You Say You Know I Have A Patreon Site But You Don’t Know If You Want To Be A Patron Of Mine? Is THAT What’s Troubling You?

I suppose that out of the many reasons that I’m not yet rich and famous, the fact that I’m notorious lousy at promotion is either #1 or #2. I seem to have this unreasonable faith/belief that those who want to find my work will find it, one way or another. That includes my Patreon site. And while you may know I have one you may not know exactly what content is available to you there and if it would be worth your time and money. Okay, we can take care of that right now and hopefully the information I’m about to impart to you will assist you in making an informed decision as to you becoming a Patron of mine or not.

Let’s start with the crown jewel of the lot, shall we? I always have a brand-new Dillon adventure serial running as the main attraction and the one currently going full steam is Dillon and The Island of Dr. Mamuwalde. I beg your kind indulgence for a few minutes while I go into the backstory of this one:

Remember when the SyFy Channel was doing all those weird monster movies with outlandish creatures fighting each other? Like “Dinocroc Vs. Supergator”? “Piranaconda Vs. Frankenfish”? “MegaPython Vs. OctoShark”? Don’t front. You know you watched them. And if I can ‘fess up to watching them, you can. Anyway, I’m watching one of these movies one night with my wife and as I often do, I say; “I could write a better movie than that” And Patricia responded as she always does; “So why don’t you?”

And I did plan on doing one. I even had a title for it; “Flying Great White Shark Vs. Albino Amphibian White Tiger.” But outside of jotting down notes and characters sketches, I never got past the planning stages. One thing I did know that I wanted to have in the story was a mad scientist. And I wanted him to be black. I absolutely love mad scientists and since there were no great black mad scientists in popular fiction, I decided to create one in the grand tradition of Dr. Frankenstein (Peter Cushing version, natch) and Dr. Fu Manchu. I would model his physical appearance, demeanor and voice on the Great, Great Man, William Marshall and in further tribute, name my mad scientist Dr. William Mamuwalde (students, fans and scholars of Blaxploitation will know where the Mamuwalde name comes from) Clear so far? Okay. We move on.

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The idea for “Flying Great White Shark Vs. Albino Amphibian White Tiger” stayed in my notebooks and subconscious for an obscenely long time, lemme tell you. The concept of Dr. Mamuwalde was one that wouldn’t go away and in my development of the character he gained a son who is a master of over 100 Martial Arts since because Dr. Mamuwalde was in part a homage to Dr. Fu Manchu then he needed a son who is a homage to Shang-Chi, Master of Kung Fu. He also gained a nagging, shrewish, alcoholic wife always scheming behind her husband’s back to sell his inventions on the black market simply because the idea of a mad scientist with a nagging wife tickled the hell outta me.

But still, I just could not find the right story for Dr. Mamuwalde to make his debut. The problem was I was not happy with none of the protagonists for the story I had in mind. None of them were formidable enough to present a challenge to the character I conceived and I definitely wanted to have Dr. Mamuwalde to have a worthy challenge to his intellect and his talents. I knew I wanted to have a film crew stumble upon his island (in homage/tribute to 1933’s “King Kong”) but the characters that presented themselves to me didn’t turn my crank. They weren’t alive. They weren’t vital.

Until I happened to re-read “Dillon and The Bad Ass Belt Buckle.” One of the major characters in the story is Jenise Casile, an actress who has won an Academy Award and when Dillon meets her, she is in the middle of filming an epic science fiction trilogy directed by the eccentric director/producer Rigoberto Orr. Dillon and his partner Eli Creed have been hired to rescue Jenise from kidnappers and that’s all I’ll tell you about the story. You wanna know more, go read it.

Anyway, switches clicked in my brain and I realized that I could marry Jenise, Rigoberto and their current film project with my Dr. Mamuwalde character. In addition, by throwing Dillon in the mix I could satisfy my desire to have Dr. Mamuwalde go up against a foe worthy of him. And what better way for a character in my universe to make his debut by going toe-to-toe with Dillon?

