Sunday, 20 May 2018

Moonstone's New Pulp Fiction Scheduled for September

Upon laying eyes on the cover below, I had to assume that this was the solicitation for the new edition of the Faces Of Fear book that was released by Moonstone last fall. It is a vertically flipped version of that cover with a purple colour scheme rather than orange.

Writer: Ron Fortier
Artist: Rob Davis
Cover: Dennis Calero 
7”x10”, squarebound, grayscale, 146 pgs, $12.99
ISBN: 978-1-936814-53-451299
COMICS & ILLUSTRATED PROSE! 
From Blood and Thunder Alley…dealing out Maximum Justice:
New complete action thrillers starring the Black Bat (can-see-in-the dark two-gun crimefighter), Secret Agent X (man of a thousand faces), and the Purple Scar (who wears a mask of his murdered brother)!

The text above confuses matters a bit though. If it is a "deluxe" edition of Faces Of Fear from last October, can it be called a new action thriller? It actually sounds like three new stories but I can't see applying a re-coloured cover to such a book. Unless that cover is not final.

Also, I don't recall much involvement from Secret Agent X in FOF so does he get a story all his own in this edition, or has he been worked into FOF?

I'll be eager to get a look at a table of contents but since I could only read the Kindle version of Face Of Fear, this will be making its way into the collection even if it is "just" a reprint with a few extras.

Sunday, 13 May 2018

Update on Sanctum's Black Bat Reprints

A week ago, Sanctum Books' Anthony Tollin commented on a discussion about tardiness with the publisher's Spider reprints. He included The Black Bat in his response. I've copied most of it below, adding only paragraph breaks and removing a portion about recent health issues.
BLACK BAT #10 is completed and WILL soon be resolicited. Sales and income are down, and THE SPIDER and THE BLACK BAT simply were not selling well enough to justify their continuation (at least not with the added cost of the bonus Sanctum Books extras). It costs a lot of $$$ to include all the extra features and articles that are part of the Sanctum Book format, but those extras don't appear to pump up sales at all, at least not on SPIDER and BLACK BAT.  
Altus, like most other pulp reprint companies, relies on print-on-demand printing, while Sanctum has always gone exclusively with actual print runs and real warehoused first printing inventories. Hopefully, Altus will be able to make a go of THE SPIDER and BLACK BAT with the lessor print-on-demand advance overhead.  
Also, THE SPIDER and THE BLACK BAT took much more time editorially and production-wise to produce than THE SHADOW and DOC SAVAGE, and I recently had to concede that I was sabotaging/delaying several important upcoming book projects (including THE SHADOW newspaper strip collection and the revised, expanded color edition of THE SHADOW SCRAPBOOK) by devoting so much time to two time-consuming ongoing series that were not producing an actual profit. Things would have been different if THE SPIDER and BLACK BAT could have sold just a couple hundred more copies per issue, but they simply didn't.
Probably nothing that shocks anyone but it's still good to hear it from the dachshund's mouth, if I may alter the expression to refer to another interest Mr. Tollin and I share.

Last we'd heard, the books were going to come out annually. Now we're not sure if there will be an 11th issue. Too bad, but business is business.

Sunday, 22 April 2018

The Graham Hill Bat

It's been a while since I had a post specific to art. This one is the result of a Facebook image search which led me to Graham Hill's page when I spotted the following sketch.


There was something familiar about the style so I looked into Hill's portfolio further and came across virgin art for Airship 27's third volume of Black Bat Mystery.


I find it looks significantly better without all the text that blocked out the moon and lightning.  I hope Hill has more opportunity to work with the character soon.

Sunday, 11 March 2018

Unknown Tales #2 (cover B) Now Available!

The Black Bat themed cover to this book was added to the Lucky Comics page above a couple of weeks ago when the book was first being promoted. That caused me to think I'd already mentioned it on the blog and therefore forget to announce its release. So...Here it is!

Lucky's issues are only eight pages long and this one features two four-page origin stories including, obviously, The Black Bat's.


This is the 1930s version of the character and as usual, Lou Mougin wrote the story and the art is by Lucky Comics regular contributor Eric Douthitt.


It's a fairly faithful origin with a couple of twists. 

Can't help but wonder what the future might bring for this series. We know that a current-day Bat book is coming. Will his origin be revealed in his own series or will it be featured in an issue of Unknown Tales down the road? Since the Black Bat character is popular for Lucky, I doubt it will be long until we find out.

Sunday, 28 January 2018

Black Bat Tales #4 Available This Week!

Lucky Comics announced this morning that the fourth issue of their Black Bat Tales series would be available from Drive Thru Comics some time this week.


The $2 price tag is for the print version of the book. Digitally, they tend to be priced at all of $0.75.

If things are proceeding according to plan, I believe the character shooting at The Black Bat is actually Eliot Ness, who was introduced in an earlier issue of this same series. It seems the two are going to have a little rivalry.

The story is by Lou Mougin, the art by Brazilian Kaio Neves. Sample below.


Monday, 15 January 2018

Second Edition of Faces of Fear Being Produced By Moonstone Books

The information below was revealed in the Airship 27 podcast that was released earlier today. The original version of Faces Of Fear was only available for purchase directly from the Moonstone Books website or digitally from Amazon. Evidently, the new edition will be easier to obtain.

