Airship27

ME & THE BIG GORILLA

  • On 11 Jun | '2021

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Greetings Loyal Airmen, in this week’s Flight Log we want to talk a wee bit about our favorite movie of all time, the original 1933 KING KONG from RKO. The film was a huge hit when it had a duel premier on both coast of the country, one at RKO Radio Music Hall in New York and the other at the Grauman’s Chinese Theater in Los Angeles. It was the first movie ever to earn a million dollars. As was done in those days, films were released, shown and then put back in the vaults for a few years before they would be re-released to a hopefully new audiences. That’s what happened in 1955 and our father decided to take his son, 9 yr old Ronnie, to see it. The film imprinted itself on our psyche so much, we would never forget it or that experience of viewing for the very first time. The story of a gigantic wild beast torn from his home to be displayed and humiliated by a world of sophisticated cruelty bothered us greatly so that at the film’s powerful climax, as the bi-planes swoop out of the sky to attack the Mighty Kong making his last stand on the top of the Empire State Building, little Ronnie was actually rooting for the Big Gorilla and it broke our hearts when he was finally shot down.

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This incredible story was the created by two World War One veterans, Major Merian C. Cooper, a highly decorated Annapolis graduate and aviation ace and his pal, film photographer Ernest B. Shoedstack.  Cooper had been brought to RKO because the company was failing and it was his job to save it. After trashing several dozen scripts he found pathetic, he went to the studio’s special effects guru with his idea about a giant gorilla.

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That guru was the amazing Willis O’Brien and his team of Mario Larrinaga and Byron Crabbe. These were the pioneers who invented stop-motion animation, the magic by which inanimate options move on film. Cooper had seen their work on the previous silent classic, “The Lost World” and knew O’Brien was his Merlin to work his big monkey comes to cinematic. Once a script was set, and Shoedstack was on board to direct, they hired Robert Armstrong, Bruce Cabot and the beautiful Faye Ray as the three characters whose lives are forever changed by their encounter with King Kong.

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And though we’ve seen the movie hundreds of times (no exaggeration there) the film still to this day moves us emotionally. Enough so that over the years we’ve continue to buy various versions of the novelized script. In fact it is still one of our biggest dreams to one day write a graphic novel detailing the making of this classic movie and reveal the events and characters that made it possible.

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Meanwhile whenever new Kong toys appear on the market, we have to have them, relishing the memory of that 9 year old boy mesmerized by movie magic. Above our two of our biggest pieces, the one on the right was a gift from a friend, Michael Housel.

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Above left is a tiny Kong figure sent to us from Emily Janke as she picked it up during her trip to the Empire State building and was so kind to gift it to us. To the right is our tin-poster displayed on the Air Chief’s office wall.

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And finally our latest toy acquisition picked up earlier this week at Target. Seems someone got the rights to the 1933 figure and has produce three different variations. This one was the one we chose to add to our Kong collection. King Kong will always remain our favorite movie of all times.

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And now for something totally different. Way back in the Fall of 2019, artist Jeff Slemons asked if we’d be interested in writing a few short strips centered around automobiles. Jeff had been working as an illustrator for CARtoons magazine for a while and his editor was asking him for more short strips. The Air Chief had never done anything like this and that was all the incentive we needed. In the following weeks we wrote two five pages scripts and sent them off to Jeff. Before he could draw single panel, 2020 and Covid was upon us and lots of things got put aside, including these scripts. Then about a month ago, out of the blue, Jeff sends along a PDF containing the finished strip for “Yellow Whizzer.” Only now it is merely called “Whizzer” and is featured in issue # 33 of CARtoons currently on newsstands everywhere. We found out copy at Barnes and Nobles. When reporting this great news, Jeff confessed to having embellished my skinny script and we had absolutely no problems with that. It is still the story we cooked up, only now with much more characterization and dialog and we love it. It appears on pg # 20, with Jeff’s credit. Don’t let my name being absent concern you. We did this for fun, and that’s exactly what we received in the end. Can’t ask for anything more. Who knows, hopefully Jeff will soon get around to do the second script we sent him. We sure hope so.

And that’s it for this go round Loyal Airmen. As ever thanks for stopping by and we’ll see you here next week.

Ron – Over & Out!