There’s some other things thrown into the mix of the story such as Dr. Mamuwalde experimenting with African Cryptids which came out of when I had planned on doing “The Island of Dr. Mamuwalde” as an “Island of Dr. Moreau” homage for the “Cryptid Clash” project my good buddy Josh Reynolds is associated with and briefly talked me into it. And yes…that most definitely is a whole other story.

But once I got Dr. Mamuwalde, Dillon, Jenise and Rigoberto and the whole idea of Dillon rescuing a film crew from a war zone where they were trying to shoot authentic footage and then finding themselves the captives in a “Dr. Moreau” like situation in my brain…everything just sorta fell into place. And this now concludes my long winded Behind The Scenes of Dillon and The Island of Dr. Mamuwalde

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One Night in Denbrook is a work in progress going back to 2009. The origins of the story are mainly because I wanted to see if I could do a prose version of a 1980s Action Movie. That’s all. My aspirations as a writer on this particular piece really don’t go any further than trying to put a movie on paper. Most of you who have been following me for a while and know that I usually say that I consider myself a frustrated film director so One Night in Denbrook is my shot at writing a story visual as I possibly could, throwing in all kinds of off-the-wall characters and situations.

The plot is simple: Denbrook’s criminal element is hunting for the heart of Toulon The Magician, Denbrook’s #1 crime lord and one of the main characters of “Diamondback” Some characters who appear in Diamondback also appear in this one as the events of One Night in Denbrook take place about a year before the events of “Diamondback.” The heart of Toulon falls into the hands of one J. Cadwallander, a cab driver who turns out to have an eclectic and incredibly lethal skill set that no respectable cab driver should have and he spends one wild night trying to stay alive while everybody and their mother is trying to kill him for the heart.

The city of Denbrook was created by one of the most imaginative and creative writers I know. Mike McGee is flat out brilliant. That’s the best I can say about him. I truly appreciate the fact that he created the city of Denbrook and then just turned it over to a bunch of writers to use as we please.

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Shadows Over Cymande takes place in another city, one in South Carolina. And it’s something of an experiment as in this one I’m trying to mash-up my love of Soap Operas with a genre that I personally call The Little Town With A Big Secret. You know what I mean if I mention fictional towns such as Peyton Place, Collinsport and Twin Peaks. These are towns that on the surface seem like such happy, idyllic places to live and raise a family. But strangers come to each one of these towns and discover that they all have frightening, hair-raising subcultures and dark underworlds of crime, madness and even the supernatural.

In Shadows Over Cymande just such a stranger comes to Cymande in response to a very lucrative job offer. Alexandrea Ainsley thinks that Cymande is just another sleepy Southern town but she soon discovers it is home to two enormously wealthy and influential black families; the Jalmaris and the Redferns. Two families who have roots and rivalries going back to The Civil War and maybe even before then.

Growing up I got hooked on Soap Operas such as “All My Children” “One Life To Live” “Days of Our Lives” and “General Hospital” especially during that period in the 1980s when “General Hospital” was a batshit insane daily cliffhanging pulp adventure serial. And of course, I loved “Dark Shadows” which is without a doubt the greatest Soap Opera ever. I wanted to see if I could take the elements of the Soap Opera and throw in horror, science fiction, pulp, black humor/comedy and even vintage 1980s Grindhouse and see if I could make it work. Do I succeed? There’s only one way for you to find out.

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So that’s it. That’s what up there right now. From time to time I throw up a short story I dig out of my digital files just as a treat and from time to time I offer a freebie just for the fun of it. By all means, if there’s something I can do that would entice you to sign up and become a Patron of mine, by all means let me know here or by email: DerrickFerguson@gmail.com

And RIGHT HERE is the link that will take you directly to my Patreon page. There’s another link here somewhere right to the right but why aggravate you by making you look all over the joint for it?

As always, I thank you for your time and kind patience. Blessings on you, your household and all that live there and I’ll talk to you again soon.

