Friday, June 23, 2006

Return of the Shadow

And Doc Savage. And others.

My buddy Joe sent me this press release from the Coming Attractions web site (which is a really cool site for pulp-related news, by the way):

The Shadow and Doc Savage are returning to thrill fans old and new. Anthony Tollin has acquired the license to reprint the original Shadow and Doc Savage pulp novels, and will be publishing trade paperback reprints in partnership with Nostalgia Ventures, Inc., a leader in the field of radio and television nostalgia. These Shadow and Doc Savage volumes are officially licensed by Condé Nast, the owner of the famous properties.

"This is a dream come true for me," proclaims Anthony Tollin, the former DC Comics professional who is also a leading pulp and radio historian. Tollin co-authored Walter B. Gibson's The Shadow Scrapbook in 1979, and has long desired to get Gibson's Shadow novels back in print. "We're reissuing the classic pulp stories with the original covers and interior art, with the type reset for clarity. We're initially releasing the stories in a double-novel format. Our first volume, already at the printers, reprints Walter Gibson's 'Crime, Insured' and 'The Golden Vulture,' a Shadow novel that Lester Dent wrote in 1932 that was later revised by Gibson and published in 1938.

This is the Shadow novel that won Lester Dent the Doc Savage contract. Our first story, 'Crime, Insured' is recognized as Walt Gibson's greatest action thriller, in which a criminal organization penetrates The Shadow's operation and captures his major agents, and The Shadow is trapped as the entire New York underworld invades his sanctum."

This series of trade paperbacks is the first licensed publication of The Shadow novels in 22 years, and the first authorized reprinting of the original Doc Savage pulp novels in 15 years. The Shadow Magazine debuted in 1931 and launched the 1930s hero-pulp boom, inspiring dozens of characters including the Phantom Detective, the Spider, the Avenger and the Green Lama. Bob Kane and Bill Finger cited The Shadow as a major influence on the creation of Batman, while Clark Savage Jr., the Man of Bronze, was a major influence on the creation and development of Clark Kent, the Man of Steel.

"If Street & Smith had not published The Shadow and Doc Savage, there might never have been any Superman or Batman," observes popular-culture historian Will Murray, who collaborated with Lester Dent on seven posthumous Doc Savage novels. "Between them, Walter Gibson and Lester Dent created the archetype of the superhero, and most of the fiction formulas and trappings of the eternal battle between superhero and supervillain that has come to dominate popular culture in the last 75 years. I like to call Lester Dent 'the Father of the Superhero' because, while Superman and Batman had other influences, both borrowed liberally from Doc Savage, the original owner of the Fortress of Solitude."

The first volume of The Shadow is at the printers and will be at selected specialty stores in mid-July, and shipping from Diamond Distributors in October. Each paperback will retail for $12.95 and contain two complete, unabridged pulp adventures of The Shadow, with covers by George Rozen and interior illustrations by Edd Cartier. The reprints can also be ordered directly from: Anthony Tollin; P.O. Box 761474; San Antonio; TX 78245-1474 (Add $3.00 for postage and packaging) or from Nostalgia Ventures.

The first volume of Doc Savage will follow in November and will contain "Fortress of Solitude" and "The Devil Genghis." These are the two pulp adventures that pitted the Man of Bronze against master-villain John Sunlight. Rounding out each volume are historical articles by pulp historians including Tollin and Murray. A second volume of The Shadow, reprinting "The Chinese Disks" and "Malmordo," will also also be released in November. "And that's only the beginning," Tollin adds. "The Shadow and Doc Savage aren't the only classic pulp characters I've been licensed to reprint. I think fans of classic adventure heroes are going to be very excited by some of our future projects."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This. News. Is. So. Awesome.

Especially having just read Paul Malmont's novel, THE CHINATOWN DEATH CLOUD PERIL, in which Dent and Gibson are the stars. Highly recommended to fans of pulp fiction.

I just hope these reprints don't have ghastly ugly covers like so many small-press books do.


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