My Blog

Retirement. Publishers, thank you for the many years of reading pleasure you gave me, but all good things must come to an end. Due to failing eyesight I am forced to retire. I can no longer review your books, and any that you send will be donated to the local library, unread. Do not send any more. I can only read for a couple hours every day, and this does not allow me to finish a book in reasonable time. I will be devoting time to my own books from now on, and reading on a personal level. Books that interest me. I prefer paperbacks and hardbacks, not eBooks. My eyesight has been failing the last few years, and I cannot handle hundreds of review books any more. My books are still available for review. Anyone interested in reviewing any of them, they are found in the Link to Tom’s Books On Amazon. Contact me for pdf copies at

Sunday, October 30, 2011

The Executioner Comic Book

Here is The Executioner comic book #1, just one item of over 2000 (paperbacks, hardbacks & Digests magazines) that I have for trade from duplicates I've accumulated over the years. Although I am mainly interested in SF Digest magazines, there are a number of paperbacks, hardbacks. and comic books I am interested in. However, in comic books I'm looking for Classic Illustrated. Anyone wishing to see my lists of swaps, send a private email to and put Swap List in the Heading. I would like to see what you have to offer also. I have over 2000 comic books also, but they are not cataloged yet.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Return Of The Shadow

In 1964, the US Army sent me and other soldiers to an Air Base in Turkey during a NATO Exercise - during the Cypress Crises. At the time I was reading spy novels, but had just got hooked on Edgar Rice Burroughs. A friend thought I would be interested in a certain paperback on the rack at the AFB Stars & Stripes store. That paperback was Walter B. Gibson's "The Return of The Shadow", and my friend was correct. I was instantly a fan of The Shadow from that point on. This is the cover of that very paperback I bought at the Stars & Stripes, still in my book collection. I understand that Tony Tollin, of Sanctum Books, will be reprinting this lost gem in 2012, with interior artwork this time by Mike Kaluta. I will probably buy the new edition, but that old Stars & Stripe purchase will always be on my bookshelf.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Shadow From Jove

Here is The Wealth Seeker reprint from Jove Books. The cover is by Jim Steranko. A shame this paperback series didn't last longer. The Steranko covers were masterpieces of art. There was also a series of Tops Trading Cards released with Steranko's Shadow covers. Again, I wish there had been more. Here is Tops #L 9.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Dangerous Corpse

"The Dangerous Corpse" is the basic plot Norman Daniels used for the missing 1953 Black Bat novel, "The Celebrity Murders". Read The Black Bat Companion for more information on this story that ended up as a paperback after the Black Bat series ended. Now available at Altus Press and Amazon.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Black Bat Companion

The Black Bat Companion by Tom Johnson is now available from Altus Press and Amazon. This is a huge research book covering the series of the popular pulp character that ran from 1939 to 1953 in Black Book Detective. Lots of information revealed on the authors and missing stories, as well as the German stories. Visit Altus Press, or order the book from Amazon.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Dark Lake - Review

Dark Lake (Mystery)
By Louise Gaylord
ISBN #978-0984144198
Little Moose Press
191 Pages
Price $16.16
Rating: 4-Stars

“Well-written and smooth reading!”

Allie Armington, Houston lawyer and private investigator, returns to the Adirondacks for the summer festivities with her family, but upon arrival finds murder instead of pleasure. Her favorite aunt is lying face down in water, and her cousin is hooked on Meth. The town fathers don’t want unwelcome attention to hamper the festival, and force the authorities to declare the death a suicide. Allie is determined to prove it’s murder, and to bring the guilty party to justice.

This novel was so smooth, and easy to read, I was at the end before I knew it. It’s a very nice story as well, but weak as a murder mystery. Allie really does nothing to solve the case, except walk around wondering who the murderer is, and who can she trust. I knew the killer as soon as the person was introduced, and figured out the set up, but not why it was necessary to kill Allie’s aunt. The police are pathetic, most under the control of the town fathers, one just wanting to bed Allie. At the end of the story, she merely asks the murderer why he killed her aunt, and he confesses. So much for great detective work. For the readers, the killer explains everything to us. The police arrive to make the arrest, and the local town folks thank Allie for solving the crime, though the police likely knew by then.