WE’RE HOME

  • On 4 Jun | '2021

Greetings Loyal Airmen, well Valerie and the Air Chief are back in Colorado from our 8 day trip back home to see family. We said we take some photos, so without further ado, some of our wonderful memories.

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Upon arriving in Manchester N.H. early evening, we then went to a really nice restaurant with all of Valerie’s wonderful family. Going around the table starting at left is Gus, his wife Barbara (Val’s older sister) then Val, the Air Chief with hat on, across the table Andy with wife Sandy (Val’s younger sister) then Addy, Desiree and Val’s brother, the baby of the clan, Ronnie. To say a good time was had by all would be an understatement.

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Leaving Manchester the next morning, we drove to the beautiful Maine seacoast town of Wells Beach. It was one of the last few sunny days we’d see during out trip. After checking into our resort cabin, we walked down to the beach and snapped this selfie.

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Next up daughter Michelle and her husband Chris joined us at the beach for dinner of delicious seafood, clams, scallops, haddock, shrimp. Need we go on. After our meal we walked out on to the pier where Michelle snapped the pix of the Air Chief & Val against colorful maker-buoys and then set her cel phone down to snap the group shot. We had so much fun together.

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The next afternoon it was the Fortier clans time to gather. Brother George and his wife Anne joined us along with our sons Kevin and Scott. We ended up at Billy’s Chowder House for even more seafood. From left to right above we have brother George, son Kevin with the beard, oldest son Scott, the Air Chief, Val and sister-in-law Anne. Again such a great time enjoying each other’s company after so long a time of not being able to travel.

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After George and Anne left, Val snapped this pix of the Air Chief and his boys. Sad to believe that it had been seven years since we’d seen Kevin. He’s doing super and managed a supermarket in Massachusetts, while Scott works for an on-line retail fashion boutique headquartered in San Francisco from his home in Conn. As we live with son Alan, the only one of our children we didn’t see was youngest daughter Heather, who lives in Chicago. But the Air Chief plans on seeing her in Sept after the Windy City Pulp & Paper Con. Was really rough saying good-bye to the boys. Hopefully won’t be so long till we see them both again.

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The next day Valerie went off with daughter Heather to have a girls’ day, while the Air Chief did some writing on the new Brother Bones novel in the works.

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Sadly by then the weather along the New England Coast had turned foul and by Sat, when we went to Michelle and Chris’ lake home in Acton, it was cold and rainy. But that never stopped us from gathering indoors. Chris had the grill going outside and we had a wild and woolly Memorial Day gathering. So once again Michelle set up her camera to grab this group shot. Left to right, oldest granddaughter Kristi, behind her is Kristin and her youngest Natalie, behind her is her husband Steve, next to Steve is second granddaughter Chelsea holding Steve & Kristin’s Nathan on her lap. Michelle, the mother hen down front, Valerie behind her, the Air Chief peeking in and finally Chris.

Look the weather may not have been what we wanted but in those 8 days we saw our family. The Air Chief and Val even had breakfast with our cousin Elaine and her husband Dennis, who, as it turned out, we’re staying only a mile down the road. We hadn’t seen Elaine in almost forty years. If live has taught the Air Chief anything at all it is that family is by far the greatest blessing God gives us. Whereas with Valerie and yours truly, he gave us the best families in the world. AMEN.

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We also want to thank our Airship 27 Production partner, artist Rob Davis for holding down the fort while we were gone. Rob fully assembled and released writer Fred Adam Junior’s fourth C.O. Jones thriller, “Hometown U.S.A.”  See cover above. Rob did that cover and all the black and white interior illustrations. Jones is a World War II veteran trying to get by as a private eye in the late 40s, who seems to trip over supernatural things when on a case. This one, like all previous three books, is now available at Amazon in both paperback and on Kindle. As ever, Loyal Airmen, thanks so much for your continued support.

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We’ve also mentioned this new book from Moonstone in the past few months. Well we’re happy to tell you it is now available for sale at their store on-line. The Green Hornet by Mel Odom is great and of course we contributed the back-up I.V. Frost yarn. We do hope you’ll check it out.

And there you have it, Loyal Airmen. We’re home and it’s back to the routine of creating and producing quality pulp titles. Thanks for stopping by and we’ll see you back here next Friday.

Ron – Over & Out!

