Original Article By John F. Trent At BoundingIntoComics.com
YouTuber RazörFist on his channel “The Rageaholic” called on people to reject modernity and modern DC and Marvel Comics in favor of pulp heroism.
The YouTuber raged, “If you are weary of watching people with giant muscles and f***ing superpowers sob at their problems while Wonder Wahmen braids her armpit airs and grouses about gender quotas, it may be time for you to make the same jump I did some time ago.”
“F*** Marvel, disregard DC, and embrace the f***ing pulp,” he exclaimed.
RazörFist then goes on to define what exactly pulp is, “Pulp Fiction, apart from being an impossibly overrated movie, is simply short stories. That’s it. Ever read a f***ing short story for one of your SATs or some s***, congrats! If you made it about a detective, cowboy, air force pilot, or f***ing vigilante and printed it with a cover, you just read a f***ing pulp.”
“Now, add in the occasional gorgeous black and white illustration and plot-driven action-packed pistol play eternally abundant; that’s pulp, baby,” he added.
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The YouTuber then begins to list out a number of pulp heroes as recommendations for people to read and watch instead of modern Hollywood movies and comic books.
He started off with Zorro saying, “Who could be more influential than one of the original masked men, the ageless swashbuckler Zorro.”
RazörFist goes on to explain why he believes the character is ageless, “While the character of Zorro, himself, has many of the magnetic qualities of Solomon Kane, The Shadow, and Batman, I think what truly kept this character alive for a f***ing century is as much the setting as anything else.”
“All the adventure of the Old West with the flintlocks and f***ing swordplay of the Three Musketeers all propelled by a principal character who boasts that inimitable mystique of Alexandre Dumas other enduring creation the Count of Monte Cristo,” he explains.
While Zorro has a lengthy catalog to choose from, RazörFist recommends his first story, “If you’ve not yet parted the papyrus and read Zorro’s inaugural appearance in 1919’s The Curse of Capistrano, god damn do it. It’s quick, it’s fun, and did I mention it’s f***ing free now.”
Next, RazörFist recommends The Shadow. He notes, “It was a late 20s and the early 30s, a period not coincidentally referred to as the Red Decade. Marxism and all of its socio-political underpinnings had suffused society to an extent not seen since.”
“Gray morality, corrupt [prohibitionists], and [unintelligible] gangsters dealt death in the streets while ever more civil liberties were surrendered to government from gun rights to the ability to buy booze. All during a depression that combined to cultivate a populace more powerless than ever. And then a blood-curdling laugh reverberated through the concrete crags of urban New York.” he continued.
“An unbending, uncompromising avenger of evil for whom right was right, wrong was wrong, and the sentence was invariably death. Not always from himself, mind you. More often The Shadow would engineer a demise that would only befall the villain, if and when, that villain attempted to take the life of an innocent. Often with an ironic underpinning to punctuate the gesture,” RazörFist asserted.
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He goes on to specifically recommend The Black Master saying, “I just finished rereading The Black Master, only the eighth issue of The Shadow magazine and far and away one of the finest Shadow stories.” RazörFist even provides an excerpt from the story, which you can watch in the video above.
The next pulp character RazörFist recommends is Doc Savage. He states, “It takes a chad to create a chad. And that’s precisely what happened when real life adventurer, world traveler, member of the explorers club, and pulp writer Lester Dent sank his teeth into Doc Savage.”
He noted, “The Man of Bronze spun out of the incredible success of The Shadow in 1933 so explicitly in fact that his initial audition for the character came when he was asked to write a one-off Shadow story to help ease Walter B. Gibson’s unearthly twice a month workload. The result, The Golden Vulture, one of the more action-packed chapters of The Shadow’s early years, but one that sat in a safe for nearly a decade before Gibson reworked it, released it, whereupon it served as the partial plot basis for The Shadow film serial in 1940.”
RazörFist states, “What The Shadow is to Batman, Doc Savage is to Superman, who was essentially four parts Doc, one part John Carter of Mars. From his Arctic Fortress of Solitude to his Man of Bronze eponym, superior strength. Hell, he’s even described as Superman published over five f***ing years before Action Comics #1.”
He continued, “As for Doc Savage, himself, you need to think like Superman with a side of Indiana Jones with a dash of Sherlock Holmes and only five exceptional agents to The Shadow’s dozens of agents. Warring with everything from crooked businessmen to Mayan monsters. Imbibing intrigue with a side of sci-fi, the variety and non-stop action of Doc Savage proved a profound enough formula, Doc Savage novels are still being printed at present.”
“Far from a feckless modern Marvel or DC superhero hand rings his way through stories that celebrate his inadequacy and lack of mortal certitude, Doc Savage’s credo is as blindingly bada** as his bronze skin,” he declares.
RazörFist then pointed to The Rocketeer saying, “Now, here I’m cheating a bit, but much like The Phantom, who I also recommend, The Rocketeer is often lumped in with this era of creations, this despite the fact that his first issue emerged in the 1980s. ”
“The reasons for such are obvious, he may not be a product of the 30s, but he spiritually and morally embodies the entirety of it, from his Buck Rogers and Commando Cody inspirations to his 1930s setting to the almighty Mauser strapped to his hip,” the YouTuber continued.
