Pro Se Productions, a noted New Pulp Publisher, debuts its very own podcast featuring the creators behind the magic and mayhem that is Pro Se. This initial episode, hosted by Pro Se Partner and Editor-in-Chief Tommy Hancock, features four of the six writers involved in the debut volume of Pro Se’s latest line of New Pulp Novels, Pulp Obscura! Ian Watson, Adam Lance Garcia, Barry Reese, and Frank Schildiner join Hancock in discussing their tales and take in THE NEW ADVENTURES OF RICHARD KNIGHT, a volume of new stories featuring an obscure Pulp character. This volume, as with other Pulp Obscura titles, act as companions to volumes of reprints of the featured character printed by Altus Press! Enjoy the information, the discussion, the hilarity, and more that makes this project and Pro Se Productions! And tune in EVERY THURSDAY for a new episode of PRO SE PRESENTS!
Tommy Hancock, Pulp Ark Coordinator, announced the end of nominations and the release of the ballot for the second Pulp Ark Awards to be given out at Pulp Ark 2012 in Batesville, AR, April 20-22, 2012.
“We had a fantastic turn out in terms of nominations again this year,” Hancock stated. “More than 25 publishers represented across the board, this is a ballot that truly reflects not only the popularity that Pulp has today, but also the variety and creativity within the field.”
Listed below is the Ballot qualified voters received today. Only those who nominated a work or individual in one of the categories are qualified to vote. Voting will end on February 20, 2012 with winners announced soon after.
If you did nominate someone and did not receive a ballot, please email Hancock at firstname.lastname@example.org and this will be corrected.
There will also be a Pulp Ark 2012 Lifetime Achievement Award given. This will be selected by a committee already chosen and results will be announced on or before February 21, 2012.
Best Novel Nominees
Yesteryear by Tommy Hancock-Pro Se Productions
Deadly Games by Bobby Nash-BEN Books
The Damned Thing by Barry Reese-Wildcat Books
Wake of the Red Mistress by Teel James Glenn-Eternal Press
Sentinels: Stellarax by Van Allen Plexico-White Rocket Books
Damballa by Charles Saunders-Airship 27 Productions
Hammered by Kevin Hearne-Random House
Viktoriana by Wayne Reinagel-Knightraven Studios
Misty Johnson, Supernatural Dick in Capitol Hell by R. P. Steeves-Seven Realms Publishing
Truly Deeply Disturbed by Andrew Nienaber-Postmortem Press
The Halloween Legion by Martin Powell-Wildcat Books
Dark Destiny by Jeff Melton-Jeff Melton
The Wild Adventures of Doc Savage-Desert Demons by Will Murray-Altus Press
Fortune’s Pawn by Nancy A. Hansen-Pro Se Productions
Challenger Storm: Isle of Blood by Don Gates-Airship 27 Productions
The Myth Hunter by Percival Constantine-Pulpwork Press (?)
