Friday, January 24, 2014

The Return of Rick Steele

Last year was my introduction to author Dick Enos and his Rick Steele adventure series. I suspect this year will be the one where both author and character make real headway among fans of New Pulp. The fourth Rick Steele adventure, The Yesterday Men, was just published. If you’ve read the first three titles in the series, then you know Enos loves to confound reader expectations by delivering widely varying pulp adventures from alien invasion to the preternatural to lost civilization adventures. The Yesterday Men is both more of the same and something completely different. Rick Steele, for those unfamiliar with the character, is a hard-nosed Korean War veteran turned test pilot who somehow can’t avoid dragging himself and his supporting cast into adventures. Rick is a likable, but imperfect hero. The 1950s setting may seem like an odd one for New Pulp. It was the end of the era for serials and pulps alike, but it was also the Golden Age of Television and adventure strips were still the rage in newspapers. It was the era when the author adored Sky King and Steve Canyon in his formative years. It marked the final heyday of the innocence of American popular culture and the Rick Steele series captures this perfectly. Rather than crafting an idealistic vision of an artificial world (like so many 1950s sitcoms and movies did), the America of the Rick Steeleseries is one where darkness hangs around every corner. The characters don’t know quite what to make of it, but the reader is all too familiar with what is to come. TO CONTINUE READING THIS ARTICLE, PLEASE VISIT THE BLACK GATE.

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