Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Guest Post | The Ghostbreakers Mythos: A Dream

By GW Thomas

Lovecraft's circle shared mention of their separate creations in the pages of Weird Tales, name-dropping here and there a friend's character or some other reference. This was the beginning of the Cthulhu Mythos. Not everyone at Weird Tales was included; just the closest correspondents of Lovecraft’s. Later, August Derleth would take what was largely a game for HPL and tie it into a commercial package that featured monsters, weird books, and a shared world of dreams and terror. I suspect Manly Wade Wellman tried a little of this magic too.

"The Half-Haunted" (writing as Gans T Field), a Judge Keith Hillary Pursuivant ghostbreaker tale, appeared in Weird Tales in September 1941. This tale was the last for the Judge for several decades because Wellman would create a new ghostbreaker of even greater popularity in John Thunstone. But in this tale, Wellman borrows a page from Lovecraft's literary game. He mentions another Weird Tales alumnist's creation, that of Seabury Quinn's Jules de Grandin, without doubt the most popular character in WT's original run. In effect, what Wellman was doing was saying that the Judge and de Grandin existed in the same WT universe:
"...New Year's Eve found him at Harrisonville where de Grandin and Towbridge [sic] wanted his word on translating certain old Dutch documents better left untranslated..."
1941 is an interesting date for this to happen. De Grandin had been around since October 1925 while the Judge had first appeared only three years previous in January 1938. Still, the readers of WT liked both and you can see Wellman trying in a small way to create a Weird Tales Mythos like Lovecraft's. Why hadn't he included some actual Mythos?

Wellman did write one Mythos tale, "The Terrible Parchment" (Weird Tales, August 1937), that appeared five months after HPL's death, written as a memorial to the great author. By 1945, the only Mythos works appearing were August Derleth's pastiches. Derleth had taken control of the Lovecraft material, writing to authors such as C Hall Thompson to cease-and-desist. A number of unauthorized pastiches had appeared in Weird Tales by Gardner F Fox and Thompson. Ironically, "The Half-Haunted" appeared in an issue that sported a cover based on one of Derleth's pastiches about Ithaqua: "Beyond the Threshold."

Wellman did it again in "John Thunstone's Inheritance (Weird Tales, July 1944):
She smiled, with a great deal of maddening mystery. "Why not ask your friend the Frenchman -- Jules de Grandin? You and he are very close. Are you surprised to learn that I keep some watch on your movements?"

He answered her questions in order. "I invited de Grandin, but he and Dr. Trowbridge have all they can do in that line just now..."
Seabury Quinn finally returned the favor to Wellman in Weird Tales September 1945 in a non-de Grandin story called "Take Back That Which Thou Gavest." Instead of including Judge Pursuivant or John Thunstone in a story, Quinn pulls the authors into the frame for one. The opener is Quinn and Gans Field walking the streets of New York, looking for somewhere to drink. Quinn mentions that Field has just finished "The Hairy Ones Shall Dance" and is now working on "The Black Drama." (These stories both appeared in Weird Tales in 1938, seven years earlier. Editor Dorothy McIlwraith must have liked this kind of self-referential promotion for she could have easily cut the entire frame as the story does not need it.) The gist of the frame is that Gans sees an odd old man and curses at him in French. Wellman is well-known for his jovial nature and Quinn comments on this. How could a man be so evil that even the pleasant Gans Field should curse him out?

It's possible that Wellman saw a chance to tie other Weird Tales characters outside of the Mythos (maybe giving Derleth a bit of a poke too?), especially if they were ghostbreakers. A Ghostbreaker Mythos. To make this a reality, more writers would have had to be connected. To my knowledge this never happened. Wellman did tie some of his own ghostbreakers together into this shared universe when he wrote the 1982 novel The Hanging Stones, featuring Silver John and Judge Keith Hillary Pursuivent. He did not have John Thunstone and Silver John meet, but the singer with the silver strings did cross paths with John Thunstone's greatest enemies, the Shonokins, in After Dark (1980). So in this way, all three of his famous ghostbreakers do exist in the same universe.

I wish that E Hoffman Price's Peter D'Artois had flourished in Weird Tales, then he could have been tied into the Ghostbreaker Mythos as well. Unfortunately it was the popularity of Jules de Grandin that forced Hoffman to give up the character, since readers kept accusing him of ripping off Seabury Quinn.

