Philip José Farmer’s Most Dangerous Dame: Patricia Wildman

Jun 22, 2017 by

PulpFest is very pleased to welcome its FarmerCon members back to our joint conference. Since 2011, FarmerCon has offered to help with our programming. They’re mixing things up for 2017, with a panel on “The Psychos of Philip José Farmer — The Nine” and a solo presentation on the friendship of “Philip José Farmer and Robert Bloch.”

Additionally, FarmerCon has asked Win Scott Eckert to perform a couple of short readings: THE MONSTER ON HOLD — a chapter from a planned book that Philip José Farmer offered at the 1983 World Fantasy Convention — and an excerpt from Win’s short novel, THE SCARLET JAGUAR.

During his life, Philip José Farmer maintained that his book DOC SAVAGE: HIS APOCALYPTIC LIFE was a biography of a real person named Doctor James Clarke Wildman. Pat Wildman is the daughter of Doc Wildman, “the world-renowned adventurer and crimefighter of the 1930s and 40s.”

Introduced in the Wold Newton novel, THE EVIL IN PEMBERLEY HOUSE — which Eckert coauthored with Philip José Farmer — Patricia’s adventures continue in THE SCARLET JAGUAR, written solely by Win Scott Eckert.

The winner of the 2014 New Pulp Award for best novella, Eckert’s story tells of a young girl whose father has been kidnapped by the Scarlet Jaguar. Pat, following in her father’s footsteps of righting wrongs and assisting those in need, agrees to help the girl. Now, it’s a race against time, deep in the wilds of the Central American jungle, as Pat Wildman and her crew search for the girl’s father, and confront the Scarlet Jaguar’s weird power to eliminate his enemies from afar.

“But who—or what—is the Scarlet Jaguar? A power-mad dictator determined to reclaim power? A revolutionary movement bent on taking over the country, and the rest of Central America? Or a front for something even more sinister . . . ?”

Win Scott Eckert is the editor of and contributor to MYTHS FOR THE MODERN AGE: PHILIP JOSÉ FARMER’S WOLD NEWTON UNIVERSE. He has coedited three Green Hornet anthologies for Moonstone Books. His short tales of Zorro, The Avenger, The Phantom, The Lone Ranger, The Scarlet Pimpernel, Hareton Ironcastle, Captain Midnight, The Green Ghost, Sexton Blake, The Domino Lady, Doc Ardan, and Sherlock Holmes can be found in several character-themed anthologies available from various publishers. Eckert’s critically acclaimed, encyclopedic CROSSOVERS: A SECRET CHRONOLOGY OF THE WORLD 1 & 2, was released by Black Coat Press in 2010.

A Honey West/T.H.E Cat crossover, A GIRL AND HER CAT, the first new Honey West novel in over forty years, came out in 2014. Forthcoming works include: the third Pat Wildman adventure; a new novel of one of the preeminent pulp heroes of the ’40s, The Avenger; and the unfinished fourth novel in Farmer’s “Secrets of the Nine” series. You can find Win Scott Eckert online at winscotteckert.com and @woldnewton on Twitter.

Join Win Scott Eckert of FarmerCon on Friday, July 28, at 10:20 PM for a short reading from THE SCARLET JAGUAR. To learn more about Philip José Farmer, please visit The Official Philip José Farmer Web Page. It’s the Brobdingnagian collection of all things Farmerian! And please join us at PulpFest 2017/FarmerCon XII from Thursday evening, July 27, through Sunday afternoon, July 30, at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Pittsburgh – Cranberry — just north of Pennsylvania’s “Steel City.”

You can join PulpFest by clicking the Register for 2017 button on our home page. And don’t forget to book a room at the DoubleTree. They’re going fast!

(Win Scott Eckert’s THE SCARLET JAGUAR was released in 2016 by Meteor House, featuring cover art by Mark Sparacio. A resident of Boca Raton, Florida, Mark is a Professor of Fine Arts at Digital Media Arts College. He has also worked as a comic book illustrator for Marvel, DC, and other companies.)