Knight Moves by John G. Hartness-Falstaff Books
Arron of the Black Forest: The Haunting of Dragon’s Cliff by Phil Athans and Mel Odom-Arron of the Black Forest Partnership
Best Collection/Anthology Nominees
The Adventures of Fortune McCall by Derrick Ferguson-Pro Se Productions
Lance Star: Sky Ranger Volume 3 by Various-Airship 27 Productions
Blackthorn: Thunder on Mars by Various- White Rocket Books
Hugh Monn, Private Detective by Lee Houston, Jr- Pro Se Productions
Shadows of New York by Teel James Glenn- BooksforaBuck.com
The Adventures of Lazarus Gray by Barry Reese-Pro Se Productions
How the West was Weird II by Various-Pulpwork Press
The Game by Various -Seven Realms Publishing
The Beer Chronicles: Tales from the Paddy Rodriguez Pub by Scott Lange-Postmortem Press
The Avenger: The Justice Inc. Files by Various-Moonstone
The Rook Volume Six by Barry Reese-Pro Se Productions
Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective Volume 3 by various-Airship 27 Productions
Mystery Men and Women Volume 2 by Various-Airship 27 Productions
Four Bullets for Dillon by Derrick Ferguson-Pulpwork Press
Dreams of Steam II: Brass and Bolts by Various-Kerlak Publishing
Best Short Story Nominees
“Sting of the Yellowjacket” By Howard Hopkins from the Green Hornet Casefiles-Moonstone
Red Badge Attacks by Mark S. Halegua and Andrew Salmon from Mystery Men and Women Vol II-Airship 27 Productions
Sherringford Bell: The Scandal of the Bohemian by Ken Janssens from Pro Se Presents #1-Pro Se Productions
A Bargain with Bandit Ping by Teel James Glenn from Tales of Old Magazine-Tales of Old
The Adventure of the Towne Manor Haunting by Andrew Salmon in Sherlock Holmes, Consulting Detective, Volume 3-Airship 27 Productions
Gunmen of the Hollow Earth by Joel Jenkins from How the West Was Weird: Campfire Tales-Pulpwork Press
Vengeance is Mine by Ron Fortier from the Avenger: The Justice Inc Files-Moonstone
Storms of Blood and Snow by Derrick Ferguson from How the West was Weird Volume II – Pulpwork Press
Misty Johnson and the Monsters of the Caribbean by R. P. Steeves from The Game- Seven Realms Publishing
Sewer Rats-C. Bryan Brown from Dark Doorways: Best of Post Mortem Press-Post Mortem Press
Death with a Glint of Bronze by Sean Taylor from Dreams of Steam II:Nuts and Bolts-Kerlak Publishing
Bastion of the Black Sorcerer by Van Allen Plexico from Blackthorn: Thunder on Mars-White Rocket Books
Summer of Death by Barry Reese from The Green Hornet Casefiles-Moonstone
Clockworks by William Preston from Asimov’s-Asimov’s
The Devil’s Workmen by Barry Reese from The Avenger: The Justice, Inc. Files-Moonstone
Shortages-Lee Houston Jr. from Hugh Monn, Private Detective-Pro Se Productions
Dock Doyle by Adam Garcia from Mystery Men and Women volume 2-Airship 27 Productions
The Hunter Island Adventure by Wayne Reinagel from Pro Se Presents #3-Pro Se Productions
Felony Fists by Paul Bishop-Fight Card
Romney Marsh, The Scarecrow of Space by Phil Bledsoe-Phil Bledsoe
Dillon and the Bad Ass Belt Buckle by Derrick Ferguson from Four Bullets for Dillon-Pulpwork Press
The Real Magic by H. David Blalock from Dreams of Steam II-Kerlak Publishing
Beast of the Black Hills by Tony Wilson from How The West was Weird II-Pulpwork Press
Best Cover Nominees
Challenger Storm: The Isle of Blood by Wm. Michael Kaluta – Airship 27 Productions
The Adventures of Lazarus Gray by Anthony Castrillo-Pro Se Productions
Hugh Monn, Private Detective by David Russell-Pro Se Productions
Pro Se Presents #3, ‘The Hunter Island Adventure’ by Wayne Reinagel-Pro Se Productions
How The West Was Weird II by Jim Rugg-Pulpwork Press
Mars McCoy, Space Ranger by Chad Hardin-Airship 27 Productions
Strange Gods of the Dire Planet by MD Jackson-Pulpwork Press
These Trespasses by Philip R. Rogers-Post Mortem Press
The Halloween Legion by Danny Kelly-Wildcat Books
Blackthorn: Thunder on Mars by James Burns-White Rocket Books
The Wild Adventures of Doc Savage: Desert Demons by Joe DeVito-Altus Press
The Avenger: The Justice Inc. Files by E.M. Gist-Moonstone
Creeping Dawn: Rise of the Black Centipede by David Russell-Pro Se Productions
Mystery Men and Women Volume 2 by Mike Fyles-Airship 27 Productions
The Damned Thing by Jason Levesque-Wildcat Books
Arron of the Black Forest: The Haunting of Dragon’s Cliff- by Keith Birdsong-Arron of the Black Forest Partnership
Dreams of Steam II: Brass and Bolts by Darrell Osborn-Kerlak Publishing
Best Interior Art Nominees
Blackthorn: Thunder on Mars-Chris Kohler-White Rocket Books
The Rook Volume Six –Anthony Castrillo-Pro Se Productions
Yesteryear-Pete Cooper-Pro Se Productions
Robin Hood: Arrow of Justice-Rob Davis
Challenger Storm: Isle of Blood-Wm. Kaluta-Airship 27 Productions
The Damned Thing-Kevin Duncan-Wildcat Books
Lance Star Sky Ranger, Volume 3-Shannon Hall-Airship 27 Productions
Pro Se Productions, Publisher of the monthly New Pulp Magazine PRO SE PRESENTS, announced today its magazine lineup for the first quarter of 2012! This lineup includes not only works from multiple writers, both new and familiar to New Pulp fans, but also features the first collaboration between Pro Se and noted New Pulp Publisher, White Rocket Books!
