Friday, November 20, 2020

Guest Blogger: Clyde Hall. Behind the Red Velvet Curtain: B-Man’s Premiere

Pulps came to my attention late and comics were my gateway, strips as well as books. Our village market began carrying the Avon Phantom paperbacks in the early 1970s and I devoured as many as I could get, beginning with The Golden Circle by Frank S. Shawn. The reason? I recognized The Ghost Who Walks from gorgeous Gold Key comic book covers and knew, vaguely, he started as a newspaper strip. Maybe the Phantom is less than Pure Pulp given his graphic media origins, but those novels were boyhood nirvana of the pulpish variety, filled with exotic locations, death-defying action, a globe-hopping masked adventurer carrying out his multi-generational war on evil, and villains of the deepest dye.

The pulp literature double tap came soon after with DC Comics’ 1973 take on The Shadow. I was somewhat familiar with the radio program, but the character was of only passing interest until Michael Wm. Kaluta’s cover for issue #1 peered menacingly down on me from the top of the comics spin rack. Shadow quotes quickly peppered my conversations the same way Green Lantern oaths and Golden Age mystery men mottos had before. “The weed of crime bears bitter fruit,” indeed. “The Shadow knows!” Know he might, but he didn’t help much when it came to locating Doc Savage books. I tried with limited success even after the 1975 Ron Ely film, and once again comics intervened; there was a Marvel Comics adaptation.

Roundabout as it was, my pulp initiation was complete and unwavering. When I heard about ‘Pulp Reality’ #1, a character I once created for RPG play came to mind. B-Man would be a little bit superhero yet fully pulp. An unlikely hero, without a vast fortune to rely on. The sort who enjoys beatnik crowds and music, not Men’s Mind Clouding 101 studies in some mysterious lost city. A former soldier, but not a great one and largely dismissive of the very notion of being a ‘hero’. Yet, someone who identifies with cinematic heroes deeply and loves movies.  

Movies are magic, after all, cinemas the stuff dreams are made of. The Maltese Falcon told us so.  In truth, I might be biased. The first film my mother took me to see on the big screen was The Gnome-Mobile. It’s a live-action Disney film from 1967 featuring Walter Brennan, a very cool customized 1930 Rolls-Royce Phantom II, and a gaggle of wee folk. As amazing as a gnome-infested special effects extravaganza was for 5-year-old me, even more mesmerizing was the theater.

By modern multiplex standards, our hometown cinema was modest. In comparison with our small country cottage, the theater was colossal and filled with myriad wonders competing for my attention. Mysterious echoing foot stomps overhead (from the rowdy kids in the balcony, but I had no idea). The vastness of a snowy field of screen. Concession counters brimming with technicolor-packaged treats. The mouth-watering scent of hot, freshly buttered popcorn. Film and theater cast a permanent glamour over me that day, bell and book to the candle of a projector beam when the curtains finally parted.

Over the years, movies joined books as the two main venues away from a reality often less pleasant and decidedly more boring than the alternates they offered. Movies can be cheesy, but they can also be mythic, and there’s no less amount of magic in either. A conjuring of screenplay, the talents behind the screen and upon it, the cinematographer’s alchemy. Fold them into the potion, bring the bonfire to medium simmer, and finish with one final ingredient: The theaters themselves, dream palaces fueled by nervous anxieties as crowds huddled together for the latest black and white newsreels from Pearl Harbor. Energized by teenage passion, young couples cuddled while Frankie and Annette romped across beach blanketed sands, their inhibitions weakened to a rock-n-roll beat.  Primed by the potent imagination of children gathered for untold Saturday cliffhangers, their fevered adolescent minds preoccupied all week fathoming how their hero could ever escape this latest peril.  

Then came the parade of ‘What if--?’s. What if all that energy, all that emotion, somehow combined with a location? What if a person tapped into the mystic reservoir and manipulated it? What if it chose someone as a champion? What if said champion found an ally close at hand, one with knowledge of the Spirit World? What if I combined these elements and then had fun working in trivia, making up film ‘history’, and giving the champion and the seer funny dialogue, all while baleful villains were made to spit teeth and rue misdeeds?!? What if this was framework for the first B-Man story?

 “Reel One for the B-Man” is the result, and it really is like many of my all-time favorite films. They’re entertaining because you feel the fun everyone had making the picture, and it’s contagious. Ted Davies is the Director of Photography for this story (i.e., the artist), and our brainstorming sessions over the phone weren’t just enjoyable, they inspired and helped me polish the final draft. Here’s hoping a bit of our fun creating B-Man transmits to everyone reading the story. If it does, then in the very finest Hollywood traditions…can sequels be far behind? Thanks to Ted for his hard work, and special thanks to Charles F. Millhouse for giving us the opportunity to share in the excitement of the New Pulp movement.

