Thursday, May 20, 2021

Fantastic Passings

While we have reached the End of Pop Culture, we are beginning to learn a lot of other new facts about the people behind the curtain of what we consume. Many years ago, many even just a few--it depends on who you are, one got an impression of those in the general entertainment industry as extremely competent people with their pulse on the public's tastes. Those in charge of the entertainment industry knew what they were doing. You might deny having such thoughts, but is fairly clear that many people believe such a thing. 

Or they did, I should say. You would have a very hard time in 2021 finding a normal person who not only thinks such a thing, but also willingly consumes modern mainstream entertainment. We aren't in the 1980s anymore, and most everyone knows this now. The people in charge have no idea what they're doing.

When you look at a present that isn't all it could be, you tend to have two different reactions. You either decide to reexamine the past to see where things went wrong, or you ignore it by charging blindly into the future and believing things will work out because that's how Progress works. Reality has taught us the latter never works, especially after the failure of the 20th century, but no one in the mainstream is willing to attempt the former as of now, which leaves the rest of us going elsewhere. It is no wonder, even despite a pandemic, no one is willing to pay money for their products.

The last few years of the entertainment industry's death rattles should have obliterated any remaining sense of wonder about how the sausage is made. The structure was built on shifting sand and sinks deeper every day. Despite this, there is an entire class of creator and customer that demands building on this safety hazard even as it crumbles and sinks into the pit. Until this crowd is finally ignored, larger issues will never get fixed.

The death of Fanaticism will only lead to better art, but not until we put things where they belong and treat them as they truly are. Only when we stop treating the past and patrons as the enemy can we finally forge a better landscape for everyone.

Everything we built to replace "better" practices, products, and institutions, has already collapsed and is currently in its death throes. Unless we finally eject the source of the decay, we too will be caught in it. these dilapidated institutions must go.

We need to return to better things--things you have been taught to reject by those who usurped said better things. It is time to put them behind you--they no longer have anything to offer you or anyone else.

Nowhere has this problem been more focused on in recent years than in the life and death of the pulp magazines. Ever since the Pulp Revolution started, people have ceased being quiet on this front. If there is a segment of the industry more gaslit than the history and impact of the pulps then it must have been nuked from existence to thoroughly that not a single soul remembers it. And, if many industry types had their way, that is what they wished would happen to the pulps.

You know this is the case because of all the lies spread about those old magazines to this day. Lies made by people who were taught to hate them without even reading a single page or understanding what the stories were even about. They simply needed "better ways" and to replace what the audience wanted with their own junk. To do this, they needed to erase the past with revisionism.

But where did this attitude come from? Why are there so many weird people that hate wonder stories about adventure starring moral heroes where there are no made-up genre boundaries later fashioned by people who had no right to create said barriers? Why do we still use these terms made by people who hate the things they purport to love? Why do we listen to people who hate us? At what point do we look at their failures and realize that we have no reason to continue bowing to them?

Why do we still listen to these types to this day? Especially when we've learned that their "successes" were either illusionary, temporary, or subverted by even worse minds.

This is why the wide-open playing field of NewPub is so important: it offers the rest of us a chance to finally escape the iron fist of the uncreatives and return to traditions that would be lost otherwise. Though times might change, audience tastes never really do. It is only a shame that so many of us have forgotten the audience even exists to begin with.

The big question is whether you want to give them what they want, or force-feed them what they don't. After a near-century of failure, we now know where the latter approach gets you--abandoned by the masses and run by Fandom cliques who in turn will abandon you at the drop of a hat. there is no future here, only death.

Pictured: Campbell "rescuing" his genre before crushing it.

You've heard the common refrain about how John W. Campbell rescued "Science Fiction" from the horrible fate of pulp magazines and ushered in a Golden Age of a genre that brought us to literary paradise. Though, reality shows that the opposite happened. His changes did not increase sales of the magazine, it made the audience base narrower, a fact that didn't change up until the day the pulps actually died: April 8th, 1949. Campbell's publisher abandoned the market on that date, leading to the death of the pulp magazines over the next few years.