Even if Wellman's mention of de Grandin was just a blip on the screen, a mere whim to please a fellow writer, the idea of a Ghostbreaker Mythos is very appealing to one such as I. Imagine Martin Hessellius, Abraham Von Helsing, Flaxman Low, John Silence, Carnacki, and all who followed belonging to a fraternity of ghost chasers! This idea was irresistible and I have used it in my own work. Thank you, Manly Wade Wellman! The Fraternity of Ghostbreakers goes on...

Using friends in stories was also part of the Cthulhu Mythos game. Clark Ashton Smith used Lovecraft as the model for Tomeron in "The Ephiphany of Death" (The Fantasy Fan, July 1934). Robert Bloch portrayed HPL in "The Shambler from the Stars" (Weird Tales, September 1935) and Lovecraft returned the favor in "The Haunter of the Dark" (Weird Tales, December 1936). Frank Belknap Long used a thinly disguised portrait of HPL in "The Space Eaters" (Weird Tales, July 1938). For Quinn to use the same idea in 1945 is not surprising. It's part of the Mythos game.

Perhaps the most interesting of these portrayals was done by August Derleth in 1966 in "The Dark Brotherhood". This posthumous collaboration with Lovecraft is about a man (who is very much like HPL: keeping strange hours, admiring architecture and graveyards) who finds multiple versions of Edgar Allan Poe popping up. In this way, HPL and Poe get to share a story together just as Derleth and HPL penned the story together.

GW Thomas has appeared in over 400 different books, magazines and ezines including The Writer, Writer's Digest, Black October Magazine and Contact. His website is gwthomas.org. He is editor of Dark Worlds magazine.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Countdown to Halloween 2017



So next week is October and as usual I'll be counting down to Halloween all month long.

I'm going to do it differently this year, though. Instead of picking a monster or spooky subject to explore for the month, I'm just going to follow my bliss and talk about movies. Each day I'll have one or two posts about different horror movies from various time periods: starting with the silent era and working my way up to this year.

Because of that, there won't be any 7 Days in May posts for the month (or this week), but I'm planning to resume that in November.

Happy Halloween!


Sunday, September 24, 2017

Greystoked | The New Adventures of Tarzan (1935)



Noel and I are joined by guest Melissa Kaercher (A Reel EducationThe Sound and the Foley) to discuss Edgar Rice Burroughs' sole attempt at financing a Tarzan serial himself (with co-producer/actor Ashton Dearholt). We talk about the extremely troubled production, from its poor planning and even poorer sound to its Mayan space queens and wife-swapping producers. Was anything good able to come of the mess? Tune in and find out!




Friday, September 22, 2017

Guest Post | The Comet Doom: SF's Second Chance

By GW Thomas

There really isn't any way to predict if an author will one day become important to you. A perfect example of this is Edmond Hamilton. When I was kid in the 1970s, collecting paperbacks at an alarming rate, I had piles of Edgar Rice Burroughs and Robert E Howard books. Lin Carter as well. Now I think back to how much of that was because I was a super fan of these writers and how much was because that's what was being printed at the time. It's a combination, no doubt. I had no source of steady income, so I spent my quarters and dollars frugally. This might have been a third factor.

The only paperback I had by Edmond Hamilton was a copy of Lancer's The Valley of Creation (1967). This was the red reprint version with a swordswoman riding a black horse alongside her pet hawk and tiger. In the background, armed space marines watch her ride by. (I'm pretty sure the cover art was by Gray Morrow.) The blurb says, "In the Tradition of Edgar Rice Burroughs." Another edition uses the words: "Sword and Sorcery." Those Lancer people really wanted me to buy this book. Because usually that's all it would have taken. I did buy it or acquired it second-hand. I never read it back then.

Why? Because it's neither in the tradition of ERB nor sword-and-sorcery. In fact, it was in the tradition of A Merritt's Dwellers in the Mirage. None of which I knew back then. I had no idea it had been published in Startling Stories, July 1948. But I never read it because I didn't know who Edmond Hamilton was. I was pretty limited in my pool of reading material. But we grow up. And we learn better.

