Tagged: Pulp

Dennis O’Neil: Men of their Hour

oneil-art-131128-121x225-7575123Is Hourman Lance Armstrong’s patron superhero? Does Jose Conseco cherish his copy of All-Star Comics #1, featuring Hourman? Did Alex Rodriguez have his own special version of the Miraclo pill, Hourman’s after dinner mint of choice?

Ah yes, Hourman: one of the second (or third) string superheroes created just as the nation was edging into World War Two and decades before the athletes named above and other sports stars were accused of using steroids to enhance performance.

Hourman is not a character who has ever occupied much of my attention. I’ve been aware of him for a long time, and that could mean that I encountered him when I was very, very young, or that I came across him when I was working for DC Comics. I may have even considered reviving him. I wouldn’t put it past me, the editor who, quite briefly, resurrected the original Vigilante, because I remembered liking him when, again, I was very, very young, and Air Wave because I thought I could give him a quirky spin. (These were not my most glorious moments as a DC employee, these flings with yesteryear.) But now, there he is, camping in my psyche – Hourman is back (should we rejoice?) thanks to our brethren in videoland, who are planning an Hourman television show. If the news item I read was accurate, they have ideas for a fresh take on the man of the hour.

The original Hour-Man (he later lost the hyphen) was Rex Tyler who, while working as a research scientist, discovered a drug that would give him super strength and super speed but only, darn it, for an hour. He made two decisions: he would limit trials of the drug, dubbed Miraclo, to himself, presumably to spare innocents possible side-effects, and he would use his awesome but temporary powers for good. As origin gimmicks go, this isn’t bad: it’s novel, and it builds into the premise the venerable ticking clock plot trope. And in the innocent forties, readers probably weren’t bothered by the notion that problems could be solved by swallowing something; anyone who’s ever struggled with addiction knows that the notion is dangerous. To their credit, later writers acknowledged this danger and gave Hourman a druggie’s woes.

The television Hourman’s power will be a form of prophecy. He will be able to see into the future – but, alas, only a single hour into the future. Extremely useful at the race track, but not much good at questions of geopolitics. But it might facilitate some interesting storytelling, especially if the writers are allowed to do heavy character stuff. How would being able to glimpse the future twist a man’s psyche? Would the man become addicted to the facilitating drug and/or the powers it gives him? In popular fiction, it’s always the recipe that matters most, not the ingredients. The Hourman show, if it ever gets onto a television screen near you, might be worth – yes! – an hour of your time.

Meanwhile, you can watch a game.


FRIDAY MORNING: Martha Thomases



Talking Ultrasylvania with Brian Schirmer

With the final volume currently on Kickstarter, I had a chance to talk to Brian Schrimer and Jeremy Saliba about Ultrasylvania – a comic series crafted in the classroom.

Joshua Pantalleresco:  How did Ultrasylvania came to be?

Brian Schrimer:  I was traveling in Europe in 2011, making any notes of things that crossed my mind in a little notebook – observations, passing thoughts, ideas. One notion – “What if Dracula had been a world leader?” – stuck with me. I didn’t know what I’d do with it, but it certainly had its hooks in me.

Months later, I was approached by a former student of mine – I teach Writing for Comics and Graphic Novels at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco – who suggested that the school should offer a class that would be built around something I wrote, where students would provide the artwork. Naturally, I laughed at him.

Then, a few days passed and I realized the notion stuck with me. I spoke with Jeremy about it – and about the prospect of building a class around the idea that would become Ultrasylvania. He was on board, followed by the School of Illustration’s director, Chuck Pyle. We were off and running.

JP:  Is it a little intimidating using such classic characters?

BS: So many of our key characters – from Dracula and Frankenstein’s Monster to the Invisible Man and the Mummy – have well known legacies. You know what to expect in a story that features any of them. Our challenge was to subvert those expectations. That was part of the fun. It wasn’t intimidating – it was liberating. We’d found a new way to look at these classic characters, despite some of them having been around for 100 years or more.

