My Blog

As a twenty-year Army veteran, I served on the Korean DMZ under fire, as well as Vietnam. I have always been a voracious reader of many genres, and review books for numerous publishers. The main goal of PULP DEN is not only to showcase my books, but also to promote other writers and their books. I review Mystery, Science Fiction, Action and Adventure – and most everything Pulp. I do not read, review, or promote erotica, alternative lifestyle books, horror, vampire, zombies, or werewolves. Warning, if your idea of good writing is an over use of profanity, you will not get a good rating from me. Please keep that in mind. I do not join groups like Linkedin, Grouply, Grammarly, or other communities, so please, no invitations. As a pulp magazine collector, I have complete runs of the major character pulps, and have read them all. I have been in pulp fandom since 1970, though a fan much longer. I publish my reviews on this Blog, Amazon, and in a print magazine I also write for. If anyone would be interested in reviewing any of my books, most can be found on Amazon – see the Link to Tom’s Books On Amazon. And contact me for pdf copies at fadingshadows40@gmail.com

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Review For The Spider's Web

Reviews For THE SPIDER’S WEB by Tom Johnson

Rating: 5-Stars

In 1980, a young Chinese girl becomes involved with a young man connected to the Italian mob. When she becomes pregnant, her father allows the marriage between his daughter and young man, but secretly conspires to separate them as soon as the baby is born. Throwing a big party for his son-in-law, the Tong places his daughter on a ship for China, while the baby is left under the care of the Chinese.

Thirty years later, the young man now runs his own mob, coming under the scrutiny of the city's paladin, a mysterious crime fighter called The Black Ghost. In a deadly gun battle between the hero and gangsters, the mob is wiped out, the mob leader killed during the fight. Seeking revenge, the child, now thirty years old, gathers a new gang to go up against the Black Ghost. Trained in the martial arts from childhood, the new mob leader dons the regalia of a ninja and begins robbing banks and killing citizens randomly, hoping to bring the nemesis to them.

With the city streets running red in blood, The Black Ghost and his aides mount a campaign to stop the ninja's mob. The action is furious, and sometimes quite violent as the Black Ghost matches guns with the gangsters. In a final encounter between The Black Ghost and the ninja, a martial arts battle between the foes ends with only one victor!

When I was asked to review this novel, at first I hesitated. I wasn't that familiar with "Pulp Thriller" as a genre, just remembering the movie, PULP FICTION from a decade ago. I wasn't a fan of the movie, and feared "The Spider's Web" might be a reflection of the movie. However, I had read this author in the past, and have been a big fan of his work for several years, so I promised to look at the book without making a commitment. I was pleasantly surprised by the plot and mystery elements of the story, and the writing style of the author. Plus, I discovered that The Black Ghost was modeled after the Bat Man and The Shadow; I vaguely remembered the Shadow from radio, but I grew up reading Bat Man comics, and was quickly drawn into the story. The characters came alive, and I was not disappointed in the story telling ability of the author. Even with the violence, this story was top notch!

Terry Roberts, Reviewer (SF/Etc At A Glance)

Rating 5-Stars

In The Spider’s Web, Johnson transports the Golden Age of comic books to the modern day: good guys vs. bad guys, unequivocal conflict between the just and the unjust, and characters who act in ways we can admire or disparage untroubled by vexing shades of gray.
The protagonist is the Black Ghost, a vigilante hero whose identity is known to very few. Johnson takes a real chance when he pits the Black Ghost against The Spider, a female antagonist. Having a near-superhero slug it out with a small woman requires that the woman possess exceptional physical skills—and evil. The Spider is every inch worthy of the Black Ghost’s maximum effort, and the reader is swept up by whirlwind combat.
Great read!

JoAnna Senger

Rating 5-Stars

Tom Johnson has a great imagination. I loved the Spider's Web. What makes it superb reading for me is that it is written in the old pulp style of the '30's and '40's. The Spider's Web is a highly recommended read.

Wayne Greenough

Rating 5-Stars

This book is a collection of Tom Johnson's original, modern, pulp hero. Tom has been working in the neo-pulp movement as a publisher and writer (Echoes and related zines). His writings has included new stories of classic characters and stories of new characters.

