East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

My favorite classic pulp characters

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Good ideas don’t grow on trees.
The good idea behind this post was stolen from author Barry Reese‘s blog.
A top ten of my favorite pulp characters.
Why not?

captain_future_1940fal_v1_n4I normally say that I came to the pulps in a very circuitous way – but the fact is, I’ve been reading pulps for most of my life (say, the last thirty six years), only I did not know it.

Starting at the age of ten, with Jack Williamson’s The Legion of Space, I read a lot of old SF – stuff that was published in pulp magazines like Astounding, or Amazing. Then, when two or three years later I discovered fantasy (through the books by Lyon Sprague de Camp), I started reading things that came from Unknown and Weird Tales.
And then, of course, there were hard boiled mysteries – Philip Marlowe, Sam Spade…

And the movies and TV, of course – Johnny Weissmuller as Tarzan, Guy Williams as Zorro…

And what about TinTin comics, or Terry and the Pirates?

What I really missed until much later were “proper” hero pulps – The Shadow, The Spider, Doc Savage etc.
I was more of a strange worlds/exotic locales sort of reader.
As a consequence of my reading history, my top ten heroes list is strange.

Therefore, in no particular order…

black_mask_197408. Leigh Brackett’s Eric John Stark
. Edmond Hamilton’s Captain Future
. Norvell Page‘s The Spider
. Robert E. Howard‘s Solomon Kane
. Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Tarzan
. Walter B. Gibson’s The Shadow
. Lester Dent’s Doc Savage
. C.L. Moore’s Northwest Smith
. Dashiell Hammett’s Continental Op
. (various authors) Sexton Blake

Double-feature special mention
. Edgar Rice Burroughs’ John Carter
. Robert E. Howard’s Conan
. Norvell Page’s Wen Tengri aka Prester John

“Is this actually pulp?” special mention
. Russell Thorndike’s Captain Clegg aka Dr Syn

And there’s still a lot of characters I have to read seriously – next on my list is Henry Kuttner’s Thunder Jim Wade.
Such was the amount of solid fiction published by pulp authors, there’s truly a world worth exploring out there.

Author: Davide Mana

Paleontologist. By day, researcher, teacher and ecological statistics guru. By night, pulp fantasy author-publisher, translator and blogger. In the spare time, Orientalist Anonymous, guerilla cook.

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