Wayne Skiver: Pounding Keyboards to Pulp

A comics interview article by: Ric Croxton
SBC recently got the opportunity to interview Wayne Skiver, regarding his work on such projects as the prose collection, Super Heroic Tales. According to its publisher, Wild Cat Books, the project is “what happens when ‘the bloody pulps’ meet ‘comic book heroes’”.

Ric Croxton (RC): Who is Wayne Skiver?

Wayne Skiver (WS): I'm a writer originally from St. Louis but I moved to the little town of LaPlata, Missouri last November after starting an annual Doc Savage convention there. LaPlata is the Hometown of Lester Dent, who of course is the man behind Doc Savage!

RC: Have you been influenced by living in La Plata, MO, the hometown of Doc Savage writer, Lester Dent?

WS: It’s very inspiring to be in the hometown where the man who wrote so many great adventures lived. Since I primarily write pulp-type adventure stories myself, yes, quite an influence I would say.

RC: What books have you written?

WS: I have written for several small press outlets.

I created an original Pulp Hero, Prof. Stone who has gained a small following and I have a book out collecting some of those stories. He has been described by some as "The lovechild of Doc Savage and Remo Williams." I love that line! I have had several short stories published in various anthologies. Mostly two-fisted adventure stuff, but I've dabbled in Sci-Fi (for the re-launch of Startling Stories from Wild Cat Books) and even a Western. Though my Western did have some undead roaming about. haha

RC: What made you start a Pulp Museum?

WS: I was a little shocked that the hometown of Lester Dent had no real...anything for him. At the convention in 2006 several fans and I put together a display for the town library and the idea or a full museum was born. It’s dedicated in name to one of the greatest pulp writers of all time but the museum will actually be the first such venue dedicated to all pulps. It’s going to be quite a sight! We expect to fully open within a couple of years. I want it to be a full fledged museum but also a dedicated research library for pulp historians.

RC: What is happening at this year's La Plata Doc Con?

WS: We have created a little freebie info website that should answer that much better than I could here!

RC: What is the origin for Super Heroic Tales?

WS: I've been a lifelong comic book fan and as such I have been creating characters and universes since I was a kid. I always kind of kept them tucked away since I have never been too great at drawing. Recently I dusted off some old notebooks and I thought "Hey, some of these characters really are good." I might not be able to draw them but I can write them! I invited some other friends to "play in my sandbox" so to speak and Super Heroic Tales was born!

RC: What other writers are in Super Heroic Tales?

WS: My good friend and publisher of Wild Cat Books, Ron Hanna. The very talented Scott Cranford (well known in pulp and Doc Savage circles), and myself. There are five stories, all with original characters, and NO MARVEL ANGST!

RC: Who is the artist for the book?

WS: Farmerphile (the journal dedicated to PJ Farmer) regular Keith Howell. Keith is phenomenal! From my notes he designed the look of every character and his love of comics shows through in every scene. He has done illustrations for Pearls from Peoria, The Best of Philip Jose Farmer, and more. You can check him out at his website.

RC: Who is your publisher?

WS: Wild Cat Books, a small press publisher of new and classic pulp fiction and the producer of the all new Startling Stories Sci-Fi Magazine. They've been in the game for over a decade now and have a great reputation and following, especially among pulp enthusiasts.

RC: When does Super Heroic Tales come out?

WS: It’s available NOW from Wild Cat's storefront and soon via all major online booksellers and select brick and mortar stores.

RC: Will Super Heroic Tales be a shared universe?

WS: As many other writers have bombarded me with their own characters recently I will have to say yes...sort of. The pulp world and the super hero world I like to keep vaguely separate (vaguely because crossovers and history lessons are fun sometimes!) Other writers who basically have their own universes can be within this one, or the idea has come up of parallel universe stories too.

RC: Will there be much art in the book?

WS: Yes. Each of the short stories has a beautiful full page illustration by Keith and the back of the book is a sort of "handbook" with dossiers on the characters in the volume. Fantastic stuff!

RC: Any plans for a sequel?

WS: We've already gotten a lot of positive buzz on Vol. 1, and #2 is half finished now. Here is the plans to date for future volumes:
#2: More stories of individual heroes
#3: Stories based around all new, original Super Teams.
#4: Golden Age heroes, both original and some that people will recognize like the Black Terror.

RC: Will there be a comic book adaptation?

WS: Future volumes may very well contain both prose and comic book versions of stories. It’s being talked about.

RC: Will the book be aimed at older comics and Pulp fans or younger or both?

WS: I think both will really enjoy it. The stories have a "Silver Age" feel to them and that’s on purpose. I'm very disappointed in how bleak many comics have become. These are just solid, fun stories ranging from flat out comedy to breakneck pace action.

RC: Will Professor Stone make an appearance?

WS: No, not in this series. But there is a Prof. Stone comic in the works with a name comic fans will recognize attached. Can't say anything yet! Wait till about March and ask me again!

RC: Any future books you want to mention?

WS: Double Danger Tales is due out soon. In that anthology I have two stories, one featuring the Black Bat and another with Doctor Satan. I also have the lead story in issue #4 of Startling Stories due out in about a week or so I believe.

RC: Will you be doing any conventions to promote the book?

WS: Well, I'm the organizer and host of the LaPlata Doc Savage convention and that’s pretty taxing! Next year though, with another volume or two ready to go I'll be hitting the circuit for sure.

RC: How much will it cost and what formats will be offered?

WS: It’s only $15 for the 100 page Trade Size Paperback.

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