You see, despite popular Fandom mythology, the 1940s were not some sort of a science paradise where the greatness arose out of the muck, like in the above image. It was an era of . . . nothing much, really. Just boring stories of Big Men With Screwdrivers, most of which were dropped by the new Fandom audience as soon as there was a new toy to play with. They abandoned tradition which led to the ones coming up under them to do the same.

The 1940s were not a fertile field for success and creativity for adventure fiction in the way the 1920s and 1930s were. And by April 8th, 1949, the ride was finally over.

This date was when Street & Smith completely stopped publishing pulp magazines after several years of declining sales in the 1940s. Why wasn't Campbell's supposed Golden Age reversing this trend? Why didn't they save their publisher from abandoning their market? The obvious reason for this, and one a certain shrinking segment of the audience don't want to hear, is that Campbell didn't create a Golden Age. He was actually responsible for the opposite: a decline.

"Golden Ages" imply many things: an explosion of creativity, audience interest, increasing sales and popularity, and incredible influence over the field. Think about video games from the mid-80s to the mid-00s or ska music in the late '90s. All these factors came together to create an exciting scene that influenced and excited an uncountable number of people.

The pulps of the 1940s did not have any of these things, nowhere near to the same level of the decades before them. In fact, about halfway through the '40s they cratered so hard that it astounded everybody involved. No one saw it coming.

Within a few years, by the 1950s, they would all be gone.

“They weren’t making any money,” Street president Gerald H. Smith explained to Time magazine. “We just weren’t interested in them any longer.”

Street was also losing interest in its comic books and canceled those, too, along with its pulps.

What Street was interested in then were its slick magazines, Mademoiselle, Mademoiselle’s Living and Charm. After an awkward start in 1935, Mademoiselle had taken off with its circulation reaching 300,000 by 1940 and over half-a-million by 1955.

Like Street, readers, apparently, were losing interest in the pulps, too. Circulation figures for Street’s pulp group show a dramatic drop leading up to the company’s 1949 decision. Through the 1930s pulp heyday, Street’s pulp circulation hovered around a million copies a month, with a peak of 1.2-million in 1935.

As World War II heated up and the United States became embroiled in the global conflict, Street pulp circulation dropped 1940 through 1942.

As paper became scarce and the number of pulps declined on the newsstands, Street’s circulations soared to over 1.6-million copies in 1943. Remember the economic maxim about supply and demand: Fewer pulps meant better sales for the remaining magazines. “In all brackets, the pulps which had been losing popularity boomed in sales,” Writer’s Digest editor Aron M. Mathieu recalled in a 1951 Digest article. “Some people thought this sudden success was due only to the forced scarcity of magazines; but most older pulp editors felt it proved how right they had been all along. ‘The tide swings,’ they said. ‘The pulps always come back.’ ”

The last line is definitely right, but the overall point was correct. Aside from the circulation increase due to the paper shortage, it was only a downward trend. The 1940s were the death of the pulps. A few survived into the 1950s, but by then they either folded like Weird Tales and Planet Stories, or changed format entirely like what Campbell did to Astounding (including changing the title, since he detested the founding principles of the magazine) and no longer being a pulp magazine. The audience interest in the declining quality of the pulps was quickly being turned elsewhere with the better options arriving on the scene.

Times did change, but audience tastes didn't. The sort of television and comic books that became popular were almost exactly like the pulps in intent. Movies, too, focused harder on the adventure element that was being lost by the death of an older form. By the time the 1977 space battle movie and video games came around, pulp returned in full form. Fandom lost, audiences won.

Even still, it was sad to lose the pulps. They could just no longer compete.

