Thursday, June 7, 2012

Green Lama

The Green Lama was an American pulp magazine hero of the 1940s. In many respects a typical costumed crime-fighter of the period, the Green Lama's most unusual feature was the fact that he was a practicing Buddhist. Slightly different versions of the same character also appeared in comic books and on the radio. He is part of a legion of vintage characters being revived in the 21st century in new prose, comic book, and audio adventures. The Green Lama character and Double Detective stories are not in the public domain (although the original comics are), as the author "wisely retained all rights to his creation."

 The Green Lama first appeared in a short novel entitled The Green Lama in the April 1940 issue of Double Detective magazine. The novel was written by Kendell Foster Crossen using the pseudonym of "Richard Foster". Writing in 1976, Crossen recalled that the character was created because the publishers of Double Detective, the Frank Munsey company, wanted a competitor for The Shadow, which was published by their rivals Street & Smith.

The Green Lama's first comic book appearance was in Crestwood Publications' issue #7 of Prize Comics (December 1940), where he continued to appear for 27 issues (through 1943). All stories were written by Ken Crossen, with art by Mac Raboy and others. In Prize Comics #24, he teamed up with Black Owl, Dr. Frost, and Yank and Doodle to take down Frankenstein's Monster. This version of the character bears considerable similarities to his pulp counterpart, most notably his costume design. However, this version was more of a sorcerer with the ability to travel through time, resurrect the dead and often battled Lucifer's minions. There were also minor changes to his supporting cast such as Jean "Parker" and the inclusion of a character known as Tashi Shog.

  More than three years after the demise of his comic book, the Green Lama was resurrected for a short-lived CBS radio series that ran for 11 episodes from June 5 to August 20, 1949, with the character's voice provided by the legendary voice actor Paul Frees. This version of the Green Lama was also written by creator Kendell Foster Crossen, along with several co-writers.

CBS Television considered producing a television version of the Green Lama for the 1950 season. The proposal never got the green light.

For a much more extensive look at the Green Lama, be sure to check out the Wikipedia page. And his entry at the Comic Book Database.

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