The Wild Adventures of Pat Savage

Jun 21, 2017 by

Will Murray discovered Doc Savage in 1969 when he picked up the Bantam Books edition of DUST OF DEATH. Within a few short years, he began contributing to Doc Savage fanzines, starting with THE DOC SAVAGE READERSoon thereafter, he began placing articles in other fanzines, including ECHOES, THE PULP COLLECTOR, and PULP VAULT, writing about Doc and other pulp characters and the magazines in which they appeared. Today, nearly fifty years later, Will is one of the most respected authorities on the pulp magazine, having authored countless articles and books, including THE DUENDE HISTORY OF THE SHADOW MAGAZINE and WORDSLINGERS: AN EPITAPH FOR THE WESTERN.

In addition to his many non-fiction works on the pulps, Murray was the ghost-writer for about forty of the Destroyer action-adventures novels. He has also written twenty Doc Savage novels and two Tarzan novels. He also serves as the literary agent for the Lester Dent estate and as the co-editor of Sanctum Books’ highly regarded pulp reprints.

In 2016, Murray decided to give many fans what they wanted and penned a solo Pat Savage novel — SIX SCARLET SCORPIONS. Well, almost solo, as Monk Mayfair joins Pat on her adventure:

“When a man so anemic that he could be a vampire’s victim comes to Patricia Savage for rescue, the impetuous girl can’t say no. Excitement is her meat and danger her dessert.

“Accompanied by Doc Savage aide, Monk Mayfair, Pat finds herself in the worst danger of her life. Wanted for murder, hounded by the minions of a weird mystery figure calling himself Chief Standing Scorpion, narrowly evading the hordes of the Vinegarroon tribe, the bronze-skinned golden girl battles her way to a sinister secret cached in an ancient ruin.

“From the oilfields of Oklahoma to the forbidding Ozark Mountains, the trail of scorpionic doom winds. Will Pat Savage’s first great adventure also be her last?”

Of course, for longtime fans of the Man of Bronze, SIX SCARLET SCORPIONS is actually the second Pat Savage novel. In “I Died Yesterday,” her final pulp appearance — published in the January/February 1948 issue of DOC SAVAGE SCIENCE DETECTIVE — she is the first-person narrator of the story. As he does in Murray’s recent novel, Monk teams up with Pat to work on the case.

Members of the Narada Radio Company and their PULP-POURRI THEATRE will perform a reading from Will Murray’s SIX SCARLET SCORPIONS, the first book in THE ALL-NEW WILD ADVENTURES OF PAT SAVAGE series, published by Adventures in Bronze in association with Altus Press. Based in Corpus Christi, PULP-POURRI THEATRE is an audio drama anthology series that has its origins in vintage pulp fiction, but presents its stories in the modern way. Pete Lutz is the company’s producer-director. You can sample their work online or via iTunes.

“The Wild Adventures of Pat Savage by Will Murray,” a reading by PULP-POURRI THEATRE, will take place on Saturday, July 29, at 8:50 PM in the PulpFest 2017 programming area at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Pittsburgh – Cranberry — just north of Pennsylvania’s “Steel City.” You can join PulpFest by clicking the Register for 2017 button on our home page. And don’t forget to book a room at the DoubleTree. They’re going fast!

(Walter Swenson painted eleven DOC SAVAGE covers from January 1947 through September 1948. The January/February 1948 number is a good example of his cover art. His interior illustrations can be found in some issues of John W. Campbell’s ASTOUNDING SCIENCE FICTION. They were also published by Street & Smith, right around the same time as his Doc Savage covers. Little more is known about the artist.)

The Dangerous Dames of Kenneth Robeson

Jun 20, 2017 by

Over the years, PulpFest has sought to honor pulp fiction and pulp art by drawing attention to the many ways they have inspired writers, artists, film directors, software developers, game designers, and other creators over the decades. Indeed, the hardboiled dicks, dangerous dames, and a few psychos of the pulps that we’ll be celebrating in 2017 have had a profound effect on popular culture.

Back in May, we set our sights on the mad scientists, crazed hunchbacks, and foul cultists who decimated American cities on a monthly basis in the rough-paper magazines. We also drew attention to the hundredth anniversary of the birth of Robert Bloch, who got his start in the pulps and wrote the suspense classic, PSYCHO.

