EDitorial Comments


Posted in Murania Press,Serials,Upcoming Books on July 11, 2014 @ 3:59 pm

Here’s the cover for the upcoming Handsome Heroes and Vicious Villains, second in my two-volume history of silent-era movie serials. As you can see, it’s been designed to resemble its predecessor, Distressed Damsels and Masked Marauders, so that anybody familiar with the earlier book will recognize the new one as a companion volume. The spine design is also the same, so the two tomes will look fine when shelved side by side.

The 100,000 words of Distressed Damsels included an overview of the silent serial and a lengthy narrative history of Pathé Exchange, the company responsible for most of the period’s classic chapter plays. Handsome Heroes offers a similar treatment of Carl Laemmle’s Universal Pictures, Pathé’s leading competitor, along with an extensive survey of serials made and distributed by the field’s other major players: Vitagraph, Arrow, Rayart, Mascot, and more.

Anyone who’s read Distressed Damsels knows that it was exhaustively researched, and the same goes for Handsome Heroes — the text of which, after all, was intended for inclusion in the first book. There was no way I could feasibly publish a single volume with so much wordage and so many illustrations. Like Distressed Damsels, the upcoming tome tops 100,000 words and reproduces more than 250 rare photos, posters, ad mats, lobby cards, and frame blow-ups.

Layout is well underway and I expect the book to be finished before summer’s end.  But I’m going to refrain from announcing a publication date until an approved proof copy is in hand.  Handsome Heroes will carry a suggested retail price of $29.95, which includes shipping if you buy here.


Preview Of BLOOD ‘N’ THUNDER #41 (Summer 2014 Issue)

Posted in Blood 'n' Thunder,Murania Press,PulpFest on July 6, 2014 @ 8:08 pm

Blood ‘n’ Thunder returns to quarterly frequency with the Summer 2014 issue, which will debut at the upcoming PulpFest and be mailed to subscribers and wholesale customers in August after we return from the convention. Those of you only just receiving your copy of the 2013-2014 triple-sized Special Edition (due to a mistake incurred during the recent retooling of BnT‘s subscriber database) probably won’t even get a chance to finish reading it before the new one comes along, but that’s not a bad thing, right?

BnT #41 will lead off with an excellent report on this year’s Windy City Pulp and Paperback Convention, which broke attendance records for a pulp-themed confab and was widely praised by dealers and collectors alike. Our “Tricks of the Trade” department will feature a lively article by Arthur J. Burks, the fabled “Speed Merchant of the Pulps,” on the occupational hazards facing a fictioneer. “From Pulp Page to Silver Screen” examines the extremely rare 1931 Western film A Holy Terror, which starred George O’Brien and adapted Max Brand’s novel Trailin’, serialized in All-Story Weekly before seeing publication between hard covers. Another pulp writer who achieved Hollywood success, Perley Poore Sheehan, helped script one of the most bizarre serials in chapter-play history, 1935′s The Lost City, which is the subject of this issue’s “Cliffhanger Classics.”

Our lead feature is a survey of the short-lived, barely remembered All-American Fiction, a meritorious Munsey/Red Star title that boasted some of the best writers in the business but failed to click with readers for reasons unknown to this day. Larry Latham, who penned last issue’s “Birth of the Pulps” article, is back with a look at nickel-weekly characters (including Nick Carter, Frank Merriwell, and the Liberty Boys) who transitioned to moving pictures in the early days of the film industry. And you’ll be treated to a detailed look at an aspect of the pulp business almost never written about: the litigiousness of publishers who zealously guarded what they thought were proprietary rights. You’ll read extracts from a 1936 lawsuit filed by Ned Pines’ Standard Magazines against Harry Steeger’s Popular Publications, claiming that the latter’s Ace G-Men infringed on Standard’s G-Men.  It’s fascinating stuff, believe me.

Finally, the “Blood ‘n’ Thunder Reprint” this issue comes from a 1922 issue of Adventure. “The Tenth Man,” an eerie tale of African intrigue written by Robert Simpson, was scheduled for inclusion in the last issue but got squeezed out when our book-length novel reprint ate up more pages than originally expected.

All in all, we think the Summer 2014 BnT will be another fine issue. If your subscription expired with the triple issue — and most did — you can renew it right here on the Murania Press site.


