Through the years there have been consistent and growing waves of interest in pulp fiction due, mostly, to certain artists, creators, and fans that love the form and have worked hard to ensure that it did not fade away. Over the years they continued to gather together to appreciate and discuss old pulp fiction as well as created new pulp works for the modern age.
One such luminary is comic book writer, sci-fi and pulp novelist, educator, publisher, playwright, and New Pulp Air Chief Ron Fortier. Ron Fortier has been an unstoppable powerhouse in the world of new pulp fiction, working alternatively as a writer, editor, publisher, and reviewer. Fortier’s pulp work can be found in every format, whether digital publishing, print prose, printed comics, podcasts, or a myriad of pulp related sites all over the net. And in each of these efforts you can feel the blue flame heat of pulp at its best.
I first encountered Fortier’s work in Now comic’s The Sting of the Green Hornet where he crafted intelligent and surprisingly realistic personalities for characters that have rarely been more than two dimensional. The Green Hornet, the masked vigilante character, created by George W. Trendle and Fran Striker in 1936, originally for radio broadcasts but quickly moved to movies, comics, and eventually television; is not strictly speaking a pulp character. Yet, with his gas gun, face mask and snazzy trench coat and fedora he definitely has that golden age pulp feel.
Fortier created the legacy aspect of the Green Hornet and his partner Kato, bringing together all of the various incarnations of those characters into a coherent narrative that explained how the various renditions of the character through the decades were, in fact, a heroic tradition handed down through their respective families. This allowed Fortier to honor the efforts of all of the creators who had worked on those characters before him, as well as bringing striking depth to his stories. This legacy aspect of the characters is now considered canon and has been used in all of the subsequent renditions of the Green Hornet and Kato in comics.
Since that work on the Green Hornet Fortier has contributed stories for Moonstone Books for such classic pulp heroes as The Spider and the Domino Lady.
Apparently not content to rest on his laurels from this stellar pulp related comic book work; he was one of the founders of Airship 27, a publishing business dedicated to bringing new pulp stories into the 21st Century. It was with Airship 27 that he certified his true pulp pedigree and earned his rank as Air Chief by becoming one of the foremost publishers of New Pulp fiction. As Fortier states, the Airship 27 website is the best place to learn about his portfolio of published works and his upcoming projects, as well as acquiring some of the best in New Pulp.
For pulp fans one of Fortier’s most exciting projects was his resurrection of the classic, but short-lived, pulp hero Captain Hazzard. The Captain Hazzard character was first published in a single, self-titled pulp magazine that ran for a solitary issue with the story “Python Men of the Lost City”. Fortier re-imagined the character for new Captain Hazzard stories.
You can find the Captain Hazzard books, and the impressive array of other Airship 27 publications by other New Pulp authors, at their online store. That’s where you can also get stories featuring Fortier’s New Pulp character Brother Bones, and find out how to read his ongoing superhero series Mr. Jigsaw.
As if that wasn’t enough, Fortier runs Pulp Fiction Reviews blogspot where he, just as the name implies, reviews contemporary fiction that has a pulp edge. While bringing his critical powers to bear, you can feel his enthusiasm for and love of the genre, which he traces through many of today’s popular thriller series. He doesn’t limit his reviews to big name series, however, he also seeks out works by smaller publishers who are doing their best to keep the flame of pulp fiction burning bright, and gives them a prominence they may not have gotten otherwise.
Ron Fortier has a love and enthusiasm for pulp fiction, which has motivated him to create new works for a world that is hungry for wonders to enjoy, while, at the same time, supporting others who want to do the same. That crackling energy and real-world work ethic has always characterized true pulp creators. Air Chief, we salute you.
Image provided courtesy of Airship 27 and Air Chief Ron Fortier.