Sunday, April 27, 2008

Pulp Spotlight: Mandrake the Magician

Pulp Spotlight
Hello pulp-friends,

This month spotlight is dedicated to a less famous creation of Lee Falk (yep, the same Lee Falk who created the Phantom) but not less cool in my book: Mandrake the Magician.
An illusionist who I can safely say can beat the Shadow in the hypnotic tecnique, Mandrake travels the world fighting crime and injustice, accompanied by his faithful Lothar (the stronger main in the world). The travel aspect of their adventures gives a nice and cool exotic touch to the stories and adds popularity to this creation.
Such popularity has resulted in a cross media expansion of Mandrake: he went from the comic strips for newspapers, to comics, cartoons, serial, and radio shows. Possibly a movie will be added to this list pretty soon.

Sorry for keep this short, but I have some Zorro pages waiting for me. I promise I will be a little more "eloquent" when we get to the Phantom :)


Pulp Spotlight is the monthly feature where I cover other famous characters that have helped to build the Pulp genre not just on the radio but also in the other media.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

"House Of Horror" (Nov 17, 1940)

House of Horror
The ShadowThis is definitely one of the best and more enjoyable episodes I have been presenting on Pulp Sunday. We got all the needed ingredients plus some extra spices to make this a classic.

A mad scientist, to start, with an accent and a passion for talking in rhymes (scientist and ...poet! :D). A crazy plan to turn women in super-soldiers by mixing their brains with the gorillas'. Crooks who kill ruthlessly with two bullets in the front. Crazy angry gorilla. An evil fortune teller (Madame Santo) who tricks her female costumers to provide bodies to the mad scientist. Margo and Lamont investigating the case of a disappeared woman. And, of course, The Shadow who saves the day once again and he even gets to shoot this time (it's becoming an habit now ;))

I know, it sounds like a crazy recipe but everything works so delightfully. Listen to it and then tell me :)

Buon Appetito!


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Friday, April 18, 2008

Pulp Sci-Fi Week: Amazing and Wonder Stories

Pulp Spotlight
Buck Rogers
I can't let this first Pulp Sci-Fi event go without mentioning the magazines that have been around since the '20s, that have been the cradle for so many famous Sci-Fi writers and many legendary fictional characters (including the freshly spotlighted Buck Rogers), and that have defined the Science Fiction as we know it today. The magazines I am talking about are Amazing Stories and Science Wonder Stories.

Amazing Stories was first published in New York back in April 1926. The antholgy format, collecting many short stories and novels, has been proven successful for years, even if the magazine has seen the end of his days just recently, in 2006, after 80 years of great stories that made all of us dream.
Buck Rogers Rocket Ship
Science Wonder Stories (or simply Wonder Stories) was edited and published in 1930 by Hugo Gernsback, who was also the founder of Amazing Stories (but he lost control of it pushing him to create the new magazine). The ones showcased here are my humble tribute to recreate that kind of sense of fantastic and wonder you feel when looking at those covers of these pulp sci-fi magazines. They lack of the colors from those covers but I hope they don't lack of the magic :)


Thursday, April 17, 2008

Pulp Sci-Fi Week: Commando Cody

Pulp Spotlight
Commando Cody
Hello pulp-friends,

Today installment of Pulp Sci-Fi week is dedicated to Commando Cody, a character relatively "younger" than the ones spotlighted in the past days, but that definitely has all the flavor of the ulp fiction we all love :)
I hope you all will forgive me if I borrow a little blurb (below) from Wikipedia as I am in the middle of a BIG project with tight deadline and could only find time to draw the illo above.
Hope you enjoy it :)


Commando Cody was the hero in a 12-episode science-fiction serial made in 1952 by Republic Pictures entitled Radar Men from the Moon, which was followed up 1953 with the 12 episode Commando Cody: Sky Marshal of the Universe.

The strange character name "Commando Cody" was possibly an attempt to make children think they were going to see the adventures of Commander Corry, the hero of the ABC TV and radio series Space Patrol (1950–1955). The equally strange title "Sky Marshal of the Universe," was probably the studio's imitation of Corry's title, "Commander-in-Chief of the Space Patrol," proclaimed at the beginning of every Space Patrol radio and TV broadcast.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Pulp Sci-Fi Week: Buck Rogers

Pulp Spotlight
Buck Rogers
While surveying an abandoned mine, Rogers, a former United States Army Air Corps officer, falls into a coma after exposure to a leaking gas, and awakes in the twenty-fifth century. Together with his new comrades, the beautiful Wilma Deering and the intrepid Dr. Huer, he struggles to rid the world of evil warlords and "Mongol" hordes.
Created by writer Philip Francis Nowlan in 1928 for a couple of novels published on Amazing Stories, Anthony Rogers changed name in Buck Rogers when his stories were adapted in a comic strip format and published daily on newspapers.