 

Three More Examples of Today’s New Pulp

Hopefully you will have read my previous article where I presented three examples of what I consider to be prime examples of New Pulp in today’s popular media. You didn’t? Pfui. Don’t worry. I gotcha. Go here and check it out. I’ll go get myself a sandwich and a Coke while you do that.

You done? Cool. I can continue then. My purpose with these articles is to hopefully show  that the Pulp tradition never really went away and is alive and well. It’s just that the tropes of Pulp have been conscripted by Action Adventure, Horror, Science Fiction and many other genres. But there’s New Pulp aplenty all around. You just have to look for it:

CONGO: This is one of the most spectacular examples of New Pulp. And when I say spectacular I’m talking about the sheer audacity of the story which is primarily a jungle adventure with a diverse and eccentric band of explorers looking for The Lost City of Zinj and the diamond mines located there. It’s a strictly 1930’s plot successfully transplanted to the 1990’s and enhanced with modern day technology.

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The movie is directed by Frank Marshall, who frequently collaborated with Steven Spielberg and written by John Patrick Shanley. It’s based on the novel by Michael Crichton but take it from me, the movie is way better than the novel. Which is the case with most of Crichton’s novels. Probably because Crichton really wasn’t interested in characterization. Crichton was more interested in the technology and the effects of science going wrong. But CONGO is the stuff of Saturday afternoon cliffhangers way more than most of his other stuff and that’s what Marshall and Shanley wisely decided to focus on. ‘Cause trust me, this movie moves. There’s enough fights, captures, escapes, close shaves with death and breathtaking action to give Lester Dent on his best day a run for his money.

That’s not to say they throw out the technology entirely. One of Our Heroes is Dr. Peter Elliott (Dylan Walsh) a primatologist who has taught a gorilla named Amy how to speak using sign language. Her sign language is translated into digital speech by means of a special backpack and glove. Peter decides to return her to Africa and is funded in this endeavor by Herkermer Homolka (Tim Curry) a shady character who has led unsuccessful expeditions to Zinj in the past and thinks that Amy may be the key to this one being successful.

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Also joining the expedition is Dr. Karen Ross (Laura Linney) a communications expert who needs to get to the Congo to find her fiancé (Bruce Campbell) who was looking for a rare blue diamond that can only be found near volcanoes. Guess where the Lost City of Zinj just happens to be in the neighborhood of?

Along with The Great White Hunter Munro Kelly (Ernie Hudson) And yes, I do know he’s black. But that’s how he always introduces himself and it leads to one of the movie’s funniest lines later on, they set off to find the Lost City of Zinj which is guarded by killer gorillas.

There’s no adequate way I can tell you just how much sheer fun CONGO is. Just let me say that if you don’t want to see a movie where Laura Linney is blasting away with a laser at killer gorillas while fleeing from an exploding volcano, then we obviously have nothing in common.

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DIRK PITT: Described by his creator, Clive Cussler as a modern day homage to Doc Savage, I’ve always admired Cussler’s unashamed love of Classic Pulp and his enthusiasm for it. A good case could be made that Cussler was writing New Pulp long before the title was ever coined. He’s certainly the most successful at it and the character of Dirk Pitt is by now as well-known as Doc Savage and James Bond, another fictional grandfather of Pitt’s.

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So far there have been 25 Dirk Pitt novels written. The last 8 Cussler co-wrote with his son Dirk. No mystery there who he was named after.

When it comes to branding Dirk Pitt as New Pulp one has only to check out a few of the novels to see that he comes by that legitimately. Despite working as marine engineer for the National Underwater and Marine Agency, in every novel Pitt finds himself battling megalomaniacal supervillains with world conquering schemes that would wring gasps of envy from Fu Manchu or Ernst Stavro Blofeld. In the course of his adventures Pitt has recovered Captain Nemo’s ‘Nautilus’, raised the ‘Titanic’, discovers the existence of a secret base on the moon, finds Atlantis, stops a plot by a race of genetic supermen to destroy civilization and create a Nazi empire… need I go on?

