Tour: What Fell Heir to the Pulps?

Waking up today, trying to pour enough joe down around my lungs to get fumbling fingers to lace the gumshoes so I can go out and do another tour, I find an email from Patrick McEntee. He’s the guy who asked for the walk last Sunday. He’s from London but lives in Spain, and made sure he gave me enough advance notice so there’d be a Hammett hike when he got to Frisco.

Another guy on the walk asked me if I knew what the legitimate successor to the pulp magazines might have been. I said, The paperback originals.

He had to give me points for that answer, but probed further — what else could it have been?

I said, Well, the comics — but you probably are thinking of the digest magazines.

No, he replied, he was thinking of the comics. Many of the same publishers who had released the pulps transitioned over to comics — The Shadow led to Batman — many writers made the transition (even my friend Donald Wandrei, pal of H.P. Lovecraft, who knew Bill Finger in NYC in the early years of the comics industry — Finger is the guy who wrote Batman for artist Bob Kane).

Turns out the tour notched another Writer Who Has Walked the Walk with the guy with the questions — Mike Friedrich, who was a scripter on Iron Man, Justice League of America and other titles. Checking his Wiki page, I see that I once owned the very first comic book he appeared in — The Spectre #3 from 1968. In fact, I might even have that issue still, in one box or another, since it features art by Neal Adams. I kept quite a few Adams items — one of my faves — plus of course Steve Ditko, from my days in the comic book jungle.

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