June found us exploring DIME DETECTIVE MAGAZINE — one of the pulps where the hard-boiled detective story began to take shape. We also examined Robert Leslie Bellem’s tough-guy detective, Dan Turner; Gordon Young’s “Most Dangerous Man in America,” Don Everhard; and the many characters created by Erle Stanley Gardner.

Today, we’re turning our attention to the dangerous dames of the pulps, the hardboiled ladies who helped to pave the way for such modern day gumshoes as Sue Grafton‘s Kinsey Millhone, Marcia Muller‘s Sharon McCone, and Sara Paretsky‘s V. I. Warshawski. Collectively, these authors and their characters have helped the hardboiled detective to evolve in new directions.

Female pulp characters such as Cleve Adams’s Violet McDade and Nevada Alvarado, John Russell Fearn’s Golden Amazon, Walter Gibson’s Myra Reldon and Margo Lane, Robert E. Howard’s Bêlit, “Queen of the Black Coast,” C. L. Moore’s Jirel of Joiry, Norvell Page’s Nita Van Sloan, Les Savage’s Senorita Scorpion, Theodore Tinsley’s Carrie Cashin, Gene Francis Webb’s Grace Culver, Lars Anderson’s Domino Lady, and Sheena, Queen of the Jungle, all depicted women in roles often reserved for men. Generally, they performed equal to or better than their male counterparts. These dangerous dames helped to remove women from the drawing rooms of Carolyn Wells and Agatha Christie, the love and western romance pulps, and into the mean streets.

Perhaps the best known female character of the pulps is Lester Dent’s Pat Savage. As Kent Gutschke has written on THE MARTIAN DEATH RAY:

“She is only the Bronze Goddess of pulp’s Golden Age, and distant cousin to Doc Savage, the Bronze Man of Tomorrow. And she is more fun and psychologically complex than the man whose shadow she lives under. Patricia Savage is also an underdog not because she lacks intelligence and skill, but because the men that surrounded her — both heroes and villains — forever underestimate her.

“In fact the only man in Patricia Savage’s life who does not underestimate her is her creator, Lester Dent. As early as 1934’s ‘Death in Silver,’ Dent planned for Pat to run her own detective agency within the pages of DOC SAVAGE, but editors at Street & Smith rejected the idea. While Street & Smith billed Doc as the Man of Tomorrow, Doctor Clark Savage and his editors had quaint, patriarchal notions about a woman’s place in their brave new world. So Pat Savage and Lester Dent settled for a beauty salon. What trouble could she possibly get into running a beauty salon? With Dent writing, quite a bit and when trouble failed to come her way, Pat cultivated a talent for elbowing into Doc’s adventures.”

Introduced in “Brand of the Werewolf” — originally published in the January 1934 issue of DOC SAVAGE MAGAZINE — Pat Savage would appear in 37 adventures of the Man of Bronze. In “I Died Yesterday,” her final pulp appearance (published in the January 1948 number), she is the first-person narrator of the story. As Terence Towles Canote has written on A SHROUD OF THOUGHTS

“She was in many ways the perfect, female counterpart to her cousin. Pat was spectacularly beautiful, yet very much her own woman. She could fight as well as any man, deadly with her six shooter and skilled in boxing, fencing, and jujitsu. She could fly a plane, pick locks, pick pockets, speak Mayan and German (although she was not very good at the latter), knew Morse code, and was a very convincing actress. She also had an undying love of adventure, which she shared with her cousin (even if Doc would never admit it). Over the course of her adventures Pat emerges as a fully realised character, perhaps more fully realised than any female character from the pulps save Nita Van Sloan from THE SPIDER. This could very well be the reason she still has more than her fair share of fans to this day.”

Please join PulpFest 2017 on Friday, July 28, at 10:30 PM as the convention’s technical director, Chuck Welch, examines The Dangerous Dames of Kenneth Robeson. In addition to Pat Savage, Chuck will be discussing Paul Ernst’s Nellie Gray and Rosabel Newton, two strong female characters featured in Street & Smith’s THE AVENGER, a hero pulp introduced in 1939.