But don't think an entire industry of eggheads didn't fatuously rub their hands together to declare victory over the death of this disgusting industry. As ThePulp.Net mentions:

"In an article in the Writer’s 1951 Year Book, fictioneer Allan K. Echols echoes this sentiment. “Pulp editing hardly changed for 30 years; yet compare Ladies’ Home Journal, Vogue, Wall Street Journal, Saturday Evening Post today to 1915! These magazines changed artistically and editorially as people’s minds expanded with the store of more information.” Pulps, he goes on, didn’t."

Speaking of not aging well. Guess what the average opinion of those relics is these days? Meanwhile, pulp influence has only increased over the past few years, storming the fields of NewPub as the OldPub castle sinks into the sands.

The above 20th century mentality of the Progress religion is seeming more and more ridiculous the further we get from that abominable century.

"Jack Byrne, managing editor for Fiction House, replied to Echols in a letter published in the Writer’s Year Book that it wasn’t the editors’ fault that pulps were languishing, it was the publishers’ problems with “manufacturing, distribution and promotion.” Byrne goes on, “The pulps are always dying, as they died for Old King Brady and Nick Carter, as they died in 1930 for the publishers of that day, yet only the form dies. The business of supplying low-cost entertainment to mass markets always manages somehow to confound the obit writers.”"

And it still does. The rotting carcass of OldPub and the success story of NewPub shows as much. But much of the struggle of pulp-style entertainment has always been from many industry gatekeepers, busybodies, and editors, refusing to let it in the door, choosing to instead shrink and eventually crater their chosen industry.

As an example:

"While the pulpwood magazines died, the “pulp”-style story would live on.

"In a letter to the New York Times, Kenneth W. Scott of New York wrote, “The decision of Street & Smith to discontinue the publication of pulp thrillers and comic magazines may mark the end of another era in the history of sensational literature. However, though a waning interest in pulp adventure tales may be the trend at the moment, it seems unlikely that the demand for swiftly paced, stereotyped, inexpensive stories will ever die out permanently.”

"Indeed, paperback books, comic books and television took up the mantle from the pulps. Even a few digests remained after all was said and done, including Street’s own Astounding Science Fiction, which continues publication today as Analog Science Fiction and Fact by Dell Magazines."

The spirit never dies, try as the eggheads might.

But for a long time, pulp didn't have a home. Deliberately blocked by gatekeepers throughout the 1950s and 1960s, locking out an entire segment of adventure fiction ended up warping the field. Sure, while there were many great books in that time, so too was there a lot of drek, however none of it was done in the spirit of the form that brought it success to begin with. And the people in charge were ecstatic over this mutation they caused.

New Keys Open Doors For Escape to Romance

We pause in the day’s occupation to heave a few sighs over the passing of the pulp magazines. It is not that the pulps have been our reading fare for a long time. But news that Street & Smith Publications are leaving the field of fictional adventure, romance, and crime-does-not-pay is like a reminder of the fading of youth.

Many is the greying citizen who will be thinking back fondly today upon the news stands of 25 or 30 years ago, and all those irresistible covers that beckoned to an hour of escape into the realms of derring-do and love. Many is the respectable and best-selling author who recalls the start he got in that wide, motley, and insatiable list for which he wrote gratefully at a cent a word.

The world has not changed. It has only moved. There is still a way to momentary forgetfulness of the atom bomb and inflation, but there are other keys to the door. The movies, the radio. and the daily comic strips have come along to charm those magic casements into opening on perilous seas. They give reality to the crack of .44s, the beat of hoofs, the long-drawn susurrations of ecstasy and the sobs of affronted virtue. What cold and crude type can suffice against them?

The lady of the house can get it all without moving from her dishes or the washing machine. Even over the hum of the vacuum cleaner rise the accents of the soap opera; and in the evening the whole family can enjoy it all together on the screen, without hating one another because the printed page is for one pair of eyes at a time.

Before Street & Smith moved to uptown Manhattan into quarters to match the chic and glamorous slicks to which they turned with the times, their gloomy old house was a citadel of fantasy. One by one the old titles were weeded out with changing tastes and demands. A few withstood the pressure of new mediums, but now, with television for all just around the comer, it is too much.