JP: What were your influences in creating this series?

BS:  I put a bit of my love for most everything in there somewhere. Coen Brothers films, ancient Egypt, Shakespeare. Apocalypse Now is in there a few times. Moral and ethical ambiguity abounds. Dracula is a bastard and Victor (our Frankenstein Monster) is very sympathetic – but neither is a hero or villain. I really wanted that to be the case, as it was something I wanted to explore.

JP:  Is it still a class project to this day?  If it is, have you had any comics pros work on the concept?  Would you like to?

BS:  The class is on indefinite hiatus.  After running the course for three consecutive semesters, completing three graphic novels worth of material in 18 months, and all of the subsequent efforts that go into bringing those works to digital and to print – including the Kickstarter for Volume Three that launches Monday – we decided to take a break and to work on other projects.

JP:The first story seemed to be about the concept of finding and losing love.  Was that an intentional theme?

BS:  It was indeed.  You’ll find that same theme explored in Volume Two.  More to the point, before writing this project I’d come to realize that perhaps the overarching subject in most of my work has been hope.  It was never something I set out to do.  I just began to recognize it as a throughline, as a pattern.  So, I decided to dive into Ultrasylvania with that in the back of my mind, allowing the tale to explore hope in all its permutations – loss of hope, misplaced hope, the hope one feels when richly in love, that last bit of pure hope one has when it seems things are all but lost, and so on.

JP:  What’s coming up in volume three?

BS:  Each volume has its own subtitle – Volume One: King Dracula, Volume Two: Emperor Frankenstein….  I had a couple working titles in my head that carried on that would have carried on that theme for Volume Three.  But once I’d seen the finished artwork and saw the lettering come together, I realized it needed to be titled Ultrasylvania, Vol. 3: The Book of the Dead.  There’s a very distinct reason for this.  To my mind, it couldn’t be called anything else.  This time out we finally see the origin of Meritaten, the “mummy” of our tale – and it’s a bit disturbing.  We also fill in some of the other blanks on Dracula’s side, including how he acquired the third of his three brides.  (Hint: There are witches in this world!  Hint #2: She’s not one of them.)  Also, we finally make it to the US of A – or what would be the US of A, had certain… unpleasantries not occurred.  This last part sets the stage for our big finish.  You know what else if coming up in Volume Three?  Quite possibly the best artwork of the whole damn series.  I know this sounds like self-serving hyperbole, but seriously, some of this work is jaw-dropping awesome.

JP:  So when does your kickstarter for volume three launch?

BS:  We are Kickstarting Volume 3 right now. We’ve already been spreading the word – via social media, recent cons – and sounds like there’s some anticipation out there – which is fantastic. I suspect October will be flush with campaigns. Here’s hoping we’ve got something that truly stands out in the crowd.

JP:  Anything else you’d like to add?

BS:  Jeremy and I have been so lucky to work with so many amazing artists on this project. It’s hard to believe they’re still both university students and so damned young! Some of them should absolutely be working in the industry NOW. If Ultrasylvania can be a calling card for us all, then that’s something of which I can feel proud.

Thanks Brian!

You can find and donate to volume three’s kickstarter at: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/955965154/ultrasylvania-vol-3-the-book-of-the-damned?ref=live, the webpage is located at http://www.ultrasylvania.com and the twitter handle is @ultrasylvania.

(Update: The kickstarter has been funded.  Still, feel free to donate to achieve stretch goals.)m


Rick Nichols Gets PULPED!

This week, author Rick Nichols joins Tommy Hancock on PULPED!  The man behind the John Logan series from Seven Realms Publishing, Nichols discusses his rather unique P.I. Character, the fantastically conceived supporting cast around him (including Lucky the Cat), the influence Robert B. Parker had on him, and the right way to do cliffhangers!  Listen in as Rick Nichols gets PULPED!



