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.)