BACK IN NEW ENGLAND

  • On 28 May | '2021

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Greeting Loyal Airmen, as you read this Flight Log, Valerie and the Air Chief are in Wells Beach, Maine enjoying a week back east visiting friends and family.  This beach is one both of us often visited as children growing up in nearby southern New Hampshire. So obviously very little has been going on projects wise, but as you were kind enough to drop by we decided to give you a sneak peek at two pages from the forthcoming Black Bat graphic novel currently being illustrated by Mike Belcher.

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In the above page, District Attorney Tony Quinn is back home from the hospital after having been blinded by acid thrown in his face.  The attacker worked for a crimeboss Quinn was trying to send to prison. In this page, his assistant Silk Kirby is trying to make him comfortable and Quinn is deciding what his future will be like now that he is blind.

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In this page we see that very crime boss, Oliver Snate, in his office locating in the boxing gym he owns. He is delighted to read that Quinn has resigned and feels like he’s one a major battle. Little does he know what the fates have in store for him.

And there you have it Loyal Airmen. No one has seen these pages but you. Next week we’ll be back in the office and have other things to share with you. Until then be well

Ron – Over & Out!

RADIO RITA

  • On 21 May | '2021

Greetings Loyal Airmen, whereas this past week Rob and the Air Chief recorded our 75th episode of the Airship 27 Podcast, we thought it might be fun to detail the creation of another Airship 27 crew member, the lovely Radio Rita.

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After Rob and the Air Chief had launched the once a month podcast show, it became the Air Chief’s job to notify folks via Facebook and the internet when we would be doing another episode and at the same time ask folks to send in questions if they had any. Wanting to have fun with these notices, one month we began the post by saying we’d just received a call from Hangar 27 (the place where our beloved Airship 27 is kept when not in the air) and in doing so we envisioned this beautiful woman in charge there as our chief radio operator…and we simply called her Radio Rita. Knowing visuals are a key element in getting people’s attention, the Air Chief scoured the internet in searching of an image in which a beautiful woman was talking on a radio set-up. Lo and behold we found the above old school pin-up and it was perfect. Thus Radio Rita was. Best guess, the artist was the legendary Gil Elvgren.

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After using the pin-up for several months, we thought it might find another similar image and change things up a bit, not wanting our Loyal Airmen to simply get used to seeing the pin-up piece. So back to the surfing the web until we landed on this one above of an actual young model on a wireless set. Well alright, now we had a “real” Radio Rita and our FB pals loved her. Some believe she’s a young Renee Russo, and they might be right. Anyway from that point onward we would swap back and forth between the pin-up Rita and the live Rita.

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After a while the Air Chief began thinking it would be awesome if Rob would see his way into drawing a brand new old school type pin-up of our gal. The Air Chief thought it might be fun to see Radio Rita riding through the skies on a mini-airship. Rob was hesitant at first, not having done this kind of cheesecake and admitted be uncomfortable about the idea. So we let it drop. Then two weeks ago the Air Chief found the above pix of a lovely female aviatrix thought, “So Rita is our radio gal, but whose to say she isn’t a pilot as well?” So this new version was added to our files of the lovely Rita. And lo and behold something in it clearly sparked Rob’s wonderful imagination because less that a week letter he sat down and delivered….

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Loyal Airmen we give you Airship 27’s own Radio Rita, Queen of the Airwaves. Rob outdid himself and the Air Chief loves this new pin-up of our gal. In fact we’re giving some thought to maybe doing a t-shirt with this picture. What do you think?

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Moving right along. Another character the Air Chief created long-long ago, was Chinese cat-burglar, Satin Wei for a comic book series to be called SATIN’S WAYS.  Sadly the original artist who worked on the project, G. Martinez was unable to do more thank sketches and an 8 pg strip, which invariably was published in several black and white comic anthologies.  (His is Satin at upper left.) Then a few other artist took a go at the strip (ala the version in upper center) but they too moved on. Finally, after all these years, we’ve partnered with artist Richard Jun (upper right) and will be doing a SATIN’S WAYS comic for SILVERLINE COMICS hopefully by years end. To that end we turned to our pal Rob Davis to whip up a brand new logo for us and he delivered in style.

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Looks like our lovely little thief is at long last going to make her comics debut in 2021. All fingers crossed.  And that’s our Flight Log for this week, Loyal Airmen. As ever, thanks so much for dropping by. Next week the Air Chief and Valerie will be in New England on vacation. But we’ll see if we can post a few things for you before we leave.