As one of the original Internet Fans of Bronze, Chuck Welch started attending the summer pulp convention in the late 1990s. After meeting his future wife at one of these conventions, Chuck took some time off to start a family. At the behest of Bill Mann, he returned to attend PulpFest. As was his wont, Chuck immediately started volunteering and making suggestions to the organizing committee. Having enough of his puppy-dog eyes, he was asked to join the team. Chuck is the convention’s technology director and webmaster. When the Internet began to take off, Chuck began Flearun, a Doc Savage group now at Facebook. He is also the creator of the Hidalgo Trading Company — perhaps the closest anyone has come to presenting an online Doc fanzine — and the current editor of the Doc Savage fan magazine THE BRONZE GAZETTE.

(Doc Savage and his assistants travel to British Columbia to visit his uncle, Alex Savage, and cousin, Patricia Savage, in “The Brand of the Werewolf,” originally published in DOC SAVAGE MAGAZINE for January 1934, with cover art by Walter M. Baumhofer. When they reach the cabin of Doc’s relatives, they discover that Alex Savage has been murdered. From the start, Pat is ready for adventure, hoping to find the killers of her father. She would be “ready for adventure” in nearly forty tales of Lester Dent’s Man of Bronze.)

The Domino Lady — Scarlet Adventuress

Jun 19, 2017 by

This year, PulpFest is trying an experiment. We’ll be offering readings between our presentations as our technical staff gets ready. One of these readings will take place on Friday, July 28, at 8:40 PM. Please join PulpFest 2017 as we welcome author, editor, and publisher Ron Fortier as he reads from “The Claws of the Cat,” a short story featuring one of the world’s first female masked crime fighters — The Domino Lady.

Following the murder of her father — an honest and tireless district attorney — debutante Ellen Patrick decides to fight evil in society. Wearing a small, dark mask and a tight and revealing evening gown, she becomes The Domino Lady. Armed with an automatic pistol and a knockout drug, she robs her victims, donating the bulk of the loot to charity and leaving her calling card: “The Domino Lady’s Compliments.”

Ron’s story originally appeared in DOMINO LADY: SEX AS A WEAPON, published in 2009 by Moonstone Books. Edited by Lori Gentile, the anthology featured nine new stories by some of the best writers of new pulp fiction.

Ron Fortier has been a professional writer for over four decades. In 2007, Ron teamed up with illustrator Rob Davis to found Airship 27 Productions and build a home for new adventures featuring long moribund pulp characters such as the Green Lama, the Masked Rider, Secret Agent X, and Fortier’s own version of Ace Periodicals’ Captain Hazzard. Airship’s books have inspired contemporary writers and artists to turn out new adventures featuring many of the characters long remembered by the pulp community. They have also served as ports of entry for new people to become involved with the world of pulps. In 2009, Ron helped develop the Pulp Factory Awards, inaugurated to support and encourage the creation of new pulp fiction and art. Ron’s own prose creation, Brother Bones, was recently optioned as a motion picture by Franklin-Husser Entertainment, an independent film production company based in Seattle.

(Published in several different editions by Moonstone Books, DOMINO LADY: SEX AS A WEAPON, features cover art by Jeff Butler, an American illustrator and comic book artist. With Mike Baron, Butler created The Badger for Capital Comics. Later, he worked for TSR, the publisher of DUNGEONS AND DRAGONS. He left the firm to help Ron Fortier bring The Green Hornet back to comics. Butler has also worked in the video game industry.)

Compliments of The Domino Lady

Jun 16, 2017 by

In the violence-riddled cities of the pulp era, the police were either unable or unwilling to deal with the criminal element. It was left to strong-willed and often well-to-do citizens to take matters into their own hands. Over time, these characters became known as the pulp heroes. The Shadow, Doc Savage, The Spider, The Green Lama, The Avenger, The Black Bat, and others. Helping these heroic vigilantes were their hand-picked agents, including a number of female assistants.

The Shadow had his Myra Reldon and Margo LaneNita Van Sloan worked next to The Spider; although disgruntled, Doc Savage accepted the assistance of his cousin Pat, while The Avenger was capably helped by Nellie Grey and Rosabel Newton. And then there’s The Domino Lady . . . .

