Four New Heroes of Pulp
Over the last several years, Ron Fortier and his Airship 27 have really made their presence known in the world of New Pulp. Ron and company revived dozens of old pulp characters from Jim Anthony to the Green Lama to even the Moon Man.
Until recently though, they hadn’t produced a lot of original pulp heroes. Mystery Men (& Women) sets out to fix that mistake. The book features four new stories by four new pulp authors, all set in the classics 30s milieu and all featuring original characters.
Gridiron – First Down is the real highlight of the collection. This was my first experience with writer David Boop, but he’s definitely got the knack for a good pulp tale. His character, a man covered in a strange metal alloy, feels like the kind of man-who-lost-everything just right for a good pulp hero.
The Sacred & The Profane by well known new pulp author Barry Reese introduces his character Dusk. Dusk is a dark and slightly mystical character in the vein of the Shadow or the Spider, but unlike those two classic pulp heroes, Dusk happens to be a woman. Her adventure takes her in to battle with local crime figures all over the Fourth Nail of biblical legend.
In Hell Hath No Fury, Aaron Smith introduces another new pulp heroine in the form of the Red Veil. Her story reads like a pretty typical pulp origin as the woman that would be the Veil sets out to avenge her murdered husband. The tale is a run of the mill origin, but Smith handles the character with the skills of a talented pulp writer.
The weakest story in the anthology is the opening tale: The Badge of the Butcher by B.C. Bell. The story dragged far too often and never quite served to make this reader interested in the character of the Bagman. This is actually the second tale of the Bagman (after his own Tales of the Bagman collection) and that may be from where the problem stems. The story never really gives a reason to care for the Bagman, or even solid reasons for his quest. Perhaps a reading of his own collection would remedy that, something your able minded reviewer has yet to do.
Despite the flaws of the first story, as a package Mystery Men (& Women) is one of the finer new pulp anthologies I’ve read in the last year. The writers seem to really love the characters and that may be the most important trait of a quality new pulp writer. This one comes Recommended.
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