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Thursday, November 13, 2014

Bullet Gal has it all going on!

Bullet Gal is a loving homage to hardboiled noir, detective stories, and pulp fiction produced in the first half of the 20th century


A KICKSTARTER CAMPAIGN TO PRODUCE A 12-ISSUE TRADE PAPERBACK COMPENDIUM OF THE INNOVATIVE AUSTRALIAN COMIC BOOK

The first thing you need to know about Bullet Gal is that it’s a loving homage to hardboiled noir — the detective fiction and pulp produced in the first half of the 20th century by writers like Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett.
As a writer with four published novels of his own as well as a graphic novel already under the belt, Andrez Bergen wears this influence with pride.
But he also loves his sci-fi and dystopia, anything from The Matrix to Blade Runner, Inception to Ghost in the Shell — and the Bullet Gal comic book embraces these inspirations too.

And then there’s the art.
Bergen, an established artist with music video clips, photo exhibitions, sequential art shorts and that graphic novel on his resume, pushes the visual perimetres here.
Taking cue from innovative people like Marcel Duchamp and William Burroughs with their cut-ups, ‘found’ art and collages, Bergen also cites the witty photomontage work of Terry Gilliam in his Monty Python days.
The imagery used on Bullet Gal falls under the various categories of the creator’s own photos, fair use of public domain advertising imagery, alteration of existing imagery, a heavy element of homage, and original art.
All this from a man equally heavily influenced by the comic book art of Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko, Jim Steranko, Frank Miller, Steve Epting, David Lloyd, Michael Lark, Ben Templesmith, Sean Phillips and David Aja.

This shows in his own art — a newfangled exercise in digital manipulation and experimentation that still remembers the tale being told, at the same time catching the imagination of media people and fans who have been privy to this developing exercise in new comic book storytelling.
In its short life to this point, beginning as a limited-edition monthly comic in Australia only in August 2014, Bullet Gal has since received international critical acclaim. The series has been compared with Frank Miller’s Sin City and Ed Brubaker’s Velvet, the heroine labelled a female Jason Bourne.
Author and artist Bergen has already finished the series, a 12-issue arc set to conclude in June 2015 — but Under Belly has been able to get all those 12 issues, some of them as-yet-unpublished, and compile the lot together for an exclusive 280-page collection.
Also included will be author notes and mock-ups, guest illustrations from other artists, the original covers in full-colour, plus the added attraction of a gorgeous, special collected-volume cover painting by Niagara Detroit.
Most important is the grandiose story that fills out these pages: a series that is oh-so-heavily noir, has its fair share of drama, tragedy, mirth and the bizarre, snappy dialogue, and characters you will never easily forget.
Under Belly is proud to be able to work with Andrez Bergen and IF? Commix in Australia to present this groundbreaking series to the international audience it deserves.
FIND OUT MORE HERE:
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/underbelly/bullet-gal

UNDER BELLY COMICS:
http://www.underbellycomix.com




Wednesday, November 12, 2014

This Guy Wanted To Show The World How Incredible Philadelphia Is. The Result Will Have You Bursting With Philly Pride. Noir Pride!



Ali Roberts

Content Creator
From City Hall framed by blue sky and billowing clouds to the golden city lights glowing at night, this time lapse captures nearly all of Philadelphia’s most beloved sights.
The modern architecture juxtaposed against historic buildings like Independence Hall makes this video truly chills-worthy. My favorite shot has to be 2:25.
Philly, you’re looking gorgeous.
Look carefully and you will see the ghost of David Goodis!

NoirCon 2014 by Marshall Stein

Tuesday, 11 November 2014


Marshall Stein at NoirCon 2014. Photo by Helene Stein.

NOIRCON 2014 by @MarshallStein1


NoirCon is a five day celebration of all things noir, books, films, authors, etc. It is held every two years in Philadelphia under the inspired guidance of Lou Boxer and Deen Kogan. From October 29th through November 2nd there were panels on the Politics of Noir, Jewish Noir and Existential Noir, presentations by the leading biographers of Patricia Highsmith and Flannery O’Connor, a panel of four of the contributors to a collection of short stories based on songs of Bruce Springsteen, readings including a marathon of three minute readings, Three Minutes of Terror, given on Halloween, and then an Awards Dinner. 

