Writer: Volume 3

Richard A. Lupoff. Ramble/Surinam Turtle, $20 (284p) ISBN 978-1-60543-878-8
Pop culture junkies with nostalgia in their hearts will drool over this third collection of essays, introductions, and reviews by Lupoff, whose bona fides in the fields of fantasy and science fiction include the editing (with his wife Pat) of Xero, the fanzine whose "All in Color for a Dime" column helped to launch modern comic book fandom in 1960. Although most of the book's 36 selections (10 original to the volume) were published in the past decade, they're awash with memories of pulp magazines, comics, radio broadcasts, and forgotten baseball players of the 1940s and '50s. The contents range in theme from tributes to science fiction writer Frank Robinson and crime fiction writer and editor Howard Browne to endearing memoirs about the gestation of Xero, the editing of fiction by SF titan E.E. "Doc" Smith," and Lupoff's forays into high-school and amateur sports. The volume's centerpieces are a pair of thoroughly researched (and recalled) essays about aviation comics and airborne superheroes, "The Propwash Patrol" and "The Propwash Patrol Flies Again," and "It's Magic," a remarkably comprehensive chronicle of Mandrake the Magician and the many magician heroes who were pretenders to his throne in mid-century comic books and newspaper strips. Although now in his 80s, Lupoff still writes with the enthusiasm of a young fan—as, for example, in "An ERB Addict Gets His Fix," about editing books by Edgar Rice Burroughs at Canaveral Press, in which he writes: "I loved my work, I loved my co-workers, and I loved my surroundings: thousands and thousands of wondrous books!" Any reader who shares Lupoff's interests will find his sense of wonder infectious. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 05/09/2016
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