Thanks for watching, come back soon, and please be sure to throw away your popcorn boxes and empty soda cups before exiting the theater.


--- Clyde Hall 

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Guest Blogger: Pete Lutz, Author in PULP REALITY #1

My entry for PULP REALITY #1, "Prepare to Be Mr. Fye", is an origin story. Perhaps the title gives this away? But with this tale we meet Jinx Duncan, a young sleuth in a big-city detective squad. He's smart, conscientious, and, even though he doesn't know it yet, destined to become something even greater in the annals of crime-fighting: Mr. Fye! 

If you haven't yet read the story I don't want to spoil anything for you, so I'll just tell you how the story came about for me. As a writer, my chief milieu is audio dramas: I've been writing scripts sporadically for audio drama since 2001, and on a more steady basis since 2013, when I created my first podcast series, PULP-POURRI THEATRE. 

For the first season, I wrote a dozen pulp-fiction adaptations, and had to read a lot of pulp tales in order to find ones that were suitable – both lending themselves easily to adaptation, and presenting a story good enough for my audience to hear. Reading all of these yarns gave me a terrific education on the pulp style: quick, spare and brutal, not to mention highly entertaining, on a purely visceral level. The best ones had some dark humor as well. This helped as I continued with seasons two through four of my series, not only with more adaptations, but also with original plays. I did my best to create an atmosphere of "pulpiness", while at the same time avoiding any "on-the-nose" situations – in other words, by not obviously saying, "Look, we're being all pulpy, ain't it great?" 

Now we come to 2017. I was invited to bring my acting troupe, The Narada Radio Company, to Pulpfest 2017 in Pittsburgh, to perform one adaptation of a Robert Bloch story, and one original play. The former was "Return to the Sabbath", a creepy tale of 1930s Hollywood; the latter was "Prepare to Be Mr. Fye". The short story that appears in PULP REALITY #1 is in fact a reverse-engineered audio drama – a 180-degree come about in my usual adaptation method. Whereas I usually took out third-person narration and substituted music and sound cues, I had to plant them into my story to keep things flowing. It was quite a challenge, but I think I did a good job. 

To return to my promise of telling you how I wrote the story, I should explain my habit of jotting down ideas in a little notebook. Some time before I wrote the audio drama about Mr. Fye, the name "Mr. Fye" came to me out of the blue, so I jotted it down in said notebook, for later use. When it came time to formulate an idea for a new play for Pulpfest, I referred to the notebook and saw the name. Then, I flipped a few pages back and saw the thumbnail outline for a script I'd written as a vehicle for a "Shadow"-like character. I immediately scratched out "The Shadow" and scribbled down "Mr. Fye" in its place, and then began writing in earnest. As with the best stories, the details came to me as I was writing: Character names, relationships, how a particular character might speak, the flow of the story, and – most importantly, to me – how our hero became the hero.

It's true – remember, I'd originally planned this story as something for Lamont Cranston, so all of that "power to cloud men's minds" jazz had to go. What you get instead is a one-hundred- percent-original origin story. Admittedly (and I don't think I'm spoiling anything by telling you this) Jinx Duncan is still feeling his way by the end of this first installment; but rest assured, dear reader: you'll find out more about him and his developing powers at the same time Jinx does, in future tales of "The Adventures of Mr. Fye"!

Friday, November 13, 2020


When I first got into reading comic books as a kid, one of my favorite type of stories would be the team up between two characters. It was magical to see Spider-man and Captain America work together or see The Hulk and The Thing go toe-to-toe. The creators of those comics made it feel like an event. These team ups felt like they were something special.


Because they were special.


When Charles F. Millhouse first mentioned the idea for Pulp Reality #1 to me, a lightbulb popped up over my head. An idea clicked into place and I knew in that instant I had to be involved because there was a chance to do something special. 

A little background. I own a character called Lance Star: Sky Ranger. Lance is an aviator adventurer in the grand pulp tradition who flies around the world from one exciting story to the next. Lance and the Sky Rangers have appeared in four anthologies and a collected edition of my stories from Airship 27 Productions. He has also appeared in comic book adventures and some new tales at BEN Books. You can learn all about Lance and his Sky Rangers at



Charles F. Millhouse is no stranger to pulp aviator 

adventurers himself. Charles is the mastermind behind the Captain Hawklin series published by Stormgate Press. You can learn all about Captain Hawklin at  


My brilliant idea was to team up these two titanic New Pulp heroes for an adventure. There was only one hurdle. Would Charles be interested in such a titanic team up in his magazine? Would he want someone other than himself writing his character? As writers, we get attached to our literary babies. Trust me on this. Now, in my head, I assumed this idea was an easy yes, a no-brainer of an idea. However, if I’ve learned anything in my years in publishing, and some would say I’ve learned very little, I’ve discovered that my no-brainer ideas and other people’s no-brainer ideas are not always one and the same. I know, I was just as surprised as you by this revelation.