Dirk Pitt hasn’t had much success outside of the novels. He’s been in two movies so far. He was played by Richard Jordan in 1980’s RAISE THE TITANIC! which you should avoid as if it were Ebola.

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But 2005’s SAHARA with Matthew McConaughey as Pitt and Steve Zahn as his sidekick Al Giordino is way better and even though Cussler was very unhappy with the movie I think it’s a lot of fun and great Saturday afternoon entertainment. Only thing I can complain about it is that McConaughey and Penelope Cruz have zero chemistry together on screen.

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THE SIMPSONS Episode #150: “RAGING ABE SIMPSON AND HIS GRUMBLING GRANDSON IN ‘THE CURSE OF THE FLYING HELLFISH’”

Written by Jonathan Collier and directed by Jeffrey Lynch this is not only an hilarious SIMPSONS episode but an outstanding pulp action adventure story as well. Don’t believe me? When was the last time you saw an episode of an animated show where the plot hinged on Nazi art treasures and a tontine?

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We find out in this episode that Abraham J. Simpson was the commanding officer of “The Flying Hellfish”, a gung-ho infantry squad in WWII whose members included the fathers of Chief Clancy Wiggum, Seymour Skinner and Barney Gumble. The laziest and most cowardly member of the squad is Corporal Montgomery Burns.

During the final days of WWII, The Flying Hellfish take a German castle and discover it’s full of priceless artwork. Through quick talking, Burns convinces the others to enter into a tontine. Upon the death of the others, the treasure, now called The Hellfish Bonanza goes to the last survivor.

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Burns and Abe Simpson are the last two survivors and Burns hires Fernando Vidal, the world’s most devious assassin to kill Abe. Naturally pissed off by this, Abe, with the help of his grandson Bartholomew J. Simpson determines to go get the Hellfish Bonanza before Burns gets his hands on it.

From start to finish this is a delightful episode that plays out like a miniature summer action movie. And it’s downright touching how Bart and Abe bond together while on this wild treasure hunt and see Bart gain a new found respect for his grandfather who he had previously only thought to be a nutty old coot.

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That’s three more examples of New Pulp for you and I hope you enjoyed them. If any more occur to me, you’ll be the first to know. Peace!

Did I Hear Somebody Say…Crossover?

The following was planned to be the prolog of a Dillon novel.  However, given that the characters used in this are all firmly under copyright I quickly realized the impracticality of using such a scene in my story.  However I felt it didn’t deserve to never be seen and since we’re all friends here and I don’t think anybody will turn me in to the Copyright Police….enjoy

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An Island Off The Coast of Spain

            The explosions destroying the massive underground complex shook the very bedrock of the small island some fifty miles off the coast of Spain.  The explosions were not as bone-jangling as the earlier ones had been, but the cache of weapons and other nerve gases and other more exotic and even more lethal instruments of death that had been secreted in vaults underneath the extensive complex absolutely had to be destroyed and none of the people who had participated in the exhaustive and horrendous battle of the previous night could take the chance that any would be left to be used against the innocents of the world.

            A man stood on a high hill overlooking the sight of an ancient castle burning to the ground.  An average sized man, he was garbed all in gunmetal gray with a holster strapped to his right thigh that held his only weapons: a long barreled .22 revolver and a slim, sharp stiletto.  The man’s face was very pale and strangely immobile as if it were not a face of flesh, but of wonderfully carven marble.  And while his hair was thick and virile, it was also the color of the purest snow.  Even standing in quiet repose as he was doing now, he had an aura of quiet, controlled power.

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            He did not turn as he heard another man come up behind him. The man in gray could identify people by their very step as easily as could by looking at their face and he knew this was a friend and not a foe.  This man was a foot and a half taller, dressed in khaki pants, shirt and a battered, dusty leather jacket with a worn brown fedora pushed back on his head, allowing a cowlick of straight brown hair to fall over his forehead. A three-day stubble of beard covered the lower half of his ruggedly handsome face and he looked as if he’d been fighting in a pit full of alligators.  Considering the horrors he had been fighting the past night, a pit of alligators would have been welcome.  A holstered Webley .455 revolver and a well-used ten-foot long bullwhip dangled from his belt.

