Charles R. Saunders, one of the most respected fantasy adventure writers in the field, has joined Airship 27 Productions to create a black pulp hero. Saunders is best known for his series of novels featuring Imaro, the black warrior of an ancient, mythological Africa. His work has been compared to being equal parts Robert E. Howard and J.R.R. Tolkien.
Saunders and Airship 27 Editor, Ron Fortier, have been friends for many years. Saunders had been working for a company which packages titles for Cornerstone Book Publishers as a proof-reader. It was the beginning of his first exposure to the world of pulps, one he enjoyed a great deal. He enjoyed it enough to offer Fortier an idea for a novel featuring a 1930s black avenger along the lines of the Shadow and the Spider.
“I was ecstatic when Charles brought up the idea,” says Fortier. “One of the less savory aspects of the pulps was their inherent racism. The pulps of the 1930s reflected a prejudicial ignorance that was representative of the country’s attitude during those times.” Today’s modern pulp writers and editors often grapple with this sensitive issue as whether or not to depict it accurately in their stories. Some opt to ignore it altogether.
“So that was the challenge,” Fortier continues. “Could Charles give us an African American hero and make it work in an authentic 1930’s New York setting?”
DAMBALLA, the name of the book, is Saunders’ response to that question. Cast in the mold of the classic pulp heroes, the noted author describes his new character as the 30s version of a well known cinema tough guy. “Damballa, like John Shaft, ‘will risk his neck for his fellow man,’” says Saunders. “The difference is, Damballa wears a cloak instead of leather jacket, and uses both ancient African wisdom and modern science in his battle against injustice.” Airship 27 Productions plans to release this ground breaking pulp thriller in the Spring of 2011.
Cornerstone Book Publishers also publishes Masonic and esoteric books, selected pulp fiction, art literature, limited children's books, and poetry collections. For more information about Cornerstone, go to www.cornerstonepublishers.com.
Airship 27 packages and publishes anthologies and novels in the pulp magazine tradition.
In the past, Airship 27 has released “Weird Horror Tales: The Feasting”, “Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective”, a series of “Captain Hazzard” pulp thrillers, more pulp fiction in “The Green Lama” and “Secret Agent X”. For more information on Airship 27, go to www.airship27.com.
I remember the Imaro stories from their first publication. Don Wollheim at DAW Books published one of them and had to have them recalled and the covers redone because it compared him to Tarzan and ERB, Inc was less than enthused by the comparison, even though I thought it was very accurate. This should be a very interesting concept. I'm looking forward to seeing this and I'm sure there are a lot of you out there as well.