I'm quoting illustrator Rob Davis as best as I can.
Now (Moonstone Books) is producing a second edition which, when finished, will be distributed by Diamond to comics shops everywhere.  
The new edition also includes a special essay by Ron (Fortier) revealing some of the hidden "Easter eggs" that are featured throughout the tale, a fun feature that you won't want to miss.   
Swell news, being that the book's availability was an issue for me. I was only offered one shipping option when attempting to purchase from the Moonstone website. It would have cost me $50 to have a $10 book shipped to me. I love me some Black Bat but that was too rich for my blood.

If the book is available in comic stores then hopefully it will also hit Amazon and I can purchase it that way. It sucked to have to wait, but the extras that come with the new edition will make up for it, no doubt.

Mr. Davis states that there's a format issue to work out but it should be solicited before long. My guess is that it will be available around mid-summer.

Amazon lists the original print length at 145 pages.

Tuesday, 9 January 2018

The Black Bat by Rod Reis

Let's start the year off with a little art. The eye-popper below is the work Rod Reis.


I've struggled to locate any information about it. I assume it was commission work done right around the time of the Dynamite 12-issue series since that's obviously that publisher's version of the character.

I'd initially hoped it might be a teaser for a new book but sadly, that seems unlikely to happen.

Wednesday, 27 December 2017

Bummer News From Bud

I have a Google alert set up so that whenever "The Black Bat" appears in the news, in articles, etc., I receive an e-mail notification.

That often means that I am made aware of a baseball/cricket player using a black bat, pro wrestler Sting making an appearance somewhere, Jack White's Black Bat Licorice song, the horrid black bat flower and a variety of other subjects that have nothing at all to do with Anthony Quinn, masked nemesis of crime. But today's alert did, and the news wasn't good.

I was directed to Bud's Art Books website. Bud sells...well...books, including the Sanctum reprints of the Black Bat stories from Black Book Detective.

Since I was there anyway, I looked to see if anything new had been added of late. I had read some time ago that Sanctum's 10th issue of The Black Bat was scheduled for this month. #9 had only recently been released so that seemed unlikely. Hopefully Bud would set me straight as to #10's release date.

Alas, Bud did so but indirectly. He included the following information with the description of #9.
Publication note: I spoke with publisher Anthony Tollin in October 2017 and was told that this series and The Spider will now appear on an annual basis, which may help explain the long wait between last issue and this one.
Blargh. Altus Press releases have slowed to a crawl and now this. Collecting the classics is turning into a chore.

But let's not shoot the messenger with twin .45s. Between the quality of preview images (see below) and his own description of the product, Bud does a great job selling these and his shipping charges are the best I've seen. I might just give him a little business soon even if he ruined my evening. ;-)



Saturday, 23 December 2017

Good Things Come In Fours

From Lucky Comics' Facebook page:
New this Winter: Unknown Tales #2 - With TWO origin stories: The Rotting Corpse and the Golden Age Black Bat!

Sweet.

These books are only 8 pages long so the plan is for The Black Bat's portion to take up the last four.

Meanwhile, work progresses on Lucky's modern day version of the character. The cover revealed earlier is now showing a little colour. I've added it to the Lucky Comics page above, but here it is below.


Four pages from that book are going to be made available to download for free on Christmas Day so after you're done opening presents, float on over to Lucky Comics for some Bat goodness.

Saturday, 2 December 2017

We Are Experiencing A Lull

Aside from Lucky Comics, it seems that publication of Black Bat material has ground to a halt for the time being. Probably the most we can hope for, at least early in the new year, are more reprints of original tales from the 1940s from Altus Press and/or Adventure House.

I was using the free time that was thrust upon me to add to the Pabel Fledermaus cover collection.  With several hundred Black Bat stories published in Germany, that's a task I may never live to see fulfilled to my expectation. But while searching out more covers from that series, I found out that the Black Bat caught on to some degree in other parts of the world as well.

From what I've been able to uncover, DetektivMagasinet was published in Norway between 1928 and 1966. It included a few Black Bat stories, under the name Svarta Pantern, but did not embrace the character to the degree that Pabel Kriminalroman did when they made the character their leading feature.

Somewhat oddly, Svarta Pantern actually translates to Black Panther, not Black Bat, so I am slightly curious as to how the translation handled references to the character's appearance, specifically the ribbed cape made to look like bat wings.

And the pretense of being blind was so much more appropriate to a bat-themed character. It seems like deviating from that causes more problems than it solves.

In any event, I'm going to attempt to record which stories were reprinted and when. Finding covers to display may be more problematic but as you can see from the example at left, they tend to be knock offs (and poor ones, at that) of the original Black Book Detective covers anyway so that may not be much of a loss. As far as I can tell, the story Murder Among The Dying was the first to be reprinted, in 1947.

The Black Bat also had a presence in Sweden, it would seem.

Nyckel-Bockerna ran from 1934 to 1970 or so. In its final years, it tended to publish Westerns more so than pulp detective stories but for some time it did reprint original Black Bat tales.

As you can see from the cover at right, like DetektivMagasinet, Nyckel also duplicated the original Black Book Detective covers (rather poorly, mind you) and credited G. Wayman Jones. It also inexplicably used the Black Panther name.

The more I write that the less I get it. That's like taking Spider-Man and and naming him The Red Mouse.

But whatever. I shall track down some info about these as well. In order to make room, I've combined Dynamite's Masks series covers and the Black Bat 12-issue series pages into one and I will create a new page specific to Norway/Sweden reprints and whatever graphics I can find.

Hopefully that gets me through this dead zone and we can have new Black Bat material to look forward to.