Friday, May 20, 2016


Often overlooked was an attempt at starting a New Pulp movement back in the late '70s, led by book packager Byron Preiss, named Weird Heroes. Billed as “A New American Pulp,” this paperback series had amazing works from many esteemed authors, most well known in the science fiction and comic book communities, combined with interior artwork by top artists like Jim Steranko, who did the first two covers and Alex Nino, who also did some covers in the series. Published by Pyramid Books (who had been reprinting The Shadow novels during 1974-78), Weird Heroes lasted eight magnificent volumes, from 1975-77. Four of these were anthologies while the others were full fledged novels.

Weird Heroes Vol. 1 back cover.
A lot of these characters from Byron Press' Weird Heroes had potential and it is unfortunate they did not continue. Most of the authors hoped to write more about these characters. Ron Goulart's fantastic "Quest of the Gypsy" was meant to be a series of novels, lasting three to four novels, but unfortunately, we've seen only two.

Steranko's title page for Quest of the Gypsy.
Alex Nino's painted ack cover for Weird Heroes Vol. 3: Quest of the Gypsy.
Weird Heroes #3
Quest of the Gypsy
Journey into paradox and suspense in a tale where you get a chance to unlock the incredible secrets of - Quest of the Gypsy.
The year is 2033.
Cyborgs roam the streets of a plague-struck London. Robots move insanely amid the ruins of a plastic Louvre. Beneath Gibraltar, a mile-deep complex of secret data sits silently waiting.
Enter Gypsy...
A strange and haunting wanderer with surprising teleportive abilities. Taunted by stark recurring images of a long-abandoned past, he struggles to find the keys to a 55-year old puzzle!
---and the Vulture.
This weird winged nemesis who is but the first creature to yield clues to Gypsy's true identity. Who is Gypsy? Join in an exciting adventure where you have a chance to guess the hero.
The first five chapters are reprinted from Weird Heroes: Vol. 1
Written by Ron Goulart (as Joseph Silva he wrote a Captain America & a Hulk novel.) Front cover illustration, painted back cover & interior graphics by Alex Nino (Dead Ahead, The Comet.) Edited and developed by Byron Preiss.

Weird Heroes #4
Nightshade: Terror, Inc.
An internationally famous magician - a voodoo legend in the backfields of Haiti - an obsessed creature of the night! These are but three faces of the haunting, beautiful enigma called Nightshade! Experience her in Terror, Inc., a debut novel.
New York,
World-famous magician Doctor Black dazzles a packed house at Carnegie Hall, the suddenly disappears.
Silent eyes glare down at a sinister meeting of faceless conspirators. Nightshade is on the loose.
Schizophrenia and a self-destructive quest for vengeance emerge as a legendary Mama Dimanche appears in the Haitian jungle. It's all part of Nightshade's dark debut.    
Painted cover by Ralph Reese (Heroes Inc., T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents.) Introduction by Walter B. Gibson (The Shadow author who wrote under the name Maxwell Grant) Written by Tappan King & Beth Meacham, based on a character by Mark Arnold, Meacham and King. Illustrated by Rudy Nebres (Vampirella, Conan) & edited by Byron Preiss.

Another Steranko title page for Weird Heroes Vol. 2 & Vol. 5: Doc Phoenix.
Weird Heroes #5
Doc Phoenix: The Oz Encounter
What if your dreams were real? What if your mind contained another world - one which could be explored - one in which your fantasies actually existed. That is the world of Dr. Raymond Phoenix and his aides - a world of dangers, both real and surreal.
In The Oz Encounter, Phoenix enters the mind of a comatose girl and finds a strange land based on the famous fantasy stories. Yet it's not the Oz we know, but a distortion - a world shaped by the girl's own life.
What happens when a character from her mind seems to cross over to threaten the real world of Doc's Virginia headquarters? As danger builds, Phoenix plunges deeper and deeper into the perilous mystery of the girl's coma. Two worlds collide in a startling and unexpected climax! 
Something's happened to Patricia Wentworth...
The daughter of a famous politician lies in a coma...her mind trapped in the grasp of a bizarre fantasy world which threatens to claim both her life and sanity.
Phoenix is summoned...
Phoenix...the mysterious psychologist and adventurer whose methods enable him to enter the very fabric of the encounter dreams as if they were real.
To face the nightmare...
Phoenix crosses the gateway to Patricia's mind and discovers a twisted world linked to the legends of Oz. He journeys deeper, unaware that a creature from this nightmare has threatened his aids on Earth. It's the beginning of an extraordinary unexpected encounter of fantasy and reality that builds to a revealing climax!   
Painted cover by Jeff Jones (Flash Gordon, Ravens and Rainbows.) Written by Marv Wolfman (based on an idea by Ted White (Captain America The Great Gold Steal)) with graphics by Stephen Fabian (Starfawn) & edited by Byron Preiss.

Cover for the The Oz Encounter hardcover edition. I've yet to see the original book itself.
Marv Wolfman (Teen Titans) & Ted White's The Oz Encounter later came out as a beautifully re-designed hardcover edition published by Hungry Tiger Press, including Stephen Fabian’s wonderful illustrations!

iBooks anniversary reprint of Weird Heroes Vol. 1. Also available as a Kindle book.
I hope you've enjoyed these wonderful books as much as I have. I still own the lavish books and treasure them in my paperback book collection. 
Jeff Jones beautiful painting for The Oz Encounter.
Original art for Stephen Fabian's Doc Phoenix.
The illustration printed on the last page of the paperback edition, Weird Heroes Vol. 5: Doc Phoenix.
 Live Large My Friends!

Thank You! 
Guts first appeared in Weird Heroes Vol. 1 & later appeared in this full length novel.
Greatheart Silver first appeared in Weird Heroes Vol. 1 & Vol. 2. Later, a full length novel was published by Tor Books with a gorgeous cover by Howard Chaykin. The book collected three stories from Weird Heroes.

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