Luckily for me, Charles is a man of great no-brainer thought. Wait. I may have said that wrong. Suffice it to say, he thought it was a no-brainer too. Charles loved the idea and gave the story a big thumbs up. I was relieved. Whew. With the blessing of Captain Hawklin’s creator in place, I then faced the most hated problem any writer ever faced.


I had to come up with a story.


Not just any story would do, either. Oh, no. This had to be special, remember? Just like Hulk and Thing.


This had to be a good story.


That’s always the tricky part.


Writing characters that aren’t yours can be fun, but also a bit nerve-wracking. On the one hand, you want to be respectful to the work that has come before and not be the writer that knocks a character off course. On the other hand, you kind of want to leave your mark as well. It’s a delicate balance between writing the best story you can and not completely screwing up said character.


I tossed a few plots about, rejecting them for one reason or the other before the one I settled on that eventually became the story appearing in Pulp Reality #1, a fun tale I called “Showdown on Scavenger Quay.” Pro tip: when writing pulp, you can never go wrong with the word showdown. Once I knew what Scavenger Quay was and how things worked there, I put Lance Star in a plane on a solo, undercover mission to infiltrate the island. Why? What was he searching for?


Then I sat back and watched the story unfold.


When it comes to writing, my #1 rule is that every story starts with the characters. I am a firm believer that if you know your characters well and you trust them, they will lead you where you need to go. I absolutely believe this. Don’t believe it? Try this test. Take three characters you know well (they don’t have to be yours) and drop them into the same basic plot. Based on how each character reacts to the plot you dropped them into, you will get three different stories. That’s because each character brings something unique to the plot and that determines the story.


Following Lance Star into a story was a pretty easy way to kick off things for me. I know Lance well, having been writing him since 2005, so I had a solid grasp on his character. I knew the good Captain Hawklin from reading some of Charles’ work and I used that as a starting point for the first time these two characters ever met. A few sparks flew. They are both alpha males in a high-flying (pun intended) position. These are men who are used to being in charge. To find themselves working together wasn’t an easy task.


Did they succeed? For that, you’ll have to read the story and decide for yourself. I am pleased with the story and thankfully, Charles gave it a thumbs up as well and I returned his literary toy back to him in the same shape I found him.


The icing on the cake for this particular story is that the cover art was done by the amazing Clayton Murwin. I’ve known Clayton for years, but this was our first big collaboration and I still remain in awe of the way he captured both Lance Star and Captain Hawklin. I still smile when I see it.


Playing with other creator’s toys is a lot of fun. It can also be nerve-wracking. I have been fortunate in my career to play with some cool characters I did not create like The Green Hornet, Domino Lady, Secret Agent X, Abner Perry, David Innes, Johnny Dollar, The Spider, The Avenger, and more. I’m thrilled to add Captain Hawklin to that list. Who knows, maybe our New Pulp flyboys will get the chance to fly together again.


Thanks for letting me play with your toys, Charles.




