Saturday October 25, 2014




BOOK REVIEW

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When I saw there was a new book hitting stands featuring the Green Lama, I was immediately interested.

Not as well known as Doc Savage, or The Shadow, but among pulp characters the Green Lama has been around for ages.

“The Green Lama was an American pulp magazine hero of the 1940s,” states Wikipedia.
Now for those unfamiliar with pulp characters, think the grandfather’s of Batman.

“The term pulp derives from the cheap wood pulp paper on which the magazines were printed. Magazines printed on higher quality paper were called "glossies" or "slicks",” noted Wikipedia. “In their first decades, pulps were most often priced at ten cents per magazine, while competing slicks were 25 cents apiece. Pulps were the successor to the penny dreadfuls, dime novels, and short fiction magazines of the 19th century. Although many respected writers wrote for pulps, the magazines are best remembered for their lurid and exploitative stories and sensational cover art. Modern superhero comic books are sometimes considered descendants of "hero pulps"; pulp magazines often featured illustrated novel-length stories of heroic characters, such as The Shadow, Doc Savage and The Phantom Detective.”

In ‘The Green Lama: Scions, writer Adam Garcia weaves a new tale of intrigue.

“A cruise ship crashes suddenly on Liberty Island. All onboard are dead by their own murderous hands. All but one. What secrets does the lone survivor harbor within her very soul? And what horrors does she bring? These are questions only the Green Lama can answer! Reintroducing the most unique Pulp Hero ever! In reality, The Green Lama is Jethro Dumont, a millionaire playboy who spent ten years in Tibet and now uses his Buddhist training to pursue Justice for those denied it! Can even the Green Lama, with his mastery of the supernatural and his radioactive salts, be enough to prevent the coming of .. Scions,” details the book’s entry at www.goodreads.com (a site as a reader I highly recommend to all).

On Goodreads, after reading ‘Scions’ I posted “fun, quick read, as a good pulp should be. I might have liked a bit more GL action, and less his support crew, but still a satisfying read.”

It was my immediate reaction to the book, and it stands now upon a period of reflection.

A pulp by nature is not to be overly long, deep, or confusing, at least in my mind. It should be light, yet action-packed reading.

Garcia delivers fairly well, although I would have liked to read a bit more about Green Lama kicking some bad guy butt.

I did take the time to contact Garcia (a friend via Facebook.com), and of course my first question was; why write Green Lama as opposed to a new character of his own creation?
“My father is a major collector of esoteric Golden Age heroes, and chief among them is his complete collection of the Green Lama Comics published by Spark Publications,” responded Garcia. “When I had the chance to choose a character to write, and saw the Green Lama listed, there was no question who I would pick. I knew I could write the adventures of Jethro Dumont and his allies from an honest place, that it would be more than just another writing assignment, that these stories would ultimately be a gift for my father, giving him a new series of Green Lama tales he could love and collect.”

But I persisted in wanting to know why the Green Lama, over other heroes of the bygone era?

 “I find that most pulp heroes are driven forward by some vague sense of justice, viewing the world in harsh black and whites,” said Garcia. “They’re often needlessly violent or willingly cross questionable lines in their pursuit for what they believe is right.
“Jethro Dumont isn’t driven by a need for justice; rather he’s driven by his faith, one that he betrays every time he slips on his robes. It makes him flawed and human, as opposed to many other pulp heroes who are often modeled to be a vision of perfection. He is a character I can identify with, not just as a reader, but as a fan.”

So Garcia had a soft spot for GL, but I also wondered what the greatest challenge was in writing a character with a significant background of known material?

“Moonstone is publishing the first of a series of fully licensed stories, so it was important to us that we stay true to the spirit of the character and while Kendell Foster Crossen created various different versions of the Green Lama, I wanted to go back to his original form in the pulps and use those first fourteen stories as canon, while mining the other Crossen versions for inspiration, and ignoring any version that wasn’t fully licensed by the Estate,” said Garcia. “Ultimately, the real challenge is telling stories that continue Crossen’s narrative and speaks to the fans of originals, while writing in a way that attracts modern, more discriminating, readers.”

As a writer I can appreciate the homework Garcia had to do, which left me wondering if he foresaw more GL stories to come?

“There’s going to be a lot of Green Lama coming from Moonstone and me. Up next, we have Horror in Clay, which is very much a companion piece to Scions, and helps set the stage for the full-length novel Unbound, which is coming out later this year, and its sequel, Crimson Circle, and hopefully more beyond that,” said Garcia.

“We’re also doing several short stories as part of a few upcoming anthologies that will cross the character over with other heroes in Moonstone’s stable, as well as deepen the Green Lama’s own journey.”

Overall, ‘The Green Lama: Scions’ is a read I recommend for lovers of detective pulp action. Check it out at www.moonstonebooks.com


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