Challenger Storm: The Curse of Poseidon by Don Gates (Airship 27 Productions, 2014)


The pulps are making a comeback. From grand adventure in the tradition of The Shadow and Doc Savage to weird fiction inspired by H.P. Lovecraft, the “thrills and chills” genre is getting a rewrite by a new generation of authors for a new generation of readers. I haven’t had a lot of reading time lately (three-year-old + three-month-old), but Don Gates’ Challenger Storm novels are at the top of my list. I dig what I’ve read so far, and illustration legend Michael Kaluta—who, with writer Dennis O’Neil, delivered a canonical comic book adaptation of The Shadow in the 1970s—provided cover and interior art. Yes, please.

Here’s an excerpt from the press release:

When several cargo ships begin disappearing on the waters of the Aegean Sea rumors begin to spread about black-armored demons rising up out of the deep. For Challenger Storm and his MARDL team, these events hold no particular interest until one of Storm’s troubleshooters, Diana St. Clair, informs him that her former lover, and one-time MARDL scientist, Herbert Chambers is among the missing. Later, a freakish wave wipes out a small Greek fishing village leaving only a handful of survivors.  Is it possible someone has learned how to control the seas to do their bidding? When Storm and his companions arrive at a mid-ocean refueling station, they are attacked by saboteurs wielding bizarre rifles that fire sea-water.

Who is the mysterious figure calling himself Poseidon and what is the secret of his ability to create monstrous tidal waves?  Can Challenger Storm find his underwater base in time to stop this mad genius before he rains down more watery destruction upon unsuspecting coastal populations?  Is mankind doomed to be ruled by a new King of the Seas?

Read a few pages of Challenger Storm: The Curse of Poseidon below. You’ll also find a couple of Kaluta’s illustrations. The book is available at Amazon in Kindle and paperback formats.






Great Bad Trailers for Great Bad Movies: Devil Dog: The Hound of Hell (1978)

The incredible bad TV cast includes Richard Crenna (dad), Yvette Mimieux (mom), and Kim Richards and Ike Eisenmann (brother and sister). Richards and Eisenmann also starred as siblings in Disney’s Escape to Witch Mountain (1975) and Return from Witch Mountain (1978). (My first two crushes were Richards and Maria Persson, who played Annika in the Pippi Longstocking movies.)

As of now, you can watch Devil Dog: The Hound of Hell here. Skip to the 1:28:20 mark to see the final encounter between Crenna and the devil dog in its wretchedly rendered demonic state. Rawr!

Devil Dog 1978

The Karate Kid 6 Piece Action Set (Remco, 1986)

Karate Kid Remco 1986

Karate Kid Remco 1986-2

Karate Kid Remco 1986-3

First, throw the FLY in the air. Second, open your CHOPSTICKS. Third, Catch the FLY.

Jesus, I love the ’80s.

(Images via sfzdk/Flickr)

The Year 2000 According to the Year 1970: Special Banking Edition

Banking 2000-1

Banking 2000-2

Banking 2000-3

Banking 2000-4

Banking 2000-5

Tom at Garage Sale Finds found these banking-related slides at an estate sale. They were paired with slides showing the current (circa 1970) state of banking and banking technology. Says Tom:

These slides were actually part of two sets. The first was “Electronic Data Processing and Your Credit Union” and the second was called “Challenge of Philosophy”. The second set was a sort of history of credit unions and included the “Year 2000″ slides.

Click the link for the rest of the photos, and then have a look through the whole site. It’s one of my favorite blogs; you’ll find everything from scans of 1970s TV Guides to 1950s Erector Set manuals to vintage swizzle sticks. It’s a smart, funny exploration of Americana, one garage sale at a time.

The Karate Kid Action Figures Ad (Remco, 1986)

Karate Kid 1986

I had no idea. The line came out with the release of The Karate Kid, Part II and included several playsets and accessories (Break-Away Wall, Miyagi’s Fly Catching Chopsticks). I must investigate further.

(Image via Fashion Plunder/eBay)

Advanced Dungeons & Dragons: Cool, Cool Candles (NSI, 1983)

AD&D Candles 1983-1

AD&D Candles 1983-3

AD&D Candles 1983-2

AD&D Candles 1983-5

They’re not just cool candles. They’re cool, cool candles. Do they represent the most obnoxiously irrelevant D&D product license ever to come to market, or does that honor go to the AD&D Woodburning Set, also from NSI? Either way, the candles are colorful, fun, and cool times two (times three, even!). I would like to line them up on my desk and light them while listening to First Quest: The Music.

(Images via G-Shop Games/eBay)

Alien T-Shirt (1979)

Alien T-shirt 1979

Alien T-shirt 1979-2

It sparkles!

Alien T-Shirt Transfer (1979)

Alien Transfer 1979-1

Alien Transfer 1979-2

Alien T-shirt 1979-3

Totally wicked and extremely rare iron-on. I think there were only four transfer designs in total: The egg, the Nostromo, the space jockey, and this one. The Giger-inspired title probably wasn’t recognizable enough at the time—nothing like it appears in the trailer, the theatrical posters, etc.—but it’s unmistakable now.

On the right hand side of the circle, you can see what looks like “Mfg. by Roach.” I wonder if the artist is David Roach, who has worked in comics since the late ’80s and is best known for his work on 2000 AD. He also illustrated a popular run for Dark Horse called Aliens: Horror Show in 1992. Anyway, Roach certainly has the chops for it.

UPDATE (9/17/14): Jason at Contra Dextra Avenue identified the “Roach” on the transfer as most likely the t-shirt design company Roach Studios—very popular in the ’70s. Check out a vintage ad below.

Roach 1970s

Star Wars Kenner Pinback Button (1977/1978)

SW Kenner 77-78

(Via The Vintage Newsstand/eBay)

The Empire Strikes Back: Darth Vader’s Star Destroyer Action Playset (Kenner, 1980)

ESB SD 1980-1

ESB SD 1980-2

ESB SD 1980-3

ESB SD 1980-4

ESB SD 1980-5

See the set in the wild, and on Christmas morning, here.



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