The three awards were given in the category of novels [Thief by Fuminori Nakamura], publishers [Bronwen Hruska of SOHO Press], and film [Eddie Muller of The Film Noir Foundation]. This is a partial listing.

Participants and attendees came from around the world. Fuminori Nakamura flew in from Tokyo, and his interview was conducted through a translator. At one point he was shown a full page story from the L.A. Times with his photo. While he could not read the piece, the photograph produced an ear to ear grin. On Three Minutes of Terror the readers were from England, Ireland and ten states in the U.S.

I was on the Jewish Noir panel. Because I dream of having my noir crime thriller RAGE BEGETS MURDER turned into a movie, I chose a related topic. I spoke on the impact of European Jewish Émigré Directors on American film noir. It was well received. I have been asked by several folks, including Frances di Plino, to share it.

Fritz Lang has been called the father of film noir. While working in Germany he produced two masterpieces, andMetropolis. starred a young Peter Lorre as a child murderer. It is brilliant. When the killings bring out a massive police presence, shutting down crime, the underworld begins a parallel hunt, captures Lorre, and tries him. The concept of the criminal world providing due process is one of the many fascinations in M. If anyone reading this has not seen it, go out and rent it NOW. Lang, and the other directors named below, were trained in the world of German moviemaking where they learned to dramatically use light and dark.

They brought this to the U.S., one of their gifts to American film noir. They were a jump ahead of the murderous Nazi pursuit of Jews, and that produced the template of the protagonist pitted against a vast and often insane world out to destroy him. In Hollywood Lang directed such noir films as Fury, You Only Live Once, The Woman in the Window, and many others. Other Jewish European directors who brought their training and talent to Hollywood were Robert Siodmark (Phantom Lady, Cry of the City, The Spiral Staircase), Billy Wilder (Sunset Boulevard, Double Indemnity – co-authored with Raymond Chandler, directed by Wilder), Otto Preminger (Laura, Whirlpool), Edgar Ulmer (The Strange Woman, Ruthless), and Anatole Litvak (Sorry, Wrong Number). All of these directors were strongly affected by the Holocaust, but all of them escaped and found safety in America.

This was not the case for Roman Polanski. As a young child he was trapped in the Krakow Ghetto. He watched his father being marched off to Mauthausen; his mother to Auschwitz; both died in these camps of slaughter. Polanski’s Chinatown is one of the masterpieces of noir cinema. Faye Dunaway’s character, Evelyn Mulwray, had been sexually abused by her father, played by John Huston, and bore a daughter that she describes as both “my sister and my daughter.” Evelyn Mulwray tries to hide and protect her now grown daughter from her father. The film ends with a police bullet killing Evelyn Mulwray, her father clutching the daughter and leading her away, as dark an ending as in any film I’ve seen.  According to Polanski’s biographer, Christopher Sandford, “Polanski . . . use[d] the memory of his mother, her dress and makeup style, as a physical model for Faye Dunaway’s character in . . . Chinatown.”

In his masterpiece, The Tin Roof Blowdown, James Lee Burke wrote that for Faulkner the past is always with us, but the protagonist, Dave Robicheaux, said there is only the past. For the Jewish émigré directors that escaped the Holocaust it was always with them, but for Roman Polanski there is nothing but the past.

