The Spider’s Web

In 1980, a young Chinese girl becomes involved with a young man connected to the Italian mob. When she becomes pregnant, her father allows the marriage between his daughter and young man, but secretly conspires to separate them as soon as the baby is born. Throwing a big party for his son-in-law, the Tong places his daughter on a ship for China, while the baby is left under the care of the Chinese.

Thirty years later, the young man now runs his own mob, coming under the scrutiny of the city’s paladin, a mysterious crime fighter called The Black Ghost. In a deadly gun battle between the hero and gangsters, the mob is wiped out, the mob leader killed during the fight. Seeking revenge, the child, now thirty years old, gathers a new gang to go up against the Black Ghost. Trained in the martial arts from childhood, the new mob leader dons the regalia of a ninja and begins robbing banks and killing citizens randomly, hoping to bring the nemesis to them.

With the city streets running red in blood, The Black Ghost and his aides mount a campaign to stop the ninja’s mob. The action is furious, and sometimes quite violent as the Black Ghost matches guns with the gangsters. In a final encounter between The Black Ghost and the ninja, a martial arts battle between the foes ends with only one victor!

I didn’t know where I wanted to take the character when I first wrote “The Black Widows,” back in 1995. I wanted Jimmy Malone to be something of a Shadow, thus the name, Compere, which means a “shadow” or an “equal.” But it was soon understood that others wanted to call him something else. The younger kids called him The Masked Avenger, who was a comic book hero they were reading, while the underworld was determined to call him The Black Ghost. Eventually, the Black Ghost stuck.

The stories had an odd beginning. In February 1995, Clancy O’Hara published a small press magazine titled, PULP FICTION MAGAZINE, (dated Winter 1995), a Ramrod Publications, out of Hermosa Beach, California. Such stalwart writers as R.T. Lawton, Rick Brooks, and Aaron B. Larson were contributors. Clancy and Quentin Tarantino were friends, so I’ve often wondered if Clancy’s magazine influenced Tarantino in his future movie, PULP FICTION. In early summer 1995, with Issue #3, my first story appeared, titled “Behind The Mask”, featuring Compere. The second story, “What’s In A Name?” was published in Issue #6, Winter 1995. I wrote two more stories for PULP FICTION MAGAZINE, “Creatures of Habit” and “Friendships Declared”, all featuring Compere. Unfortunately, if the last two stories appeared, I have either misplaced my copies, or never received them. Clancy mentioned on a Blog that he published the magazine for three years. However, I only have the first seven issues in my collection. Issue #7 is dated Spring 1996, which covers the first two years.

Clancy’s little magazine did spark a fire under me, though, and I decided to start my own pulp fiction magazine, CLASSIC PULP FICTION STORIES, in June 1995. With Issue #18, dated November 1996, I gathered the four Compere stories into a novelette, and published it as “Black Ghost” (aka “The Black Widows”). I had no further plans for the character at that point.

I don’t know who suggested the idea, probably Debra Delorme, but before I knew it, we were collaborating with a story titled, “Hunter’s Moon” for Double Danger Tales. This novelette would feature her Scarecrow and my Black Ghost. It was a whopper of a tale, and appeared in DDT #20, September 1998, and Jimmy Malone meets his future wife in the adventure. After that, my interest in the character was renewed, and I wrote three more tales of the Black Ghost for our magazines: “Calling The Black Ghost”, DDT #44, May 2001, “The Black Ghost At Bay”, DDT #47, October 2001, and “Dark Night of The Black Ghost”, DDT #54, September 2002

A short time after our magazines folded, I sold “Town of Fear,” a new story featuring The Black Ghost to Filament Book Club. In the meantime, “Hunter’s Moon” was reprinted in “Masks & Mayhem, Volume One”, in 2005, then a brand new story, “Death And The Black Ghost” was published in “Masks & Mayhem, Volume Three”, in 2006. In 2008, I gathered all of the Black Ghost stories, except for “Hunter’s Moon” and “The Black Widows”, and wrote two brand new stories for a collection that NTD published as “Guns of The Black Ghost”.

In 2009, I decided I wasn’t through with The Black Ghost yet, and wrote “The Spider’s Web”. This time, I wanted to include the forgotten first story, “The Black Widows”, which now makes all of the tales available. At the present time, Debbie DeLorme and I are contemplating a brand new novel featuring our heroes, Scarecrow and Black Ghost. Hopefully, this will be available some time in 2011. Following is a listing of the stories, and where they can be purchased:

1)    “The Black Widows” (see “The Spider’s Web”)

2)    “Hunter’s Moon” (“Masks & Mayhem, Volume One”)

3)    “Calling The Black Ghost” (“Guns of The Black Ghost”)

4)    “The Black Ghost At Bay” (“Guns of The Black Ghost”)

5)    “Dark Night of The Black Ghost” (“Guns of The Black Ghost”)

6)    “Town of Fear” (“Guns of The Black Ghost”)

7)    “Death And The Black Ghost” (“Guns of The Black Ghost”)

8)    “Highways In Hiding” (“Guns of The Black Ghost”)

9)    “Bullets of Terror” (“Guns of The Black Ghost”)

10) “The Spider’s Web” (A sequel to “Highways In Hiding”, plus contains “The Black Widows”)

All of the NTD books are available as electronic downloads from Filament Book Club.

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