Free Burroughs Strips

You can now Free Sample Strips of each of our All New Comic Strips Series – written and drawn by well known artists/writers.  Strips include THE WAR CHIEF™, CARSON OF VENUS™, TARZAN™, ETERNAL SAVAGE™ and CAVE GIRL™ all for FREE! Check ’em out HERE and see what you’re missing if you’re not yet a subscriber!

All New Strips are created just for the site, added to weekly, and available when you subscribe for only $1.99/month. Click on any sample strip to see full size. Subscribe now to receive Bonus Materials: Original drawings and sketches from all our artists.




This week Host Tommy Hancock welcomes Publisher and Author Milton Davis, the man behind MVMedia.  Leading the charge for Sword and Soul as well as Steamfunk, Davis is the vanguard for African American Genre and Pulp Fiction.  Listen in as he talks about how he became a writer, why MVMedia exists, the myriad worlds that he and others have woven, future plans, and gives his own insights into the state of Black Speculative Fiction!  Hang on to your hats as Milton Davis Gets PULPED!



The Shadow Fan’s Dark Nights Continue!

The Shadow Fan podcast returns for his 46th episode! This week Barry Reese takes a look at a classic novel (“The Crystal Buddha” from January 1, 1938) and the newest issue of The Shadow/Green Hornet: Dark Nights! It’s an action-packed episode, made all the more so by the announcement of just who will be appearing on our landmark 50th episode in a few weeks! That’s right – at the end of the episode, you’ll find out if your guesses have been correct.

If you love pulp’s greatest crimefighter, this is the podcast for you!

Listen to The Shadow Fan Podcast Episode 46 now at http://theshadowfan.libsyn.com/dark-nights-continues

Audio Comics Takes the Battle to LA

Starting September 1, AudioComics will begin taking pre-orders for the audio drama adaptation of Moonstone Entertainment‘s “Battle for LA,” starring the Phantom Detective, the Black Bat, the Domino Lady, Secret Agent X, and Airboy.

“Battle” will be released as a digital download October 1, available exclusively through the AudioComics website at www.audiocomicscompany.com!

Between September 1 and October 1, you can preorder the “Battle” MP3 for $6.45 ($1.50 off the retail


price of $7.95).

Plus you will receive a FREE episode from AudioComics’ “Horrorscopes” series!

Learn more about Battle for LA here and here.


Fight Card Goes Audio!

audio cover

New Pulp Publisher, Fight Card Books has released their first audio tale with Fight Card: Tomato Can Comeback. Now available at Aubidle.com.



The first Fight Card novel to be made available on unabridged audio via audible.com is Tomato Can Comeback with Henry Brown writing as Jack Tunney and narrated by John Podulka.

Tom Garrick had a heart of gold, a jaw of iron, and heavy artillery in both fists. This orphan from the Windy City returned from the Korean War, determined to battle his way up the welterweight ranks, inspiring
speculation about a title bid. Then he slugged it out with a top contender, who humiliated him over eleven rounds, cutting short his victory march.

ebook cover

Popular opinion was that he had been exposed as a lucky pretender. The newspapers dubbed him ‘Tomato Can’ after watching the blood splatter around the ring like tomato juice from a tin can being battered by a
tire iron.

Now, for some mysterious reason, ‘Tomato Can’ Garrick is lacing up his gloves again, hoping for a shot at redemption. He has no promoter, no manager, and not even a sparring partner. The only one in his corner is a buddy from the war, who has never been inside a boxing ring before.

There’s a punch-drunk pantheon of bums, brawlers, and cutthroat contenders just waiting to pound him into Palookaville…a lonely war widow with her claws in his heart…and a regimen of dubious training methods which may do more harm than good to his chances at success. But Garrick isn’t going to go down in history as “the Tomato Can” – at least, not without a fight.

The Fight Card: Tomato Can Comeback audio is 2 hours and 45 minutes in length.

For more information on The Fight Card: Tomato Can Comeback audio, click here.
For more information on The Fight Card: Tomato Can Comeback ebook, click here.


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.