He elaborated, “The Rocketeer, despite never to my knowledge being featured in actual prose novels is more pulp than some actual pulp and apart from the excellent move, this recommendation’s portion is gonna be a bit of a quickie because there’s really only one set of Rocketeer comics. Everything created by his original creator Dave Stevens, which thankfully has been helpfully compiled into a solitary collection called The Rocketeer: The Complete Adventures. Keyword complete. There is nothing before this, there is nothing after this.”
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“Because after that it’s nothing but dog s**t Disney fan fiction and a horrifically exploitative IDW Comics dog f*** called Rocketeer Adventures,” RazörFist added.
Solomon Kane is RazörFist’s next recommendation. He stated, “Which brings me to someone you should already be familiar with, Solomon Kane.”
“Let’s just look at this bada**, slouch hat, flintlocks, saber, and a motherf***ing musket. I’m s***ting diamond hard boners just looking at him. And more to the point, he illustrates several aspects of the pulp era protagonist: an unbending, iron will, perfectly defined moral code, and in the capacity to surprise the reader by employing all of the above in error,” he remarked.
He then stated, “Sure, Solomon Kane starts out his adventures happening upon a dying maiden, a woman he has never known and never will and in an instant of moral certitude and a single phrase defines himself and his motivations outright.
RazörFist continued to explain why Solomon Kane is so compelling, “But the story of Solomon Cain is, I would argue, more compelling than Conan because as this dour sword-sworn Puritan avenger stalks the earth in search of heathens and hellish abominations to slay he actually encounters such cruelty, avarice, and other worldly eldritch horrors even he begins to doubt his faith.”
Discussing Robert E. Howard’s “Wings In The Night,” RazörFist stated, “His heart blackened and his faith at its lowest ebb. This is where an utterly s*** modern Marvel yarn would have him make a heel turn or get snapped out of existence by a purple Shrek or these days have his job done for him by some pan-gendered sea anemone in a Ms. Marvel outfit.”
He added, “But here’s where the pulp protagonist stands utterly apart because then s*** gets Solomon Kane. He massacres the paleolithic villains sending them screaming back to Hell. And then he stands atop a mountain overlooking the ravaged countryside and offers a blood-soaked sermon as epitaph.”
The Simple Art Of Murder
Finally, RazörFist recommends The Simple of Art Murder by Raymond Chandler. He noted, “But this steely savagery isn’t reserved for the sword and sorcery genre. In fact, I’d argue as the genre’s pulp protagonists are portrayed more and more as gray by the bloviating snake oil salesman in the current entertainment industry, the more the men featured within those stories start to resemble the very whitest of white knights.”
“And here I am very much talking about the rudiments of film noir. More particularly, the pulp detective stories that started the celluloid hoedown with a double shot of whiskey and a cyanide chaser,” he added.
He then got to The Simple Art of Murder, “Raymond Chandler’s The Simple Art of Murder codified this phenomenon in profound fashion when he simultaneously defined his own idea of a hero and threw a monkey wrench in the moral ambiguity brigade’s bulls*** when they claim film noir, which is largely cribbed from Raymond Chandler’s books is about gray morality.”
RazörFist elucidated his point by quoting from The Simple Art of Murder, “But down these mean streets a man must go who is not himself mean, who is neither tarnished nor afraid. The detective in this kind of story must be such a man. He is the hero; he is everything. He must be a complete man and a common man and yet an unusual man. He must be, to use a rather weathered phrase, a man of honor—by instinct, by inevitability, without thought of it, and certainly without saying it.”
He continued the quote from The Simple Art of Murder, “He must be the best man in his world and a good enough man for any world. I do not care much about his private life; he is neither a eunuch nor a satyr; I think he might seduce a duchess and I am quite sure he would not spoil a virgin; if he is a man of honor in one thing, he is that in all things. He is a relatively poor man, or he would not be a detective at all. He is a common man or he could not go among common people. He has a sense of character, or he would not know his job.”
“He will take no man’s money dishonestly and no man’s insolence without a due and dispassionate revenge. He is a lonely man and his pride is that you will treat him as a proud man or be very sorry you ever saw him. He talks as the man of his age talks—that is, with rude wit, a lively sense of the grotesque, a disgust for sham, and a contempt for pettiness. The story is this man’s adventure in search of a hidden truth, and it would be no adventure if it did not happen to a man fit for adventure. He has a range of awareness that startles you, but it belongs to him by right, because it belongs to the world he lives in. If there were enough like him, the world would be a very safe place to live in, without becoming too dull to be worth living in,” the YouTuber concluded the quote.
As the video came to a conclusion, RazörFist issued a call to battle, “Unlike your fathers and grandfathers who sat stoically with a thumbs up their a**es as the culture warped about them, it’s time to rear back and f***ing surpass them.”
“Folks, it’s time to stop retreating from the culture and become the f***ing culture. Reject modernity. Embrace pulp. Embrace untrammeled heroism. Remake modernity and remake morality,” he concluded.
While not specifically highlighted by RazörFist, he did mention other pulp heroes like The Phantom, The Spirit, and John Carter of Mars.
Other popular pulp characters include Buck Rogers, Tarzan, Kull, Ka-Zar, The Spider, The Black Bat, Dan Turner, and El Coyote.