Category Archives: doc savage

Derrick Ferguson’s Dillon and the Legend of the Golden Bell

I have known Derrick Ferguson a long time as an online friend, and I’m proud to consider him a friend, even if we’ve never met in real life. For those of you out who think I’m an authority on film, I bow to Derrick as a master. He’s given me great writing advice over the years, but none so informative as the lessons I have learned simply by reading his work.

There’s a story I’ve told Derrick, and I guess (I’m really thinking positive here) the whole world as well on the GAR! Podcast, about a visual aid I was using at a point where I was trying to write in a pulp style. It was a sign I taped over my desk that read “I want to be Derrick Ferguson when I grow up.” That’s how well the man knows his genre. Derrick knows pulp, and he knows it so well, he has created a pulp hero for a new age – Dillon.

Dillon is a man who would make Doc Savage proud to know him, that’s how pulp he is. He is a man of skills, of integrity, of style, of exotic and mysterious background, he’s a lover, he’s a fighter, and most importantly he is a man of his word. Dillon is that rare entity in this dark world of ours – he is a likable hero we can root for, and a man who will win for the right reasons.

In the second novel (although it doesn’t much matter in what order you read the books) in the series, “Dillon and the Legend of the Golden Bell,” this pulp hero for a new age faces all the threats and situations that make the genre special. He must find an ancient artifact of great power, stop a civil war in an exotic island nation, and save the entire planet from the coming of a demon, along the way fighting femme fatales both human and shape-shifting, jet pack soldiers, warring airships, giant barbarian kings, and old fashioned tough talking gangsters. This was a hoot.

When was the last time you read a book that was fun? When was the last time you read a book where you cheered out loud for the hero? Where you hissed the bad guys? Where you laughed at the quips of the good guy? This is the book (books), and the hero for you. Check out “Legend of the Golden Bell,” and the rest of the books in the series, as well as all of Derrick’s other work. It, and he rocks.

Fear and Loathing at Wizard World Philly ’09

Saturday. Met up with my partners in crime – Anthony, Andrea and Ray – just after Wizard World Philadelphia 2009 opened this morning. We hung out in the Green Room for a bit, subtly eavesdropping on Marvel Comics’ Bill Roseman giving portfolio reviews to potential artists. Lots of keen insight on what is expected of artists and how comics should be done was overheard. Quite the learning experience.

Also from the eagle eye view in the Green Room over the con floor we spied one lone Suicide Girl, Kyra, staring at her lap and texting on her phone. She was surrounded by comics geeks and fanboys who just appeared too scared or shy to approach her. It wasn’t until her fellow Suicide Girls showed up that people came up to the table. I guess there’s safety in numbers?

On the con floor whilst checking out Artist Alley and hunting for HeroClix and Marvel Super Hero Squad figures, we witnessed quite a nasty bit of poaching between booths. A woman from one booth came up behind me while I was at another to say she had all of a certain action figure line – come on over and see. I was incredulous, and even if she did have what I was looking for I wouldn’t buy it (or anything) from her now.

Something else to add to the list of things that had to be seen to be believed was when I was chilling up on the third floor overlooking the entrance to the con floor, just over the concession stand. Two guys in their twenties were taking pictures straight down Yancy Butler’s (“Witchblade,” “Mann and Machine”) low-cut shirt while she was getting a hot dog. I chastised them and told them they should be ashamed of themselves. It seemed to have little to no effect.

Over the last two days I’ve sat in on a few writing panels, and it seems really strange and enlightening to me that everyone has a different process. From Garth Ennis to Raven Gregory to Jimmy Palmiotti to Alan Moore – everyone has a different approach. Interesting stuff. I also want to add that Buddy Scalara who hosted a few of these panels was very enthusiastic, entertaining and educational. Great stuff, Buddy.

The DC Nation panel hosted by Dan DiDio, editor-in-chief of DC Comics, was intriguing. We got a rundown, followed by asking an opinion of the audience, of DC’s current big projects. DiDio called out Green Lantern, Batman, Superman, and when he asked about Wonder Woman, my buddy Ray took him to task saying he didn’t like it, and felt that there was editorial interference on the book – specifically DiDio’s. Ray also mentioned that he thought “Battle for the Cowl” sucked and was one of the worst comics he’d ever read – even worse than US 1. It was made a bit of joke and Dan turned to Ray throughout the panel to ask if certain projects ‘sucked.’

Justice Society was next, then Justice League, Teen Titans, and then a project I’m pretty excited about – Wednesday Comics. Then there was talk of another project that piqued my interest, a series featuring old pulp characters, including Doc Savage, the Spirit, Wildcat, the Blackhawks and maybe a few others, tentatively called First Wave written by Brian Azzarello and penciled by Rags Morales.

A question and answer session followed. There appears to be a surprising amount of support for more of the new Uncle Sam and the Freedom Fighters. There was some talk of Grant Morrison’s “Multiversity,” as well as speculation on two different Flash ongoing series. I was also amazed by an answer given by Bob Wayne, DC’s sales manager, regarding rising prices and titles per month. Apparently he thinks that this country’s current economic crisis is one big joke. Obviously the man gets his comics for free.

As my impression of Mr. Wayne sank, I must admit that my respect for Mr. DiDio rose quite a bit as the discussion he’d had with Ray continued outside the panel room for about fifteen minutes. With this amazing follow up Dan DiDio talked openly about how his job works and offered his thoughts as well as listening to those of others. Hell of a guy, great stuff. This made the con for me, seeing that the man wasn’t a monster at all but someone who is just like the rest of us – just with a much cooler job.

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Philip Jose Farmer 1918-2009


According to his website, prolific science fiction and fantasy author Philip Jose Farmer passed away in his sleep yesterday morning.

To many he will be remembered as the creator of the “Riverworld” series of books or maybe as one of the fathers of the new wave of scifi in the 1950s and 1960s. Some may even have noted his style always making use of sexual and religious content. I will remember the first book of his I read, “Doc Savage: His Apocalyptic Life,” and how it brought all those pulp characters of another age to life for me. Farmer did similar things with Tarzan and Sherlock Holmes and other fictional characters that he gave new life to.

We have truly lost one of the greats, and he will be missed…