Edmond Hamilton has since become special to me. The Burroughs and Howard have become so familiar over the last forty years that I dip into them only occasionally. My interest in Lin Carter has become mostly academic. But Edmond Hamilton is a rich vein that I continually explore. Sure, not every story is a masterpiece. He wrote over 200 of them. Yes, he did write Superman and Justice League comics (and I enjoy these too). But Hamilton is never dull. He always knew how to take an idea and make it a story. And when he's brilliant (such as in "Day of Judgment" or "He That Hath Wings"), then he is unstoppable. Hamilton is unbridled imagination. He deserves so much more than "in the tradition of Edgar Rice Burroughs." The name Edmond Hamilton is a magic all its own.

A story that possessed such a magic was "The Comet Doom" (Amazing Stories, January 1928). This early story contains the original idea of placing a human brain inside a machine, a standard trope of science fiction since. It may have even inspired the idea of Neil R Jones' Zoromes, mechanical men with organic brains that became one of SF's longest running series. It may have inspired Lovecraft's evil Yuggothians, who steal human brains to run their technology on Pluto in "The Whisperer in Darkness" (written in 1930). Keith Laumer would use the idea in the 1950s and '60s for his super tanks known as Bolos. The BBC would use the idea for their cyber-men on Doctor Who starting in 1963. And on it goes...

The story begins with a lengthy (far too lengthy by modern standards) build-up with a comet coming closer to Earth. It is supposed to miss the Earth, but the planet is inexplicably drawn into a collision course. Hamilton's knowledge of comets is quite dated, as they are thought to be vaporous only and as ethereal as the Northern Lights. This comet, of course, in true Wellsian style, proves to be a vehicle bringing space invaders. The comet folk are robotic bodies run by alien brains. The relentless machine men are building a device that will neutralize the sun's gravity on the earth, allowing the comet to snag and claim the planet for its uranium; killing all life in the process.

Two men, Coburn and Hanley, are held captive and Hanley joins the invaders, having his brain placed in a robot. Coburn escapes and joins forces with the narrator, Marlin. Despite the slow beginning, the story fires up as the desperate hour approaches. Marlin has one last ditch chance to destroy the gravity machine, but fails. In the end, it is the converted human-robot Hanley who does the deed and saves the world. The invaders are drawn away from Earth by the comet and are powerless to take over. The finale involves self-sacrifice on Hanley's part as he is destroyed by ruining the machine. He will be an unknown hero of the human race.

It is easy to under-play how inspirational this story was. Cyborgs have become such a part of science fiction that we don't often think when did they begin? And this seems to be the pattern with Hamilton. He was an innovator, but his work tended to be ignored after the fact, partly because of where it was published (Weird Tales, quite often) and partly because SF moved so fast in the old days, with ideas sparking off single stories to be absorbed by SF as a whole. This is a fate Hamilton shared with Raymond Z Gallun, another innovator who is barely remembered. This may explain a little more why Edmond Hamilton took a while to find a home in my library.

Hamilton did get a chance to revisit this story idea when he wrote "The Comet Doom" for DC's Mystery in Space #2 (June-July 1951). In this ten-page comic story there are no robots. Set in 1986, the next year that Halley's Comet would appear, Hamilton gives his future vision. This, of course, is hilarious for anyone who was around in the '80s and remembers how it really went. Hamilton's version has rocket-planes that travel from LA to New York in an hour and are commonly used instead of cars. There is tele-news on some new-fangled thing called a television. With the comet's passing, the earth begins to follow Halley's Comet in space. A group of scientists go to the North Pole to cut the tether that attaches the comet magnetically to Earth. They are sucked into the beam and land on the comet where they discover a solid planetoid and air and a city and the weird comet-folk who are floating globes. The lead scientist, Dr Stanton, talks with the aliens and his friends think he has betrayed them. The scientists rush the control panel, knocking Stanton over and fatally wounding him. Before he dies, he explains that the comet-folk wanted to move the planet because of deadly sunspot activity. The world is saved, but Stanton dies, Earth's greatest hero. Many of the elements are the same but inverted in this second version. In his second career as a comic-book writer, Hamilton again innovated in the pages of DC comics.

GW Thomas has appeared in over 400 different books, magazines and ezines including The Writer, Writer's Digest, Black October Magazine and Contact. His website is gwthomas.org. He is editor of Dark Worlds magazine.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Dragonfly Ripple | Britain and Rocky



After Carlin and I share some thoughts about kids and social media, Carlin talks to David about the trip we recently took to England and Scotland and all of the pop culture locations we visited. I discuss the Rocky movies with Annaliese and then the whole crew picks our dream houses from movies and TV. And in a very special Jetpack Tiger, Carlin takes another stab at introducing Dash to Star Trek (specifically The Next Generation). Did it finally take? Tune in and see!