The reader won’t be challenged in this mystery, but it is well worth the few hours of reading pleasure they will get from such a well-written story.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Captain Satan

Captain Satan was a short-lived pulp hero series from Popular Publications, only lasting for five issues. Written by William O'Sullivan, it featured a Robin Hood type, young rich man about town, who robbed from crooks. However, instead of giving to the poor, he divided the spoils between himself and a strange assortment of assistants. Oddly, except for his lieutenant, Slim, some of the aides disappeared after only one or two appearances. An F.B.I. agent suspected who Satan really was, but never caught him.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Conversation With Heroes

The Old Pulp Hermit sent me an envelope containing the following discussion he conducted with several famous pulp figures recently on tape. He mentioned that these men visited him at the Gotham Rest Home, where he now resides. It must be nice having friends who will visit you at a Rest Home. Maybe that’s something we should all think about. Well, with no further delay, here is the Round Table discussion with some pretty big names in the pulps.

Conversation With Heroes

The Pulp Hermit: With such distinguished guests, I felt it a perfect opportunity to discuss our favorite subject, the pulps. Gentlemen, there has been much talk today that the writers of the pulps were not as professional or sophisticated as writers today. And the product they produced was less than exciting or interesting than the stories being written today. Would you care to comment?

The Phantom Detective: Robert Wallace and G. Wayman Jones were both highly educated, and were able to bring my Casebooks into focus, showing the danger and excitement of my murder investigations. I don’t think the ones saying such nonsense about the stories have ever read one. End of statement.

The Black Bat: The Phantom is correct. I knew Mr. Jones personally, and he was as intelligent as any one writing today. Maybe more so, from what they are saying! Let them investigate the type of crook I was involved with. Especially the Nazis, and I’ll bet they’ll become an Ostrich darn quick.

Secret Agent X: Not exciting? Not Interesting? Wait till I tell Brant House about this. The truth of the matter is, he’s already upset because of some of the stuff they’re passing off as my cases. Some of the people they are saying I met, I never knew. Who are all these people helping me with my cases? Phew!

New Masked Guy: What was the question?

The Pulp Hermit: Yes, what “X” just said brings up a good point. I don’t remember any of you guys ever needing assistance from one another. Each of you was quite capable of solving the case on your own. In fact, in one case recently, X was in a fight with another of Gotham’s heroes, and they basically fought to a draw. How could it be otherwise? That’s why it’s a bad idea pitting you guys against each other.

The Phantom Detective: Certainly. We are the best, that’s why we do what we do. The Black Bat or X would just get in my way, so why would I ask them for help?

The Black Bat: I don’t need any help. Don’t get in my way.

Secret Agent X: Someone actually thinks I need help. Who?

New Masked Guy” What was the question?

The Pulp Hermit: For my last question, what do each of you think of new writers creating new stories about you? Evidently, they aren’t taking any of them from your personal Casebooks.

The Phantom Detective: Well, really, what they think is new cases is probably cases that just weren’t revealed in our Casebooks. Remember, the magazines ceased publication before all of our stories were revealed to the public. The concerns I have are that they be honest about my companions and me. I heard someone had me taking drugs in order to bring villains to their end. I never used drugs! One writer had me dumping Muriel for someone else, then turned Miss Havens into a murderer. Please!!!

The Black Bat: (laughing) They have me hearing voices, Phantom! And I argue with myself. Plus, I now kill execution style. Forget gangsters, I’m now fighting the supernatural; alien floating heads, no less! Remember, it was you who said these guys never read one of our Casebooks; no wonder they don’t know anything about us. And they’re writing our exploits?

Secret Agent X: You guys think they’re recreating you! Regardless of what they are doing to me, what upsets me the most is they make Betty Dale a moll, and make her look like a hooker. They don’t even know about the people in my universe. Good grief, I’m running with the Domino Lady and fighting with Dan Fowler. Like I couldn’t whip that fed with one arm tied behind my back!

New Masked Guy: What was the first question again?”

The Pulp Hermit: I hope we can do this again some time. Maybe we could discuss a solution to the problem when we meet again.

As the tape came to an end, I heard four automatics click as rounds were slammed into the chamber of barrels, and I heard The Pulp Hermit ask: “Who was that masked guy who just left in such a hurry?”

Stay tuned, Amigos, there’s more to come from the Old Pulp Hermit.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

A Journey To The Heart of Luna

“A Fun Beginning For A Great New Series!”