Items Added To Collectibles Section

Posted in Collectibles For Sale on @ 6:58 pm

I’ve just updated the Collectibles for Sale section with new listings of recently acquired pulps, digests, and books. And there are more to come in the weeks ahead, as I find the time to process them. In addition to printer matter you’ll also be seeing groups of Old Time Radio recordings and vintage movies on DVD — all with a “blood ‘n’ thunder” connection.

You’ll find a nice variety of scarce items on those pages of the site, and I believe I’ve priced them more than fairly. Postage to domestic U.S. buyers is included in the purchase price. Check ‘em out!

Note To BNT Subscribers

Posted in Blood 'n' Thunder,Murania Press on June 13, 2014 @ 3:31 pm

It’s been brought to my attention that some Blood ‘n’ Thunder subscribers have not yet received their copies of the recent triple issue.  It took a while to figure out what the problem was, but now I know.

Over the last several months my new volunteer Kevin has not only been helping me catch up on back orders but revamping the subscriber database as well.  Somewhere along the line one of us accidentally transferred the entries for 30 current subscribers — a full page of names and addresses — to the list of those whose subscriptions had lapsed with the previous issue.  Kevin has now returned those entries in the database of active subscribers and will be ordering up additional copies of the triple issue next week.  So if you haven’t received the latest BnT yet, don’t despair; it’s coming!

Attending to the back-order situation and revamping the subscriber database has taken longer than anticipated, and it didn’t help that my bookkeeping during this last tumultuous year left a great deal to be desired.  Moreover, I honestly didn’t expect the flood of orders that came in during this year’s Memorial Day Weekend sale.  We’re still fulfilling those, although as of today there are only a handful yet to ship.  Your continued patience is very much appreciated, believe me.

Moving forward, I expect things to go much more smoothly.  Kevin helps out three afternoons each week, and you can address subscriber and back-order inquiries to him at muraniapress@yahoo.com.

This year’s PulpFest is coming up fast, and I’ll soon have news about Murania’s upcoming books planned for debut at the Columbus confab.

Collectibles Section Being Restocked

Posted in Collectibles For Sale on May 23, 2014 @ 4:38 pm

It’s been a long time since I added anything to the site’s Collectibles For Sale section, which had dwindled to a scant three items. But I’m in the process of restocking it now, with a couple dozen pieces going on line Friday night and more to come as I continue Spring Cleaning. In addition to vintage pulps and pulp-related items, I’m also adding collectibles that will appeal to collectors of vintage comics, movies, and Old Time Radio shows. The first As always, the sales price includes shipping and handling to domestic buyers; international buyers will be assessed an additional fee for postage based on package weight and destination.

Check back frequently over the next few weeks, as I’ll be adding fresh items every few days.

Below you’ll see one of the newly listed goodies: a gorgeous high-grade copy of a 1941 issue of Amazing Stories with one of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ John Carter of Mars novelettes.

2014 Memorial Day Weekend Sale Begins Friday Morning!

Posted in Murania Press on May 22, 2014 @ 3:21 pm

Once again Murania Press is holding a special holiday-weekend sale, so those of you who’ve not yet ordered the recently published Distressed Damsels and Masked Marauders or the Blood ‘n’ Thunder 2013-14 Special Edition can now do so at a significant savings. Beginning Friday, May 23, at 12:01 am EST, all Murania Press publications will be available for 20 percent off list price. Each item’s page on this site will be adjusted to reflect the sale price, so when you order via our Shopping Cart function you’ll be purchasing books at the discounted rate.

The sale will last until 6 pm EST on Monday, May 26, at which time the cost of all publications will revert to cover price. Orders will be processed immediately, in order of their receipt. Last year’s sale produced a high volume of transactions that caught us by surprise, but this year we have the assistance of Kevin C. to help with order processing.

Exempt from the sale are Blood ‘n’ Thunder subscriptions (which are available at $40) and items offered in our Collectibles section, which is undergoing thorough revision as these words are being written.

Sale prices include postage and handling to domestic purchasers. International buyers qualify for the 20 percent discount but will be assessed an additional fee to reflect the difference in shipping charges. All copies will be shipped direct from the printer.

Now’s your chance to catch up on Murania’s recent releases. Since our last sale we have released The Blood ‘n’ Thunder Guide to Pulp Fiction, the Blood ‘n’ Thunder 2013-14 Special Edition, and Distressed Damsels and Masked Marauders, all of which have gotten high marks from readers. So don’t pass up this limited-time opportunity to save 20 percent off the price of each!


Windy City, Here I Come!

