don’t, Thursdays and Fridays are also clogged. If we come around to Sunday again and I haven’t watched any of the shows from the previous week, I’m behind. Aaaah!

(Also, back in the day, there weren’t continuing plot lines from one week to the next. You could watch a show without having seen any before it, and still figure out who the characters were, or what was going on.)

There’s a lot I’m curious about this year. Will Elementary be good enough to survive in a world that already has Sherlock? I hope so, because I have loved Jonny Lee Miller since Hackers, and it’s not his fault he’s not Benedict Cumberbatch. I have hopes for Vegas because The Big Easy is my idea of a sexy film. Fringe is back for a real conclusion, and all will be revealed.

As a geek, I’m also excited about the CW’s Arrow. The lead is really cute. It looks like they’re keeping a lot of what made the comic book fun (archery, riches, Dinah). They’ve added a mother, and I’m hoping she is not a harpy, but a way to add depth to Oliver Queen, at least through conversation. Did I mention the cute lead?

Recent television shows based on comics have a mixed track record. While I kind of liked

Birds of Prey because I have loved Barbara Gordon in every form, the series only lasted 13 episodes. Smallville did much better, perhaps because it, too, had a cute guy in the lead role.

I sense a trend.

SATURDAY: Marc Alan Fishman

Mike Gold: Doctor Who Fans Can Barely Hold It

If you get off on anticipation and you also happen to be a Doctor Who fan, these are amazing times. We-all have so much to get excited about. To wit:

1)   The beginning of the next half-season, which will start in England any day now. The BBC likes to wait until the last minute to make their announcements; the show debuts in the United States, Canada and much of the rest of the world shortly thereafter. As of this writing, the season premiere is not on this Saturday’s schedule, so the August 25th rumor is likely untrue… unless the Pirates of the Caribbean movie presently in the Doctor Who slot is bunkum.

2)   The exiting of the two current companions at the end of the half-season, which may or may not involve killing one or both off.

3)   The Doctor Who Christmas Special, which is likely to be aired on or about December 25th and will feature the introduction of the Doctor’s new companion. The show will also feature the “return” of Richard E. Grant – he voiced the Doctor in the animated “Scream of the Shalka” and joined Rowan Atkinson, Hugh Grant, Jim Broadbent, and Joanna Lumley in Steven Moffat’s debut Who, the satirical “Curse of Fatal Death.

4)   The 50th anniversary of the show’s debut, which happened mere moments after the BBC announced the death of President John F. Kennedy. Talk about your dramatic lead-ins.

As hyped-up as we may be about the first three items on the above list, I’m far more amused by all the folderol around the 50th Anniversary. Writer/producer/showrunner Steven Moffat has been having enormous fun jerking the fans and media around, teasing the hell out of the event and roughly expanding our enthusiasm to apocalyptic proportions. Previous Doctors Tom Baker, Peter Davison, Sylvester McCoy and David Tennent have all publically committed to return “if asked,” and Christopher Eccleston has actually stopped saying he wouldn’t return under any circumstances, although his work on the next Thor movie might interfere with scheduling. Similarly, John Barrowman’s work on Arrow might mitigate his availability. Colin Baker noted he might have grown, ahem, a bit too big for the part. To me, that sounds like something Moffat can have fun with.

If Moffat is to be believed, there likely will be several or many 50th Anniversary events next year. My question is “will there actually be a regular 50th Anniversary season?” There will be a dramatic made-for-teevee-movie about the creation of the original television show, being produced by Moffat and written by his Sherlock partner Mark Gatiss. There’s quite a feminist hook in this tale, as the show’s original producer, the person who actually got the show on television, was Verity Lambert, one of the very, very few women in such a position at the BBC back in 1963.

Of course, we’ll see all sorts of Doctor Who comics from IDW – we already see all sorts of Doctor Who comics from IDW, including reprints of Dave Gibbons’ beautiful work on the feature – and there will be tons and tons of merchandising and convention thrills. I suspect Community and The Inspector will have something to say about it all as well.

So the rumors will continue to grow in mass, time and space, and the resultant brouhaha will keep the rabble at fever-pitch. Perhaps there will be TARDIS-themed Depends being marketed to those who can’t hold it in.

That’s right, guys. It’s bigger on the inside than it is on the outside.

THURSDAY: Dennis O’Neil waiting on shadowy rooftops.