His Black Ghost character is one of his original characters. Unlike other neo-pulp characters, this character is set in modern times. Another change is that he marries his girlfriend, which was unknown with the pulp heroes who either had no girlfriends, or they were pinning for the time they could retire and settle down. And his now wife helps him out in his activities as the Black Ghost, sometimes disguising herself as the BG to throw off the villians.

The Black Ghost is really young Jimmy Malone. His father was a cop, killed in the line of duty, and his stepfather is a police detective. At a young age, he was trained by an elderly couple, who were retired super spies (these characters are based on a pair of obscure pulp characters. Since Altus Press has reprinted all their stories, with a new one by Johnson, there is little excuse to be ignorant of them). He created the persona of Compere, but the underworld calls him the Black Ghost. He wear an all-black outfit, carries guns, and has other items to scare and throw off his foes, as well as being an expert fighter. In many ways he is an attempt at creating an original, Shadow-like pulp hero.

This book collects 2 stories. One is "Black Ghost", when the character was a kid. This was a combination of 4 early stories into a single novelette. The 4 stories appeared in issues of "Pulp Fiction Magazine", while the novelette appeared in an issue of Tom Johnson's "Classic Pulp Fiction Stories". While not quite an 'origin' story, but more of a 'young Black Ghost' story, which also explains how he met those old ex-spies.

The "The Spider's Web" is a long story that fills most of the volume. Not sure if this is long enough to be a novel, maybe a novela. It is a sequel to one of the stories in the first Black Ghost collection ("Guns of the Black Ghost"). We have the Black Ghost go up against a very strong foe, whose identity is not known (there are a couple of red herrings). And he adds to his network of agents. Its clear that this story leaves it open to further Black Ghost stories. I look forward to it.

Now for some negatives. There are a couple. One is I saw a few typos, something I see too much with the small presses. The second is the cover. When I first saw the book at Tom Johnson's website, I wasn't interested in the book, not realizing it was a Black Ghost work. At least some text to say "A Black Ghost Adventure" might have helped.


Michael R. Brown

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Altus Press Newsletter


Altus Press - October 2014 Update

Welcome to the First Altus Press Newsletter!

Before we get to the Altus Press news, here's a press release that was released just today:

Steeger Properties, LLC, Acquires the Copyrights to Popular Publications’ Pulp Magazines

For Immediate Release—October 21, 2014

Steeger Properties, LLCBoston, MA—October 21, 2014— Steeger Properties, LLC, has added to a growing collection of pulp fiction magazines by acquiring the copyrights to nearly 150 pulp magazine titles that were originally published byPopular Publications, Inc. Now claiming ownership to most of the pulp stories and characters published by both Popular Publications and The Frank A. Munsey Company, Steeger Properties, LLC, has accrued the copyrights to an estimated 6,000 issues and 30,000 stories.
“We’re proud to represent these thousands of stories and plan on introducing them to a whole new audience in as many mediums as possible,” said Matthew Moring, Manager of Steeger Properties, LLC, and Publisher of Altus Press.
Pulp fiction began in 1896 with Frank A. Munsey’s The Argosy Magazine. The 192-page magazine had untrimmed edges and the stories within the pages offered entertaining genre fiction ranging from adventure and mysteries to science fiction and westerns and everything in between. In six years, the magazine went from publishing a few thousand copies per month, to well over half a million copies. Argosy’s success was partially thanks to the variety of recurring characters it published, such as Tarzan and Zorro. Popular Publications, Inc.—the most successful pulp magazine publisher of its time—published such well-known authors as Raymond Chandler, Ray Bradbury and Erle Stanley Gardner within the pages of its own titles. In 1942, Popular Publications acquired The Frank A. Munsey Company.
Fast forward to 2014. While the popularity of pulp fiction has fluctuated over the years, the stories within the pages are classic fiction and are as influential to American pop culture as ever. They are fast paced, well-written short stories and novels featuring classic characters. There’s a huge audience that hasn’t had contact with these stories. By reintroducing them using today’s technology, these classic hard-boiled detective, mystery, western, and science fiction stories will be available for generations to come.
The Steeger Properties, LLC, catalog is available for licensing in all media.