Ron – Over & Out!

THE SILVER PENTACLE

  • On 14 May | '2021

Greetings Loyal Airmen. Nancy Hansen is one of the finest writers we know and a dear friend. So it is with much joy we kick off this week’s Flight Log announcing her latest Airship 27 book.

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“The Silver Pentacle” is the first in a new series set in the distant future after the Earth has been ravaged by nuclear wars. What remains among humanity have gathered into various tribes trying to survive in this devastated world. Then along come super beings from another dimension bringing with them an eternal struggle between good and evil. This tale is a wonderful mix of both science fiction and fantasy as only Nancy can do. And we are also thrilled to have artist Guy Davis on board doing both the interior illustrations and that beautiful cover above here. Guy is a fellow Coloradoan and a good friend. This is his first work for Airship 27 Production and he has already signed on to be a part of the second book in the series. All in all another terrific title we hope you’ll check at Amazon. It’s there in both paperback and on Kindle. As ever, thanks so much for your continued support.

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Aside from writing, editing and publishing, many of your Loyal Airmen know the Air Chief also writes a review blog called Pulp Fiction Reviews. We’ve been doing this over twenty years and in that time have written hundreds of book review, most of them connected in some way pulp literature. But also in that time we’ve managed to write reviews of non-fiction titles and let those slip in there. Recently the urge to read more non-fiction has prompted us to consider creating a second Google platform blog dedicated solely to non-fiction titles. And as it will be the cousin to Pulp Fiction Reviews, we’re going to label it Pulp Fact Reviews. We hope to launch in the coming week. If that happens we’ll post the link here next week.  Wish us luck.

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Finally this year’s winners of the Pulp Factory Awards have started receiving their awards in the mail over the past week. Three were kind enough to snap pictures and share them with the rest of the New Pulp community. The top close up pix belongs writer Teel James Glenn who won for Best Novel. Then we have John French’s for his Best Short Story and finally Publisher Charles Millhouse posted his for Best Anthology. Only two missing were our artists amigos; Dan Aviles who won Best Cover and Ed Catto who won Best Interior Illustrations. Hopefully these two talented gentlemen will be getting their awards soon. And once again, a heart felt congratulations to all our winners.

And that’s our Flight Log for this week, Loyal Airmen. As ever thanks for stopping by and we’ll see you back here next week.

Ron – Over & Out!

OLD STORY IN PRINT

  • On 7 May | '2021

Greetings Loyal Airmen, we hope all of you are enjoying Spring, that you’ve gotten your vaccine shots and looking forward to all of us once again getting back to familiar, fun events with family and friends.

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Last year publisher Storm Gate Press won the Pulp Factory Award for their first issue of Pulp Reality. Now they have just released the second issue and above is the cover, featuring a truly beautiful illustration by artist Clayton Murwin. If you’ll look closely at the list of creators, you’ll see the Air Chief’s name smack dab in the middle. When publisher Charles Millhouse put out a request for submissions, we remembered our little weird western story, “The Wind Kid,” which we had written a few years ago and made available only on Kindle.  (Yes, it is still there Loyal Airmen.)  Whereas it has never been taken to print, we queried Charles, telling him of its history and inquiring if he could use it for this issue. He replied affirmatively and even went and got permission from artist Rob Davis to use the wonderful illustration that covers the Kindle version. Aside from the Air Chief, the list of contributors to this volume is really awesome and we hope you’ll check it out. It is available right now at Amazon. As ever thanks for your support.

Last week we had the fun of  introducing to you to Chef Pierre, the Pulp Factory Master of the Kitchens. This week, Airship 27’s own Chief Engineer Rob Davis wanted to present to you his number assistant at Hangar 27.

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GLORIA “GADGETS” BERNHAM

A 16 year old student at the Crest Valley Vocational Academy.  Father is a NASA Engineer her mother an Emergency Room nurse.  Gloria is youngest of three girls; older sisters Ruth and Grace are both away from home in college. Fascinated with all things aviation, she was introduced to Chief Engineer Rob Davis when he was a guest speaker at the school. Impressed by her uncanny skills and inventive abilities to make machines from spare parts, Rob offered her an Apprentice Scholarship and she now works as his assistant at the Airship 27 Hangar when not in classes at school and on the weekend. Aside from building things, she has a fondness for Cheery Cokes, stray animals and an obsession with airships. It’s rare to see her cute face without several blotches of grease on it. Nothing makes her happier than fixing something broken. Rob has become her mentor and she jokingly calls him “Pops” teasing him about his age.