John Barrowman Joining CW’s ‘Arrow’

John Barrowman Joining CW’s ‘Arrow’

Even though our reaction to the CW’s upcoming Arrow has been a bit mixed (we’re reserving judgement), we’ve now got at least one new reason to check out the show. According to ET, Torchwood star John Barrowman has joined the cast of Arrow in a recurring role.

The character is somewhat of a mystery at the moment, with Producers only saying Barrowman will play a “well-dressed man” who is “as mysterious as he is wealthy … he is an acquaintance of the Queen family and a prominent figure in Starling City.” Huh, that fits a few people in the world of Green Arrow. Or, it could be a completely new character.

Anyway, as you may know, the upcoming show centers around Oliver Queen, a wealthy young bad boy who, after spending five years shipwrecked on an island, returns to Starling City with a mastery of the bow and a determination to make a difference.

Arrow stars Stephen Amell as Oliver Queen, Colin Donnell as Tommy Merlyn, Katie Cassidy as Laurel Lance, David Ramsey as John Diggle, Willa Holland as Thea Queen, Susanna Thompson as Moira Queen and Paul Blackthorne as Detective Quentin Lance.

Arrow premieres Wednesday, Oct. 10 at 8PM on the CW.

The Point Radio: Kevin Bacon, Brian Cranston & ARROW

Fresh from ComicCon 2012, we’ve got interviews with some of the hottest new shows (ARROW and THE FOLLOWING with Kevin Bacon), plus returning favorites like NTSF:SD:SUV and new web channels like STAN LEE‘S WORLD OF HEROES. Plus Brian Cranston explains what’s next on BREAKING BAD and Ryan Cartwright fills us in on the direction of SyFy‘s second season of ALPHAS.

Don’t miss a minute of pop culture news – The Point Radio  – 24 hours a day of pop culture fun for FREE. GO HERE and LISTEN FREE on any computer or on any mobile device with the Tune In Radio app – and follow us on Twitter @ThePointRadio.

CW To Reshoot “Arrow” Over Fashion Issues

Due to recent events in Florida, Warner Bros. has decided to put its foot down. With the first promotional image for the new CW drama “Arrow” debuting a few weeks back, some were questioning how politically correct it might be to have a hero donning a hood to fight crime.

DC President Diane Nelson held a press conference this morning to disway the rumor mill:

“DC Comics wants to make it clear that we have been, and will always be at the forefront of fashion for our original licensed creations. But our heroes exist in a very real world… one that reacts to all of today’s issues. Given the recent tragedy in Florida, we’ve decided to make some improvements across the board to ensure the utmost sensitivity to everyone affected. Simply put, a good guy can’t wear a hoodie.”

With that being said, it was learned that DC will be reshooting “Arrow” with a new to-be-released costume, as well as make several changes to existing characters. The new Shazam will have his costume altered once again. Co-Publisher and lead costume designer Jim Lee noted “Shazam will now feature baggy cargo shorts, a red and gold short sleeve tee-shirt with white long sleeve shirt underneath, and his new trademark Kangol hat. We felt it was time to really bring the character into today’s marketplace.” In addition to that, copies of Superman: Earth 1 will be recalled, and have it’s cover replaced, as it features DC’s flagship character donning the aforementioned fashion faux-pas. Also, Static Shock will be removed from continuity completely, and any mention of him will be disavowed.

“Ultimately we have a responsibility to our readers to reflect the common values everyone shares. At this time, this means having to ensure no character is dressed in an offensive matter. In any event, it will not keep us from delivering the finest product in the marketplace we can.” Nelson concluded.


White Rocket Books recently released trade paperback and Kindle editions of BLACKTHORN: THUNDER ON MARS, a science fiction action-adventure anthology set on far-future post-apocalyptic Mars.
For more information on the print edition, visit http://www.amazon.com/Blackthorn-Thunder-Van-Allen-Plexico/dp/0984139265
For more information on the Kindle edition, visit http://www.amazon.com/Blackthorn-Thunder-on-Mars-ebook/dp/B006FBRHG8/ref=sr_1_15?ie=UTF8&qid=1322503101&sr=8-15

Art: James Burns

Created by Van Allen Plexico (Sentinels, Lucian), the book features stories by New Pulp luminaries Mark Bousquet, Joe Crowe, Bobby Nash, James Palmer, Sean Taylor, I. A. Watson, and Plexico, with bonus e-book stories by Mark Beaulieu and Danny Wall. Also included are six full-page illustrations by Chris Kohler (Sentinels). Cover art and design are by James Burns (Lance Star: Sky Ranger “One Shot!”).

