Saturday, February 22, 2014
Huzzah! With the most recent publication, Sanctum Books has put all of the vintage Avenger pulp tales back into convenient print ready for the eager fan to gobble down. The Avenger, the steely-eyed gray-faced crime fighter was a later attempt by Street and Smith to find the old Doc Savage and Shadow magic. It seemed at first to find the balance, offering up a strange but nonetheless heroic figure who led a motley but capable team of people dedicated finding justice in a world all too often bereft of it. To that end they dubbed themselves "Justice Inc." and for twenty-four issues they did just that.
After the cancellation of the The Avenger's self-titled magazine, short stories appeared in Clues magazine and a final novella wrapped up the saga in The Shadow.
All of those stories are included in Sanctum's reprints along with insightful background information on the stories and the people who cobbled them together. The greatest name in that list is Paul Ernst who wrote as did Doc Savage's scribe Lester Dent under the "Kenneth Robeson" pen name. Ernst wrote most of the Avenger stories, both long and short.
It's fantastic to have these stories at my fingertips, and recently I was able to locate an early issue I'd missed. So now all of the original Avenger yarns are ready and waiting. I read the first half-dozen or so as they came out, but fell off. This spring seems a heady time to dive back in and chase evildoers beside Richard Benson and his colleagues once again.
Thanks goes to the Anthony Tollin and whomever aides him at Sanctum. Soon I hope to say the same for Doc Savage, another milestone I'm eager to reach.