That is an almost touching epilogue for the death of an industry. But it has not aged particularly well. We can offer the same eulogy to what the writer mentions as "replacements" to the pulp industry. In fact, they are just as finished as magazines are.

Television is dead. Radio is finished. Movies are on the way out. Comic strips are on life support. Literally everything used as an example to replace the pulp magazine is over. They are outdated and have lived out their time in the art and entertainment landscape. So what do we do now that they are gone? What do we move on to? This is a good question.

Though the old pulp era ended way back in the 1940s, it didn't stop the industry from attempting to move on to new things. Today it feels like the opposite: as the corpse of the literary industry has long since cooled and begun to stink, OldPub still clings madly to it as if it were still alive with a beating heart. As opposed to the "forward thinking" industry of the past, we now have OldPub refusing to let the coffin door of the past shut.

As an example, Conde Nast's recent play (apparently before they lose their properties to the Copyright Gods) for The Shadow IP is to turn it into OldPub swill for a shot at a few extra bucks into a property they have mismanaged for years now. You can't get much further away from the pulp roots than what they are doing now.

What was once the leading pulp hero, inspiration to many creations of the 20th century, was turned into another brand name. They turned the property into yet another interchangeable bland product by human book-producing corporation James Patterson. In other words, one of the most inspirational ideas of the 20th century has became typical 21st century hack work. OldPub strikes yet again.

Here is a review of this mess.

"Patterson and Sitts have written an exciting dystopian science-fiction novel with elements reminiscent of both the Marvel and DC comics universes, and a little touch of Alan Moore’s Marvelman. With its teenage female protagonist, it would be easy to mistake it for a young adult book if not for a couple of scenes very much inappropriate for young adults.

"We know that the young woman, Maddy by name, is the POV character because she is the first-person narrator of at least half of the book’s 104 chapters. In a rather odd move for an author, all the chapters NOT narrated by Maddy are written in third person.

"Normally I try to make my reviews fairly spoiler-free but it’s not really possible to really get into some of the problems I have with this book without giving away a few plot points so be advised. From here on out, there be SPOILERS.

"The book opens with what in my opinion is its best written segment, set in 1937 and featuring a very recognizable Lamont Cranston and Margo Lane. The only surprise is that the generally aloof Lamont is about to ask Margo to marry him. An even bigger surprise is her implied secret pregnancy. This segment takes up Chapters 1-3 and ends with the pair being poisoned, and yet Lamont somehow having the superhuman will to drive them both across town to a secret warehouse/laboratory he owned.

"Cut to 150 years later and another Chapter 1."

Anyone who has read an OldPub book in the last decade certainly has warning bells going off in their head, and for very good reason. All you need is the above information and I bet you can guess everything to come in the plot, including any potential twists and turns involving the main character. This is checkbox fiction at its most obvious, an OldPub staple.

None of this is The Shadow. There is nothing of the pursuit of justice, no mystery, no wonder at the danger, and the entirety of the cast and setting has been completely written out. If you have seen any of Hollywood's numerous "reboots" or "sequels" in recent years you can already guess most of what will occur and even how the new main character will act and behave. It's all stock and rote, tired before even a single page is turned.

This is literally all OldPub can put out anymore. The "formulaic junk" of the pulps have been replaced with a new formula far more constrictive than anything that has come before. But you won't hear any voices in the industry speak it, even though it is an obvious truth that anyone with eyes can see. They simply need you to not notice it.

Just keep in mind that no one in the industry will ever reverse course because they will never admit failure. It is always the audience's fault when they don't want to buy junk.

"Maddy is described as 18 but as written comes across as maybe 16. She’s yet another of those plucky, rebellious teenage heroines like Goldie Vance, Nubia, Primer, or even Supergirl, who have turned up so often in graphic novels I’ve reviewed recently on this site.