Bobby Nash

Bethlehem, GA

Wednesday, November 11, 2020


In our world, there are many, different kinds of writers. From every corner of the mind’s imagination and every genre, fact, and fiction, we sit and troll out our deepest desire and nightmarish worlds that our sleeping eyes play for us when the waking world is not alive to save us. For others, daily factual terrors from the living, fill our readers brains that make us feel ashamed, embarrassed, mortified, or guilty. War, disease, racism, murder and even the inevitable death of a total stranger within a crowd some thousand miles away.
The terror of those monsters and the world’s they inhabit, come from every blackened soulless corner of the mind’s madness. All those who write have them from time to time. Those monsters don’t have, to be disfigured to be scary. Monsters can be a situation or place as well, and can be whatever will have the greatest effect on the reader of such work. Growing up in a mostly isolated family in a small town in Kentucky, my imagination would run rampant. Strapping on a homemade old vacuum and pretending to fly as a skyman or rocket king would be for me a daily occurrence. My mind would create alien worlds against the backdrop of my Fathers junk cars and old tin buildings. My Dad’s tools and my Mother’s hair rollers with expensive silver tape would become my super technological laser pistol with matching utility belt.
I fought against the moon men invasion of my backyard, I tried to dig tunnels into the earth to find giant diamonds and evil underground dwellers, went against immense dragons which were in reality, little green snakes. My imagination had no real boundaries, and I even took myself to jumping from one large boulder to another, eyes wide open with glee as the silent invisible space smugglers tried to steal my asteroid bounty. To those who know me, pulp heroes have always been my favorite kind of characters, with two fisted, smash’em action against the backdrop of evil machinations and long bearded, bald, long winded, would be rulers of the universe.
The early days of cable were limited and mostly boring to a small child like myself. Public Broadcasting was the place to go. From early adventures of Steed and Peel, Sapphire and Steel, time travelling doctors, and of course black and white Republic movie serials. Fifteen minutes of incredible action featuring junior g-men, green masked avengers, rocket men and so forth.
I’ve been asked before what my other inspirations were when it came to the writing process. I’ve got many of course, but the three main author’s that have had the most influence in my creative works are writer’s Robert Heinlein, Hp Lovecraft and the immortal H.G. Wells. Having suffered from extreme nightmares since childhood, I could see the twisted, mangled bulbous eyed terrors that those men did and how they dealt with those things that tortured their souls during the realm of the daylight and the dark. My favorite novels being “The Puppet Master’s” from Heinlein, “War of the Worlds”, from Wells and “The Call of Cthulhu” from Lovecraft.     
I could close my eyes and imagine great demonic beasts rise from the bowels of hell, reaching up and smashing from high into the air and back onto our unsuspecting world. I could hear the terrible shrieks from deadly space spores, or fear that my individualism was under attack from forced conformity. The ideas of dying at twenty, biological and alien attack, becoming the last woman standing or transforming into a Frankenstein give me a consistent moment of pause.
Inspiration, however, can come from the most mundane of aspects of our very lives or where we end up. All genres of adventures, horror, supernatural, pulp, and more can easily fill your brain. One’s creativity can come from living, observing people and or buildings, a trip to a strange town, as it is all there to be discovered and made into a story that will bewilder, scare, or astonish you, and make you think while rooting for the hero(s) to banish vile doom that awaits, ever lurking to destroy.
This is the reason I’m a writer. To be able to transport another person into another place or time, challenge their own personal beliefs, put them right square into the action is a joy for me. I write to give comfort to the reader, assuring them that when they close the book for the night, their back home safe and content. Their sip of hot chocolate or delicious coffee, and the comfort of the warm sheets to drift them into the netherworld of dreaming of electric sheep.
Soon, you the reader will be able to enter some of my mind filled pulp madness with the first issue of Stormgate Press’ “Pulp Reality” coming out this December.
 My first official published work will be featured here along with fantastic artist Candice Comelleri in the story called “Ace Anderson and the Curse of Doctor Atomika”. It’s a hardcore old-fashioned two-fisted pulp adventure against the backdrop of the second world war.
Ace Anderson, a reclusive adventurer and expert underwater archaeologist and biologist is recruited by the British government to investigate and retrieve the downed American sub named the Thresher somewhere within the Atlantic Ocean. Inside the sunken vessel is a criminal mastermind being transported to an undisclosed location for trial for crimes against humanity. Deep within the bowels of the cargo hold, lies the mythical elemental powder called “Orracalcum”, that once was used by the inhabitants of the Island Empire of Atlantis.
Aided in his quest to find the Thresher are American agent Finn who hides a deadly secret, Doctor Mason Moreau and his “son” Java, a “Doberman” leftover from an island massacre, Ace’s daughter Kenzie, first commander and “Kraken”, the eternal, mythical creature of constant nightmares from those on the wrong side of its wraith. The Kraken, a bio-organic Atlantean squid ship merged with manmade technological weaponry and sentient intelligence, it’s crew and Captain Anderson’s leadership race against time to stop several Nazi submarines from rescuing their German ally from the sea floor, and before Doctor Atomika and her undead zombie soldiers can use the orracalicum to destroy the Allied Forces and bring about German domination to the entire world forever…
I hope you will join me and the other great talents who have put this anthology together, get comfortable, have your favorite snack and drink before you with a comfortable fireplace or snuggly blanket. The choice is yours…Pulp Reality is some really good stuff and it’s coming all for you. DON’T MISS OUT!
Lastly, I’d like to talk about my upcoming book, coming out in April also from Stormgate Press. I can’t tell too much as about it currently, but I can say that you will love it! It’s the same good ole’ smash’em’ in your face kind of story, but with supernatural elements that will keep you the reader guessing to the very last chapter! There will be more to come regarding this book, “From the Paranormal Case Files of Bishop Kincaid: The Rembrandt Stratagem” I guarantee you will be back for more.
For all those who enjoy reading and those who love and want to write. Inspiration is all around you. There is no excuse. Get your ideas out for all to enjoy, punch letters on an olden typewriter, use a pen to paper, crayon to the cardboard, there is always a way and the will. Embrace your mind and its madness and create. You’re a writer with the first word to paper. Love to all, this girl is gone like the wind.