EDitorial Comments

“What, another one?” Yep….

Posted in Murania Press,Serials on July 5, 2012 @ 10:47 pm

Just an hour ago I okayed a digital proof of Murania’s latest book — yes, later than Western Movie Roundup — and ordered bound copies. This is another quickie I whipped up after deciding to attend next week’s Western Film Fair in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. It should do pretty well down there, I think.

Cliffhanger Classics collects all 20 essays on serials printed in Blood ‘n’ Thunder since the first issue came out ten years ago. It’s quite a coincidence that the number is a nice round 20. It’s even more of a coincidence that the coverage is evenly divided between silent and sound serials. BnT readers know that motion-picture chapter plays are very close to my heart: As I explain in a newly written Introduction, I’ve  studied and collected them for many years. So BnT doesn’t print gushy fanboy puff-pieces that rehash the same tired facts and suppositions about serials; our essays on episodic thrillers are backed by solid research and, in many cases, interviews with the actors, writers and directors involved.

Those who’ve been waiting patiently for Distressed Damsels and Masked Marauders, my comprehensive history of  silent-era serials, can be forgiven for being annoyed if they think I’ve postponed that book yet again. But it’s not so. DD&MM is in the home stretch, and throwing together Cliffhanger Classics didn’t change our timetable for that book’s completion.

When I use the term “whipped up” to describe preparation of the new tome, I’m really talking about the yeoman work done by Murania Press art director Chris Kalb. My part of the task was fairly simple: collating the articles, doing minor re-edits, making a few corrections, and writing an intro. Using his Best of Blood ‘n’ Thunder design as a template, Chris did the interior layout in record time. And then, to my amazement, he assembled a dynamic, colorful collage from bits and pieces of a dozen serial posters I’d sent him for possible use on the cover.

Naturally, the contents of this book will be familiar to those of you who’ve been long-time Blood ‘n’ Thunder subscribers. But my target market for this particular book is the film-buff crowd, members of whom attend such conventions as the Western Film Fair just as regularly as we pulp-fiction devotees attend PulpFest and the Windy City Pulp and Paper show. Naturally, they will not have seen or read this material before. I expect them to take to this book like the proverbial duck to water. Of course, if you’d like to have a nice, spiffy new volume collecting all of BnT‘s serial essays between two covers, I won’t try to talk you out of buying Cliffhanger Classics.

For the record, the book is 308 pages and nearly a hundred thousand words long. There are two picture galleries of 20 pages each; they reprint rare stills, posters and lobby cards, including some that did not accompany the essays as initially published in BnT. Believe me, Cliffhanger Classics makes a dandy companion volume to The Best of Blood ‘n’ Thunder, especially since it has the same dimensions (six by nine inches) and the same spine design.

It’s a nifty little book, if I do say so myself. You can order it from the Home page, where it’s listed under “Latest Releases.”

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