Monday, September 18, 2017

7 Days in May | Big Golden Child in Little China

Brimstone (2016)



I'm gonna mention this on an upcoming Hellbent for Letterbox, but even then I'm not gonna say too much out of fear of spoilers. I watched this only knowing the IMDb summary and that was a pretty great way to go into it: "From the moment the new reverend climbs the pulpit, Liz knows she and her family are in great danger."

Learning why Liz is afraid pulled me into the movie, but what kept me there were the powerful performances, the gorgeous cinematography, and the intriguing, non-linear way that the story unfolds. It's a dark, disturbing tale, but it's so engrossing.

Unfortunately, there are a couple of specific moments as the film's wrapping up that I just couldn't stick with. Just quick things, but they were unbelievable enough that they ungrounded a movie that was otherwise all too real and scary.

Rogue One (2016)



This was the last of my rewatches of favorite 2016 movies.

I liked it quite a bit the first time, but I'm enjoying Rogue One more every time I watch it. This time it got me interested in watching it in context of the entire Star Wars series, so I'll probably try to do that before Last Jedi comes out.

The Golden Child (1986)



One of my favorite Eddie Murphy movies. A fun fantasy-adventure story with a hilarious and cool hero, an awesome villain (Charles Dance), and tons of memorable lines. And I'm still in love with Charlotte Lewis.

Big Trouble in Little China (1986)



Rewatching The Golden Child got me wanting to see Big Trouble in Little China again, mostly because of the shared actors. I'd never made the connection (not even in 1986) how similar they are and certainly didn't know that Big Trouble in Little China rushed production to beat Golden Child to the theaters.

I still think that the similarities are superficial and I'm a fan of both. Big Trouble in Little China takes more chances though and is a crazier, more fun experience for it. It's hard to tell if the movie knows how awful its dialogue is and is in on the joke, but I like to read it that way. It's certainly aware of its tropes, because it's playing with them and turning some of them upside down. I was afraid this wouldn't hold up, but it totally does.

The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer (1947)



I really wanted to like this because of how much I love all three of its main stars, but unfortunately it was another reminder that I really don't like screwball comedies that aren't What's Up, Doc?. This one almost entertains me (it certainly has its moments), but...

Look, any complaints I make are going to be about things that are specifically related to the genre. It would be like complaining about a horror movie because it's too scary. You would be perfectly justified telling me to just avoid the genre in the future. And one of these days, I'll remember to follow that advice.

Lured (1947)



A brilliant thriller. I love I Love Lucy, but I love Lucille Ball in these early, serious roles (see also: Five Came Back) even more.

In this one, Ball plays a dancer whose best friend goes missing, most likely as the victim of a serial killer. When Ball contacts the police, she's offered an undercover job. The killer lures his victims through personal ads in the paper, so the cops send Ball out to answer various ads and see if they can sniff out the murderer.

What I like is that not every ad leads to the murderer (of course), but that they're all interesting. It becomes almost an anthology, with Ball involved in multiple stories and situations. Boris Karloff plays one ad-placer (not telling if he's involved in the larger case or not) and George Sanders is a nightclub owner whom Ball would love to work for once the case is solved. The rest of the cast is great, too, especially Charles Coburn, Cedric Hardwicke, and George Zucco. And Alan Napier (Alfred to Adam West's Batman) has a small part as one of the police detectives.

Dick Tracy Meets Gruesome (1947)



I didn't care for the one Dick Tracy serial I saw starring Ralph Byrd, but so far his feature movies are great. In this one, Boris Karloff plays the title villain who takes over a gang of bank robbers that uses freeze gas to commit crimes. Karloff feels dangerous, Byrd is charming, and Anne Gwynne's Tess Trueheart is resourceful and helpful to the case. There's actual mystery-solving and some cool twists. I'll be seeking out more of these.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Guest Post | DC Flirts with Sword-and-Sorcery, Part Two: Horror Anthologies

By GW Thomas

Nightmaster failed to become DC's first sword-and-sorcery title, but DC kept trying in the horror magazines. “The Eyes of the Basilisk” (The House of Mystery #184, January-February 1970) was written by E Nelson Bridwell and drawn by Gil Kane and Wally Wood. The plot has the country of Karinek invaded by the deadly serpent. The king offers his daughter’s hand in marriage to anyone who can slay the basilisk. Many try, but fail. Two brothers, Ursus and Ulfar, go to defeat the monster using a polished shield. Ursus doesn’t look into the basilisk’s eyes, but in the shield. The terrible gaze freezes him and the serpent kills him. Ulfar goes to avenge his brother, lifting the shield and reflecting the monster’s gaze into its own face. The basilisk turns itself to stone and Ulfar becomes king. It is only at the end that we find out Ulfar is blind.