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Finally, after wrapping up that 108 pg Black Bat graphic novel, the Air Chief turned his attention to his next prose writing project. From the start of our Brother Bones series, one of the most radical and fan favorite characters in that world has always been Harry Beest, the mobster who crossed his boss, Topper Wyld, and for it suffered a horrid face. His brain was removed from his body and put in that of a Silver Back Gorilla. Thus Beest became a true Beast. Well all of that was hastily stated in a just a few paragraph before diving full into the story with him. What we never did was give the complete story of why and how this fate befell Harry. That is the core plot of the prequel novel we are now writing and hope to have completed by the start of July. Tentative title will be – CAPE NOIRE : A Beest & Beauty Tale. We think our Brother Bones fans are going to enjoy this filling out of the back story, not only of Harry, but other familiar players in the series. Stay tune and wish us luck.

That’s it for this week Loyal Airmen, thanks as always for stopping by and we’ll see you back her next week.

Ron – Over & Out!

TALL TALES

  • On 30 Apr | '2021

Greeting Loyal Airmen.  We’re going to kick this week’s Flight Log off with announcing Airship 27 Productions latest release.

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A few years ago we launched a series that would be based on myths from around the world. It was a lot of fun and our readers enjoyed enough for us to do a second.  PULP MYTHOLOGY Vol 2 features three brand new tall tales. The first is a story of the might Heracles by Samantha Lienhard. The second features the Russian witch Baba Yaga by Michael Panush. And then topping of the entire package is a rousing Pecos Bill novella by Mel Odom.  Our dear friend Gary Kato provided the black and white interior illustrations and the cover, based on these, is by the super talented Ted Hammond. The book is now available at Amazon in both paperback and on Kindle. Trust Loyal Airmen, this one is tons of fun. As ever we thank you for your support.

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Speaking of Tall Tales, here is one we hope you Loyal Airmen will really enjoy. Way back when the Pulp Factory group was started as a way to connect pulp creators and their fans, the Air Chief became the site moderator when it was up on Yahoo. And whenever we know a member was having a birthday, we would let everyone know about it. When Yahoo closed down the site and we were forced to move to a Pulp Factory Page, lots of things changed, i.e. our membership skyrocketed from 160 to almost 300 now. Of course being still aware of members’ birthday, we began posting pictures of birthday cakes when announcing their big day. Then one day, out of the blue, we started talking about how these cakes were made in the Pulp Factory HQ kitchens by a famous trained cook and we called Chef Pierre. From that point on, every time we mentioned a person’s birthday, we add a bit about Chef Pierre’s joy in cooking up these treats. As time went on, we added some background to the character, ala the fact he was ex-military, as superb martial artist without peer and when not cooking, a globe-trotting adventure of renown.

Ultimately many of our PF members began asking questions about the Chef, his likes and dislikes, his past adventures and would we ever one day see him written in up a pulp tale. All which inspired the Air Chief to contact Airship 27 Art Director Rob Davis about the possibilities of his bringing Chef Pierre to life in a sketch.  And today he did just that. Above is the Pulp Factory’s very own famous CHEF PIERRE, and man at ease in a gun battle, romancing exotic beauties as he is in his stainless steel kitchens at PF Headquarters. What’s next for this amazing character. Only time will tell, but we assure you, it will be a very TALL TALE.

And that’s our Flight Log for this week, Loyal Airmen. As ever, thanks for stopping by and we’ll see you all back here next Friday.

Ron – Over & Out!

TEACHERS

  • On 23 Apr | '2021

Greeting Loyal Airmen, it has always been our belief that after family and friends, no one influences us more in this world then our teachers. From our early formative years in grade school, on to high school and college, good teachers have the ability to shape our thoughts and thus our actions, setting us on paths we might never have dare to try.