About Steeger Properties, LLC

Steeger Properties, LLC, has accrued the copyrights to 30,000 pulp fiction stories and has plans to share its collection with a whole new audience. For more information, please visit www.steegerproperties.com and/or email Matthew Moring at steegerproperties@gmail.com.

Celebrate This News With Savings!

For a limited time, nearly all of Altus Press' ebooks have been discounted to just $2.99! Get them at www.altuspress.com, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or the iBookstore. But don't wait too long!

Our Most Recent Releases

All of these are new products since PulpFest (August). Click on any to get more info & order:
The Complete Adventures of Thibaut Corday and the Foreign Legion (Deluxe Edition)
Unprofitable Ivory: The Complete Tales of Kingi Bwana, Volume 2
Cyrano
Long Road to Tomorrow: The Complete Saga, Volume 2
Doc Savage: The Whistling Wraith
The Crime Master: The Complete Battles of Gordon Manning & The Griffin, Volume 1
Badmen on Halfaday Creek
Street Wolf: The Black Mask Stories of Frederick Nebel
Doc Savage: The Ice Genius
Buccaneer Blood: The Adventures of Denis Burke
Tomorrow: The Complete Saga, Volume 1
Secret Agent “X”: The Resurrection Ring
The Lost End of Nowhere: The Complete Tales of Kingi Bwana, Volume 1
Grey Maiden: The Story of a Sword Through the Ages, The Complete Saga
Hell’s-a-Poppin’ on Halfaday Creek
The Adventures of Faidit and Cercamon

That's it for this newsletter. See you next time!

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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Correction to Steeger Properties

Just a quick correction to Steeger Properties, LLC. Matt didn’t get the rights to the hero pulp titles, like The Spider and Operator #5, but still acquired many titles.

Steeger Properties, LLC

Matt Moring of ALTUS PRESS has just acquired the copyrights to many of the POPULAR PUBLICATIONS pulp magazines, and we can look for great things ahead from the new imprint, STEEGER PROPERTIES, LLC.

Boston, MA—October 21, 2014— Steeger Properties, LLC has added to a growing collection of pulp fiction magazines by acquiring the copyrights to nearly 150 pulp magazine titles that were originally published by Popular Publications, Inc. Now claiming ownership to most of the pulp stories and characters published by both Popular Publications and The Frank A. Munsey Company, Steeger Properties, LLC, has accrued the copyrights to an estimated 6,000 issues and 30,000 stories.
“We’re proud to represent these thousands of stories and plan on introducing them to a whole new audience in as many mediums as possible,” said Matthew Moring, Manager of Steeger Properties, LLC, and Publisher of Altus Press.
Pulp fiction began in 1896 with Frank A. Munsey’s The Argosy Magazine. The 192-page magazine had untrimmed edges and the stories within the pages offered entertaining genre fiction ranging from adventure and mysteries to science fiction and westerns and everything in between. In six years, the magazine went from publishing a few thousand copies per month, to well over half a million copies. Argosy’s success was partially thanks to the variety of recurring characters it published, such as Tarzan and Zorro. Popular Publications, Inc.—the most successful pulp magazine publisher of its time—published such well-known authors as Raymond Chandler, Ray Bradbury and Erle Stanley Gardner within the pages of its own titles. In 1942, Popular Publications acquired The Frank A. Munsey Company.
Fast forward to 2014. While the popularity of pulp fiction has fluctuated over the years, the stories within the pages are classic fiction and are as influential to American pop culture as ever. They are fast paced, well-written short stories and novels featuring classic characters. There’s a huge audience that hasn’t had contact with these stories. By reintroducing them using today’s technology, these classic hard-boiled detective, mystery, western, and science fiction stories will be available for generations to come.
The Steeger Properties, LLC, catalog is available for licensing in all media.
About Steeger Properties, LLC

Steeger Properties, LLC, has accrued the copyrights to 30,000 pulp fiction stories and has plans to share its collection with a whole new audience. For more information, please visit www.steegerproperties.com and/or email Matthew Moring at steegerproperties@gmail.com.