            “Benson!”

            The man in gray turned.  “How did the final sweep of the island go, Dr. Jones?’

            “We’re good.  Your people have rounded up the last of the Society’s grunt troops and they’ve secured the boats and planes.  Savage’s crew is setting the last of the explosive charges and handling the extra transport to take them to the States.”  Indiana Jones adjusted his fedora as he stood next to the man in gray.  “One hell of a night, I’ll tell you.”

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            “So much death and destruction,” the man in gray murmured.  His pale lips barely moved as yet another explosion collapsed the south wall of the castle and it crashed into rubble, throwing a huge plume of belching flame into the dawning sky.

            “Had to be done, Benson,” Indiana grunted, removing something from the leather satchel he had slung over a shoulder.  He held it up to the light and it glittered and glowed in the light of the flames.  “If The Society Of Seven had went ahead with the plans they had for THIS…well, who knows how much hell they would have caused on Earth…and this poor world has had enough the past eight years…we’re just coming out of a World War…the last thing anybody needs in a bunch of lunatics running around trying to manipulate governments.”

            The object the archeologist held was a necklace of a thousand tear shaped rubies interwoven in a delicate web of gold, silver and platinum threads.  The light reflected from the rubies was breathtaking in its loveliness.  The rubies were of various sizes with the smallest being no larger than a fingernail and the largest maybe an inch in diameter.  “I know how you feel about killing, Benson, but there was no way we could have let The Society Of Seven keep The Tears Of Blood and they weren’t about to give it up without a fight to the death.  They called they terms of this war.  We didn’t.”

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 “Dr. Jones is right, Richard.”  Another man strode up the hill to join them.  He was the most physically impressive of the trio.  Standing an easy six foot six, his skin was tanned a golden bronze by tropical suns.  His eyes were a piercing gold that radiated intelligence.  He was dressed in riding jodhpurs and his khaki shirt was ripped to shreds, displaying an incredible musculature that bordered on the superhuman.  Just looking at him inspired a sense of awe because he gave off an air of command and power that few men on earth possessed.  His golden hair was cut short and came to a widow’s peak in the middle of his high forehead.  But his face was wrinkled and lined with an age beyond his actual years.  He was a man who had fought the forces of evil far longer than both of his companions.  He had looked into the very mouth of Hell during his long campaign to vanquish evil.  And while his resolve to continue the fight had not withered one iota, even he had been shaken by the monstrous plans of the organization he and his companions had smashed this night.

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            The bronze man continued speaking in a vibrant, resonant voice; “We’ve all had dealings with The Society of Seven on a individual basis.  Dr. Jones first encountered them in Malaysia back in 1935.  You battled them in New York in the same year.  I’ve dealt with several of their agents even though I was not aware of the existence of the organization until I ran up against John Sunlight and even The Society disavowed him once they realized how truly mad he was.  And as for The Shadow—“

            “I have known of The Society of Seven for more years than you can know, Dr. Savage.”

            The voice that interrupted Clark Savage, Jr. was low and throbbing.  It was the voice of a fanatic.  A voice that carried power and purpose and it belonged to the last of this strange grouping.  A man who suddenly seemed to just…appear next to Indiana Jones, making the archeologist reach for his holstered revolver before he realized whom it was and relaxed.

            “That’s a helluva good way for you to get yourself killed, spooky,” Indianagrowled.

            The new arrival laughed and each of his three companions involuntarily shivered.  They were all brave men and had faced more of their share of danger and evil…but that LAUGH…it was a laugh that could only belong to The Shadow and each of the three men had come to realize something during this mission…while they were each unique in their own way, The Shadow was something beyond human.

