Saturday, July 18, 2020

Saturday Evening Western Pulp: Masked Rider Western, January 1943

So, we have a Saturday Evening Western Pulp this week, because I never got a chance to post until now. I don’t own this pulp, but I recently read an e-book reprint of the Masked Rider novel from it, “Black Gold Empire”. It’s a familiar tale of oil being discovered in cattle country, and a criminal mastermind and his outlaw henchmen playing cattlemen and oilmen against each other so they can come in and take over the whole shooting match. A standard plot, for sure, but the author, C. William Harrison, does a good job with it and keeps the story moving along at a very fast pace with lots of action. Harrison was a dependable Western pulpster whose work often had a nice hardboiled tone. He wasn’t the best plotter in the world, and that shows up in this yarn as things get a little muddled in the second half and developments get dragged in from ‘way out in left field, but overall “Black Gold Empire” is a pretty entertaining story. Despite being a Lone Ranger rip-off, The Masked Rider is an interesting character in his own right, and his Yaqui friend Blue Hawk is one of the best sidekicks in the pulps.

The ebook also contains one of the short stories from this issue, “Black Rock Badman” by Harrison Hendryx, who was really James Hendryx Jr. and went on to edit some of the Thrilling Group’s Western pulps during the Fifties. It’s an excellent yarn about a drifting cowboy’s encounter with a small rancher/prospector and all the action that ensues. Hendryx packs a lot of action into a relatively short length with a bank robbery, a gold strike, murder, and a couple of shootouts. I don’t recall ever reading anything else by him, but I’m going to keep my eyes open for his work.

Also on hand are Wayne D. Overholser with a novelette and an author I’m not familiar with, Clay Winburne, with a short story. Having liked the two stories I’ve now read and knowing how consistently good Overholser was, I’d say this was a pretty strong issue of MASKED RIDER WESTERN.


Erwin-K said...

Hi James,

That sure does look like a strong Masked Rider issue. The Masked Rider is a bit special to me. About 1962 I picked up one of the late issues of the pulp while visiting Albuquerque. That, and a chance finding of a very late Phantom Detective served as my introduction to the Hero-Pulps.

When New Pulp came along I had fun writing a Masked Rider story for Airship-27. Shortly after that I wrote the first ever Blue Hawk solo story for Shelvy Vick's Pulp Spirit on-line title. Shelby passed on. Finally his web-site did, too.

Now I'm putting some of the twenty plus stories Shelby published on my pen-name's new site: "Blue Hawk Goes To Town" is at: Another story goes up every month, plus whatever I think up to blog about.

I always enjoy what you post and comment about.

Bob / Erwin

James Reasoner said...

Thanks for that link, Bob. I have the story called up and will read it later.