Buck Rogers Rocket Ship
Since then, the popularity of Buck Rogers has grown and grown and reached other media like radio shows (I might illustrate some of them later on ;)), novels, movies, tv series (famous the one from the '80s), and comics again, thanks to the recent move of Dynamite (a publisher well known to me ;)) licensing the character to bring it on the shelves again.
My little challange of the day was to try to make the classic (and a little silly) design of Buck's rocket ship from the '30s look cool. Let me know if I succeded, if you have a min to spare :)


Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Pulp Sci-Fi Week: Captain Future

Pulp Spotlight
Captain Future
Hello pulp-friends,

On the second day of Pulp Sci Fi Week I am very honored to introduce a very talented artist and friend, Kyle Latino ( who kindly offered to illustrate one of the classic pulp sci-fi hero. He did the beautiful illo that open this post and wrote the brief introduction to this character, including those trivia we all love :) I just added the little illo of Grag, just my daily contribute to Pulp sci-fi week.

Thank you, Kyle!

Curtis Newton (Captain Future) is born in his father's moon lab in the distant year of 1990. The Newtons share this space dwelling with three of his father's greatest scientific works: Grag, the robot; Otho, the shape-sifting biological android; and Simon Wright, family friend and scientist whose life is lived beyond his body in a small mechanized tank. Life was happy while everyone when about their amazing research projects until sceince criminal, Victor Kaslan, breaks into the moon lab and kills Curtis' parents. From that point on, Curtis is raised by Grag, Otho, and Simon to become a galactic crime-fighter. The four of them become known as the Futuremen.

His adventures were first published in 1940, by Thrilling Publications, penned by Edmond Hamilton. Interesting to note that the bickering Grag and Otho are largely considered to be the precursors of the two iconic droids, C-3PO and R2-D2. Also, Leigh Brackett, Hamilton's wife and sci-fi author in her own right, worked on the screenplay to Empire Strikes Back. So see, what inspires and excites people today is often built upon even earlier works which have all but faded from the public view. Dig through the sediment layers of pop culture, and there's no telling what you'll find.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Pulp Sci-Fi Week: Flash Gordon

Pulp Spotlight
Flash Gordon
Hello pulp-friends,

Welcome to the first edition of Pulp Sci Fi Week. I said first because we will get more sci-fi weeks in the near future, if you guys enjoy this one.
I couldn't start this edition without spotlighting the most famous sci-fi pulp hero of all: Flash Gordon!
Do I need to introduce him? Really? Ok, just a quick overview then ;) Flash Gordon is the "son" of Alex Raymond, one of the greatest artist of the american (and world wide) comics. Flash is athletic, tall, strong, and ready to action. He is "born" in 1934 to defend the men of Earth from the evil Ming (see below), emperor of planet Mongo, who wants to conquer the Earth and put it under his tyranny. The story and the characters were so strong that they jumped off the newspaper strips to become a radio show, a series of movies in the 40s, and to live until the modern days.

Some of the most recent "incarnations" of this character include the world famous De Laurentis big budget adaption for the big screen in the 80s and a tv series last year for the tv channel Sci-Fi. While a little cheesy in parts, the movie has lots to be enjoyed like the beautiful Ornella Muti as Ming's daughter, Ming himself played by a superb Max Von Sydow, the cool visuals and the rocking (pun fully intended) soundtrack by Queen. The tv show... well, that's completely another story ;)


Sunday, April 13, 2008

"Carnival of Death" (Nov 10, 1940)

Poison Death Hello Pulp friends,

I am back and I am back with apologies for my long interruption of your favorite radio program. I was under a couple of very important (and tight) deadlines, and pretty much turned myself in one of those monks from the Middle Age who spent the whole day (every holy day) hunched on the table and writing miniature text. I think they were Benedettini, from San benedetto, and their motto was "Ora et Labora" (prey and work, that's all you have to do ;)). But I am digressing. So, I am back with another Shadow radio episode (see below) and with an announcement: to make up for the long absence, what if we declare this upcoming week the Pulp Sci-Fi week? Every day I will spotlight some cool pulp sci-fi hero. Stay tuned :)

The Shadow
"Every move you make will be closely watched by...
The Shadow!"

Police's song comes to mind ;)

Dead bodies in the wax museum, real quicksand in the basement, an underground secret railway, a ghost train, and the shadow of a tragedy happened 10 years earlier looming over the colorful lights and the festive crowd of the Carnival.
Is this really an amusement park? Well, not much amusement for Lamont and Margo who were planning to have some fun at the Carnival and eneded up solving a case of missing people and murders. I know, it sounds like a lot of meat for one single episode, but the writers manage to make it work perfectly and even give more "screen time" to Margo in this episode. Even if there is a feel of "hauntings" and "ghosts" around the old subway and the wax museum, we will discover that once again the mind behind all this is pretty "real" and directly connected to the tragedy that hit the amusement park years before.

Have a Pulp SUnday, everyone!


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