AWESOME TALES # 1
Editor Rich Harvey
As regular readers of this column know, ever once in a while we will look at publications other than your typical pulp novel or anthology. In the past we’ve occasionally cocked a critical eye towards graphic novels or, when applicable, magazines devoted to pulp fiction. Of course the number of such periodicals is almost non-existence since the demise of Pro Se Productions excellent magazine series, Pro Se Presents. Obviously producing magazines has its own unique challenges the average New Pulp publisher would rather avoid altogether.
Thus there was no way we weren’t going to talk about Rich Harvey’s new venture, AWESOME TALES. The first issue is a slim affair with only three stories, two featuring female pulp heroes and a third revolving around office politics in the Pentagon that was clearly added as filler material.
Whereas we rarely mention art or packaging in our regular reviews, this format demands we do so. It is the highlight of the issue, as Harvey designs an iconic pulp cover around artist Ed Coutts art that has both the Domino Lady and Wicca Girl squaring off against a Nazi femme fatale. The interior of the issue is also well laid out and we liked that Harvey mixed Coutts original art with some original Domino Lady illustrations from her earlier pulp appearances.
We only wish the stories were up to the quality of the packaging. “Pretenders to the Throne,” by Harvey, teams Domino Lady and Wicca Girl as they take on the job of protecting the British Crown Jewels from Nazis agents working for Hitler. Even though there is plenty of action here, Domino Lady was always meant to be a crime-fighting character that used her sexuality as a weapon. Sure, there’s plenty of overt titillation here, but there are also elements of fantasy magic and that derailed our enjoyment.
Magic is the Wicca Girl’s forte and that is proven readily enough in the “The Warlock Murders,” by her creator, R. Allen Leider in which he has her hunting down a 300 year old serial killer for Scotland Yard. This was our favorite of the stories in this premier issue. We already mentioned the short-short in the middle, “The Seven Pictures” which is really and odd piece that might have worked better in a twisted issue of “True Confessions.”
In the end, “AWESOME TALES” is a good looking pulp magazine and we’re happy its here. Our fervent hope is the quality of the contents will improve with succeeding issue.