5 most significant pulp magazines?

What would be your picks for the 5 most significant pulps? One student of pulp history picks a top 5 including Argosy, Black Mask and Weird Tales. But there’s a surprise or two in there.

What would you pick?


  1. First of all, the author states that some pulp titles sold over a million copies per issue. This is incorrect. The highest figures I've seen quoted have been 600,000 per issue for LOVE STORY; 400,000 per issue for WESTERN STORY and I believe I read that the early ARGOSY hit 400,000 also. Perhaps she read the circulation figures for an entire group of magazines by one publisher. I know Street & Smith often told advertisers about the combined circulation which would account for her comment of over 1 million.

    Her 5 choices are difficult to disagree with except I would replace LOVE STORY with WESTERN STORY. LOVE STORY certainly was the first all romance title and had a big influence but it was limited to the romance field. While WESTERN STORY was the first western fiction magazine and not only influenced other western titles but also the westerns in the general fiction magazines. Plus the authors in WESTERN STORY were more influential such as Faust(Max Brand), Tuttle, Luke Short, Ernest Haycox, etc, etc. If you look at LOVE STORY, no author really stands out as being reprinted today, etc.

    But this is a fascinating subject, one I've been thinking about for over 50 years and at one time or another I've had complete sets or almost complete runs of ARGOSY, BLACK MASK, WEIRD TALES, WESTERN STORY, and AMAZING. So I certainly think they are significant.

    I think ADVENTURE was also very influential and significant, and what's more. probably the very best of the all fiction magazines during the 1920's.

  2. Sounds interesting. I might have replaced LOVE STORY with RANCH ROMANCES which covers romance & western and was also the longest running pulp.

    While ADVENTURE was also influential, I think ARGOSY was the better choice because it was the first pulp. Two from the same genre would be unfair to the others.

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