Art: James Burns

In the spirit of “Thundarr the Barbarian” and “John Carter of Mars” comes the gripping saga of US General John Blackthorn. Betrayed and left for dead on the battlefield, Blackthorn awakens many thousands of years later to find himself trapped amidst the ruins of a post-apocalyptic Mars, his only companions a savage Mock-Man and a mysterious sorceress. They battle together to free this strange new world from oppression, but it won’t be easy, for arrayed against them are the deadliest foes imaginable: mutants, monsters, and robots, as well as treacherous teammates. And lurking behind it all are the fanatical forces of the First Men: the Black Sorcerer, the Sorcerer of Fatal Laughter, Lord Ruin, and the Sorcerer of Night—masters of magic and technology alike—the dreaded Sorcerers of Mars!

All Pulp sat down recently with Blackthorn creator, Van Allen Plexico and writers Joe Crowe, Bobby Nash, James Palmer, Sean Taylor, I. A. Watson, and Mark Beaulieu to talk about the new anthology.

Art: Chris Kohler

AP: Tell us a little about yourself.

VP: I like to create and write fun stuff, and I like bringing in very talented people to work with me on those projects. BLACKTHORN is a great example of this. As the creator and editor of the project, all I had to do was say, “short stories in the spirit of Thundarr the Barbarian” and all these terrific writers and artists came running!

I also write the fairly popular Sentinels superhero novels and have created and/or edited a variety of other SF and New Pulp properties, including MARS McCOY, HAWK, and GIDEON CAIN, for numerous publishers. I also created and edited the ASSEMBLED! books about Marvel’s Avengers, and I write SF and sports columns. I try to stay busy.

JC: I’m Joe Crowe, senior writer and producer of RevolutionSF.com, where we write commentary, criticism, and comedy about sci-fi and its related genres. Our site has been chugging along for ten years, which is like a million years in Internet time.

BN: I’m Bobby Nash. When I’m not procrastinating or distracted by shiny objects, I write novels, comic books, novellas, e-books, magazines, you name it. I’m probably most known for my work with the pulp characters LANCE STAR: SKY RANGER and DOMINO LADY or for my first novel, EVIL WAYS. You can find out more about me and the stuff I write at http://www.bobbynash.com/. I also co-host a weekly podcast called Earth Station One, which can be found at http://www.esopodcast.com/.

JP: I have written articles, interviews, and reviews for Strange Horizons, Tangent Online, and a few other online and print publications. I have been writing New Pulp for about three or four years now, and have written for Airship 27 Productions, Pro Se Productions, as well as White Rocket Books. I live in Georgia with my wife and daughter.

ST: I write stories. I write them in comic books, graphic novels, magazines, book anthologies and novels. I write them for money, and I write them for fun — both at the same time. I’ve worked as a freelancer for companies like IDW and Penquin Books, and I’ve been on the editorial team with companies like Shooting Star Comics, iHero Entertainment and Campfire Graphic Novels.

IW: My defining characteristic in American pulp circles seems to be that I’m British. That means when I read people citing The Shadow and Doc Savage and Conan and Lovecraft as sources of inspiration for their work I just assume those are strange Americanised spellings of Sherlock Holmes, the insidious Fu Manchu, Alan Quartermain, and William Hope Hodgson.

Given enough time and an audience that doesn’t run away fast enough I’ll also demonstrate a passion for Arthurian legend, Greek and Norse myths, European fairy tales, and odd corners of actual history. It’s probably not a good idea to ask me how the French got George Washington to confess to murder over a cow or how Sir Winston Churchill’s son seduced an English queen in 1667!

It’s a sad but true fact that my teenage daughter and son could tell you, though.

MB: I’m a criminal justice professor in upstate New York. Not sure what else to say here, but I recently got into watching old Doctor Who episodes. On the pulp front, I read Tarzan and John Carter of Mars as a kid and really got into Conan as an adult. Read the Conan comics as a kid, but not the actual stories so it was nice to get to these as an adult. I love Barry Reese’s The Rook. The 1st volume just blew me away and I’ve been grabbing Barry Reese stuff ever since.

Art: Chris Kohler

AP: What attracted you to the Blackthorn: Thunder On Mars project?

VP: I was trying to come up with a more sophisticated approach to the “Thundarr the Barbarian” type of post-apocalyptic action-adventure storyline, and at the same time considering doing a new version of John Carter of Mars. The two clicked together somehow in my head and instantly I knew I had a winning formula. I think what we’ve come up with will be instantly recognizable in terms of its spirit and inspirations, but in this form it really is an original concept–and a really exciting and fun one.

