Sunday, November 20, 2011

The Mad Goblin & More!



I was delighted to go to my mailbox and find a package with the vintage ACE double novel The Mad Goblin/Lord of the Trees neatly wrapped in a handy envelope. I ordered this 1970 gem from BookSteve's Bookstore a few days ago and it arrived in my box safe and sound. Yahoo!

This is one of the strangest entertainment packages ever. The story is a pastiche by the late great Phillip Jose Farmer of both Doc Savage (Doc Caliban) and Tarzan (Lord Gandrith). They battle a mysterious group called The Nine, but each does so in his own tale though the stories are simultaneous. It's an exquisite use of ACE's unique double-novel format, as well as among Farmer's wonderfully clever and creative spin on classic pulp characters.


The story is a sequel to A Feast Unknown which first pitted the Doc Caliban and Lord Gandrith against each other, but these stories are much more suited to a broader audience. The first meeting is blatantly pornographic in many of its particulars.

On top of all this are two of Gray Morrow's finest portraits. Morrow's style is so appealing, so real yet fantastic at the same time. Gorgeous.



And a subtle but not unimportant detail is the way both covers use logos which evoke the style of the source material. It fools the eye neatly and quietly.

I'm eager to read this artifact of a time when excitement and fun were tops on the agenda. I'm happy to add it to my stack at long last.

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2 comments:

  1. You'll enjoy them.
    Lots of references to Dent and Burroughs stories (with names slightly-altered, natch.
    Farmer manages to evoke the "flavor" of both writers in the text.

    And, as you point out, Gray Morrow (and the art director) make the covers look like legit continuations of their respective series.
    A good logo can really grab you (as I pointed out in your DESERT DEMONS post)

    Personally, I found "A Feast Unknown" a little hard to swallow, but these are great.

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  2. Thanks. For whatever reason, I thought these stories preceded A Feast Unknown, though I didn't want to read them less for that. It's nice to know they will pick up what I already remember from that offbeat epic.

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