Posted in Blood 'n' Thunder,Conventions,Murania Press on April 23, 2014 @ 10:34 pm

Tomorrow I’m off to Chicago for the annual Windy City Pulp and Paper Convention, with which many readers of this blog are already familiar. Murania Press will have its usual booth, where the lovely Mala Mastroberte will join me.  I’ll be promoting the new Blood ‘n’ Thunder 2013-14 Special Edition, Distressed Damsels and Masked Marauders, and  The Blood ‘n’ Thunder Guide to Pulp Fiction (which had not been published when last year’s Windy unfolded).

Speaking of DD&MM and the BnT Special Edition, I’ve been shipping copies feverishly all week but still have some subscriber copies to get into the mail. Shipping will resume as soon as I get back to the office next Tuesday.

Now Available: BLOOD ‘N’ THUNDER 2013-2014 SPECIAL EDITION

Posted in Uncategorized on April 18, 2014 @ 4:44 pm

A triple-sized issue I’m calling the 2013-14 Special Edition is now available. At nearly 300 pages it’s the biggest, thickest fanzine ever produced, loaded with the usual complement of informative articles and entertaining stories reprinted from vintage pulps. As a bonus feature I’ve included an entire book-length novel (85,000 words) by Randall Parrish: The Strange Case of Cavendish, serialized in All-Story Weekly prior to appearing between hard covers in 1918. This is a yarn I originally planned to publish as part of Murania’s Classic Pulp Reprints series, so in this issue BnT readers are getting a $19.95 value along with the usual departments and feature articles.

The Special Edition, which counts as issues 38 through 40 for subscribers, naturally includes all the material previously announced for #38. In addition you’ll find other lengthy articles, such as Richard W. Bann’s 8500-word essay on the making of the 1941 Maltese Falcon. Dick’s previous article on the making of The Thin Man was very well received so I figured it was a good idea to have him weigh in again on a film with a pulp-fiction connection.

Along the same lines is Flickering Shadows of the Thirties, my chronicle of Depression-era films featuring The Shadow: the six 1931-32 featurettes released by Universal and the two 1937-38 feature films released by Grand National. There has been some coverage of a couple of these films in previous issues, but this piece expands on that with new information gleaned from recent research. And lots more illustrations.

Larry Latham, a prolific and prominent contributor to pulp fanzines of the Eighties and Nineties, returns to the field with a comprehensive look at the dime novels and nickel weeklies that metamorphosed into pulp magazines of the Teens and Twenties. To date I haven’t published as many articles as I would have liked on these pulp precursors, but Larry’s thoughtful, well-researched piece makes a good start toward addressing that situation.

There is, of course, much more in this jumbo-sized issue, which will give you plenty of good reading to make up for BnT‘s absence this last nine months or so.

Pulp Pinup Queen Mala Mastroberte Joins Murania Press At Windy City Con!

Posted in Uncategorized on @ 4:13 pm

Blood ‘n’ Thunder readers who hadn’t already heard of Mala Mastroberte got acquainted with her — well, acquainted with her work, anyway — in last year’s double issue. For those who didn’t get it (and what are you waiting for?), Mala is a lovely and talented woman whose fascination with pulp culture inspired her to try something unique in the annals of our hobby. She decided to recreate some of her favorite “Good Girl Art” covers from pulps, true-crime, and men’s-adventure magazines — with herself as the primary female subject.

As you can see from the Spicy Detective recreation below, Mala has the looks and figure for the job. But what makes her work special is that she is also the photographer and graphic designer of these covers! She begins by searching for wigs, props, and costumes that will enable her to pass for the women in the photos or paintings. Then she poses herself in the same positions, takes the pictures, and Photoshops herself into the covers. And she does an excellent job, believe me!

Mala now sells poster-sized prints of her cover recreations, and Binary Publications recently issued a book collecting some of her best efforts, titled Malaland Magazines.

I’m very happy to report that Mala will be joining me at the Murania Press table during next weekend’s Windy City Pulp and Paper Convention. She’ll be on hand all weekend to sell her book and copies of her prints, all of which I recommend highly. So stop by to purchase her wares and get them signed. (Also, I’ll have copies of the BnT issue with her portfolio, and I’m sure she would be glad to sign that too.) Thus far Rich Harvey’s Pulp Adventurecon is the only pulp-collector gathering Mala has attended, and she’s very much looking forward to the Windy City experience. Please make sure you give yourself plenty of time while at the show to visit our table and get acquainted.


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