Wednesday, February 3, 2016
THE PULP CALENDAR: February 3
The Blue Ghost may have been intended as Detective Fiction Weekly's answer to the Green Lama, who had become the star of Munsey's monthly Double Detective magazine. Nothing much became of Myles Hudson's creation, however, or of Hudson. The Ghost debuted in a five-part serial that begins in this 1940 issue, then rematerialized in November for another serial that apparently ended Hudson's pulp career -- presuming that Hudson was something other than someone else's pen name. Too bad, really; the Ghost looks like he wields a mean life preserver. Maybe he'll get it over the dame's shoulders before she can swing that axe. I presume so, since as noted the Ghost did get another serial. Then again, if he's a Ghost already what has he to worry about?
Elsewhere this issue, Richard Sale brings back another of his series characters, Captain McGrail, who had last appeared just two weeks earlier. This was actually the third issue in a row with a Sale story, since he'd placed a Daffy Dill in between the two McGrails. The most notable series character this issue, however, is Brett Halliday's long-lived private eye Michael Shayne. Death Rides a Winner, a five-part serial concluding this week, was Shayne's first turn in pulp; he'd made his debut in novel form the year before. Later this year Shayne would make his movie debut, incarnated by Lloyd Nolan. Long after Detective Fiction Weekly was gone, Shayne would get his own magazine, a digest that lasted into the 1980s. He was one of those pop culture phenomena that, once almost omnipresent, eventually vanished, though he recently came back into print, so to speak, in e-book form. There's probably good stuff as well from Frederick C. Painton and Hugh B. Cave, while Bennett Barlay introduces a new character, the charmingly named Mortimer Death, who would appear three times more over the next year and a half. Even if you fail to be astounded by the Blue Ghost you'd likely find something of interest this issue.