Kane and Wood’s presence here is significant. Wally Wood was the artist responsible for “Clawfang the Barbarian” (Unearthly Spectaculars #2, December 1965) five years earlier and he had drawn several pieces for his own fanzine, Witzend. He would go on to do both Hercules Unbound (1975) and Stalker (1975) for DC. Gil Kane would draw many sword-and-sorcery pieces, some based on Robert E Howard’s stories for Marvel in the pages of Savage Sword of Conan and Conan the Barbarian. Perhaps his best of all of them was his adaptation of “The Valley of the Worm” in Supernatural Thrillers #3 (April 1973).

DC’s next ploy to test the waters was to reprint three of Joe Kubert’s Viking Prince stories from the pages of The Brave and the Bold from 1955, in DC Special #12 (May-June 1971). More Viking Prince episodes would be used to fill out the backs of DC Special #22-25. These giant-sized magazines featured new stories about the Three Musketeers and old Robin Hood reprints.

Gil Kane tried again with “Sword of the Dead” in Adventure Comics #425 (December 1972). This time Kane wrote and drew the six-pager. The story concerns two warriors. The first is Evlig, a merciless killer who murders the family of the second warrior: John of Gaunt, a retired knight turned farmer. John suits up and finds Evlig. The two square off with lances, sending John to the ground. Evlig tries to finish him off, but John rises up and slays him. Only after Evlig is dead does John see his own slain body. His righteousness was so powerful, his spirit accomplished what his body could not. A few things come to mind about this tale. One: the villain’s name is so obviously a form of the word Evil, while John of Gaunt was an actual historical person. The idea of the dead who kills reminds me of Robert E Howard’s “The Man on the Ground” (Weird Tales, July 1933) where a Texas feuder also sees his dead body after a fight. Kane was a fan of Howard, so this isn’t surprising.

This was followed by DC's first sword-and-sorcery title launch: Fritz Leiber’s two best thieves in Lankhmar, in Sword of Sorcery (March-April to November-December 1973). Before the five-issue run, drawn largely by Howard Chaykin (another artist linked to the feel and look of sword-and-sorcery with his work for Marvel), Fafhrd and Grey Mouser first appeared in Wonder Woman #202 (September-October 1972) in an introductory episode that did little but pit them against Diana Prince. This tale was written by science fiction master, Samuel R Delany and drawn by Dick Giordano. Sword of Sorcery failed after only a few issues, as would titles like Stalker, Beowulf, Dragonslayer, and Claw the Unconquered. Success was to be found in the science fiction-tinged The Warlord by Mike Grell, running for 133 issues with new material up to 2008. You would think after all this trying, DC would have ended the sword-and-sorcery appearances in their horror titles, but this was not so.

“The Survivor” in Weird War Tales #15 (July 1973) was written by Jack Oleck and drawn by Gerry Talaoc. Oleck was a mainstay of the DC horror titles, and not surprisingly, he wrote more of the stories featured here than anyone else. Here is the first of two about Vikings. Lars Ironhand and his crew are stranded on a weird island where the monsters of Throna the Witch attack them. Defeating all her minions, Throna leads them to water. Drinking the liquid causes the Vikings to grow small in body but large in head. Lars, the last survivor, writes a warning to anyone else who might end up on the island and be changed by the water. By the time he finishes, he has changed into a monkey.

“King of the Ring” from Plop #23 (September-October 1976) is an unusual outlier that has to be mentioned. Written and drawn by Wally Wood, the strip is one of the first comic parodies of The Lord of the Rings in the manner of Harvard Lampoon’s Bored of the Rings. While not sword-and-sorcery exactly, the funny piece packs many of the highlights and characters of Tolkien’s masterpiece into only six pages. Woody uses silly variations such as Gondeaf for Gandalf and Snyder for Rider, etc. He has a crew of dwarves with names like Slappy, Droopy, Sleazy, Groucho, Harpo, Snoopy, and Shlepo. There is an incognito king who announces he is incognito, the frog-like Glum who wants his “sweetums,” Nazighuls, norks, Schlob, and the ring finally gets destroyed when Frodo shoves Glum over the edge. Wood ends it with the ring flying out of Mount Doom to Gondeaf’s hand. The wizard decides to keep the ring and be evil. Drawn with Wood’s best Mad Magazine-meets-The King of the World style, it is a classic parody.

