Bob and the Avenger
In addition to my love of comic books, I was gently steered towards books. When my dad saw I liked science fiction, he took me to the Cherry Hill Bookstore, not in Cherry Hill, but in Hicksville, and bought me a copy of Asimov’s Mysteries. Throughout those years, I would find books on my own and of course thrilled to discover that characters I knew also starred in novels, beginning with Otto Binder’s Avengers book.
The late 1960s through the early 1970s were a great time to be a fan of pulp heroes. Throughout the 1960s, Bantam had revived The Shadow and Doc Savage with great success and by 1971 or so, other heroes were back. Lancer had the Conan books still going with those luscious Frank Frazetta covers and Ballantine re-released Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Tarzan books with terrific Neal Adams images. Then came Pyramid’s Shadow revival with the classic Steranko paintings. There were even a series of original novels featuring my favorite comic strip hero, the Phantom, with work by Lee Falk and Ron Goulart among others. I was reading them all, or so it felt.
These days, most of those characters are being crowded off the bookshelves with newer series or prose works based on other properties. Having said, I’m thrilled to see my old pal Tony Tollin has successfully brought back Doc Savage and the Shadow in a series of facsimile editions that have proven so popular he’s gone to a monthly publishing schedule.
And over at Moonstone Books, they have prose anthologies dedicated to Kolchak, The Spider, and as regular readers here know, The Phantom. Looks like my Phantom story will be in the second of the promised two-volume series.
Anyway, another pulp hero who lasted a mere 24 issues way back, was The Avenger. Some may recall him when Jack Kirby provided us with new adventures under the DC title Justice, Inc. or the Andrew Helfer/Kyle Baker series from the 1990s. Well, Joe Gentile at Moonstone has added The Avenger to his roster of projects and I’m pleased to say that he’s invited me to contribute a story to that anthology as well.
Joe, to his credit, has gotten pulp expert Will Murray to write the opener and Ron Goulart to write the closer. He’s provided all of us with tons of reference material plus some editorial guidelines and now I have until April to come up with a brilliant story.
I’m looking forward to this one, especially since I already have a setting and need a story to fit it.