SOURCES: DRIVEN TO DARKNESS, Jewish Émigré Directors and the Rise of Film Noir,Vincent Brook, Rutgers University Press, 2009; Roman Polanski, Wikipedia citing to, among others, Christopher Sandford

RAGE BEGETS MURDER is set in Bandstand era Philadelphia in the early 1950s. It has been called an “author’s tour de force”. RBM can be purchased at Amazon UK and Amazon in the United States.

http://francesdiplinoreviews.blogspot.com.es/2014/11/noircon-2014-by-marshallstein1.html
http://www.marshallstein

Sunday, November 9, 2014

1937 Chrysler Phaeton convertible a la Goodis

Tuesday Oct 14, I had lunch with one of David Goodis' closest pals, Len Cobrin, now 95, vigorous, full of reminiscences, and sharp as a tack. Here are three great DG stories he told me:--Goodis loved flying, and of course was a leading writer of pulp aviation. One of his consultants was the son of a famous dentist. Well, sort of famous, b/c he advertised. I remember the even more ubiquitous dentist—his name was all over radio—a Dr Mallice (sp?), a pretty sharp name for a dentist. That picture of DG clowning on the beach, his hands on an imaginary yoke (steering wheel) is an indication of his enthusiasm for fighter planes. --Speaking of clowning, Len tells the priceless story of the visit of several of Good’s Philly buddies to Hollywood. They wanted to see the sights of course, but DG never conformed to the Hollywood glamour and swagger. Therefore, for a sightseeing ride down Sunset Blvd, he sat his friends in his truly hideous beat up 1937 Chrysler Phaeton convertible (SEE BELOW), its top slashed and ripped, its body seemingly having suffered an attack by bears. Because it was cold, he also gave his crew pilot goggles he had picked up cheap in an army surplus store. Put yourself in that picture.--Len first met Dave at a dance at a ritzy midtown hotel in the late 1930s. They were expensive, so the young men crashed them. Handsome DG danced with a lot of women, enjoying himself immensely, but never asked for a date. The clowning he engaged in so often (a little like Dippy in _The Blonde on the Street Corner_) was not always appreciated. For ex., on a dinner date, when the young lady left to powder her nose,she came back to the table and suffered a shock. Her attention was riveted on David’s nose, into which he had stuffed the red cellophane from the top of a pack of smokes. No kiss goodnight. And, apparently, no problem 
for Goodis.
Leonard Cobrin presents Fuminori Nakamura the David Loeb Goodis Award at NoirCon 2014

Saturday, November 8, 2014

R.I.P. Seymour Shubin

Seymour Shubin, 93, writer



Seymour Shubin, 93, of Paoli, a best-selling mystery writer, died Sunday, Nov. 2, at his home of complications from an earlier fall.
Mr. Shubin's books were reviewed in The Inquirer, the New York Times, the Philadelphia Daily News, and other publications.
He was an influential part of the Philadelphia literary scene in the 1970s and 1980s, winning many major awards for fiction writing.
Mr. Shubin was born in Philadelphia to Isadore and Ida Shubin, Russian immigrants active in the Jewish community. His father ran a furniture store, I. Shubin & Son, on South Street for four decades. The family lived in Olney.
At age 14, Mr. Shubin became interested in writing, buying an ancient typewriter from a friend. He began his 70-year career by writing short stories; as a teen, his first "real sale" was to a newspaper syndicate for $5.
Not wishing to join the family business, Mr. Shubin enrolled in Temple University to study journalism. "He was the first of his family to go to college," said his son, Neil.
He contributed pieces to the school's humor and literary magazine, the Owl, becoming the first freshman to publish stories in the magazine. Eventually, he became editor in chief.
During the early years of World War II, Mr. Shubin served briefly in the Army before receiving a medical discharge. He wrote and drew cartoons for the military newspaper Stars and Stripes.
Mr. Shubin's first job after graduating from Temple was as an associate editor for Official Detective Story Magazine, a true-crime publication.
He followed police as they investigated robberies, murders, and mob-related crimes, and came to know the suspects. The relationships he formed and the early look he got at the gritty world of crime showed up in his fiction later, his son said.
After working for a time at Official Detective, a pulp-fiction magazine, he switched to freelance writing.
Mr. Shubin's first novel, Anyone's My Name, published by Simon & Schuster, was a suspense story told by a murderer. It became an instant New York Times bestseller in 1953.
"Shubin's style is crisp, never, never dull," the Inquirer's review read. "With inexorable drive ... he carries his story through to its grim and shocking conclusion. He is a storyteller with a terrific punch."
Mr. Shubin took a hiatus from freelancing for a decade, to work at Smith, Kline & French pharmaceuticals and J.B. Lippincott & Co. He served the drug company as an external publications writer, and the book publisher in production and design. "He wanted a stable income to raise a family," his son said.
In the mid-1970s, he returned to freelancing, and began to master the psychological suspense thriller, which became his signature.
His first effort, The Captain (Stein & Day, 1982), received wide acclaim. Publishers Weekly wrote that the book was "a towering novel that builds to a heart-clutching peak and leaves one profoundly affected."
In his ninth decade, Mr. Shubin returned to shorter pieces, publishing books of stories and poetry. He published 15 novels and won numerous awards, including the Edgar Allan Poe Special Award; Philadelphia Athenaeum Annual Special Citation for Fiction; Potpourri Magazine's best short story of the year award; and the Temple University Alumni Award.
Mr. Shubin's writings and papers are archived at the Temple University Libraries.
Besides his son, he is survived by his wife, Gloria Amet Shubin; daughter Jennifer Levine; and four grandchildren.
Services were Tuesday, Nov. 4. Mr. Shubin was interred at Haym Salomon Memorial Park, Frazer.
Contributions may be made to the Jewish National Fund via www.jnf.org.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/obituaries/20141106_Seymour_Shubin__93__writer.html#mTJEZcGMYbgwRXlc.99