            His midnight black ankle length coat flapped in the sudden wind that sprung up, seemingly with his arrival. A blood red scarf covered the lower half of his face and all that could be seen was his hawkish nose and the pair of piercing, colorless eyes that glittered with inhuman will and purpose.  A midnight black broad brimmed slouch hat was pulled low over his forehead.  A large pair of .45 automatics were held in his gloved fists, still smoking from his night’s grim and bloody work.

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            “We have done well, gentlemen,” The Shadow said in that tombstone voice of his…a voice that seemed to come from the bowels of a dark and deadly soul.  “The Society Of Seven has at last been crushed.  Save for a few strays that I shall meet vengeance to shortly.”

            “No you won’t.”

            The Shadow turned his glittering eyes on the man in gray.  “The weed of crime must not be allowed to take fresh root, Benson.  Trust me when I say that if we do not eradicate every last member of The Society Of Seven, they will rise again.  And they will flourish.”

            Richard Henry Benson turned to look at The Shadow, his pale, icy eyes burning with a fire that easily matched The Shadow’s.  “We all agreed to this partnership because we realized that we were accomplishing nothing fighting The Society on its own terms.  We were only eliminating its arms and never the brains.  We’ve even put aside some of our most cherished morals to accomplish this. But we’ve done our job.  It’s time to say enough.”

            The Shadow chuckled.  “And you call yourself The Avenger?”

            “And I have avenged.  And it is enough.”

            The bronze man stepped between The Shadow and The Avenger.  “Richard is right, Shadow.  We’ve broken the back of The Society of Seven.  We’ve got nearly five hundred of their agents and soldiers that I’ll be more than happy to send to my college for rehabilitation.  We have The Tears of Blood.  This is over.”

            The Shadow fixed Indiana Jones with his basilisk stare.  “And your opinion, Dr. Jones?”

            Indiana held up The Tears of Blood.  “I’ve got what I came for and I’ve helped save the world.  I’m satisfied.  You guys are the do-gooders.  Do what you want.  I’m done.”

            The Shadow’s voice was low and dangerous as he rasped, “Surely you do not think that we will allow you to retain possession of The Tears of Blood so that they will fall into some other evil hands?”

            Indiana’s hand dropped to his bullwhip.  “I’ve seen you do a few things, spooky.  But I’ve got a couple of tricks up my sleeve as well.  And I came along with you on this with the firm understanding that I was acting as an agent of the United States government to secure The Tears of Blood for scientific and archeological study and research.  You agreed to that.  Try and change the rules in the middle of the game and you’re gonna see just how spooky I can get.”

            “You’ve got your agreement, Dr. Jones and The Shadow will honor it.  Or he’ll have to deal with me.”  Doc Savage said with finality staring at The Shadow.  Colorless eyes locked with golden eyes for a long minute.

            The Shadow raised his .45’s.

            And thrust them into the oiled holsters under his armpits.  “You are honorable men and worthy allies.  I have trusted each of you with my life this past night and I would do so again.  I will trust you on this.”

            Doc Savage nodded and turned back to Indiana.  “You’ll be coming with my aides and me, Dr. Jones.  We’ll make sure you get to Washington with The Tears of Blood.  Shadow—“

            The Shadow was gone.

            Indiana shook his head.  “Damned if I can figure out how he does that.  I never took my eyes off him.”

            The Avenger shrugged.  “I’m of the opinion that he was never really here.”

            The three men watched as the last of The Society of Seven’s stronghold burned to the ground.

            “What have we really accomplished here tonight, Clark?”  Benson asked quietly.  “The lives that were lost…all this destruction…will it mean anything if The Society of Seven comes back?”

            Doc Savage laid a hand on The Avenger’s shoulder as he said; “And if they do, there will be other men who will take up our struggle and do their part, Richard.  They will fight and struggle and yes, they will die if necessary to make this a peaceful world.  And that is all we can hope for.”

            “Amen to that, brother,” Indiana Jones said feelingly and the three of them watched as the stronghold of The Society of Seven burned to the ground.