"Maddy lives in a world where the privileged elites have it all and the rest of the world is left to live in decaying slums, scrounging for food and being “kept in their place” by violent armored police.

"One day she gets a letter from one of the few attorneys left in business, saying she has received a mysterious inheritance. Presuming it to be money she can give to her grandma, she hurries to his office. Instead, under the influence of Maddy’s immediately revealed mind control powers, he sends her to a seemingly abandoned warehouse near the docks to pick up the inheritance, which turns out to be a man—Lamont Cranston, his body preserved since the night he was poisoned, artificially kept alive."

I wonder if she can also draw a bow.

Let me get this out of the way instead of dwelling on the other obvious issues with this setup. The first major one is that The Shadow was not about individualism, which is what YA books like The Hunger Games and all of its ripoffs are ostensibly about. The Shadow is about how only when the individual and the whole (The Shadow and his agents) work together can we impact change on a world that rejects Justice for vice. The whole isn't really spoken of in works like this, except as background cattle to be slaughtered for not being the special main character. Modern YA likes to pander to the narcissistic side of its audience, it doesn't like so much to offer characterization. It has a formula to follow, not a story to tell.

The Shadow wasn't a superhero and he wasn't a crime fighter. He was a representative of something higher than both, and as such the mystery around him is central to his character. Getting into his head or explaining his past completely ruins the mystique. I fashioned The Seeker in Someone Is Aiming for You after him partially because the concept of such a character offers unlimited possibilities for potential storytelling.

Unlimited possibilities and OldPub go together like medicine and poison--opposites that will never meet. Instead you will get pages of clichés and obvious turns. Because that is the only safe material they can let their audience chew on.

Anyone who reads modern OldPub works or watches decrepit Hollywood productions knows that you're not allowed to have wonder anymore. Everything has to be explained to a fault, leaving nothing to the imagination except the same cardboard storytelling you've seen a hundred times before. It mirrors their lazy effects being done by computers and never looking anything better than uncanny. And yet they will never change.

When you see anyone slander the pulps for being formulaic, simply mention that they were still far less formulaic than what they watch by spending a monthly fee on Netflix and watching programs that are exactly like the book we are currently discussing. Formulas exist for a reason, but it is the good ones that should be cherished. Not ones that check boxes to make life easier for giant soulless corporations. Pulp is natural; this isn't.

For example:

"Another unbelievable coincidence is that Maddy is quite familiar with The Shadow and Lamont Cranston from years of collecting bootleg pulp magazines and old-time radio shows. Whoa! What are the odds?

"Lamont remembers them, too. He says they grossly exaggerated his real-life crimefighting adventures and he never liked them, particularly the iconic depiction of him in the slouch hat with the red scarf. He tells Maddy he never even owned a hat, which is, of course, ridiculous, as males of all ages in the 1930s wore hats. It was a huge business. Look at any old movie and if there are a dozen men, you’re likely to see a dozen hats. (There is a funny scene later on, though, where Lamont dresses up in that classic Shadow look to crash a masquerade.)

"Maddy is at first convinced this crazy person has just assumed the name of her hero but she does watch him use some of his powers and has to wonder. In order to save time in convincing her, the authors have him use a Vulcan Mind Meld-type move which instills his entire backstory directly into Maddy’s consciousness so she’s now a believer."

Modern adaption of a classic work slandering the source material? Of course. You didn't think we could go without that today, did you? not only that, but stripping all mythology from the character. It is every single OldPub trope rolled into one.

It doesn't stop there with the clichés. Remember how popular the MCU was? Just as you surely didn't think we could go without a loud, noisy, chaotic superhero brawl which goes completely against what the character is known for:

"More climactic is the exciting, action-filled finale. Maddy describes it as like something right out of a Shadow novel but it actually seems more like something out of an Avengers movie, with Lamont (and Maddy) and Shiwan Khan, now dethroned and thwarted, in a knock-down, drag-out, shape-shifting, energy-tossing, fight in what was once Times Square."