JC: For my entire career in nerd journalism, I’ve been an editor and a reviewer. I goaded myself into trying to write fiction again. The last time I did was a “THUNDER Agents” story in the back of my math notebook when I was 11. Wait! I forgot about a “Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman” script and some goofily fun superhero comedy stories with a writing group from the GEnie BBS.

BN: When Van first told me about his plans for Blackthorn I got excited. As a fan of Thundarr, John Carter, and Kamandi, I knew this would be a fun project. And sure enough, it was. Van’s excitement is contagious and I didn’t have to give the matter too much thought when he invited me to participate. Then he told me who else would be contributing stories and my excitement for the project increased even more. My only disappointment was that I couldn’t have Blackthorn scream, “Lords of Light!”

JP: I am a huge fan of the old Thundarr the Barbarian cartoon, as well as John Carter of Mars. I think the concept for this anthology is brilliant and something that has never been done before. Plus, I knew I would have a lot of fun playing around in this world that Van has created.

ST: Van told me I’d be famous if I contributed a story, and sure enough, now I am. How ’bout that? Seriously though, the source material was the stuff of dreams for me. It was like sticking all my favorite post-apocalyptic stories in a blender and then dumping the mixture out with carte blanche to play around in it and get my fingers sticky — in a good way. Van would have had to file a restraining order to keep me away from this one.

IW: Van Plexico asked me to do it. Nearly everything I write for publication starts with me being too polite to say no.

In this case though, I was attracted for three reasons. First, I’d enjoyed collaborating with Van and some of the other writers on our previous anthology, Gideon Cain: Demon Hunter. Having had a good experience there I was happy to go again.

Secondly, I thought the idea as pitched, of an amnesiac soldier waking on another world that needed a hero, and the mood as suggested, Edgar Rice Burroughs meets Jack Kirby, would be a fun thing to write.

Finally, I wanted to see what my writing colleagues would come up with. Part of the joy of these shared creative processes is that each person brings something extra to the mix. Any subsequent volume will be a different writing experience because of what’s been cooked up this time.

MB: Van asked for submissions and I wanted to look at the bible as an example for a project I wanted to get started. Once I looked over the bible, a story idea started to grow.

Art: Chris Kohler

AP: Blackthorn has its genesis in characters like Thundaar the Barbarian, John Carter of Mars, and Kamandi: the Last Boy on Earth mixed together with a modern day hero and a futuristic post-apocalyptic Mars. Tell us a bit about your story and some of the challenges or unexpected surprises you encountered while visiting Blackthorn’s world?

VP: As the creator, I took it upon myself to do the “double-length” origin story. It ended up being “double-length” mainly because I had to set everything up, including how an American military man ends up on the Mars of the future and how he encounters these other very unusual allies and foes. I think the main challenge was creating very distinctive individual main characters that had strong personalities, so that the writers who followed afterward would know exactly who these people are and how to make them act and speak consistently. And I have to say everyone involved did a great job with that. The stories are varied in approach and style and action, but they’re all very consistent in their portrayals of the world and the people, and they’re definitely all very exciting and entertaining.

JC: The books and comics you mentioned have bombastic, cackling villains. I wanted to throw some of those at Blackthorn and his partners. Unfortunately for the bad guys, the heroes threw them back, hard. My story is the shortest in the book.

BN: My story is called “The Minefields of Malador.” It starts with a simple enough premise. Blackthorn and his companions are riding their steeds across the Martian countryside, enjoying the first bit of peace and quiet in some time when the ground in front of them explodes. That’s when they realize they’ve wandered into a minefield. They realize that there is no way to go through or around the mines so they have to go underground into Malador’s ancient system of caves. From there, things get weird.

JP: I didn’t want it to sound like the Thundarr cartoon, or for Blackthorn to be Thundarr. There were times when his dialogue was a bit too “pulpy”, so I had to reign it in some. Having Van’s story available to read before I got too deeply into it really helped me shape the characters and their relationships to each other. Van also gave all of us room to be ourselves and put our own spin on each story, which was very freeing.

ST: My story is called “City of Relics” and started in my head from a single image of Blackthorn (and his Amazing Friends) fighting off a group of naked snake women. It was like I had a 1960’s sci-fi book cover in my head that needed to be expounded upon. So expound I did. I wanted to explore the idea of a sort of anti-Blackthorn, not as a warrior, but as scientist left as the last of her kind for hundreds of years. I imagine that sort of loneliness might drive a person crazy. And I couldn’t resist making that character female, because, well, I’m a sucker for a good femme fatale, even without all noir smoke filling up the story.