“A Journey To The Heart of Luna” by Andy Frankham-Allen is the first entry in the steampunk series, SPACE 1889, in which steam engines have given mankind the ability of spaceflight in the 1800s. When the British government receives a distress call from a young adventuress, Annabelle Somerset, from the moon, they decide to investigate. Her uncle’s friend, Nathaniel Stone, an inventor, is requested to join the expedition.

Well written with good characterization, but the story moved a bit slow. Most likely due to the need of setting up the series for future adventures. Readers of fast paced action will undoubtedly find this one boring, as it needs to be absorbed at a slower pace to familiarize the reader with the many interesting characters. It works well as a series opener, and the second story, “Vandals On Venus”, in the new ebook series picks up steam with a bang. I highly recommend these adventures of Professor Nathaniel Stone and Annabelle Somerset.

Available on Amazon and wherever ebooks are sold.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Vandals On Venus by K.G. McAbee

When Nathanial Stone gets an emergency message from an old friend on Venus begging for his help, his duty is clear: he must go at once. His ward, Miss Annabelle Somerset, instead of agreeing to stay safely on Earth as he begs, insists on accompanying him to the dangerous tropical planet, home of huge reptiles.

Soon, Nathanial and Annabelle find themselves in the middle of a plot concerning a nefarious German officer, a brilliant English inventor, an Irish guide no better than he should be, a heavily-armed lizard-man and a clever American newspaperman. Can even they prevail against such odds?

Now available on Amazon's Kendal for $2.99, and at all ebook stores.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Three Go Back

Three Go Back is a YA SF novel by Tom Johnson, set in the year 2323. When their teleport vehicle malfunctions, becoming a time machine, it sends three young high school girls back in time on a journey of discovery they never expected. From the Ice Age through the Cretaceous, Permian, Carboniferous, and finally to the beginning of the Earth’s evolution of life, they experience their world’s prehistoric past in all its splendor and terror, coming away with the joy of knowledge and fantastic adventure!

Available from NTD and Amazon. $12.97 paperback, $4.99 Kendle.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Curse of The Phantom Shadow

Following is information on a short film project that our followers might be interested in. There is a link to a short video clip to view a bit of the project.

My name is Mark Ross and I am an independent filmmaker in the Las Vegas area. We are currently in production on our short concept film, Curse of the Phantom Shadow. This movie is an homage to:

Dick Tracy
Spy Smasher
The Shadow
The Phantom
Republic Movie Serials
Comic books
Pulp Novels/Magazines of the 1930s/1940s

Our film takes place in 1948. We have professional actors, some of which have been in Hollywood productions.

Until recently, we were 100% self financed from my personal savings. We are now trying to raise money to finish our production.

I realize you probably get many of requests, such as the one I am about to make. However, a mention on your blog would definitely help us with our fundraising endeavors:

At the very least, I encourage you to review our video, and see if it is a good fit for your audience.

I thank you in advance on behalf of my cast and crew.

Mark Ross

New Doc Atlas Coming Soon

Michael A. Black and Ray Lovato have penned a new Doc Atlas story for Ginger's upcoming V#4 issue of Tales of Masks & Mayhem. This will come after the release of a new Doc Atlas anthology from the authors - Amazon is already taking pre orders for the anthology. I believe it is titled, The Incredible Adventures of Doc Atlas. Here is the interior illustration for the story in Ginger's Tales of Masks & Mayhem V#4. The art is by Matt Lovato.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Echoes From The Pulps

From a comic book historian’s viewpoint of the book, “Comics, Comix & Graphic Novels: A History of Comic Art,” we find this statement, which clearly defines comics as an artistic medium.

“For many years, those interested in the history of the art of comics--from scholars to fans--had very few options. The available books were either filled with glaring errors or far too limited in their scope. Along comes Roger Sabin and his near-definitive history. The best thing about this book is that it begins with a strong foundation--that comics is a separate and unique artistic medium--and goes on to leave practically no stone unturned, from mainstream superheroes to underground work to Japanese manga to the new alternatives to the strong European tradition. There's even an entire chapter on comics by and aimed toward women, hopefully dispelling the myth that comics are just for boys.”

Although literature can be classified as an art form in text, it is not an art medium. There are distinct differences in areas of media, from literature to television, movies, radio, and comics. That each may have influenced the other is unmistakable, but to paint them all with the same brush is also wrong. A simplistic view of mass-market literature can be categorized thusly: Story Papers, Dime Novels, Pulps, Digest, Paperbacks & Hardbacks (yes, there were a number of mass-market hardbacks produced). These were not genres. Genres are westerns, science fiction, mystery, romance, thrillers, action, adventure, etc. Pulp is not a genre it is a mass-market literary media.