The key phrase "Something right out of a Shadow novel" when it describes nothing in a Shadow novel should really say it all. There is a good chance neither of the writers of this book had ever read a Maxwell Grant Shadow book or even listened to the radio show. There is a far greater chance that they might have watched the 1994 movie and took the worst examples from it. Regardless, none of this is The Shadow.

Another possibility is that they just took another idea they had lying around and grafted The Shadow into it. From what the review surmises, that is almost certainly the case. None of this is representative of the property in any way, and yet the rights holders allowed it.

The Shadow IP was an afterthought to this entire story.

"And make no mistake. When the cover of this book says, “Crime has a new enemy,” it’s talking about Maddy, NOT the Shadow. Lamont is a major character but he’s not the center. The same with Margo.

"So why are they there? If Patterson and Sitts wanted to write a sci-fi novel about a young girl developing various superpowers and using them to better her world, how did they go from that to the Shadow? Neither the pulp Shadow nor the radio Shadow would be among the first hundred or so characters to pop into my mind to go along with that initial premise. 
"And if you absolutely felt the need to use the Shadow, why go out of your way to change him so much that he really ISN’T recognizable as the Shadow any longer? Only a few of the names are the same by the end of the book. Change those and you have all new characters."

They did this because they don't respect either the property or the people who are interested in it. Unfortunately, that's just the way the industry works. OldPub aims their projects at invisible demographics that don't exist at the expense of ones who do and want to spend money. This is one of the many reasons that they are failing.

When this lot tells you they are doing something strange, you can be sure it is never for profit. You can tell because it never results in such a thing. The previous Shadow comic book was such a stinker that it killed the IP for years, all because the people who were making the product told the audience to pound sand. "You don't get the pulp you enjoy--you get my hackneyed manifesto instead," says the modern OldPub writer.

To be fair, they've been doing this since the pulps died. Even before. The audience, the majority, who loves their action and adventure tales of heroism and wonder have been forced to scrounge around in other mediums to get them while said mediums have also begun trying to eject their own pulp influence. The fact that they keep telling you how trash the pulps were, despite their own 20th century literature being an utter failure on every front, should tell you that there is a narrative they wish to sell you. They aren't in it to tell stories.

And why would they want to sell this narrative to you as badly as they do? The attempt to rewrite reality has led to nothing in the industry, still to this day, even remotely approaching the popularity or spread of the pulp magazines. And yet they still don't want you reading or taking anything away from them. They want those old stories buried and replaced with modern swill like the above. They want what they can never have--the appeal of the pulps. They can't have it, because they don't even understand what it is.

What is so dangerous about simple pulp fiction that leads the entire world of OldPub and Hollywood to want to wipe it out? Why do they still insist on subverting and wrecking old properties that haven't even been commercially viable in years thanks to their own meddling? Why can't they move on and do new things instead?

And how are they going to handle that pulp-inspired fiction is going to outlive their attempts at subverting old brands? Doesn't it bring into focus how backwards this might all have been? Perhaps OldPub really has no idea what they are doing.

There are many questions, but they all come to the same conclusion. In the end, Truth always comes out on top. Pulp is truth; slicks are not.

Let us look at one more article from the above link on the death of pulp magazines:

The Pulpers and Literature

In using the word “literature” in connection with writings to be preserved, people normally think of culture and intellect. But the word also means specifically the collective literary works or the preserved writings of an era, a nation or a people. In the latter senses American pulp magazines, the “cheap” publications on paper often rougher than newsprint, are part of the literature of this nation, ami its people, and specifically are part of the literature of current generations — present, immediately past, and perhaps in the near future.

Originals of the Nick Carter series and of the Horatio Alger series are more valuable in dollars and cents than some books published a century or more ago; this coming from the rarity of the document rather than from its content, as a rule. For nearly a century, a major portion of American literary diet has come not only from pulp magazines, but from one firm publishing them — Street & Smith. So, it is with varying feelings that we read that Street & Smith no longer will publish “pulpers” but will confine itself to slicks — slick paper productions which may or may not be of any greater cultural quality than the pulps.

