Marvel found a lot of success with their street-level Netflix series, focusing on those less-super superheroes like Daredevil and Jessica Jones. Across town, Batman has always been one of the most beloved DC heroes, more because of his lack of powers than despite them.
Now, Comixology's original digital-only publishing line is offering their own twist on the gritty powerless superhero genre with The Black Ghost. Written by comics and crime writer (and Archie Comics co-president) Alex Segura and comic writer/artist Monica Gallagher with art by Marco Finnegan and George Kambadais, the comic follows a bitter alcoholic beat reporter named Lara Dominguez, whose obsession with a local vigilante called the Black Ghost gets her wrapped up in multilevel crime syndicate that has its eyes as much on real estate and media as it does in petty crimes. It feels like both an origin story, and a chapter in a larger story that's been going on for years — just like a good superhero comic should.
The story takes place in a city called Creighton. And while we don't know where exactly that is (the protagonist's former life in Miami has followed her to this new dying city), the grey skies and crumbling buildings could be almost any fading former factory hub along the East Coast. As I read, I kept thinking of it as the Bridgeport version of Gotham City or Metropolis — generic, but accessible, and fleshed out just enough to make it feel lived-in and real.
From the first issue, it's clear that The Black Ghost is going to shamelessly lean into the tropes of the genre — but with just enough inversions of expectations. Read the rest
On Strange Horizons, Rachel Cordasco reviews the latest Blaft Anthology of Tamil Pulp Fiction, the third such volume, and makes a compelling case for exploring the amazing world of Tamil pulp, expertly translated into English.
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Spoiler alert: they liked it.
Roger Ebert starts the review with, "That showdown interrupts a stickup in a scene from 'Pulp Fiction,' Quentin Tarantino's amazingly entertaining, outrageous, challenging, bizarre new movie. This is filmmaking of a high order."
Here's Roger's full written review.
(LAist, RED) Read the rest
My latest Locus column is "Be the First One to Not Do Something that No One Else Has Ever Not Thought of Doing Before," and it's about science fiction's addiction to certain harmful fallacies, like the idea that you can sideline the actual capabilities and constraints of computers in order to advance the plot of a thriller. Read the rest
A. Lee Martinez's The Last Adventure of Constance Verity is available from Amazon.
The Last Adventure of Constance Verity is my homage to classic pulp traditions. I love pulp, and I always have. Whether it’s the tough-as-nails noir gumshoes, weird science robots, or fearsome barbarian warriors, I find myself drawn to the genre over and over again. At least half of my novels have obvious pulp influences, some more obvious than others. My newest novel wears those influences on its sleeve from the opening scene, where Constance defeats a cult determined to sacrifice her to a mindless, hungry god. It only gets weirder from there.
Constance herself is an intentional resurrection of the pulp hero. She’s better at (almost) everything than you or me. She faces danger with the resolute determination with complete faith in her abilities.
Constance is human, but that ultra-capable brand of pulp human that never existed in real life. I have a real soft spot for this type of heroes and stories. They say great protagonists are defined by their limitations, but I love finding something human in the extraordinary heroes of the past. Here are five pulp heroes that have undisputed influence on Constance Verity.
I love Tarzan. I know he comes with baggage. Trepidation over the ugly attitudes of the past he might represent aren’t to be dismissed. The original books are surprisingly even-handed and progressive in a lot of ways, which still makes them questionable at times.
But I still love Tarzan. He’s a great character, defined by his unbridled physical power and fearlessness. Read the rest
Pulp Flesh has a nice but too-small gallery of swamp erotica paperbacks.
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Eric Bradley of Heritage Auctions sent me an item about a paperback cover model from the 1960s and 1970s named Steve Holland.
In the 1970s, if you were an artist who wanted to portray masculinity on a paperback cover, there was only one man to choose as your model: actor Steve Holland. And we almost mean that literally. You can't get away from the guy. Do you like pulp reprints? Holland modeled for both Doc Savage and The Avenger. Do you prefer "Executioner"-style men's adventure vigilantes? Holland was both the Sharpshooter and the Penetrator (among others!). Why would you want to use anyone else than the firm-jawed, deep-set-eyed Steve Holland? The guy just radiated machismo! We can't fault artists for using him again and again, the man is just so darn manly!
As luck would have it, this week's Heritage auction has a 28-book lot of which every single one depicts Holland on the cover. Put on your steeliest glare and click here. Read the rest
From Pogo, of Alice fame. [Video Link]
Update: Pogo has a howto explaining his methods, so you can learn to make your own mashups! [via Waxy] Read the rest
All right, you mugs. If you don't want some chin music, give TOM THE DANCING BUG WEBSITE the buzz, and tail RUBEN BOLLING on TWITTER. Read the rest
"I dare thee, say 'What?' again." [Pulp Bard via JWZ] Read the rest