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PULP HEROES: The Originals
Return of the ORIGINALS!
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Golden Amazon
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Golden Amazon
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Justice is a Bitch…(OR: She was created to save the world…and destined to conquer it…The Golden Amazon!) John Russell Fearn’s The Golden Amazon had the unique distinction of having not one, but two separate origins in her short pulp/newspaper career. Her first origin story, “The Golden Amazon”, appeared in the second issue of Fantastic Adventures (July 1939), as a 10,000 word novelette. She was designed to be a sort of female Tarzan, except the series was set in the future, and in this case the infant is lost in the jungles of Venus after her spaceship crashes on Earth’s sister planet. Violet Ray Brant, human, is brought up by Venusian natives and develops into a superwoman, both in strength and intelligence. She also gets quite a mad-on for the saboteurs who caused the crash, which killed her parents, and pursues them viciously. She’s Wonder Woman with a bad attitude and Jetson-styled flying cars. Only four novelettes appeared, often silly, unabashed pulp, before Fearn quit, uncomfortable with publisher Ziff-Davis’ stringent restrictions on the way in which the stories were written and for financial considerations. In her second incarnation, The Golden Amazon was thrust backward in time, to the Blitz of 1944, where as a baby she was operated on by a super-surgeon, who changed her glandular structure, so that when she reached maturity she would possess superhuman, strength, intelligence, telepathy and an almost sexless outlook. She is orphaned, adopted by the rich Brant family, then pampered and spoiled, all the while ignorant of how she was different from the rest of mankind When, 120 years into the future, she comes to realize her superiority, she sees the world is a mess and sets out to conquer it. But her heartlessness causes humanity to rebel against her, so when she sees it is a war she cannot win she fakes her own death, using a clone. She saves the world—violently--for 24 novels, published in the Toronto Star Weekly.

The original novels and novelettes proved to be somewhat sparse on specifics where her origin was concerned, and thin on character development—and that was the springboard for my version of one of pulp magazines’ most unique heroines. I wanted to give the character some depth and create a pulp world for her that revolved deeply around her creation, and the forces opposing her that lead to her decision to play would-be world conqueror—and her subsequent downfall and rebirth, while remaining true to the soul of the character.

Violet Ray Brant is a woman missing a large chunk of her past and it is catching up to her. Something buried deep in her DNA is clawing to get out and she is at once frightened of its power and exhilarated by it. She doesn’t know who—or what she is…but others do--others who want to use her gifts to their own ends. Set in a pulp noir world, Violet struggles to be a hero…but she is given to great bursts of fury and violence…and possession by a chilling monstrous force from within that is as powerful and all-consuming as a narcotic. Government shadow agencies, Nazis and alien intelligence…all lurk in the darkness as she discovers her mission, the horrors of her forgotten past and the secrets of her creation…but will she survive it? And will the world survive her?

Howard Hopkins
Moonstone's Return of the Originals
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