But, though the content of most of the pulps always has been trash from the cultural viewpoint, it is fact that quite a few cultural gems first were printed in these quick-sale and catch-penny magazines. And, many an author whose later productions gained cultural recognition earned a living writing pulp trash while climbing the ladder of culture — or perhaps “success” would be a better word. Some of the big salaried writers of Hollywood and some of the modern authors whose works are looked on as more than passing fancy never could have stayed in the literary game long enough to write worthwhile things or to gain material success but for the small sums gathered in writing for pulp magazines through their early years of literary effort.

In years past, we have known young men and young women who wrote for half a dozen or more pulp magazines simultaneously, under half a dozen or more pen names, or sometimes under several pen names for a single magazine. One name would be used for love-mush stories, one for westerns, one for detective stories, and so on. We have read letters from pulp readers to the publishers saying that “Sheila Sheilcross” was the only woman writer in the world who really understood the emotions of young girls, and others saying that “Norcross Madre” must have roamed the Seven Seas and all the lands between, so broad was the scope of his thrilling adventure stories; and we have seen a young man, half starving in a Greenwich Village attic, hastily searching encyclopedias for material to use in his “Norcross Madre” stories and reading newspaper advice to the lovelorn columns to get material for the love-mush type, the same young man writing under both names and in two very different fields.

Once, we joined a “Literary Factory” — a group of young Chicago reporters who decided to grind out pulp magazine stories by the yard and split the proceeds. The trouble was no one could agree who to write what. Each wanted to tell the other how to form his plot, and when a check did come in everybody claimed precedence on it. This naive effort at collectivism failed completely.

Of course, there’ll be pulp magazines — millions of issues, perhaps — despite the self-removal from the field of the century-old firm of Street & Smith. But, this removal definitely will make a hole in American contemporary literature, and its past productions definitely are a part of American literature — poor, bad, or indifferent. After all, there’s many a dime pulp magazine story that will last far longer in literary history than most of the trash now appearing in the so-called top flight magazines of three times or more that price, printed in gaudy colors and getting thousands of dollars per page for advertising.

And now we live in a pulp world, ready to rule the universe. Pulp never really left, and it never really will. As long as the spirit of romance and adventure exists, so too will the beating heart of the masters. Pulp tradition lives on, and it always will.

The old ways might pass on, as will fads and fancies, but Truth never does. The past is pulp, the present is pulp, and the future is pulp.

It's time for everyone to get used to it.


  1. Ahh, this was a good article. It's always nice to be reminded that there are still real humans out there writing real books. I can't believe what they did to the Shadow. I know fanfiction authors who would stay more true to the original than the Patterson mill just did. Sounds like one more hackneyed YA plot (the reason I stopped reading YA). Also, I am so sick of snarky heroines. I've gotten to where I absolutely will not read that type anymore. They're not real, they're not relatable, and I just roll my eyes and tell them to grow up. My apartment complex is filled with single women with multiple children from multiple men, so I know how the snarky heroine type shakes out. It's ugly.

    1. As soon as I saw the description I knew exactly what it would be about, and I was right. It's a shame to see The Shadow thrown into the grinder with everything else, but it was inevitable.

      Hopefully the property will be free of Conde Nast in the near future. It would be a blessing, at this point.

  2. Every entertainment institution has been absorbed by the Death Cult and twisted into a propaganda organ. How are there people who still don't get this?

    1. At this point, I'm convinced it's an age issue. The younger you are the less memories you have of this stuff and are able to throw it off.

      Gen Y's biggest weakness is that they are having the most trouble dealing with it, unfortunately.

    2. There is something pathological about the obsession OldPub writers have about the average Hunger Games MC stereotype. Regardless of the actual quality of plot and prose, I always get a morbid feeling from that stuff.