Pulped Out (And Hopped Up On Goofenthol, And Rambling About James Bond)

So, I watched “The Good Shepherd” this weekend with my wife and in-laws.


I’m just exaggerating. It was a pretty good movie, despite it’s slow pace (although, I think I was the only one who liked it). I guess it was a realistic spy movie in that respect. The spies in this movie were pencil-pushers behind their desks, not James Bond in a jumpsuit repelling down the side of a volcano lair.

Bringing me to this: I’m burnt out on the pulps. I couldn’t get through “The Sea Magician” (Doc Savage), although I will come back to it to finish it. I have this problem with staying with one thing for too long, even if it’s my beloved Shadow books. I feel like I start to stagnate a little and if I make myself read something I don’t feel like reading, I start to not like it. And so, I’m taking short a hiatus from pulps.

I’ve started reading the James Bond books that I’ve had on my bookshelf since, I don’t know, high school (more than 18 years now… wow). I’ve started with “Moonraker” (which, ironically, was my first Bond film), and no, I don’t picture any particular actor in the role of James Bond. I actually picture this guy:

Bond... James Bond

This is a portrait that Bond creator and author Ian Fleming commisioned for a comic-strip portrayal of the character. I’m struck by how much of a hitman Bond is in the books, more so than in the movies.

I’ve also decided that one of these days, I’m going to make good my threat to read the “Lord of The Rings” trilogy, which I’ve been wanting to read since I was a kid. I probably will picture those actors from the movies in their roles in the books, just because they did it so well. Maybe the interchangable Bond actors allow me to not picture any of their faces when I read the books.*

By the way, I’m goofy on cold medicine, so I’m probably rambling. Sorry.

Anyway, I don’t get into literature or non-fiction anymore (as you can probably tell). No more Kafka or Camus for me, those days are long since passed. The older I get, the more escapism I want. The last non-fiction book I read was “Touching From A Distance”, the biography of suicidal Joy Division frontman Ian Curtis. It was written by his wife, and was quite the experience.

Anyway, gotta get back to work. Talking all day with a throat that feels like raw hamburger is sooo much fun.

*For no reason, here’s my stance on the Bond actor debate:
-Roger Moore. Too suave for Bond… I guess he was perfect for the disco-era 007… but he’s just not the character for me.
-Sean Connery- classic, how can you go wrong?
-George Lazenby- saw his one appearance (“On Her Majesty’s Secret Service”) a long time ago. As I remember it, he was pretty good.
-Pierce Brosnan- it’s not his fault the last few movies sucked. I chalk it up to the writers relying too much on Bond’s deus ex machina gadgets.


-Daniel Craig- c’mon, “Casino Royale” was the most electrifying Bond movie in years. I think the guy’s doin’ all right. Hey if my wife likes a James Bond movie, something’s being done right.

Published in: on April 24, 2007 at 4:25 pm  Comments (8)  

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  1. that’s exactly how I see Bond! He ain’t a pretty boy. He’s a guy covered in scars and his eyes has that prison/killer/tired look to them.

    I read the Lord of the Rings trilogy and I dunno, I couldn’t get into it. But yet, I could easily get into Wizards of the Coast’s D&D Forgotten Realms novels.

    As for being burnt out on pulps, I recommend buying some DC comics. They still have that aura of “mystery men” unlike Marvel.

    I suggest Connor Hawke: Dragon’s Blood. Green Arrow (or rather, the former) goes to an archer competition and runs across an ancient prophecy.

    Justice Society of America has been relaunched, gotta love DC’s tribute to heroes and their legacies being carried on.

  2. It’s always hard for me to get into fantasy books, but I figure “this is the original fantasy book series, why not”.

    DC has such a great sense of their history, as opposed to “Let’s try what’s popular NOW” Marvel. Good call.

  3. “DC has such a great sense of their history, as opposed to “Let’s try what’s popular NOW” Marvel.”

    You hit the nail on the head so goddamned hard, that sumbitch strike done split the wood and drove the nail out onto the ground. I tell you what!

    That’s why I LOVE DC. DC respects it’s pulp history and creative workers. They carry on the legacies of Golden and Silver Age heroes. Their stories are a perfect balance of character and plot driven narratives.

    Hell, they’ve had some great pulp heroes like the Phantom, Doc Savage, The Phantom and pulp-ish mini series like Wild Dog, Screamer, Manhunter (paul kirk), Vigilante (the one from the 7 Soldiers of Victory).

    Double hell, DC’s Starman (Jack Knight) was a neo-pulp lover’s dream! Opal City was the perfect mix of noir/art deco/bohemian styles and provided an excellent backdrop. The stories were a superb blend of golden age adventure and bronze age storytelling.

    Marvel… well they dropped the ball during the so-called circulation wars. Die cut covers? Polybagged? Prismatic, three-dimensional, wraparound, limited edition of 5000 with 3 mini ash-cans? Oh yes. I’ll buy 5 copies. 1 to read. 1 to keep in a hermetically sealed comic box. 1 to keep in a bank vault. 1 to keep on display and 1 as a backup. DC might’ve been suckered into doing some gimmick covers but nowhere as bad as Marvel.

    What’s with the costumes of the X-Men for example? And the Punisher? One can’t deny his neo-pulp roots since he was inspired by Mack Bolan’s Executioner but to completely remove the skull costume with the white gloves and boots?!

    And Civil War? While it is an interesting story (I admit I scanned some issues while at a store last month)I can’t help but think it was done just to jump on the pro/anti US bandwagon that so many people are hitching a ride on. Me? I’m politically apathetic. A moderate in other words.

    At least their Spider-Girl (and I’m not talking about that hispanic one. Ugh. I’m hispanic and even I was disgusted by it. It was lame) which is a throwback to Marvel in the 80s which was adventure first, action second then character third. No angst, no misery, none of the shit that’s harangued so many heroes in modern Marvel.

    That’s why I continue to spend 200 dollars ever 3 months on DC Comics and less than 15 on marvel.

    Oh and DC was smart enough to release many sets into trade paperback format something that Marvel finally got around to doing instead of just relegating TPBs to one shots.

  4. Ah, pulp fatigue. That’s easy, especially if you’ve been reading one author/character a lot recently.

    I’ll break it by swapping to a completely different sort of story, something I’ve never read before. Most recently, after reading my fill of Frederic Brown science fiction shorts, I swapped to a couple of sword and sorcery paperback reprints.

    Bond’s a good, pulp-like alternative.

  5. Anything Alex Ross does for DC is hands-down gold.

    So far, Bond is treating me all-right. I can’t complain. I know I’ll be going back to The Shadow soon enough 🙂

  6. Wait till you get to Live & Let Die. FAR better than the movie and Fleming captures Harlem in the 50s perfectly with the slang.

    Diamonds are Forever is also good. Man with the Golden Gun is a little dark because it was written when Fleming was dying and it was reflected in the novel seeing as how Bond was sent on a guaranteed suicide run.

    In fact, pick up On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, You Only Live Twice THEN the Man with the Golden Gun. It can be considered a trilogy of sorts as it deals with mortality.

  7. Most of the Bond books I have by fleming were published after his death, but before the movies (late 50’s). Bond was established and well known, but not “immortalized”.

  8. Another pulpy DC character that fits in with this discussion is The Sandman (no, not the Neil Gaiman character, this guy: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sandman_%28Wesley_Dodds%29).

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