PULP COVER FRIDAY PRESENTS A BUNCH OF OTHER GUYS NAMED CAPTAIN
“Captain” was a popular sobriquet during the pulp era (though not as popular as it was in the comic book field, where there are seemingly thousands of guys called Captain Something Or Other). This week we’ll take a look at a few of them. None, unfortunately, had a lasting impact on pulp field.
First up, alphabetically, is Captain Combat, who had a three issue run (April to August 1940). Apparently the stories concerned the current war in Europe. Check out the titles of the lead stories. Would it surprise you to learn that their author “Barry Barton” was actually our old pal, Robert Hogan? I thought not.
The pulp Captain Combat should not be confused with the comic book hero Captain Combat, who appeared in issue #1 of STAR-STUDDED COMICS, then sank into comic book oblivion.
Captain Hazzad, a Doc Savage knock-off, proved somewhat less popular than the Man of Bronze, his zine lasting one issue (5-38) compared to Doc’s 181. Hazzard was a rich adventurer based out of New York City who also had a team of aides whom he communicated with telepathically (handy, that). Two of his aides were Washington MacGowan, mathematician, and Jake Cole, cowboy. Both undoubtedly handy in a fight and around the lab, respectively.
Here’s a weird one that I found a listing for, but could discover no cover illos of. CAPTAIN LIBRARY. Published 12 issues in 1910. Was he an actual person? Did he have aides? Could he communicate with them telepathically, or perhaps in the Mayan language? Who knows? All has been lost to the mists of time.
Captain Satan sprung out of STRANGE DETECTIVE MYSTERY whose name was changed to CAPTAIN SATAN after the second issue. After five issues as CAPTAIN SATAN, it went back to SDM for an additional 26 issues. Captain Satan was one of those annoying rich men about town. How he earned the title of captain is another of those strange mysteries. One source says he was an ex-criminal. In any case, he was a Robin Hood type who stole from crooks and gave to the poor. He also had a gang of assistants, all ex-criminals, with names like Doc, Happy, Frenchie, Soapy, Big Bill, and Gentleman Dan. Note the flashlight he’s holding in the first cover. He used it to project a devil figure on the wall above his vanquished foes as a calling card.
Last but not least is Captain Zero (3 issues at the tail end of the pulp era: 11-49 to 3-50). This captain had the power to become invisible at midnight and would automatically reappear at dawn. His Achilles’ heel was the fact that his eyes remained visible, which presents an image that could be certainly disconcerting. His adventures were penned by old pulp scribe G.T. Fleming-Roberts, who wrote a lot of things, including the first Spider story back in the day.
I’ve been watching a lot of movies lately, and the review possibilities are piling up. I need help in deciding which to do next. Among the candidates are: TO THE DEVIL A DAUGHTER, DEVIL BAT’S DAUGHTER, IT CAME FROM HELL, THE GREEN SLIME, and BEACH GIRLS AND THE MONSTER. Vote your favorite early and often.