Zorro by Johnston McCulley, Volume 1 of The Complete Pulp Adventures by Johnston McCulley, Bold Venture Press.
Let’s face it: Zorro is cool. I first encountered him in a movie, though I’m not sure which one, and then there were the Disney-produced Zorro episodes shown on ABC when I was a kid, which I loved. Then, not a decade ago, I finally got around to reading The Mark of Zorro, which is contained herein. I loved it. I made an effort to get my hands on more of the books Johnston McCulley wrote, but it was difficult. I did get one, from a German publisher, who promised to reprint all the books, but that didn’t happen. Too bad.
Until now. In recent years Bold Venture has been reprinting the books, starting with this Volume 1, and there are now six volumes:
In the early 1800s, California was still under Spanish rule. Some of the military commanders plundered and won riches at the expense of the peace-loving settlers. Against these agents of injustice the settlers were powerless, until one man arose whose courage stirred the hearts of Californians. He alone gave them the spirit to resist tyranny. That man was Zorro!
Each book, and the short stories, contains the tale of Zorro fighting against the evil Spanish rule, as well as against outlaws and other bad guys.
Contents of Volume 1:
Zorro’s California by Sandra R. Curtis (with map)
The Mark of Zorro
“Zorro Saves A Friend”
“Zorro Hunts a Jackel”
Pulp Page to Silver Screen by Ed Hulse
My Take: As you can see, we have a novel and two longer short stories, plus an informative introduction and in this case a look at Zorro on film. These pulp stories are a lot of fun, and having them all available is a Very Good Thing. These are available in both hardcover (expensive!) and softcover trade editions, still a little pricey at $20 each. There are niggles to pick, if you like, the print is a little larger than need be in the first few volumes, and there’s a typo here and there. So what? For the fan, having these as a set will be worth it. It is to me.