“Pro Se is ecstatic,” Tommy Hancock, Editor in Chief of and Partner in Pro Se Productions, stated today, “to be working with White Rocket Books and especially its owner and premier writer, Van Allen Plexico. Known as one of the leading New Pulp writers today and able to bridge nearly any genre, Van brings a special touch to anything he writes and creates. For Pro Se to be able to give Van a vehicle to showcase his latest upcoming work HAWK in a monthly magazine format is an opportunity we couldn’t pass up.”
HAWK: HAND OF THE MACHINE is a stand-alone piece including an excerpt from Plexico’s HAWK novel, to be published by White Rocket Books in 2012, reworked to be a story all its own. It spotlights the title character, a member of a force of protectors of space and its galaxies and planets. HAND OF THE MACHINE will be featured in two parts beginning in PRO SE PRESENTS #7, February 2012, and ending in PRO SE PRESENTS # 8, March 2012. HAWK will also be the cover feature for the March issue.
“I couldn’t be happier,” said Van Allen Plexico, creator of HAWK and Publisher of White Rocket Books, “to see HAWK getting to make his mark for the first time in the pages of PRO SE PRESENTS, before he appears anywhere else. I think HAWK will appeal to readers of all sorts–from military SF fans to space opera aficionados to pure pulp action/adventure fans–and Pro Se has positioned itself to reach that kind of broad audience and bring them the best that New Pulp has to offer.
Plexico continued, “The readers of PRO SE PRESENTS will discover a new character and a new universe to get into and enjoy, and my own readers will check out the magazine and find in it a publication that they will truly get a kick out of every month. My thanks go out to Tommy Hancock and his merry band of Pulpsters for giving HAWK this kind of spotlight to make his big debut!”
The tales that make up the rest of PRO SE PRESENTS for the January, February, and March issues only show how varied the New Pulp field and the content from Pro Se can be! Featuring stories from various genres by Kevin Rodgers, Megan Smith, PJ Lozito, James Palmer, Frank Schildiner, Ken Janssens, and Ashley Strole Mangin, the first three months of PRO SE PRESENTS is full of intergalactic adventure, Private Eyes of a feminine persuasion, dimension hopping teenagers, monster hunting gangsters, masked heroes, eerie Villains cast in classic molds, and so much more! Known for Puttin’ The Monthly Back into Pulp, PRO SE PRESENTS is headed up by Lee Houston, Jr., Magazine Editor in Chief and edited by Houston, Frank Schildiner, Nancy Hansen, and Don Thomas!
Pro Se Productions, a Publisher known to be on the cutting edge of New Pulp, announces an ambitious new project today that, if successful in 2012, will lead to a new imprint from Pro Se in 2013.
According to Tommy Hancock, Editor-in Chief and Partner in Pro Se, “Being a Publisher of both books and magazines, Pro Se obviously gets quite a few queries.One of the very first we got upon announcing we would be publishing Pulp magazines back in 2010 concerned whether or not we were interested in something described as ‘Pulp, but poetry instead of prose.’At the time, we weren’t, but that hasn’t stopped the queries from coming in, at least one every week to two weeks about whether or not we’ll accept crime poetry, space poetry, fantasy poetry, and so on.Well, after a year and a half of requests as well as research and study, Pro Se has decided to test the waters via our magazine, PRO SE PRESENTS, by having an all Pulp Poetry volume.”
