Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Ralph's Rants interviews the Godfather of new pulp, Tommy Hancock

Ralph’s Rants does Interviews

Welcome to the new addition to my page, interviews. Our first victim is none other than the Godfather of New Pulp, the guiding force and Partner in/Editor in Chief of Pro Se Productions, the esteemed Tommy Hancock! (Now would be a good time to clap, people.)

Tommy, you and I know each other about ten to twelve years stemming back to our fanfic days at the various sites, Was that your first foray into writing? Or were you always interested, or let me clarify, was that your first actual “published” work? (Meaning seen by anyone else, on either website or paper)

Fiction wise, yes, the halcyon days of early internet fanfic were the period where my first stories were published. Having said that, I was a published writer at age 14, having a recurring column in the local newspaper for about two years. I also did quite a bit of time doing movie reviews and articles for my college newspaper.

Do you remember what your first published story was? (What I mean by published again, is by web site or paper.)

Sure, if you’re talking about my fiction. Renaissance De Novo #1 with the DCFutures Fanfiction group back in 1997. My take on legacy heroes based on Golden Age ancestors in a dystopian future. Sort of a futuristic All Star Squadron in a world where the legend of the Golden Agers had become far more than the fact.

Were you always interested in pulp or did that come about later on?

I honestly think I was born with an interest in Pulp and most popular culture from the period of the heydays of the Pulps. While other kids weren’t reading, I was haunting K-mart looking for the latest Doc Savage omnibus, hiding a radio under my covers at night listening to old time radio shows, and memorizing every single line in The Maltese Falcon and Casablanca (all by age 13). So, I’ve always had the interest. What came about later was the ability to read the stories I hungered for. The advent of reprints and especially of the internet and the fact that many of the tales from the Pulps are Public domain all contributed to me getting to read thousands of characters.

How did you discover your affection for pulp? You obviously have a great deal of it because I have never spoken to anyone as passionate about a subject as you are about New Pulp.

I don’t think I discovered a passion for Pulp. Like I said before, it’s always been there. As for New Pulp, I think what you sense there is a true fan of what he once thought was a lost style of writing discovering that it wasn’t lost at all, it just went under different names for a long time. New Pulp is an opportunity for a style forged in the crucible of the early 20th Century and hardened in the Depression to continue brightly into the 21st Century and, using the same trappings, allow different writers to spread their own messages to the masses.

Who is your favorite “old” pulp character?

That’s a hard question to answer as so many of them appeal to me. I have a special place in my heart for The Suicide Squad-Klaw, Kerrigan, and Murdoch- but my ultimate favorite would have to be Dorus Noel, a strange detective type created by Arthur J. Burks.

Who is your favorite “New” one?

Again, difficult to answer. And to be honest, with the stance I take on New Pulp of promoting it as a whole thing and pushing it all, it’s one I can’t answer. I have a ton of favorites- The Rook, Dillon, any lead in a Jack Tunney story, Stephen Jared’s Jack, and many, many more….

What about other types of fiction? Who was/is your favorite comic book superhero, and why?

There are other types of fiction? Here’s where my blanket statement comes in. While not every INSERT GENRE HERE story is pulp, there is pulp in INSERT SAME GENRE here, so I read multiple genres, even romance, IF the Pulpiness is there.

My favorite comic book super heroes actually populate the same time frame as my other interests-the Golden Age of American Pop Culture in the 20th Century. Some choices for this list include Johnny Thunder, The original Blue Beetle, Captain Marvel and his entire family, and more.

To me, new pulp seems to be growing quite nicely, am I correct in surmising that? Have you seen growth in the industry from last year to this?

Growth is an elusive statistic to track when talking about New Pulp. Are there more writers than last year? Yes. Are there more companies? Probably, although some have come and gone. Are we selling more? That’s the hard part to determine on an industry/market wide basis. Pro Se’s doing well, so well that we’re making some major expansions. I see hints of growth and expansion from other New Pulp mainstays as well. Also, mainstream media is catching on to the Pulp wave a bit more it appears, what with more Pulp characters appearing in Comics and more movies and shows and such having Pulpy themes and characters, if not calling themselves Pulp outright. So is the industry growing? I don’t know, but as a movement, New Pulp is gathering momentum every time a new page is published.

Where do you see Pro Se in twelve months from now? And in Twenty four?

The next twelve months are already planned, plotted, and underway at Pro Se. We’ll be releasing new imprints, projects, lines, and surprises that I think fans of New Pulp will love. We continue to bring in new writers, both those new to the profession and those who are new to New Pulp. We are focused on Pulp Ark 2013, the Convention/Creator’s Conference sponsored by Pro Se. There’s even a new product or two looming on the horizon.

As far as 24 months, I can’t really say for certain for a month or two more. I will say that 2013 is a very important year in what Pro Se is setting up. It’s been sort of like pre game prep until now, although a ton of work has gone into that prep. 2014 will be the year that steps onto the field are taken in major ways, using everything developed from 2010 forward.

What exactly got you interested in starting a publishing house?

Well, I didn’t exactly start Pro Se. My partner in the company, Fuller Bumpers, actually started the company and brought me into it to produce something we could sell and have fun making. My background was in writing, audio acting, and stage acting and Fuller brought a different sort of writing as well as Movie, Film, and TV experience to the mix. We tried our hand at audio drama for a bit, but after my first Pulp tale was published in 2010, we saw opportunity to not only hopefully one day make our way with a publishing house, but to also be a leader in a growing and vibrant movement that hadn’t even really come into its own yet. At the time, there were very few monthly Pulp magazines (and there still aren’t many), so we started our journey into New Pulp Publishing with our magazine line. Now we have our Magazine in a new incarnation and volume, several anthologies, several novels, two author based imprints as well an imprint dedicated to rare Pulp characters cross promoted with Altus Press’ reprints, and that’s just what’s in the house now.

Almost last question; is there anything you would like to tell the world that they don’t know about you already?

No, not really. I’m sure there are things, but if I used them here, then I’d waste time denying them later and wouldn’t have fodder for later interviews.

Finally last question: Do you remember this? http://genreations.8m.com/Sept/botbp1_1.htm

Wow. Actually, this one I do remember quite well as it’s on my list of ‘projects that changed my direction’. This began as a Green Arrow fanfiction idea that very quickly, before the first page was ever done, grew into its own story and one that sits in my unfinished file that I plan to pull out and shine up one day and actually complete. Unlike a few of my ideas from those days, which are so strongly tied to their source material that they can’t really be made into anything else, Brotherhood of the Bow definitely has legs all its own.

Okay folks that’s it for today’s guest, the inestimable Tommy Hancock Lets have a round of applause for the Godfather of New Pulp!

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