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Pulp According to David Goodis - NoirCon 2014


NOIRCON 2014

I just returned from Noircon 2014. I thought it was excellent, with a variety of topics and each speaker and session informative. There was the author, Steve Hodel, (Black Dahlia Avenger, Pure Evil) proving that the Black Dahlia was Hodel’s *father,* a physician with a personality part loving and partly the essence of evil. He engaged in incest with Hodel’s sister, and his murder of the Black Dahlia was preceded by torture. Hodel found that the position in which the body was found, with one arm raised, mirrored some artwork by Man Ray and other surrealists, whom the murderer knew in Hollywood. The abstract paintings in which people’s bodies were depicted by showing only parts of them, bisected geometrically, may also have stimulated the murderer, as might decadent concepts of sado- masochistic release of suppressed desires, and the discussions at which the murderer might have been present, involving Hollywood writers and artists such as Ben Hecht (author of Fantazius Mallare). These artists were in no way involved in their murder; it was their art, and the ideas of sadism as a release of the Freudian ID from restraints of civilization, that Hodel’s father used to “justify” what he did. Still, the contemplation of unrestrained sexual energy and fascination with human potential for viciousness on the one hand, and an individual who actually puts innate aggression into practice on the other, is a real piece of Hollywood(or New York, Berlin, or Paris) Babylon. (There is NO Way any responsibility exists for writers to restrain themselves from writing anything because of responses from readers. Expressive writing is in no way "shouting fire in a crowded theater."

Chillingly, there were about 10 other such murders. Hodel said that the LA cops actually cracked the case, but did not proceed b/c they thought they would not win (the murdered would be defended by Jerry Geisler, who got the man off on the incest rap. Also this doctor had performed abortions on mistresses of police brass, and the new police chief, Parker, did not want a sensational trial to obscure his own presence and crusading).

I met Eddie Mueller. He is a handsome, articulate, engaging person. His abilities to network, and to organize and fund raise, shone through in his acceptance speech as he was given an award for achievement in preserving noir film. . He and Jared Case showed the film _The Prowler_, and pointed out details that deepened the value of it immensely. What a great film, and the final sequences in a ghost town were resonant of faithfulness as well as the will to kill to achieve love and respect. One detail Mueller pointed out: there is a picture by Diego Rivera in the house of the female lead. This was code for the work of a Hollywood sympathizer with the blacklisted victims of HUAC. The film was written by Dalton Trumbo, on his way to jail for contempt of the HUAC .

Other writers I was introduced to include William Lashner, J Sam Starnes, Eric Miles Williamson (see the eye-opening anthology _Stray Dogs_ ed. by William Hastings), Stuart Neville, Vicki Hendrix -- among others.