IW: I’m not happy until I’ve mapped things out, a good back story (and sometimes even a map) that informs what I’m writing about. If I’m featuring a genetically created race of Mock-Men then I want to know that when left to their own devices they live in settlements of bee-shaped huts, growing spices in shallow water-gardens and fermenting their thick liqueurs on their agricultural trellises. I want to know that at sunset they sit together and croon the Song of Yearning. I want to know that the word for surrender in their growling tongue actually means “wait for an opportunity”. Some of that even made it into the story, but the rest was there in my head informing it.

If we’d set these stories on post-apocalyptic Earth we’d have inevitably assumed the continents and rivers and city ruins based on our current world. A Martian setting gives us a chance for something richer and stranger, but to sell that we need to have the same familiarity with it as a dystopian Earth writer might mention “the Great Washington Crater” or “the Italian archipelago”. I’m pleased we were able to world-map sufficiently to offer that kind of verisimilitude.

Blackthorn’s Mars is ruled by the four sorcerous First Men, each a very different kind of tyrant using ancient technologies indistinguishable from magic. I wanted to work out how four archvillains managed to survive on the same planet. I was interested in what challenged and constrained them as well as the hero. Hence I set my story in the Valley of Acheron, the toxic wasteland where the big four dump their failed experiments and keep clear. Then I imagined what might evolve there or slink in attracted by the chemical, nuclear, and psychic waste.

And having got the setting – a place even the First Men didn’t go – it seemed only fair to send the Black Sorcerer, Blackthorn’s major bad guy – in there after him. That allows us to showcase the regular villain as well as our heroic crew.

If I get another go at a Blackthorn story I really want to do a meeting of all the heroes and all the villains together in a room where they can’t immediately kill each other. I think that would be great fun to write.

MB: My story focuses on two characters not realizing that what they want is actually bad for them. There’s a little crazy girl, Nikka, who has lost her parents and starts hearing voices and all she wants is her parents back. Then there’s Bazooka Bronson who wants to get into Lord Ruin’s good graces and ignores that Lord Ruin’s men had left him for dead the last time to win him over. The big challenge was getting the main characters more involved in the story since the character arcs revolve around Nikka and Bazooka Bronson.
The most surprising thing was that this story came to me on a 2 hour car trip and was plotted out almost completely by the end of that trip. I just had to get Blackthorn more involved. I also had to find something for Oglok to do. The story actually has a little bit of Judge Dredd in it. In the end, I’d say my story is a mix of John Carter of Mars and Judge Dredd with a tad bit of Thundaar thrown in.

Art: James Burns

AP: Where can readers find and learn more about you and your work?

VP: They can visit www.plexico.net for links to my work with various publishers, as well as biographical information. And follow me on Twitter at @VanAllenPlexico

JC: My awesome site is at http://www.revolutionsf.com/, and I’m on the Twitters at @revolutionsf.

BN: I’m all over the place. http://www.bobbynash.com/ is my website, but you can also find me at www.facebook.com/bobbyenash, www.twitter.com/bobbynash, on Google+ as +Bobby Nash, and at http://ben-books.blogspot.com/ among others. I’m also co-host of the Earth Station One podcast and you can hear me weekly at http://www.esopodcast.com/ and on itunes. Plus, I do a lot of conventions so I’m generally easy to find.

JP: I am active on Facebook and, to a lesser extent, on Twitter @palmerwriter, and everyone can check out my website and blog at http://www.jamespalmerbooks.com/.

ST: I’m all over the place, convention-wise and on the ‘Net. Online there’s my official website at http://www.taylorverse.com/, along with my Twitter feed and Facebook page (both at seanhtaylor after the /), and there’s also my brand new writer’s blog, Bad Girls, Good Guys, and Two-Fisted Action, seanhtaylor.blogspot.com. For conventions, check out my appearance schedule on my website.

IW: I wouldn’t want readers to know much more about me; but they can chase up my novels, Robin Hood: King of Sherwood and Robin Hood: Arrow of Justice via my Robin Hood website at http://www.chillwater.org.uk/writing/robinhome.htm. There are sample chapters there and other materials, and lists of the various anthologies I’ve contributed to. I’ve had tales in volumes one to three of Airship 27 / Cornerstone Books’ top selling Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective series. My volume 2 tale got me a Best Pulp Short Story award. And there’s the aforementioned Gideon Cain: Demon Hunter, from pretty much the people who brought you Blackthorn.

