Sunday, May 18, 2008

AAM Interview Part Three with Tim Gallagher

AAM Interview Part Three with the lovely Tim Gallagher.

While Tim might be afraid of Big Foot, the boy knows his BF history like nobody's business and goes into hilarious detail about it. If you have any additional Q's for the child, leave them in comments and he will be most pleased to answer them. Of course I'm speculating and assuming. I think it's safe to do so. He's super menschy and one hell of a pulp aficionado like his colleagues, John and Katherine, with his own unique twist on the genre and why AAM means so much to him. He's a fascinating fellah to dish with and wicked smart! I think you will love him hard after reading his interview!

Meet Tim Gallagher

KATIE: Why are you afraid of Bigfoot? Spill.

TIM: I suppose my fear of Bigfoot really goes back to my younger days in the early 20th century when I was frightened of gorillas. Not real gorillas, mind you, though sometimes when they glared they could be scary, but actors in bad gorilla costumes. I'm talking about the gorillas you used to see in bad monster movies, serials, and old TV shows. There was just something about them that creeped the ever lovin' bejeebers out of me. If they showed up on TV, I'd race out of the room and watch the show from underneath the kitchen table. My parents thought this fear may have stemmed from an incident at the circus I attended with my cousins. During the show, a guy in a gorilla costume jumped into the stands and tried to terrorize the audience. I guess with me it worked, although I actually have no memory of the incident. Anyhoo, you flash forward to the early 1970s, and suddenly there's a rash of Bigfoot sightings. This may have been prompted by the 1967 Patterson film allegedly showing a female Bigfoot walking into the woods. Next came The Legend of Bogey Creek, featuring a Bigfoot-style monster, and supposedly based on true stories. Then you had a rash of pseudo-documentaries on Bigfoot, all of them featuring dramatic re-enactments of Bigfoot encounters, and usually filmed in the style of a monster movie. Finally, you had The Six Million Dollar Man fight Bigfoot on his show. The very first shot of Bigfoot is a freeze-frame of Andre the Giant in a Bigfoot costume, with a snarl and creepy silver eyes. Freaked me the hell out, until after the commercial break, when it turns out Bigfoot was just an alien robot. That sort of broke the spell Bigfoot had on me, except for the Patterson film. I know there is an ongoing argument over whether or not it's real or a person in a suit, but to this day it creeps me out. To my eyes, it looks too real to be faked. Maybe it's just because I want to believe there's still mystery in the world; I want to believe that there are still mysteries undiscovered by modern science. I want the Loch Ness monster to be real, not some faked photo. I want there to be dinosaurs still living in the most remote corners of Africa. And I want a giant, ape-like biped wandering around the North West woods. I just don't want him wandering around outside my house. Growing up, I devoured every book I could find on Bigfoot, the Yeti, Nessie and the lot. I also lived in a part of Long Island that was still very rural. There were no street lights where I lived, and across the street there was 1,800+ acres of virgin forest. It was very easy to believe there might be a Bigfoot living in those woods, even though I could never figure out how he would've been able to cross the Brooklyn Bridge to get there. And at night, when I had to drag the garbage pails to the end of our very long driveway to the very dark street, it was not hard to imagine that the dark shapes across the street swaying in the wind was a Bigfoot ready to snatch me up. As a kid I could run the 100+ feet from the end of my driveway to my house in less than two seconds. It's real easy to run that fast when Bigfoot is chasing you. And yes, it's true, I still every once in a while have a Bigfoot nightmare, but they're few and far between now. The most common one used to be of me waking up and seeing him standing in my bedroom doorway, silhouetted by the hallway light. But by far, the most memorable (and infamous) nightmare, had to be the one where I found myself, in broad daylight, sitting at the edge of the road having a picnic with two Bigfoots (Bigfeet?). Nothing seemed to be amiss until I realized one of them was wearing a dress. And it wasn't a lady Bigfoot. That one wasn't so much frightening as disturbing, although it scared the hell out of JDC when I told him about it at work. Can't imagine why.

KATIE: What made you want to co-create/create AAM?