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Such was the case sixty-three years ago when a shy, nerdy 13 year old named Ronald Fortier walked into his freshmen high school homeroom class and was greeted by a teaching sister of Notre Dame named Sister Raymunda. Little did he know how four the next four years she would inspire him. She was both an English and Math teacher. It was in the former that she taught us and she did with so much enthusiasm she made literature magic. We’d already been an avid reader but it was Sister Raymunda who somehow saw in us that tiny spark of a dream to be a writer. Then she proceeded to fire it up by her constant encouragement and support. Every day in her class was an adventure. We would go on to have her for English three of our four years at St. Thomas Aquinas High School. The memories of those years still echo warmly in our thoughts. Shortly after we graduated, Sister Raymunda was made principal as seen by image to the left. Later, when reassigned, she’d go on to teach at many schools throughout New England and even in her later years working with immigrants in nigh school to help them learn the English. We’d guess in her career she must have touched the lives of thousands of young people. Touched them in her special, loving way. The picture on upper right was taken in 2017, at a retirement home in Conn. where she and the other resident nuns were visited by the then St. Thomas Choir. Sister Raymunda was so thrilled to be reunited by who she called “Her Saints.” A few days ago, we learned that she had passed away at the age of 95, gone home to her Loving God. Though saddened by that news, we believe in our hearts that through God’s mercy, we’ll see her again one day. After all, He was blessed us with her in the first place. Rest well, Sister Raymunda.

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Two weeks ago, if you Loyal Airmen stopped by while the Air Chief was on vacation in Florida, you would have seen the sneak peeks at several pieces of artwork from the new Black Bat graphic novel we wrote and that the amazing Mike Belcher is illustrating. Above is a snipped from a page in progress and is one of the most vital moments in the story of Anthony Quinn, the battling District Attorney who will become the hooded avenger. We’re sure you pulpsters out there can deduce what is being shown.

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Finally we are very excited to announce the release of our newest pulp thriller, FANGS OF THE SEA by writer Fred Adams Jr. This one is about vampire pirates and is pure horror-adventure as only Mr. Adams can provide. Our own Rob Davis did the interior illustrations and the amazing Adam Shaw that beautiful creepy cover you see above. As ever it is available at Amazon in paperback and on Kindle. Thanks always for your support, Loyal Airmen.

Which wraps up this week’s Flight Log. Thanks for stopping by and we’ll see you all here next Friday.

Ron – Over & Out!

SO LONG, DERRICK FERGUSON

  • On 16 Apr | '2021

Greetings Loyal Airmen, this week’s Flight Log is one we’d never imagined writing. As you Loyal Airmen know, the Air Chief and Valerie were in sunny Florida on vacation last week. It was turning out to be a wonderful time until we received the news that one of dearest friends, and writing colleagues, Derrick Ferguson has passed away.

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We first met Derrick via the internet over fifteen years ago when he dropped us a line about a book he’d written called “Dillon and the Legend of the Golden Bell.” It was a modern day pulp thriller and he was hoping we might read and review it for him. Both of which we did and were only to delighted to do both. You see, up until that point in time, there were all too few black pulp heroes and Dillon was a truly exceptional action adventure hero as brought to life by Derrick’s skills as a writer. He could spin the most outlandish tale and over time continued to produce many more Dillon adventures. And our friendship simply grew stronger and stronger.

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Above is the latest edition of that first Dillon adventure plus a really great drawing of the character. Eventually as the New Pulp community continued to grow, writer/publisher Tommy Hancock got it into his head to hold a pulp convention in his hometown of Melbourne, Arkansas and invited a whole bunch of really amazing new pulp writers. You know Derrick was going to be there.

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Derrick and his wife Patricia were vacationing in Florida that year and decided that before driving on back to Brooklyn, where they lived, they’d head west and come to Pulp Ark # 1. In the photo to the left (from left to right) are Van Allen Plexico, Derrick, yours truly, Tommy Hancock & Barry Reese. Trust us, there lots more pulp creators at that show, alas not in that one seminal photo. Nancy Hansen and her husband were along, Rob Davis, Dr. Art Sippo, Terry Alexander, Lee Houston Jr., Bobby Nash and for sure one or two others we’ve forgotten. Please forgive us.

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Panels on pulp writing were held in the building’s cellar. No lie. As is evidenced from these pictures. To say that show was memorable for so many reasons would be a gross understatement. In a way, that weekend might be considered as the unofficial birth of the New Pulp movement in this country.