NO ONE can mention Noircon without praising its originator and constant motivating force, DR LOU BOXER. Nor should one leave out DEEN

KOGAN, director of the Society Hill Playhouse.

Photo: NOIRCON 2014

I just returned from Noircon 2014. I thought it was excellent, with a variety of topics and each speaker and session informative. There was the author, Steve Hodel, (Black Dahlia Avenger, Pure Evil) proving that the Black Dahlia was Hodel’s *father,* a physician with a personality part loving and partly the essence of evil. He engaged in incest with Hodel’s sister, and his murder of the Black Dahlia was preceded by torture. Hodel found that the position in which the body was found, with one arm raised, mirrored some artwork by Man Ray and other surrealists, whom the murderer knew in Hollywood. The abstract paintings in which people’s bodies were depicted by showing only parts of them, bisected geometrically, may also have stimulated the murderer, as might decadent concepts of sado- masochistic release of suppressed desires, and the discussions at which the murderer might have been present, involving Hollywood writers and artists such as Ben Hecht (author of Fantazius Mallare).  These artists were in no way involved in their murder; it was their art, and the ideas of sadism as a release of the Freudian  ID from restraints of civilization, that Hodel’s father used to “justify” what he did. Still, the contemplation of unrestrained sexual energy and fascination with human potential for viciousness on the one hand, and an individual who actually puts innate aggression into practice on the other, is a real piece of Hollywood(or New York, Berlin,  or Paris) Babylon.  (There is NO Way any responsibility exists for  writers to restrain themselves from writing anything because of responses  from readers. Expressive writing is in no way "shouting fire in a crowded theater."
 
Chillingly, there were about 10 other such murders. Hodel said that the LA cops actually cracked the case, but did not proceed b/c they thought they would not win (the murdered would be defended by Jerry Geisler, who got the man off on the incest rap. Also this doctor had performed abortions on mistresses of police brass, and the new police chief, Parker, did not want a sensational trial to obscure his own presence and crusading).
 
I met Eddie Mueller. He is a handsome, articulate, engaging person. His abilities to network, and to organize and fund raise, shone through in his acceptance speech as he was given an award for achievement in preserving noir film. . He and Jared Case showed the film _The Prowler_, and pointed out details that deepened the value of it immensely. What a great film, and the final sequences in a ghost town were resonant of faithfulness as well as the will to kill to achieve love and respect. One detail Mueller pointed out: there is a picture by Diego Rivera in the house of the female lead. This was code for the work of a Hollywood sympathizer with the blacklisted victims of HUAC. The film was written by Dalton Trumbo, on his way to jail for contempt of the HUAC . 

Other writers I was introduced to include William Lashner, J Sam Starnes, Eric Miles Williamson (see the eye-opening anthology _Stray Dogs_ ed. by William Hastings),  Stuart Neville, Vicki Hendrix -- among others. 

NO ONE can mention Noircon without praising its originator and constant motivating force, DR LOU BOXER. Nor should one leave out DEENE KOGAN, director of the Society Hill Playhouse.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

T. Fox Dunham on the state of Noir and NoirCon 2014

Monday, November 3, 2014

WRITING NOIR FOR THE 21st CENTURY - NOIRCON 2014


Writing Noir for the 21st Century
Noircon 2014 



I confess: 

I’m a fraud. 

I sat at Noircon—the noir crime author’s convention in Philadelphia this Saturday at the Society Hill Playhouse—and I worried I’d be discovered for the imposter that I am then thrown under a SEPTA bus on South Street by the seasoned and experienced Noir authors. I have not read Elmore Leonard and only seen a casual amount of the movies, and this is why you as noir authors need to listen to me now. 