TIM: That desire came from the mutual love JDC and I have for the old pulp stories and pulp-style storytelling. I read a lot of Edgar Rice Burroughs and Robert E. Howard, among many others, while growing up, and those stories and my love for them never dimmed. Then JDC and I met while working at a Borders bookstore, and we hit it off immediately because we like so many of the same things: comics, science fiction (I detest the term "sci-fi"), the original Star Trek, Japanese kaiju (giant monster) movies, LA's Chinatown, monkeys, and much, much more (although he doesn't care for my Lucky Charms omelets). JDC moved back to Florida a few years ago, but we stayed in touch and kept discussing the things we loved. About a year-and-a-half ago I discovered Paul Malmont's The Chinatown Death Cloud Peril and read it in one sitting (a rare thing for me), which was about the same time that Nostalgia Press began publishing reprints of The Shadow and Doc Savage pulp magazines. They revitalized my love for the pulp stories, and I soon began collecting as many of the various pulp reprints as I could. But that wasn't enough for me. I wanted to write my own stories. And, amazingly enough, even though I hadn't discussed this with JDC, one day he called me and floated the idea of doing our own pulp magazine on the Internet. He figured that if there was enough people out there to support the numerous pulp reprint magazines, they might also be hungry for new pulp which we would write. I told him I had been thinking the same thing, and before you know it Astonishing Adventures! Magazine was born.

KATIE: What's the origin of your love affair with pulp?

TIM: In a round-about way, it stems from my favorite character - Superman. My earliest memories are sitting in front of the TV and watching George Reeves leap out that storeroom window every afternoon, or watching the Filmation Superman/Superboy cartoon show at lunchtime. From there, it was only a short plunge into the world of comic books, which were only $0.20 when I started collecting, or you could get a 100-page giant for $0.50! I read every comic I could get my hands on, even though my parents did not approve. Then there was a time when I was really sick and had to stay at home for a week. My dad asked me

what I wanted to help pass the time, and of course I said comic books. He just shook his head, but bless him if he didn't come back later with a handful. None of them were super-hero comics, which were what I prefer, and the assortment looked as if he went into a gas station somewhere and grabbed whatever was on the spinner rack (this is LOOOONNNGGG before comic specialty stores, kids). One of the comics he bought was a DC issue of Korak, Son of Tarzan. This blew my mind, because I was only familiar with Tarzan as a movie character and the Ron Ely TV show. And I discovered that the character was based on a series of books written by Edgar Rice Burroughs. Well, I immediately had to find those puppies. The problem was, there were no book stores anywhere near me, so it was catch-as-catch-can at the local stationery store, which carried paperbacks. Luckily for me, however, there was a guy who ran a local antique shop who learned of my love for the Tarzan books. He loaned me his old hardcover editions of the first five books in the series. From there, it was a long struggle to find the rest. Along the way, I discovered Burroughs' John Carter of Mars, Carson of Venus, and then ran into Robert E. Howard (whom I knew from the Conan comic) and started reading everything of his I could get my hands on. Then I found the Denny O'Neil Shadow comics from DC and devoured those. He even went so far as to have The Shadow cross-over with the Batman not once but twice! Then Marvel produced their Doc Savage series, followed by DC's adaptation of The Avenger in Justice, Inc. Plus, DC was publishing Weird Worlds with various Burroughs characters, as well as Fritz Leiber's Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser. I had to track down all the books featuring these characters, a quest that has lasted several decades (sigh) and continues today. As I mentioned earlier, I collect all the pulp reprint magazines currently being published (The Shadow, Doc Savage, the Spider, Secret Agent X, G-8 and His Battle Aces, etc.), and I'm extremely grateful that Dark Horse Comics has released all six of Leiber's Lankhmar (Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser) books.

You can buy the latest edition of
Astonishing Adventures Magazine at and the first edition at Run. Read. Now.

PS: Tim, when are you starting a blog, child?

AAM Interview Part Two, Katherine Tomlinson

AAM Interview Part Two with Diva Katherine Tomlinson.

Youse are gonna crush so hard on this broad, it's really not funny. She's a
brilliant writer, adores vinty clothing, fierce broads with a voice and pulparific divas, and she's hilarsquared. What's not to love?!

Katherine inspires the hell out of a girl, she goes after what she wants with the drive of a dozen Harvard grads on scholarship-- she's that fearless and fierce. From screenwriter, to television writer, and essayist with a forthcoming title, to her present day role of editor at Astonishing Adventures Magazine.

