We recently chatted with Teel James Glenn who the 2012 Pulp Ark for the Best Author category among other distinctions (check out his website www.Theurbanswashbuckler.com).
And his career?
From a prepared statement; "Teel James Glenn has killed hundreds of people—and been killed hundreds of times—on screen, in a forty-year career as a stuntman, fight choreographer, swordmaster, jouster, illustrator, storyteller, bodyguard, actor and haunted house barker.
He has two dozen books in print in a number of different genres and has stories in over a hundred magazines from Weird Tales, Spinetingler, SciFan, Mad, and Fantasy Tales, to Sherlock Holmes Mystery, as well as tales in close to a hundred anthologies in many genres. He was also the winner of the 2012 Pulp Ark Award for Best Author. His short story “The Clockwork Nutcracker” won best steampunk story for 2013 and has been expanded into a novel. His latest book is Year of Shadows from Pro Se Productions."
Teel discussed his contributions to neo-pulp and how show businss has influenced his writing.
Q: Could you tell us about The Exceptionals? It seems like a cross between The Expendables and a post-apocalyptic series at a glance.
A: This was all before both the Expendables (which is has nothing to do with) and the Ultimates, which is closer as my concept was to do ‘realisitc’ superheroes set in the near future. Bio-enhanced government sanctioned bounty hunters with ‘code names’ that were legally protected from being outed. This allowed us to use many of the standard superhero tropes. I was also careful that the science of their powers were within the forseeable limits of science- why we set our tales in 2030, but actually began an elaborate timeline of history’ going back to the Rosewell crash in 1947.
The Exceptionals books (so far: Measure of a Man, Across the Wasteland, On the Good Ship Caligula) were actually conceived as a TV series originally and the first book was originally the first 5 scripts I wrote with my partner Jerry Kokich that I novelized. We did shoot a ten minute proof of concept of the series which eventually became the book trailer (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gd1Q6JATV1M&t=18s ).
The second and third books were my own stories but fit into the overall chronology we had imagined for a very long story arc. A fourth book is in my computer and many more stories are planned—I’ve just gotten away from it for a bit. In the meantime the superhero films, particularly the MCU has sort of caught up with our concept of quasi-realism. We also has filmed (via CGI) the World Trade Center having been destroyed by terrorists (in our world in the year 2015) so when it really happened 2 years after we had ‘filmed ‘ it- we had to re-do that sequence—reality had caught up with us as well.
Q: Where did you get the idea for Skullmask? A: The Skullmask stories were the result of my love of the generational heroes like The Phantom, The Gunmaster as well the shudder pulps of the 30s. The mythology of it is that the mask is made from the skin of Cambodian mystic who had been murdered to stop a rebellion and the mask made to be worn by his son- the rebel leader to ‘shame’ him. It backfired on the oppressors, because the spirit of the murdered man was able to communicate with his son to tell him where a hidden weapons store was and the rebellion was successful.
Since then the mask reappears to anyone who needs ‘just vengeance’ across the world- and the thoughts and skills of any who have worn it before. The ‘voices’ of the Children of the Skullmask’ speak to the wearer.
The beauty of this concept is that it has allowed me to do ‘heroes’ of many ethnicities and both sexes in many different time periods- so I have written westerns, gangster tales, zombie stories and war tales all within the umbrella of the Skullmask.
The original book “Weird Tales of the Skullmask” is now out of print, but I am looking for a home for a larger collection at the moment.
Q: Which writers or stories have influenced you?
A: The strongest influences that I come back to again and again are Lester Dent’s Doc Savage, ERB’s John Carter of Mars books, REH’s Conan and El Borak tales, Mickey Spillane, Dashiell Hammett and the Modesty Blaise books by Peter O’Donnell. All of them sort of swirl around in my head as I work and inform my ‘style (if such a thing exists).
Q: Do you have any favorites apart from direct influences?
A: Edgar Allen Poe and Nathanial Hawthorne are ‘stylists’ I read for inspiration at times, the purity of their prose is still amazing all these years later.
Q: Do any of your experiences in stage or film provide you with story ideas?
The 60 Renaissance Faires that I’ve performed at informed me very directly with my murder mystery “Murder Most Faire” which chronicles the fight choreographer for a faire who has to find his friend’s murderer while putting on the faire. It is based on my life very directly after my friend was really killed.
My time on film sets feeds into the Maxi?Moxie Donovan books (Deadline Zombies” Headline Ghouls, Tabloid Terrors’) as the husband and wife team find strange mysteries in Hollywood of the 1930s. He’s a reporter and she’s an up and coming actress; think the Thin Man meets the X-files.