Monday, January 31, 2022

The Shadow Lives! in the pages of THE SHADOWED CIRCLE #2


America’s new “Pulp Journal” returns—and it’s another corker!

Editor Steve Donoso and his agents are obviously putting a lot of work into this project, and pulp fandom is richer for it. This is a professional job all the way – with one exception: There’s are no ads!

Among this issue’s features:

Malcolm Deeley takes a deep dive into Mike Kaluta’s graphic novel, Hitler’s Astrologer.

Will Murray gives us a peek behind the curtain at Nostalgia Venture/Sanctum Books, revealing the trials and tribulations of pairing similarly themed stories.

Steve Donoso takes us on a tour of the Shadow’s New York City with 17 brilliant photos taken between 1935 and 1938. It’s the next best thing to being there.

Steve then provides an incisive review of Will’s excellent Master of Mystery: The Rise of the Shadow. (Do you have that book yet? What are you waiting for?)

From Tim King comes a fascinating look at the Shadow’s influence on real-life military and intelligence units—and no doubt expands the field of Shadow collectibles.

Todd D. Severin and Keith Holt offer Part 1 of what looks to be an in-depth look at Shadow History. This episode takes us from the birth of the pulps, through the Shadow’s debut as a radio personality, and into the mind of Walter Gibson as he brings the character to life. Great stuff.

Is that all? Nope. The issue rounds out with an expose providing convincing evidence that the fictional Explorer’s League, invented by Lester Dent in 1940, was actually New York’s real-life—and very prestigious—Explorer’s Club.

Accompanying all this are more good-lookin’ illustrations than you can aim a .45 at. You want a copy!

Where the heck can you get one? Visit the Facebook page:, or write Burbank directly at

Saturday, January 29, 2022

BAT MASTERSON Comic Strip - Week 13 (1959) THE END (for now)

Next week: Something completely different.

CROCKETT'S DEVIL: A Rip-Roaring Review by Larry Paschelke

My friend Larry Paschelke, whom you know as the patron for my access to the early run of Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, has offered his take on this modern-day epic. Thanks Larry!

From the cover of the book (using the original cover of the April 1949 Dime Western pulp magazine) to the final two pages presenting the interesting and important “About the Author” essay, this book is a good addition to the list of novels involving the mix of real and fictional characters.

The time and site is 1813 in the Mississippi Territory, with the ongoing Creek War raging. Davy Crockett, Andrew Jackson, Red Eagle and the great horse Arrow are among the real, while a supporting cast of fictional characters—including a huge dog, Samson—fit together well. A separate type of character is the “demon” referred to in the title.

The book was published in both trade paperback and hardback, and while it might take some extra effort to track down the hardback, as a book collector I have gone for it. Besides, the little additional cost may help Lewis and his wife Irene to occasionally get off their usual diet of bear-grease and buffalo chips. Also, I heard there something called an eBook edition, but it is probably just a figment of someone’s imagination. I know Davy Crockett got along without such a thing, so I guess I can, too.

After finishing the book I would definitely recommend the reader the peruse the two Afterwords: The “Historical Note” is where Lewis outlines his mix of real and fictional characters and events. He seems to have done a good job of it.

The second Afterword is “About the Author,” where Lewis admits being under a life-long spell of Davy Crockett and lists some of the Davy “stuff” he’s collected over the years. I think this is an important part of his ability to write the book so well. I must admit that I have known him for over 40 years as both a friend and collector. Just recently he told me there were two songs he would want played at his funeral. I would hope they would play all fifty-some versions of “The Ballad of Davy Crockett” that he mentions in this Afterword, if only to drown out his other chosen song, “Louie, Louie.” But don’t hold that against him while you’re going out to get this book!

Friday, January 28, 2022

World Adventurers: DAVY CROCKETT - A Three-Part Text Article (1949)

This feature appeared in three consecutive issues of Rangers Comics, beginning with #46 in April 1949. It offers a brief sketch of Davy's Indian fighting and Congressional career, then focuses on the Alamo. It's not too bad, considering the state of Crockett and Alamo scholarship at the time, which was really in its infancy.

Thursday, January 27, 2022

THE LONE RANGER follows "The Code of the West" (1951)

This adventure comes riding at us from The Lone Ranger #32, dated Feb 1951. It features some action-packed art by the Ranger's longtime comic strip artist, Charles Flanders. There would be four more issues before TLR tossed out his old red shirt and bought a blue one.