I was most thrilled when Katherine agreed to this interview because I wondered if pulp was primarily a male genre and about her spin on pulp's impact on feminism. She genially answered all of my questions - what a mensch - and her answers are enlightening as hell.

Meet Katherine Tomlinson Editor of Astonishing Adventures Magazine...

KATIE: Is there a misconception that pulp is more of a "male" genre, if so, why?

KATHERINE: I think there IS a misconception, probably because the pulp writers that get the most press are men. Mickey Spillane had that whole tough guy image going on with the fedora and the trench coat. Cornell Woolrich, author of the most horrifying beautiful line in all of pulp fiction (“First you dream and then you die”) is rightfully reckoned a pulp god. I first read writers like Hugh B. Cave in my brother’s BOY’S LIFE Magazine because SEVENTEEN Magazine wasn’t publishing anything more interesting than makeup tips. But if you go beyond the obvious genres you find in pulp (war stories and hard-boiled detective tales) and start looking at adventure stories and melodramatic love stories, it’s not much of a journey to romance novels and gothic novels and other sub-genres that are considered exclusively “female.” So there’s a continuum in pulp’s appeal across the sexual spectrum.

I also think that the whole concept of sexual stereotyping is soon to be a thing of the past. Gender role expectations are just irrelevant today. When you have access to any kind of entertainment you want, with nobody looking over your shoulder like they would at the library check-out desk, you’re free to explore whatever pulp worlds tickle your fancy. I’d be interested to know what other people think of this question. I really do think the answers might differ depending on generations.

KATIE: What do you love about pulp? What does it represent to you?

KATHERINE: To me, pulp represents pure entertainment. Pulp is without pretense. It revels in its chosen genre. It fulfills expectations. It gives you good value for money. There’s a reason IRON MAN is going to make a gazillion dollars this summer while other movies die at the box office. Pulp will not let you down. There are conventions to the various pulp genres, and certainly there is formula. But there is always, always, always a good story.

KATIE: Do you feel pulp has impacted feminism in any way and if so, how?

KATHERINE: Pulp empowered and continues to empower women. Pulp gave us dragon ladies and femmes fatale, black widows and dames. They were beautiful and dangerous and smart. Sure there was always the adoring little cupcake waiting at home for the detective or the soldier or the starship captain, but they weren’t nearly as interesting as the villainesses who slithered across their paths.

Also, pulp’s first cousin, comic books, offered all those great heroines who could stand toe to toe with the caped wonders and the masked men and kick ass with relish.

KATIE: What do you love most about AAM?

KATHERINE: I love that it exists. It offers me a place to celebrate my love of pulp and my appreciation of dead (and dead sexy) character actors. It’s a place to play with like-minded people and a great venue. I love that there are so many people willing to contribute their work for the love of the genre.

KATIE: Where do you hope to see AAM over the next 5 years?

KATHERINE: I’d like to see ir thriving as a bi-monthly. I’d like to see the print version on sale both online and in Bookstar and Borders throughout the world. I would love to publish some submissions from outside the U.S. I’d like to see more stories from women, which goes back to your original question about women and pulp.

I’d like to see AAM become the same kind of force for pulp that AICN is for all things film geek. I’d like to see it become a prestigious venue for modern pulp-fiction, the way CEMETERY DANCE has become the showcase for modern horror. It should be the magazine that introduces hot new talents to the world. It should be a place where old pros play around with a favorite genre.

One of our writers suggested that we develop an AAM imprint for pulp fiction the way prestigious publishing houses create imprints for their favorite editors in their favorite genres. I love that idea.

KATIE: Has AAM met or exceed your expectations?

KATHERINE: Each issue has been better than the last. That’s exciting. I think we’re hitting our stride after almost a year of publication and that AAM 2.0 is going to be awesome. It would make me really happy if every single person reading this interview sent me a story or an illustration.

You can buy the latest edition of
Astonishing Adventures Magazine at and the first edition at Run. Read. Now.

Tonight, Tim Gallagher's Interview (Part Three) will be posted!

Thank you, Katherine! PS: Why aren't you blogging?


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