New video: The Shadow

From the Youtube MARDL channel, a brief history of The Shadow. It’s the first of my hero pulp video essays.

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Published in: on June 17, 2008 at 2:00 pm  Comments (8)  

“Shut up, Ayres!”

It’s been a while since I reveiwed any pulps that I’ve been reading here, and I’ve read plenty since. I’ve read my first Black Bat, and found him a very cool precursor to both Batman and Daredevil, as well as my first Ki-Gor (what an unwieldy name), and found it more enjoyable than I thought.

I also experienced a character called The Crimson Mask- or at least tried to. I should have heeded the warnings I found online about this guy… his story was like vanilla ice-cream… left in the sun for a day. The Crimson Mask is basically a pharmacist who started crime-fighting to avenge his father’s death. His name comes from… his mask. A simple, Lone Ranger-type red mask that was supposed to instill fear in criminals.

Look Mr. pharmacist/vigilante, if a brightly colored dime-store mask scares criminals, then there’s really no point in you fighting them. Sit back and wait for them to shoot themselves by accident instead while you stock the Preparation-H and the Tinactin.

Anyway, after being burned by that fool, I was in the mood to read some good ol’ aviation stuff, and bought a few reprints of “Dusty Ayres and His Battle Birds”.

The concept is basically what would’ve happened had G-8 or Bill Barnes gotten into a bar fight with Operator 5 in the pages of “Amazing Stories”. And really, if those references are over your head, you really need to Google more pulp stuff right away.

The “Ayres” issue I read was the first one: “Black Lightning” from July of 1934. Basically, the world is in peril at the hands of a mysterious conquerer called “Fire Eyes”. After rallying all of southeast Asia to his cause his forces swept across Europe, downing anything in their path. Next, of course, Fire Eyes and his “Black Invaders” set their sights on the good ol’ U.S. of A.

And so we are introduced to the Dusty Ayres universe, a panic-choked place, (somwhat) eerily prescient of the coming second World War. The titular airman (from an air force “High Speed group”) gets his marching orders at the beginning of the story: Fire Eyes’ invaders are on their way, though their attack strategy is unclear, and America’s military communications are being jammed somehow. It’s up to Ayres and his plane “The Silver Flash” (apparently the fastest fighter plane in the U.S.’s arsenal) to deliver battle plans around the country. However, things get sidetracked and interesting quickly, as the Black Invaders’ #1 air ace The Black Hawk sets his sights on Dusty.

The entire story is frantic, with a lot of flying around at high speeds, orders being barked, and fears of invaders being flung around in a panic. It’s not that bad, really, although it is a bit dated. It doesn’t seem to have that “timeless” quality that a lot of the classic pulps have that let’s them hold up today. There’s a bit of xenophobia here (at one point, there’s a comment about “lax immigration laws” being to blame for foreign spies in the country). There’s also a bit of antiquated aeronautics in there that bug me, too. I’m no expert, but I’m pretty sure that no matter how powerful the engine, a biplane like The Silver Flash could not out-maneuver a mono-winged fighter plane like the ones the Black Invaders flew. But maybe that’s just nitpicking.

Also, something that bothered me was the lack of explaination of what was portrayed inside the enemy-base. When Dusty is captured and kept prisoner in a Black base in Canada (damn sneaky Canucks!), he sees rows and rows of radio operators that look very peculiar. Not sure if they’re genetic mutations or what (hopefully not unfortunately exagerated asians), but we’re led to believe they have an interesting story… that we don’t get any of.

Also, on an interesting side note: Dusty gets told to “Shut up!” by at least 4 of his superiors in this story. I don’t think I’ve ever read ANY pulps where the hero gets told to shut up.

Overall, it’s an interesting artifact of pre-WWII pulp lore. Spies, sci-fi, air-action… and mole-men. Good stuff.

