Monday, April 16, 2012

The Writer Will Take Your Questions Now (#142) -- Pulp Heroes

Where did your interest (as a reader) in the heroes of pulp originate?

To answer that, I really have to answer two questions because I liked pulp and pulp styled tales long before I knew what pulp actually was.

To answer the first, my interest in the pulp archetypes and pulp style began in my love for comics. Sure, I read mainstream superhero books like Legion of Super-Heroes and Avengers, but I also fell in love with the horror and sci-fi anthologies that tried to make readers think they were more lurid than they actually were. And these tales were really throwbacks to an earlier era, quick-hit, down and dirty stories of demons, murderers, creatures emerging from paintings to kill unsuspecting art lovers, and even battles against the unlucky number 13. Not only that, but even the mainstream books I read at the time had that old sci-fi edge of pulp tales -- in particular, the Legion of Super-Heroes and the Metal Men.

Now, as for my interest in the real, honest-to-God pulps, that came after (yes, after) I had to write my first official new pulp story -- which was "Dance with the Devil" for Lance Star: Sky Ranger Vol. 2. You see, I'm a sucker for research, so to honestly write a pulp voice, I downloaded more than a hundred public domain pulp tales from manybooks.net (a treasure trove, if ever I've found one) to get it right. Only, I discovered that this was the kind of stuff I'd been enjoying already, both in comic book action and in prose -- only I hadn't realized the pulp style had been so far-reaching. Two in particular, Edgar Rice Burroughs' A Princess of Mars and H. Rider Haggard's She, were my connecting points between prose and pulp action.

From there, the ball kept rolling downhill, picking up momentum and more mass, introducing me to more new pulp writing and reading opportunities.