Noir has always been a side for me, though much of my horror blurs the boundaries. And this is why noir authors must listen to me. My lack of experience gives me a fresh perspective. I’m outside the clique, the mainstream of noir and crime fiction, and I’m coming at the genre from a unique point-of-view. Somehow I stumbled into this field with my first book, The Street Martyr. The book has been successful and is being made into a major motion picture by Throughline Films. I didn’t expect this for my first book. I wrote the book to teach myself how to write long fiction, a process I continue. I didn’t set out to write a crime-noir book. I developed a plot—something not related to horror as I had written too much of the macabre—and wrote it in a character voice, drawing upon my love of true mafia books. I wrote about true horror—drugs, poverty, exploitation of those who can’t defend themselves. This is what haunts me. 

Lou Boxer invited me to sit on the panel for Existential Noir. I had no idea what this was, and I’m told that’s the heart of existential. We were blessed with our moderator, William Lashner, and sitting on the panel with me was K.A. Laity, Paul Oliver and Carole Mallory. We closed out the evening with our discussion, touching on the nature of God existing in a dark alley. 

One of the questions I was asked was about femme fatales and their place in existential noir. It was a legitimate question using old industry terminology; and that’s part of my point. I find the term to be sexist, outdated and part of a genre geared towards men. This is endemic of a genre trapped in the past, a dark style that is not joining a modern sensibility. Now, I do appreciate the old styles of the past in many ways and hope to preserve some of those qualities. The long hero, or anti-hero, hitting the streets, staying to the shadows and exploring what is darkest in the human heart will always have a place in the genre, but there are many elements that need to advance. The femme fatale is really a concept of love, the potential for transformation and redemption. It doesn’t have to be a female. The archetype goes back to the idea of Eve corrupting a pure Adam in the Garden, and really this could be anyone in love. The detective could be a woman and/or a homosexual. It’s about love verse selfish desire, about the hope to be lifted out of the darkness. It’s time to retire the term to bring noir into the next century. 

What worries me is the esoteric nature of modern noir. Sometimes it feels as if we’re writing a tribute to the past like creating a museum exhibit. Something’s off. It’s confirmed by the lack of paying crime markets—and non-paying. When I do a search for horror on Duotrope, I have to sort through at least 100 dedicated journals and anthologies. I get maybe twenty crime markets, accept for those few literary and pulp journals that have added noir to their submission genres almost as an afterthought. Why isn’t this a popular market? There was a time when dime-store gumshoes were the popular hero. 

At Starbucks today where I go to write when my fiancée works, I was asked where and when my book, The Street Martyr, was set. He expected a 1940’s detective story when I said it was crime novel and was surprised when I said Philadelphia in 2012. It almost didn’t seem like Noir to him unless it was cast in a specific setting. Have I written a thriller? Or is my novel about two low-level drug dealers who must solve a murder and bring street justice to a monster really noir? It is the heart of noir. Our detectives need cell phones. Our criminals should steal credit cards and hack bank accounts. We need a modern context for our gumshoes, or we will be left behind. So I advise that we let go of the past, though we can use it for inspiration. The spirit of the work is the same, just update it to the world around you. 
  


When Vincent is enlisted to throw a scare into a deviant priest, he does it dutifully, leaving the man bleeding on the floor of a seedy apartment. But when the priest is found brutally murdered, life as Vincent knew it ends and he has to flee as killers on both sides of the law make him the target of a city-wide manhunt.

BUY THE STREET MARTYR on AMAZON.COM!!!





Noircon 2014 

But it was a lovely convention, educational and inspirational. I got to spend time with Lou Boxer. Lou and I have been trying to hangout for the last year now. Lou deserves the gratitude of the noir community for organizing Noircon and bringing us together. I appreciate the chance to be on a panel and speak my thoughts about the genre. I appreciated both the panels on politics in Noir and Jewish Noir, and I learned much. 

William Lashner, K.A. Laity, Paul Oliver, T. Fox Dunham and Malcolm the plush Fox

Thanx Lou!



You can read Mark C. O’Connor’s write-up on Noircon 2014 at the Out of the Gutter website:http://www.outofthegutteronline.com/2014/11/raining-in-philadelpia-noircon-2014.html 


Carole Mallory's write up for the Huff Post:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/carole-mallory/noir-conwhere-the-nitty-m_b_6100004.html