Upcoming in 2012 is Robin Hood: Freedom’s Champion, a story in a new anthology about pulp airman Richard Knight for Pulp Obscura, a jungle heroine tale (details still embargoed), “The Case of the Clockwork Courtesan” for Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective volume 4, a novella set on an airship and some other bits and pieces. I like writing. All these publishers really need to keep up!

MB: Right now, this is my 1st published story. Hopefully, it’s not too obvious. I am working on a series with
I.A. Watson and Mark Bousquet. We’ll have to figure out where that’ll be published, but I’ve read the draft for Ian’s story and it’s absolutely fantastic and I’ve written a draft for my story. It’s called The Many Worlds of Ulysses King and involves a Doctor Who-like character saving alternate realities (rather than time travel) with his companions. Mixes my love of Doctor Who with my love of alternate history fiction.

The only other work I have that’s seen print, outside of academic circles, would be found in Van’s Assembled volumes.

AP: And finally, Van, what are the future plans for Blackthorn and his companions? Can we expect a return visit to Mars?

VP: The grand plan is for two more books. The next one will up the ante with even more direct confrontations between Blackthorn’s team and the big baddies of Mars, and the third one will bring things to a more-or-less final resolution. That’s the plan right now, but of course one never knows how such things will turn out. As General Blackthorn himself would probably remind us, “No battle plan long survives contact with the enemy.”

And as Oglok would probably add, “GRRAAAARRRRRHH!!!”

One way or another, though, we will definitely be seeing more exciting adventures of Blackthorn, Aria and Oglok in the future.

AP: Thanks, everyone.

BLACKTHORN: THUNDER ON MARS from White Rocket Books and is now on sale.
Print Edition – $15.95: http://www.amazon.com/Blackthorn-Thunder-Van-Allen-Plexico/dp/0984139265
Kindle Edition – $2.99: http://www.amazon.com/Blackthorn-Thunder-on-Mars-ebook/dp/B006FBRHG8/ref=sr_1_15?ie=UTF8&qid=1322503101&sr=8-15

For more information about White Rocket Books, visit http://www.whiterocktbooks.com/

Airship 27 Productions & Cornerstone Book Publishers are happy to announce the release of I.A. Watson’s second book in his new retelling of the classic Robin Hood legend.
In book one of this series, “Robin Hood, King of Sherwood,” award winning author Ian Watson introduced the classic outlaw hero from British lore in a fresh and exciting new way. We learned of a carefree youth suddenly cast into the role of hero to save his people from the cruel and sadistic tyranny of Prince John, left to rule over the kingdom while his brother, Richard the Lionhearted traveled to the Holy Lands to fight in the Third Crusade.
Suffering under unbearable taxation, the people suffered daily until the brash young outlaw, Robin of Loxley, at the goading of a lovely young maid, stepped forth to challenge this illegal oppression and restore true justice to the land.  In this second chapter his daring robberies of the jaded gentry have stirred the ire of the Sheriff of Nottingham and his allies. A devious plot is hatched in the guise of an archery contest to lure the daring Robin Hood within the city limits and there trap him.  Once more Ian Watson spins a tale of action and adventure steeped in rich historical lore as he relates perhaps the most reckless of the Robin’s famed exploits.  Can the King of Sherwood, aided by his loyal and of rogues, claim the prized Golden Arrow or will the walls of Nottingham become his tomb.
Robin Hood, Arrow of Justice is another rollicking grand adventure that continues this innovative and wonderful retelling of a truly classic legend loved by millions.  This volume once again spotlights a gorgeous painted cover by Pulp Factory Award Winning recipient Mike Manley, with interior illustrations and designs by Art Director Rob Davis.  Airship 27 Productions is thrilled to return to Sherwood Forest in;
Robin Hood; Arrow of Justice
This is the tenth release of 2011 for the popular pulp production outfit and their 43rd catalog title.  “It’s been a remarkable year,” said Editor Ron Fortier, “and we’re thrilled to be ending in on such a high note.” 
Airship 27 Productions;  Pulps For a New Generation!
ISBN: 1-613420-27-7
ISBN-13: 978-1-61342-027-0
Produced by Airship 27
Published by Cornerstone Book Publishers
Release date: 12/07/2011
Retail Price: $16.95
$3 digital PDF Available Now.