Apr 032015

Like a lot of comics fans of my generation, I was a huge fan
of writer/artist Jim Steranko’s legendary run on Nick Fury, Agent of
S.H.I.E.L.D., first in STRANGE TALES and then in Fury’s own comic book. The
issues-long battle between Fury and the villainous Yellow Claw was probably the
high point of the STRANGE TALES run. I thought it was great stuff. But I had no
idea at the time that it

Mar 272015

I’ve become a big fan of Charles Boeckman’s Western pulp
stories over the past couple of years, but WHEN THE DEVIL CAME TO ENDLESS is
the first Western novel of his that I’ve read. Published by Avalon in 1996, it
came out long after the pulp era was over, but it shows that Boeckman had lost
none of his top-notch storytelling ability.

Endless is a small town in West Texas, and as the book

Mar 202015

Bill Crider posted the cover of this novel on his blog a
while back, and the title intrigued me with its air of early Sixties
sleaziness. I was surprised to discover that there’s an e-book version
available on Amazon, but when I did, of course I had to read it.

It starts out with a scenario that’s actually reminiscent of the work of
Cornell Woolrich. Joe Guthrie is an American GI stationed

Mar 132015

This Ace Double Western from 1963 gets off to a fast start with a brutal whipping in the main street of a settlement called Rocky Pass. That violence is interrupted by the protagonist, rancher Rick Dalton, and his interference deepens the conflict between him and the crew of gun-wolves working for the local cattle baron, Matt Iberg. Rick doesn’t like the way Iberg is trying to run off the

Mar 062015

I don’t know if this massive anthology is actually forgotten, but it’s been out for almost four years now and I haven’t mentioned it lately. Not only that, but it’s on sale for a limited time for only 99 cents, and you can’t beat that price. At approximately 120,000 words, I’m pretty sure THE TRADITIONAL WEST is the biggest anthology of original Western fiction ever published. Several stories

Feb 272015

This graphic novel came out in 2013, but I’d never heard of
it until I came across a copy at Half Price Books and was intrigued by the look
of it. It reminded me a lot of some of the adventure novels I read as a kid,
books that were called juveniles then. I don’t know what they’re called now.
Judging by the acknowledgments, it was a Kickstarter project. It certainly
reads like a labor of

Feb 202015

I hadn’t intended to read the other side of that Ace Double Western from last week quite so soon, but that’s the way things worked out. And that’s fine because LAST CHANCE AT DEVIL’S CANYON is a pretty entertaining novel.

The title is sort of a pun, because the protagonist is former boxer turned gunfighter Dave Chance, who was known as “Last” Chance during his pugilist days. But he was

Feb 132015

As this 1959 Ace Double Western opens, seventeen-year-old
Thorp Barrett is already a member of the outlaw gang led by his brother Travis.
When the gang is trapped by a posse led by U.S. Marshal Doug Scott, Thorp winds
up as the only survivor, thanks to his brother who gives up his life to help
Thorp escape. Thorp goes on the run, flees across the Rio Grande into Mexico,
and vows to turn

Feb 062015

I’ve had a lot of favorite books over the years, but this was my first favorite book, the one I bugged my parents to read to me over and over and then read repeatedly myself once I knew how. It’s the story of a dog named Scuppers who has a boat and sails all over the world. He gets shipwrecked, has to survive on a desert island, eventually rebuilds his boat, and visits some exotic foreign

Jan 302015

I hadn’t read a Shadow novel in quite a while and was in the
mood for one, so I picked a story that I’d heard was pretty good, THE MAN FROM
SCOTLAND YARD, which appeared in the August 1, 1935 issue of THE SHADOW. It
turned out to be a decent choice, but before I talk about that, I’m going
to wallow a bit in nostalgia. Consider yourself warned.

I have a long history with The Shadow. I