Earlier we saw what happened to manuscripts when they arrived at Street & Smith. Now let’s see what happened when producing the physical magazine. Pictures taken from the December 1904 issue of The Popular Magazine, which included a self-congratulatory section on the magazine’s success. Typing it out These are linotype machines; the user types out… Continue reading Look inside: Producing magazines at Street & Smith
After a long series of articles on Black Mask, I felt the need for a change. So here’s a review of a pulp title you don’t see that often: Fawcett’s Battle Stories. It was an attempt to cash in on the large and active group of American World War 1 veterans. These veterans had already… Continue reading Battle Stories, December 1930: Killer Stories?
During my time attending pulp conventions, I heard about an author who, under one pseudonym or another, wrote the entire fiction contents of an all-fiction magazine. But it was never clear to me who it was we were talking about. Some authors were obvious candidates – H. Bedford-Jones, Max Brand, Arthur J. Burks etc. Could… Continue reading One Man Show: Authors, pound that typewriter till it bleeds!
And no, that isn’t a spelling mistake. Read on and find out why. While pursuing some research, I came across five letters from Robert Leslie Bellem, the creator of Dan Turner, Hollywood Detective and prodigious producer of pervy passion plots for the pulps. These letters have little personal stuff but quite a bit about the… Continue reading Bellem Lettres: The secret life of a pulpster
Robert Reeves, the author of the Cellini Smith stories in Black Mask, is a mysterious character. The veil of mystery around Reeves starts with his life. He seems to appear out of nowhere in the magazines, showing no evidence of newspaper work or other professions connected to the publishing business. Who was he? Where did… Continue reading The mysterious life of Robert Reeves – Storyteller, Soldier
as revealed by the editor of Spicy Detective in the Author and Journalist, 1935. This is a letter to a contributor who must have transgressed the Spicies unwritten code, outlining guidelines for the stories. The editor of the trade magazine chose to publish it for the benefit of would be authors. Dear : On account… Continue reading How Spicy Can You Make It? The Bare Truth
We’ve come to the end of this series of posts on Black Mask. When I started, I had no idea they were going to take up months of my time. No regrets on my side, and I hope none on yours if you’ve read them. And if you haven’t, go here to catch up. I… Continue reading Secrets of the Mask, part 21: Greatest Hits
Now we come to the latest avatar of Black Mask, as a magazine this time. Published by Steeger Books, the first issue came out in 2016 and the latest, the fifth, in 2019. Put out by Matt Moring at what was then Altus Press and has now become Steeger Books, it came in a very… Continue reading Secrets of the Mask, part 20: The latest Avatar
Last week, we read about Keith Alan Deutsch’s attempt to revive Black Mask in 1974. That failed after one issue. The 1985 revival, as an anthology book, was much better. Let’s find out how that happened. The Unusual Suspects Bear with me while I make the introductions. I promise they’ll connect later. William I. Jovanovich(1920-2001)… Continue reading Secrets of the Mask, part 19: By the Book
The last issue of Black Mask we saw was published in 1951, soon after which the magazine ceased to appear, till its sudden reappearance in 1974. Let’s find out how. After the decline of its pulp empire in the 1950s, Popular Publications published a much smaller group of magazines. Argosy was a slick men’s magazine… Continue reading Secrets of the Mask, part 18: Reappearance