The only female pulp hero to be featured in her own series, The Domino Lady appeared in six stories credited to Lars Anderson. Published in 1936, five of her tales ran in SAUCY ROMANTIC ADVENTURES. The character’s final tale appeared in MYSTERY ADVENTURE MAGAZINE.

The Domino Lady is really debutante Ellen Patrick. Following the murder of her father — an honest and tireless district attorney — Ellen decides to fight evil in society. Wearing a small, dark mask and a tight and revealing evening gown, she becomes The Domino Lady. Armed with an automatic pistol and a knockout drug, she robs her victims, donating the bulk of the loot to charity and leaving her calling card.

In his introduction to Vanguard Publications’ DOMINO LADY: THE COMPLETE COLLECTION, Bernard Drew writes:

“You’re in for a treat as you read these half-dozen Domino Lady escapades, for that’s the best way to describe them. Escapades. They involve no investigation, no probing, no crime solving. Ellen has already zeroed in on the bad guy by story’s start. The main plot element, in fact, is the shapely heroine wrangling her way into a social situation, making light conversation, swiping something or other of value from someone who deserves to lose it and dropping a calling card which reads ‘The Domino Lady’s Compliments.'”

Over the last few decades, new adventures of The Domino Lady have been published by various small and independent presses. Moonstone Books has released a number of books and comics featuring the character. Airship 27 has issued a pair of anthologies collecting new Domino Lady stories. Perhaps the strangest versions are the erotic comic book tales written and drawn by the late Ron Wilber.

At 11:35 PM on Thursday, July 27, please join Michelle Nolan in the PulpFest 2017 programming room for “Compliments of The Domino Lady,” a brief discussion of what The Domino Lady means in pulp history and how the character paved the way for dozens of costumed heroines in the comics of the Golden Age and beyond. It’s all part of the convention’s celebration of the dangerous dames of the pulps, the hardboiled ladies who helped to pave the way for such modern day gumshoes as Sue Grafton‘s Kinsey Millhone, Marcia Muller‘s Sharon McCone, and Sara Paretsky‘s V. I. Warshawski. Collectively, these authors and their characters have helped detective fiction to evolve in new directions.

A mainstream journalist for more than fifty years, Michelle Nolan has also covered the history of genre fiction in pulps, comics, books and films in more than 1,000 magazine, newspaper and book articles. She is the author of the definitive “LOVE ON THE RACKS: A HISTORY OF AMERICAN ROMANCE COMICS and BALL TALES: A STUDY IN AMERICAN SPORTS FICTION. In 2014, Michelle received an Inkpot Award from Comic-Con International: San Diego.

(Although the first costumed pulp heroine appeared in just six stories in rare and obscure mid-1930s pulps, The Domino Lady commanded three covers for those magazines. All three were painted by Norman Saunders, one of the leading artists and illustrators of the pulp era. During a career that spanned five decades, Saunders completed over 2500 commercial art assignments, including more than one thousand covers featured on 85 different pulp titles.

In addition to his work for the pulp industry, Norman Saunders illustrated for national advertisers, slick magazines, paperbacks, men’s adventure magazines, calendars, comic books, trading cards, and more. He died in 1989 at the age of 82.)

Hardboiled and Dangerous: The Characters of Erle Stanley Gardner

Jun 15, 2017 by

When the magazine BLACK MASK is discussed, author Dashiell Hammett generally comes into play. But the creator of Sam Spade and The Continental Op was far from the most prolific contributor to the greatest of the hard-boiled detective magazines. That honor would go to Erle Stanley Gardner, best known for creating Perry Mason. Gardner would appear in THE BLACK MASK over one hundred times.

A practicing lawyer interested in a better income, Erle Stanley Gardner forced “himself to churn out four thousand words a night. It took two years, but he made his first sale to the pulps. It wouldn’t be the last.” During his fifty-year writing career, Gardner would publish close to twenty million words of fiction and create “no less than 49 unique detectives and adventurers who made two or more appearances in book or magazine form . . .”