When asked to define Pulp Poetry, Hancock stated, “Well, if there’s a definition out there that is clear cut as to what it is, I haven’t found it. Pulp writers, most notably Robert E. Howard, have been known for their poetry as well. Defining Pulp is subjective often anyway and that is something it has in common with Poetry.Basically what we’re looking for is poetry that deals with subjects and genres that are a part of Pulp.So, action, adventure, heroes and villains, conflict, and genre.Genre is important in determining Pulp Poetry.Pulp is all about genre, be it western, crime, fantasy, and so on.So, Pulp Poetry definitely has to be something that deals in a particular genre that is a part of Pulp.”
As far as other requirements for Pulp Poetry, there are no requirements that it rhyme or be a certain length. Hancock stated that submissions would be open from January 2nd to March 1st 2012 for poems to be included in this volume.
The May 2012 issue of PRO SE PRESENTS, the tenth issue of the magazine, will be an all Pulp Poetry issue, edited by newly appointed Pulp Poetry Editor for Pro Se, Megan Smith.
“I have been writing Poetry,” Smith explained, “since I was little. I can’t remember a time when I didn’t enjoy writing it or reading it.There has always been an interest in Poetry and with the increase in the interest in Pulp in the last several years, it seems the perfect time to show the world what Pulp Poetry can be.”
Currently the only Pulp Poetry title on the Pro Se Schedule is the special magazine issue scheduled for May 2012.Smith will serve as editor of Pulp Poetry regardless of the form it continues in, either as a continual part of the magazine format on a monthly basis or as its own line with Pulp Poetry collections in 2013.
“This,” Hancock pointed out, “is an experiment, but it’s one we have full faith in.Pulp is known for being speculative and a field of literature where anything can happen.The concept of Pulp Poetry fits perfectly and just wait and see what Pro Se does with it.”
Pro Se Productions, known for its quality books and magazines since coming on the New Pulp scene in 2010, announced today that due to the company’s past success as well as ambitious plans for 2012 and beyond, new positions have been added to the Pro Se Productions staff roster.
“In order to,” Tommy Hancock, Partner and Editor in Chief of Pro Se stated, “not only continue to produce at the quality and level we have been, but to continually improve and exceed that, it has become necessary to spread the work around a bit. Fortunately there are those who support and believe in Pro Se’s goal of providing the best possible New Pulp fiction it can that have agreed to fill these positions. They are no strangers to the company and have proven themselves in various other capacities, mostly as writers. In at least one instance, we are finally giving a title to someone who Pro Se would not be what it is today without.”
The new staffers and their positions are as follows, according to Hancock-
Director of Art and Design- Sean E. Ali. Hancock said, “This is a position that Sean has had with me since long before Pro Se existed, along with several others like sounding board, critic, friend, and others. Sean is one of the best designers in New Pulp today and proves that by upping his game with every single new work Pro Se puts out.”
EBook Format and Design Consultant-Russ Anderson. According to Hancock, “Russ is a godsend in that this is a direction Pro Se has been aimed at for a while. Now we’re able to pull the trigger and Russ is firing out our eBook versions at a good clip and great quality as well.”
Assistant Editor-Nancy Hansen. Hancock stated, “I can’t put into words what sort of support Nancy has been as well as the fact that she is one of the most prolific and consistent writers I know. And there comes a time when the right person presents himself or herself to any EIC that he has to say ‘It’s time to share.’ It’s way past time that I finally took Nancy up on all her offers to help and could think of no one better to assist me.”