 Trying to define what we write today, or see on TV or in the movies, as pulp may be a mistake. Even the so-called New Pulp has not become a mass-market product, though the pulps may influence it. As a writer, I am not writing, “pulp”, though I may be writing new stories about characters that appeared in the pulps. Many of the pulp novels and short stories have crossed over to other medias, including comic books, television, radio, and movies. But The Shadow, Doc Savage, and the other great characters originally were products of the pulps. So we can call them pulp. My character of The Black Ghost was not a product of the pulps, only influenced by them. I can’t really call it a new pulp.

Nick Carter is a product of the Dime Novels, Pulps, Paperbacks, Radio & Television. Each incarnation was slightly different from the previous version. The paperback, Nick Carter – Killmaster series was so vastly different from the early Dime Novel series, the character isn’t recognizable today. These paperback vigilante/spy series have been named Aggressor novels to distinguish them from other genres.

In my upcoming short story collection, PULP ECHOES (original title, ECHOES FROM THE PULPS), I wanted to purvey the message that my stories were merely an echo from the pulps. Nothing more. Like many of the new pulp writers, the pulps also influenced me. Hopefully, this book will show homage to the stories that I loved. Included in the book are new stories of The Black Ghost, The Black Cat, The Crimson Clown, Doctor Death, Captain Anthony Adventure, The Bat, and Senora Scorpion. Some characters originated in the pulps, while others are my own creation, all are echoes from the pulps.

The edits should be completed soon, and the book will (hopefully) be ready by the end of October.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Heroes of Ancient Greece

Stories By Tom Johnson, Michael A. Black, Ralph E. Horner, and Ron Wilber

Two of the greatest of the Greek heroes were Hercules and Atalanta, and both have survived in their own identities, as well as being the patterns for many other heroes of print, song, and screen. But no hero has ever achieved the strength of the mighty Hercules. Nor has any arrow ever flown as swift and true as one shot from the bow of Atalanta! Monsters from the land, sea, and moon face our heroes in these exciting pulp adventures!

This volume contains stories by Doc Atlas creator, Michael A. Black, paranormal author, Ralph Horner, and Tom Johnson, author of the popular Jur novels. Fully illustrated by Ron Wilber, including a three page comic by the artist.

If you like your heroes strong, your heroines beautiful, and the action fast, then go no further, this adventure is for you!

Available from NTD and Amazon.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Bad Moon Rising By Tom Johnson

Tom’s 45,000-word short novel about a Recon Team, and the dangers they faced in Vietnam. These men weren’t looking to be heroes, they were only men who wanted to survive and go home. This was originally published by NBI in 2003, but went out of print when they folded. It was picked up by NTD in 2008, and was the lead in their anthology, BLOOD MOONS AND NIGHTSCAPES with Barbara Custer. BLOOD MOONS also contains many of my short Soul Stealer stories, about Angels on Earth. The current edition is available from NTD and Amazon. $13.90 paperback, and $3.50 Kendle.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Guns Of The Black Ghost

Trained by a retired secret agent of the government, Jimmy Malone dons a black hood and cape sending fear into the hearts of evildoers, as he battles the underworld in the tradition of a modern day Shadow or Spider. Burning eyes, a mocking laugh, and blazing automatics announce his entrance into an affray. Gangsters cringe when they come up against the guns of the Black Ghost!

The vast chamber was suddenly filled with a mocking laugh as the Black Ghost issued his challenge to gangdom, and the weird mirth rose to a high crescendo, reverberating throughout the building, echoing like a wild thing in the silent void of space. Gang members stopped what they were doing, and looked about the shop like hunted animals on opening season in the woods. And then a chorus of shouts rang out as they spotted the intrepid fighter in black. “The Black Ghost!” burst from a dozen lips at once, and murderous hands dug for guns beneath their tunics.

Gunfire suddenly blazed as those weapons came up, but the Black Ghost had drawn two heavy automatics of his own, and the machine shop was thundering with the clash of guns as a battle began between gangland and the fighter in black. A wild volley of bullets sang like angry hornets disturbed by a farmer’s deadly spray of insecticide.

This is my tribute to Walter Gibson and his creation, The Shadow. Available from the publisher, NTD, or Amazon. $16.50 print and $3.50 on Kendle.