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From that time on, our friendship evolved and we learned a whole lot more things about this amazing fellow. One of which was his passion for the movies and for the longest time he co-hosted a podcast with fellow Brooklynite Thomas Deja about the movies called, “Better in the Dark.” It was one of our first ever introductions to the world of podcasting and it was a joy to listen to.

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In the end it was this love of movies that brought Derrick to write for us at Airship 27. When he learned that we would be launching a brand new Sinbad the Sailor series, it wasn’t the fact that our Sinbad would be black that lured him to sign on, but that we wanted the stories to reflect the fun and action of the old Ray Harryhausen Sinbad movies. That’s all Derrick needed to know and he whipped out a great novella for our very first volume.

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By then he knew of our affection for his hero Dillon and when he offered us this novel teaming Dillon with the classic pulp figure Jim Anthony, we jumped at it. He co-wrote “The Vril Agenda” with his old pal Joshua Reynolds and it remains one of our finest titles. People still pick it up years later. Adam Shaw turned in such a stunning cover.

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Then when Derrick learned we were going to be doing a series based on the exploits of the legendary black U.S. Deputy Marshal Bass Reeves, he was one of the first to give us a holler. All total, he wrote three Bass Reeves tales for us and they appear in volumes, 1 – 2 & 4.  Above is a shot of Derrick and Tommy taken at the only time he ever attended the Windy City Pulp & Paper convention in Chicago back in 2019.

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Above are two more pix taken at that show. The one on the left was taken Friday night at a burger joint before the Pulp Factory Awards were given out. As you can see, Derrick was all in having a blast with the rest of us zany pulp folks. The pix on the right had been shot on the vendor’s floor earlier and is of course now one of our favorites to remember him by.

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Another of Derrick’s many loves was boxing and a few years back he’d written a novella called “Brooklyn Beatdown” that had appeared elsewhere and since gone out of print. Dismayed by that, he’d inquired if we’d be willing to reprint it at Airship 27 to get it back into print. We were thrilled to do so, gave it the cover spot with as yet another gorgeous Adam Shaw cover and Rob Davis did six beautiful interior illustrations. Derrick was delighted with the results.

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And please understand, aside from his stories for Airship 27, Derrick wrote for all the major New Pulp publishers and if you’d truly like to honor his memory, go to Amazon and simply punch in his name. Then when all those great titles pop up, go on and pick up a few. You’ll be glad you did. Finally in that regard, although Dillon appeared in lots of great prose, to the best of our knowledge he only ever showed up in a comic book story and that happened in Redbud Studio’s Airship 27 presents All Star Pulp Comics Vol 2. He had the cover spot battling alongside Jungle Lord Ki-Gor’s mate, Helene.

And now he’s gone. Just like that. A fiery comet of a literary giant who shot across our heavens and made all our lives so much better with his presence. In the weeks and months ahead, there will be many more memorials and tributes. Tommy Hancock has a book coming together that will pay homage to our friend. It is one we are truly honored to be a part of. Rest assured, we’ll let you know when it is published and how you can obtain copies. For now, our deepest condolences to Patricia and all her family. We thank her from the bottom of our hearts for sharing Derrick with us all these years.

Derrick, see you in heaven some day. Till then, rest easy my friend.

Ron – Over & Out!

WHILE ON VACATION

  • On 9 Apr | '2021

Greetings Loyal Airmen, as you read this Flight Log, Valerie and the Air Chief are in Ft. Meyers, Florida, enjoying a much needed vacation. Knowing we’d be gone, we decided to give you a little comic preview concerning the 104 pg graphic novel THE BLACK BAT, that we wrote for artist Mike Belcher.

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On April 1st, Mike debut the beautiful pin-up piece drawn by him and colored by his son, Aiden. When writing scripts, we try to maintain a formula of no more than five or six panels per page. Below are Mike’s pencils for Page Number One.

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To the left is the complete page penciled.  Then Mike tightens up the pencils with his inks. Next Aiden will take over with his letters and coloring. Page one has District Attorney Tony Quinn arriving at the courthouse for a very important trial, accompanied by his valet/bodyguard Silk Kirby, a reformed con man. They are met at the front entrance by a group of very excited newshounds. Mike loves to put cameos in his stories, so do you recognized a certain journalist among that group?
And that’s it for this week. The Air Chief and Val should be back by next Friday. Till then, be well and stay safe.
Ron – Over & Out!