Copy Editor-Don Thomas. As Hancock put it, “Pro Se looks to continually improve and editing is one area where every single publishing company in the world can always do better. As a part of that we’ve brought on editors to handle specific duties. Don has been with Pro Se since before our first magazine hit the stands and has a commitment not only to Pro Se, but also to New Pulp. Handling spelling, grammar, and other basic copyediting is something he has already tackled with dedication and persistence. “
Magazine Editor in Chief -Lee Houston, Jr. Hancock reported, “Again one of those who has been with Pro Se since our first call for writers, Lee is an amazing individual. He tackles every project with excitement and passion and wants only the best from himself and Pro Se. He definitely displayed a great work ethic as a writer and as a genre magazine editor and has already brought that level of ability and dedication to this new position.” Houston oversees Thomas’ work on the magazine as well as Frank Schildiner, magazine editor. “Frank,” Hancock added, “is a top hand and continues to prove an asset to Pro Se’s magazine line, especially now that we have streamlined it to one title.”
Pulp Poetry Editor-Megan Smith. “This,” Hancock explains, “is a position that we created for two reasons. One is we get more requests than you would think for poetry, both in book and magazine form. One of the first queries we got was whether or not we published crime poetry. We didn’t then, but now we want to. The other reason is we have the person perfect to head up this potential new line already working with Pro Se. Megan is an up and coming writer, known primarily for Perry Lell from Pro Se as well as giving her face and skills to The Pulptress, a spokesmodel for Pro Se and New Pulp. Megan is also a fantastic poet and her real passion lies in working with others interested in that.” More details will follow, according to Hancock, but there will be at least one magazine issue devoted exclusively to Pulp Poetry from Pro Se this year with Smith at the helm.
Other staff members already working with Pro Se include Hancock (Partner and Editor in Chief), Fuller Bumpers (Partner and Chief Executive Officer), and Barry Reese (Submissions Editor).
“These additions,” Hancock noted, “are not simply to look like we’re bigger than we are. Pro Se has literally grown tremendously in the last year and these positions have become necessary. We are also considering other positions as well, related primarily to marketing and promotions, but that’s an ongoing process.”
To follow or get more information on Pro Se, check out www.prosepulp.com and www.pulpmachine.blogspot.com.
Barry Reese unveiled the cover to the new Tales of The Rook anthology over at his website, http://barryreese.net/, this week. The cover (seen above) is by comics legend Bob Hall with colors by Tom Smith.
The Tales of The Rook anthology will feature stories by Ron Fortier, Mike Bullock, Perry Constantine, Tommy Hancock, Bobby Nash, Michael Edwards, and Barry Reese.
Look for Tales of The Rook from Reese Unlimited and Pro Se Press in the first half of 2012!
A Review of Tommy Hancock’s Yesteryear by Andrew Salmon
Disclaimer: Tommy Hancock is one of the creators of the New Pulp website.
One of New Pulp’s claims to fame is that time is no longer a factor when it comes to crafting pulp tales. Back in the Golden Age, writers typed until their fingers bled, racing the clock with deadlines looming. Today, New Pulp authors have the freedom to craft stories that are a little more complex than those written in a white heat and on the fly. There’s a chance to explore pulp worlds and characters and you’ll seldom find it done better than in Tommy Hancock’s YESTERYEAR.
The novel is a compelling read and one you won’t soon forget. Its episodic structure of pulp and superhero origin and adventure tales set around a unifying tell-all book makes the novel a standout in the burgeoning New Pulp field.
Yes, you heard that right, superheroes. Now some pulp fans might wonder what superheroes are doing in a pulp novel and while reading the book one might get the impression that this is more of a superhero prose work than a straight up pulp thriller. The point is a valid one but considering that the classic pulp characters of the Golden Age gave birth to the superheroes that came after, the novel’s historic sweep allows it to fall neatly into both categories, bridging the gap between pulp prose and comics.
As the novel deals with the main plot: the lengths some of these adventurers are willing to take to prevent the book’s publication, Hancock also treats us to numerous excerpts from the controversial work. Heroes rise and fall, alliances are formed and broken while drastic, deadly measures are taken to keep the manuscript from the public eye.