“Valley of the Giants” was written by Jack Oleck with art by Jess Jodloman for Secrets of the Haunted House #6 (June-July 1977). Jodloman drew King Kull for Marvel’s Kull and the Barbarians (1973) and this experience serves him well in this tale of Vikings. Oleck has a ruthless band of Vikings - lead by Rurik - raid the English coast where an old witch prophesies that Rurik and his men would die by giants. A storm drives them to the African coast. There they attack and capture an Arab ship. One of the Arabs tell them of a fabulous treasure in a valley of giants. The Vikings kill all the Arabs to protect their ship and then press on into the jungle. Pygmies attack them with poisoned arrows. Rurik and his men die fighting the pygmies, but before they die Rurik laughs, knowing the giants of the prophecy are not their opponents but themselves.

“Bruce the Barbarian” in Unexpected #205 (December 1980) was written by JM Dematteis with art by Vic Catan. Bruce E Platt is an unpopular disc jockey who uses the occult to create a fantasy world in which he is a heroic barbarian. This alternate reality becomes so real that when his former girlfriend, Cornelia, comes to his apartment, he kills her by accident. When the cops come to arrest him, they find Bruce being tormented for eternity in a very real hell. This type of story, the fantasy fan as escapist-loser is one of my least favorite tropes, being the shallow reaction of non-fantasy fans: whether it is Harlan Ellison’s “Delusion For a Dragonslayer” (1966) or the anti-LARPing film, Mazes and Monsters starring a young Tom Hanks (1982). Dematteis would pen the final issues of Marvel’s Conan the Barbarian, so I suspect he’s not an anti-fantasy fan.

“Troll Bridge” in Unexpected #220 (March 1982) was written by Gary Cohn; art by Paris Cullins and Gary Martin. This tongue-in-cheek tale of a troll who works his way up to larger and larger bridges ends when he is tricked into wearing a magic cloak by the wizard Wendik the Trollsbane. The cloak sends him to another dimension where he finds a new home under the Brooklyn Bridge. This goofy tale appeals to me with its cartoony style that reminds me a little of Shrek and by not taking itself too seriously.

“No Penny, No Paradise” in Unexpected #222 (May 1982) was written by Robert Kanigher of Wonder Woman fame (as well as SF titles like Metal Men) and had art by Keith Giffin and Larry Mahlstedt. Not really a hardcore sword-and-sorcery tale, the plot follows Alexander the Great as he conquers Asia. Before his death, he reminds Philo to place a penny on his tongue. When Alexander arrives at the River Styx, Charon refuses him entrance into heaven because he has no penny. Alexander goes back to haunt Philo. The thief defeats him by placing a penny in his own mouth before dying. Alexander is powerless to stop Philo from crossing the Styx while he is damned forever. Giffin got his start with the later issues of Claw the Unconquered. Unfortunately he did not ink his own work. Malhlstedt’s inking lacks the weird flavor of Claw. The cover art was provided by Ernie Colon, the artist who created Arak, Son of Thunder with Roy Thomas.

With that final issue, DC Comics said goodbye to short sword-and-sorcery, but not all heroic fantasy. In 1982, the company had the unpopular Arak, Son of Thunder, Arion, Lord of Atlantis, Masters of the Universe tie-ins, The Warlord (no longer with Grell), The Atlantis Chronicles by Esteban Maroto, and the on-again-off-again Amethyst, Princess of Gemworld. By 1988 though, the ranks of DC would not include sword-and-sorcery. In fact, by the 1990s, only old cornerstones such as Conan, Elfquest, Masters of the Universe, and television fare such as Xena, Warrior Princess would be in evidence. The 1990s would not be kind to sword-and-sorcery. DC Comics, like everyone else, had tested the waters, but ultimately gone back to superheroes.

GW Thomas has appeared in over 400 different books, magazines and ezines including The Writer, Writer's Digest, Black October Magazine and Contact. His website is gwthomas.org. He is editor of Dark Worlds magazine.

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