According to Bill Pronzini’s introduction to THE DANGER ZONE AND OTHER STORIES published by Crippen & Landru in 2004 — Gardner published 128 novels between 1933 and 1970. Eighty-two of these feature Perry Mason, while Bertha Cool and Donald Lam appear in 29 book-length adventures. Crusading district attorney Doug Selby appears in nine novels, while the remaining eight feature other characters.

“All of Gardner’s other series characters . . . were created for the magazine markets, both pulp-paper and slick-paper, and appear only in novelettes and short stories. Several hundred of these yarns saw print from the 1920s into the 1950s, the preponderance in a ten-year-span from 1926 to 1936 when Gardner lived up to his billing as “King of the Woodpulps” by producing and selling an average of one million words of fiction annually. ARGOSY, BLACK MASK, and DETECTIVE FICTION WEEKLY were his favorite pulp markets, printing nearly 200 stories among them. Series tales and one-shots also ran regularly in DIME DETECTIVE, CLUES, STREET & SMITH’S DETECTIVE STORY, TOP-NOTCH, BLACK ACES, ALL DETECTIVE, SHORT STORIES, and a host of others . . . .

“Foremost among his amazing array of short-fiction creations are Ed Jenkins, the Phantom Crook, an outlaw and ‘famous lone wolf’ who lives by his wits and solves crimes unjustly pinned on him by the police, many of which have San Francisco Chinatown settings; and Lester Leith, debonair man-about-town, whose ‘chain lightning mind’ allows him to both outfox criminals and outmaneuver his butler, Scuttle, an undercover police spy. Jenkins appears in 72 novelettes published in BLACK MASK between 1925 and 1943 . . . Leith can be found in 65 novelettes in DETECTIVE FICTION WEEKLY from 1929 to 1943 . . .”

Other oft-published series characters created by Erle Stanley Gardner include Bob Zane of the “Whispering Sands” tales; Sidney Zoom, master of disguises; Señor Lobo, Mexican soldier of fortune; the Patent Leather Kid; Paul Pry, who steals from crooks; Bob Larkin, an adventurer armed with a billiard cue; attorney Ken Corning; gunslinger Black Barr; and Speed Dash, the Human Fly.

At 8:50 PM on Friday, July 28, PulpFest 2017 welcomes Jeffrey Marks for a discussion of Gardner’s four types of pulp characters: the western miner, the non-Perry lawyers, the traditional pulp loners, and the author’s happy-go-lucky criminals. Marks is a long-time mystery fan and freelance writer. His works include WHO WAS THAT LADY, a biography of mystery writer Craig Rice; ATOMIC RENAISSANCE: WOMEN MYSTERY WRITERS OF THE 1940S/1950S; and PULP ICONS: ERLE STANLEY GARDNER AND HIS PULP MAGAZINE CHARACTERS. His latest work is a biography of mystery author and critic Anthony Boucher entitled ANTHONY BOUCHER. It has been nominated for an Agatha and fittingly, won an Anthony Award.

Jeffrey’s work has won a number of awards including the Barnes and Noble Prize. It has also been nominated for an Edgar Award, three Agathas, two Macavity Awards, and three Anthony Awards. Today, he writes from his home in Cincinnati, which he shares with his partner and two dogs.

Please join us from July 27 through July 30 at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Pittsburgh – Cranberry — just north of Pennsylvania’s “Steel City” — for PulpFest 2017 as we celebrate the hardboiled dicks, dangerous dames, and a few psychos of the pulps. You can join PulpFest by clicking the Register for 2017 button on our home page. And don’t forget to book a room at the DoubleTree. They’re going fast!

(First introduced to BLACK MASK readers with the story, “The Shrieking Skeleton,” published in the December 15, 1923 number under the pseudonym Charles Green, Erle Stanley Gardner quickly established himself as a readers’ favorite. Soon thereafter, he introduced his first series character, Bob Larkin. But it was with the January 1925 number that Gardner truly hit paydirt, introducing Ed Jenkins in “Beyond the Law.” By the end of 1926, Jenkins was garnering the cover spot of the magazine, including the March 1933 issue featuring artwork by J. W. Schlaikjer. Erle Stanley Gardner’s Phantom Crook would appear in 72 novelettes published in BLACK MASK between 1925 and 1943.)