Some might find the jumping around from different time periods to the present day distracting or confusing but a careful read will smooth out these rough spots. Also, Hancock uses different fonts and writing styles to convey the shifts and this reader thought these worked very well. My only knock about this aspect of the novel is that there are a few too many time jumps and that some can be jarring. It’s a great narrative technique but occasionally it is overused here and the whole lacks an overlying cohesion. As this is Hancock’s first novel, one expects these odd rough spots, and occasional wordiness, will be smoothed out in future works.
While on the topic of criticism, this reader found the interior illustrations by Peter Cooper amateurish. With apologies to Mr. Cooper, the art is weak at best and does not measure up to the level of the writing. The cover by Jay Piscopo is striking although it, too, is out of place, seeming better suited to a graphic novel than a prose work, which could confuse readers new to the work.
Criticisms aside, YESTERYEAR is one of the best New Pulp releases of the year and I urge readers to give the book a try. It not only provides an atypical reading experience but also brings a fresh look at classic pulp fiction and superheroes. Hancock has crafted an engaging, refreshing work chock full of ideas, well drawn characters, and action galore. Pick it up, it is well worth your time.
Listen to tonight’s live episode of the PULPED! radio show tonight at 8 p.m. EST at http://www.tmvcafe.com/ to discuss the recently released Airship 27 Presents: All-Star Pulp Comics comic book anthology from Red Bud Studios.
YOU HAVE TO TUNE INTO THE FIRST EVER PULPED! SPECIAL TONIGHT! Two Hours of Pulpy Goodness talking to the creators and publishers of ALL STAR PULP COMICS!
Airship 27’s own Ron Fortier and Rob Davis will be on tonight with the crew of talented writers they recruited for this Pulp event! Barry Reese, Bobby Nash, Sean Taylor, and Adam L. Garcia will join Tommy Hancock and Derrick Ferguson tonight to discuss their stories in ALL STAR PULP COMICS and comics and pulp goodness all around! http://www.tmvcafe.com/ at 7 PM CST, 8 PM EST!
TIPPIN’ HANCOCK’S HAT-Reviews of All Things Pulp by Tommy Hancock
MYSTERY MEN (& WOMEN) VOLUME TWO
Written by Various Authors
Cover by Mike Fyles
Interior Art and Design by Rob Davis
Published by Airship 27 Productions
New Pulp is such an interesting creature.It is organic, something sprouting from the past, but as it grows and blossoms, it becomes its own thing.And there are Publishers and Writers today who continue to care for this beautiful thing we call New Pulp, making sure that it remains available, that it stands out as innovative and different, not derivative and unoriginal.A leading Publisher in doing just that is Airship 27 Productions, a company that divides itself between New Pulp based on Public Domain pulp characters as well as new and original characters blazing trails through New Pulp.
One of the titles that showcases the movement of original characters in Airship is their MYSTERY MEN (& WOMEN) series of books.Four stories in the first volume introduced the idea and it has been continued in a second volume.Overall, the book is enjoyable, a hoot to read, and wonderful to view.Individually, the stories vary in style and quality.
THE RED BADGE ATTACKS- by Mark Halegua and Andrew Salmon
This is not only the debut of the vigilante known as The Red Badge, but it’s also the first story published by the Badge’s creator, Mark Halegua.The premise is simple.A vigilante is in the city taking out the bad guys as quickly and violently as possible. Throw into that the fact that the identity of the Badge is a mystery, even up until the very end, but a mystery with a myriad of suspects.
The Red Badge has definite potential as a concept.The path traveled by this story is well worn, but its also one that could be done with twists and turns.Unfortunately, that’s not done nearly enough with this tale.Yes, some of the action scenes sing like a chorus of tommy guns, but others drag like they’re falling on dead chambers.The same with the dialogue-There’s a few solid exchanges, but overall it’s stilted and weak.The strongest point of this story is you can see what Halegua (with help from Salmon) wants the Red Badge to be, which gives one hope he may get there in future tales.
