Friday, May 6, 2016


Back in the thirties, there was Doc Savage, The Shadow and The Spider that gave us breathtaking action adventure.
Entertaining story from Byron Preiss illustrated by Tom Sutton!
Stephen Fabian lavishly illustrated another Preiss story in the Fiction Illustrated series.
Probably the most famous of the Fiction Illustrated digests is Steranko's Chandler.
Weird Heroes, "New American Pulp", was a series of novels and anthologies produced by Byron Preiss in the 1970s that dealt with new heroic characters inspired by the classic pulp magazine characters. And like the pulps, the series was also heavy on art, having many well-known artists illustrate the stories. There was an introduction, about the concept and separate introductions to each of the first two volumes. Fabulous introductions & afterwords embellished each of the stories.

Chandler was the trade paperback of the Fiction Illustrated digest. Hard to come by!
Centerfold for Chandler from Steranko's Mediascene tabloid. More recently, Chandler showed up in the new Dark Horse Presents series.
All I've seen is the trade paperback for the last Fiction Illustrated story.
The series was edited & developed by Byron Preiss Visual Productions and was published by Pyramid/Jove/HBJ. Four of the books are anthologies, four are novels. During the same time, Preiss also produced the Fiction Illustrated series with the same publisher.

Weird Heroes #1  A New American Pulp!

Painted Jim Steranko cover & designs.
Greatheart Silver
"Showdown at Shootout"
Greatheart Silver, a lineal descendant of Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings, working for the Acme Zeppelin Corporation as a blimp pilot and private detective.
Written by Philip José Farmer.
Illustrated by Tom Sutton.
Quest of the Gypsy
Wandering hero on an incredible quest!
Written by Ron Goulart.
Illustrated by Alex Nino.
Adam Stalker: The Darkstar File
Vietnam Vet turned undercover hero!
Written by Archie Goodwin.
Illustrated by David Sheridan.
Rose in the Sunshine State
Geriatric heroine in the sunshine state!
Written by Joann Kobin.
Illustrated by Jeff Jones. 
Guts, the Cosmic Greaser
The fifties greaser from the future!
Written by Byron Preis.
Illustrated by Jim Steranko.
There was a 30th Anniversary edition published by iBooks (minus a few pages.)

Weird Heroes #2  A New American Pulp!

Painted Jim Steranko cover and designs.
Doc Phoenix
Dr. Raymond Phoenix, logical successor to the epic style adventures of Clark Savage Jr., the original new hero with the flavor of the old pulps!
Written by Ted White.
Illustrated by Steve Fabian.
Cordwainer Bird
"The New York Review of Bird"
The sensational Harlan Ellison introduces a media hero to take the N.Y. literary establishment by storm! See Ellison's nom-de-plume become a "real" hero in "The New York Review of Bird."
Written by Harlan Ellison 
Illustrated by Neal Adams.
The Camden Kid
For people who don't like Westerns comes the cowboy from Camden, New Jersey!
Written by comedian Charlie Swift.
Illustration by Steranko.
The life of Viva, a San Francisco prostitute undergoing a sudden and traumatic metamorphosis! 
Written by Steve Engelhart
Illustrated by Esteban Maroto.
SPV 166, The Underground Express
The insane story of three female ex-convicts who sleuth from a reconditioned subway car in the labyrinth under New York! 
Written by Elliot S. Maggin.
Illustrated by Ralph Reese & Paul Kirchner.
The Return of Greatheart Silver or the Secret Life of Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm
The return of the fantastic zeppelin captain and adventurer in a hilarious sequel.
Written by Philip José Farmer
Illustrated by Tom Sutton.
Guts was written by Preiss & illustrated by Gray Morrow & Michael Golden!
Unfortunately, most of the characters were never seen after the demise of Weird Heroes. Preiss did write one novel about his character Guts, illustrated by Steranko and planned a second. This was published by Ace Books, maybe as part of a 'revival' of the concept as single novels.

A later novel of Greatheart Silver with a great Howard Chaykin cover!
Tor Books reprinted Philip José Farmer's Greatheart Silver stories in a single volume with new art and Reaves's character Kamus appeared in 2 books by other publishers.

Recently, the first volume was reprinted by iBooks, but no word if further books will be reprinted as iBooks has gone bankrupt following Preiss's death. The first volume was also released on Kindle.

Jeff Jones painting for the cover of Doc Phoenix!
Live Large My Friends!

Thank You!
I will be doing a couple more posts to cover the further Weird Heroes history!

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