Published in: on June 12, 2008 at 5:38 pm  Leave a Comment  

New Videos

From the MARDL YouTube channel, two new videos for ya:

“The Joy of Pulp”

“Luis-Gabriel Leal- PhotoShop Artist For Hire” (a video I made for my brother-from-another-mother)

I don’t think I did too badly, considering these were my first experiences flying solo with Windows Movie Maker. What do you think?

Published in: on April 16, 2008 at 5:10 pm  Leave a Comment  

“Isle Of Blood” teaser trailer

From the MARDL Youtube channel:

Published in: on January 3, 2008 at 10:05 pm  Comments (1)  

Gotta Get Me A Ray Gun!

As if anyone cares, here’s a post about what I’m reading now.

(more…)

Published in: on July 3, 2007 at 2:56 pm  Comments (4)  

Into The Future

Well, I finished The Shadow’s “Malmordo”. It was the best of the later Shadow novels I’ve ever read, with some truly surprising twists along the way. I’m still having a hard time with the villain chewing through wood like a rat, but the novel was FULL of rat imagery, so it totally fits.

Why is it every time an inspector or scientist shows up to help the police in those Shadow novels, they always turn out to be the main villain?

Anyway. Moving on, I’ve begun reading the latest issue of the High Adventure pulp reprints. It’s “Captain Future’s Challenge” this time (from the third issue of “Captain Future”, Summer 1940). It may be a bit juvenile in it’s wide-eyed innocence and optimistic futurism, but it’s fun. I can remember my grandfather (the one that built the rocket) and I making paper airplanes in his front yard early one evening when I was a kid. While he was showing me how to add rudders and flaps to make them turn and dive, he was telling me about the old Buster Crabbe “Flash Gordon” serials, how the rockets would swoop in on wires. He got a far-away look in his eyes, and I always wanted to read something from those old-school “space opera” days.

Zoom-zoom!!

High Adventure 94

Published in: on June 8, 2007 at 3:53 pm  Comments (3)  

Birthday Blah-g

Yesterday (or Monday, if you’re reading this tomorrow… wha?) was my birthday. Yay. My old friends Depression and Self-Doubt were on hand to wish me a big “Happy 33rd”. I’ll spare the details, but for a while I was having some issues, and I forced myself to wear a happy mask for my loved-ones. Inside, I was a wreck, and unable to enjoy anything.

Today, so far, is much better.

I’ve produced one of the best doodles in a long time (I can’t call them drawings or art, because they’re always done at work on scratch paper). It’s a decent visualization of one of the characters I’m working on (The Black Wing), a classic “flying hero” type picture (you know, hero defiantly looking up in the sky while his plane symbolically flies by behind him). It inspired me to come out of my creative funk a little. I’m working on more information about some of my characters, and will have feedback up on the Miami Aerodrome blog as soon as I get it.

In the meantime, some of my birthday gifts are giving me some inspirational boosts as well: “The League Of Exraordinary Gentlemen: Vol. 2”, and “Band Of Brothers”) are terrific entertainment and have got the old wheels squeaking upstairs.

Also, I’ve still got half an ice-cream cake in the freezer, and that’s definitely a good thing (mmm… ice-cream cake… drool…).

PS: Thanks to me giving in to my wife “just trying something”, my once dark-brown hair is now orange. I look like a Skittle 🙂

Published in: on June 5, 2007 at 5:01 pm  Comments (7)  

Elsewhere Lurks The Prowler…

Just a quick note: my look back at the pulpy ’80’s comic book “The Prowler” is up at the Pulp Collective. Check the blog out if you haven’t already, it’s full of pulpy goodness.

Published in: on June 1, 2007 at 6:37 pm  Leave a Comment  

Miami Aerodrome: Research And Development Laboratories (MARDL)- Open for business!

As stated before, I’ve been working on some of my own pulp ideas, along with a feedback team.

Here it is.

Published in: on May 25, 2007 at 10:14 pm  Comments (2)  

Hmm…

Astonishing Adventures Magazine.com.

This might not be the place for my stuff right now, but it might be worth watching.

Published in: on May 25, 2007 at 7:18 pm  Leave a Comment