TWO OUT OF FIVE TIPS OF THE HAT
LAIR OF THE MOLE PEOPLE- by Greg Bastianelli
One of the neatest stories in Pulp is when you take a person in an occupation that isn’t cop, adventurer, spy, and you throw them into a Pulp over the top adventure tale and it works!Bastianelli does this with his character Jack Minch, Ace Reporter in this tale and does it so well and with such skill that the story was over before I even realized it.The premise, again like with the previous story, is straightforward.Minch opens a message from a woman who had left it behind to be opened if she disappeared, which she did.This action leads this spunky, two fisted typewriter jockey into a world beneath the city, as indicated by the title, and at that point, the real fun begins.
This story crackles with solid characterization, strong dialogue, and enough jump-from-around the corner action to keep any Pulp fan enticed and most definitely wanting more!
FIVE OUT OF FIVE TIPS OF THE HAT
DOCK DOYLE AND THE WANDERING CITY by Adam Lance Garcia
This story gave me fits.Here’s why.
Dock Doyle is a great American Hero and Movie Star, legends galore attached to his name.And this story takes him on an adventure deep into the Jungle for what is apparently another film job, but Doyle finds out far too late that things are not at all what they seem.And the reader finds that out as well, even about the central character himself.
This is quite possibly one of the best stories I have ever read.No kidding.Looking at it as an avid bibliophile who reads across all genres and recognizes all the movements, nuances, and influences in literature, mainstream and otherwise, this story is one of the best examples of post modern deconstruction I have found in a long time.
Looking at it as a reviewer of Pulp….It isn’t.It simply isn’t a Pulp Tale.
Don’t get me wrong.Some key elements are woven in.Action.Quick Pacing.Exotic locales.Defiance of death.All of that is there.Where this fails as a Pulp story is in the characters, especially the lead himself. Garcia paints vivid pictures and builds characters from the ground up.But they’re not Pulp characters.And trust me, I don’t feel Pulp characters have to be two dimensional or all good or all bad….but with Dock Doyle, there’s far too much gray even in the lead character…especially in the lead character…for this to be a Pulp Tale.
THREE OUT OF FIVE TIPS OF THE HAT- It ain’t Pulp, but it is damned good.
A MAN CALLED MONGREL by Derrick Ferguson
One of the great things about a good author…no, about a great author, is that he/she can deliver consistently, even when they are writing characters with some similarities in the same field of literature.And not just consistently in terms of quality, but also consistently in terms of differentiation-in making their work stand out solidly from what has come before.
Derrick Ferguson is just such an author.A master of the art.
Mongrel is a member of a family who essentially has a corner on the genius gene pool. When an attempt is made on the life of a family member, Mongrel swings into action against a Family that is focused on taking down leading corporations in the world via super science.But not while Mongrel Henderson is on the job.
This tale is raucous, over the top, and yet grounded in strong values.Family connections, pure heroism, and the battle of intellect versus emotion are all not only clearly on display in this story, but turned up to Eleven and broadcast in every single word.These characters, particularly Mongrel, exude excitement, action, as well as humanity.Mongrel can take on nearly any baddie that wants to stand with him, but he still cowers when called down by his mother.Ferguson’s strong suit in all his work is that the action is relentless, the violence is pointed and necessary, and the characters ooze the good and bad of simply being human, although the smartest, toughest, and most righteous or vile humans ever seen anywhere.This story stands out as the best in the entire volume and likely in the entire MYSTERY MEN (& WOMEN) series to date.
FIVE OUT OF FIVE TIPS OF THE HAT
Design and Art-Even though I said what I did about Dock Doyle’s debut story, the first image of Dock to be seen, the cover of this volume, is phenomenal.Award winning artist Mike Fyles delivers once again and proves he understands the concept of what Pulp covers are and what they need to convey.
Likewise the interior art and design of the book by Rob Davis does just what both of those things are supposed to.Davis’ work supports all the stories, the images bringing out in wonderful line work and iconic imagery exact moments from the stories and the format of the book makes one feel as if they’re holding a Pulp from a news kiosk back in the Thirties.Even the back cover design as well as the ads included add to that authentic feel.
FIVE OUT FIVE TIPS OF THE HAT
Even though every story wasn’t a grand slam and one might be better suited in another volume, MYSTERY MEN (& WOMEN) VOLUME TWO as a whole delivers.