Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Lifting a Hero Out of Obscurity

I hadn’t heard about this project until today, but it sounds interesting. Former Salon editor David Talbot and Zap Comics cartoonist Spain Rodriguez have conspired to produce Devil Dog: The Amazing True Story of the Man Who Saved America (Simon & Schuster). It’s the first installment in a new series of “Pulp History” books, non-fiction graphic works designed, as Talbot puts it, to “take history out of the hands of Ken Burns, the Texas School Board, and other cultural commissars and make it passionately relevant.”

Devil Dog tells the generally forgotten story of retired Marine Corps Major General Smedley Butler, who, during the depths of the Great Depression, “saved American democracy by exposing a plot to overthrow President Franklin Roosevelt.” That conspiracy among wealthy conservative capitalists is often referred to as the Business Plot. It was the inspiration for “The November Plan,” the excellent, three-part pilot episode of City of Angels, a 1976 NBC-TV crime drama, created by Roy Huggins and the late Stephen J. Cannell, that starred Wayne Rogers as a 1930s private eye in Los Angeles. In the episode, Rogers’ character, Jake Axminster, stumbles across the coup d’état planning while he’s investigating a murder. Lloyd Nolan played Butler.

Both Devil Dog and a second “Pulp History” volume, Shadow Knights: The Secret War Against Hitler, by Salon’s quondam executive editor, Gary Kamiya, are scheduled for release this week. I’m not usually a graphic novel reader, but I might have to drop some dollars for these two. And I’ll be curious to see what “Pulp History” books come down the pike next.


dick adler said...

Sounds great. I'm getting a free sample chapter from Kindle. But attempts to find a rentable/buyable DVD of CITY OF ANGELS on Netflix or Blockbuster have produced nada. Any suggestions?

J. Kingston Pierce said...

I managed to pick up the complete set of City of Angels episodes through iOffer.com.


Gary Phillips said...

I dig that Smedley Butler Pulp History. Smart idea.