Vintage Pulp Jun 13 2015
WHEEL OF MISFORTUNE
They call it the Devil’s wheel for a reason.


It’s been a while since we’ve put together a pulp collection, so below you’ll find vintage cover art that uses the roulette wheel as a central element. They say only suckers play roulette, and that’s especially true in pulp, where even if you win, eventually you lose the money and more. Art is by Ernest Chiriacka, Robert Bonfils, Robert McGinnis, and many others.

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Vintage Pulp Aug 8 2013
MAX CAPACITY
Hundreds of novels made him the top Brand in pulp westerns.

National Road Books sent us the covers of five Max Brand westerns and mentioned that they were for sale on the website. We ventured over there and were surprised to find that they were six dollars for the lot, which is a pretty sweet deal for one of the most popular and successful American writers of his era. At one point Brand, née Frederick Faust, earned $3,000 a week, which was a year’s salary for an average worker during the 1930s. When World War II broke out, he wanted to do his part, and finagled a front line correspondent gig in Italy. In May 1944 he died after sustaining critical shrapnel wounds, but his legacy was secure—he had written 25 to 30 million words, 500 novels, and along the way created the characters Dr. Kildare and Destry. We’d order the books ourselves if the international shipping wasn’t guaranteed to kill the savings for us. But for folks in the States they’re a great deal. 

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Vintage Pulp Dec 28 2011
DR. MANHATTAN
Okay, now you’re going feel a little prick.

Did you ever see the movie Doc Hollywood? Well, 1962’s A Halo for Dr. Michael is the same sort of thing—i.e., a bright young doctor passes up a glittering career in the big city (Manhattan) and practices medicine in a small southern town. He learns a little about himself, and of course finds love. Author Dorothy Worley specialized in this stuff, churning out books such as Dr. John’s Decision, Dr. Jefferey’s Awakening (are you sensing a theme here?) Dr. Michael’s Challenge, and, for a change of pace, Cinderella Nurse. It’s cheeseball stuff, but sometimes only a medical romance will scratch that itch. The cover art, in all its overwhelming pinkness, is by Tom Miller, who did a lot of work for Monarch and Fawcett. You don’t hear his name mentioned with the top rank of pulp artists, but he was a first rate stylist who created more than a few classic images. We’ve collected a few below so you can see for yourself. 

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Reader Pulp Jan 28 2011
THE ARGOSY AND THE ECSTASY
Frank Munsey’s Argosy had humble beginnings but lasted nearly a century.

The guys at National Road Books have fed us more scans from their large Argosy collection, and above are five from 1938 through 1940. In these issues there’s fiction from Max Brand, C.S. Forester, and a raft of capable in-house writers. The cover art is from Rudolph Belarski (panels one and two), G.J. Rosen (three and four), and Emmett Watson (five).

After two years of finding almost nothing from Argosy suddenly we have a pipeline into a treasure trove thanks to NRB and we’re ecstatic, because Argosy was the first real pulp magazine, launched on a $500 budget by Frank A. Munsey in 1882. The venture wasn’t an instant success. Munsey had conceived a children’s publication and that version of Argosy went bust immediately. But Munsey managed to keep ownership of the idea and kept publishing on a shoestring budget.

As he learned the market, he realized a children’s magazine wasn’t the direction he wanted to continue. By fits and starts, he began shifting from young readers to pulp fiction and eventually transformed the magazine into an American staple that lasted until 1978. We’ll have more on Munsey’s publishing adventures later. Got any pulp treasures of your own? Feel free to do what National Road Books did and use the pulp uploader in our sidebar. Our mailbox is always open. 

Edit: The Pulp Intl. uploader is on the fritz and has been for a long time. We keep meaning to fix it, but you know how it goes.

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Reader Pulp Jan 2 2011
LA GRAN FIESTA
Dancing girl of the golden west.


Above is a cover of Frank A. Munsey’s Argosy from June 18, 1938, with a famous painting by Rudolph Belarski for Max Brand’s western adventure story “Señor Coyote”. Even though Argosy was the first real pulp magazine, we haven’t featured it often here because issues in good condition can be difficult to find. With this one we got lucky—the highly regarded antiquarian and collectible website National Road Books, who we’ve bought other magazines from, sent us an e-mail letting us know they’ve uncovered a trove of more than a hundred issues of Argosy, and included the scan. So thanks for the assist, guys. It’s always needed. And speaking of assists, we want to remind everyone that our reader pulp feature, in the sidebar at right, is available to anyone who wants to share pulp treasures. How’s about we all make that a resolution for 2011? Agreed? Great. 

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History Rewind
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
April 23
1986—Otto Preminger Dies
Austro–Hungarian film director Otto Preminger, who directed such eternal classics as Laura, Anatomy of a Murder, Carmen Jones, The Man with the Golden Arm, and Stalag 17, and for his efforts earned a star on Hollywood's Walk of Fame, dies in New York City, aged 80, from cancer and Alzheimer's disease.
1998—James Earl Ray Dies
The convicted assassin of American civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr., petty criminal James Earl Ray, dies in prison of hepatitis aged 70, protesting his innocence as he had for decades. Members of the King family who supported Ray's fight to clear his name believed the U.S. Government had been involved in Dr. King's killing, but with Ray's death such questions became moot.
April 22
1912—Pravda Is Founded
The newspaper Pravda, or Truth, known as the voice of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, begins publication in Saint Petersburg. It is one of the country's leading newspapers until 1991, when it is closed down by decree of then-President Boris Yeltsin. A number of other Pravdas appear afterward, including an internet site and a tabloid.
1983—Hitler's Diaries Found
The German magazine Der Stern claims that Adolf Hitler's diaries had been found in wreckage in East Germany. The magazine had paid 10 million German marks for the sixty small books, plus a volume about Rudolf Hess's flight to the United Kingdom, covering the period from 1932 to 1945. But the diaries are subsequently revealed to be fakes written by Konrad Kujau, a notorious Stuttgart forger. Both he and Stern journalist Gerd Heidemann go to trial in 1985 and are each sentenced to 42 months in prison.
April 21
1918—The Red Baron Is Shot Down
German WWI fighter ace Manfred von Richthofen, better known as The Red Baron, sustains a fatal wound while flying over Vaux sur Somme in France. Von Richthofen, shot through the heart, manages a hasty emergency landing before dying in the cockpit of his plane. His last word, according to one witness, is "Kaputt." The Red Baron was the most successful flying ace during the war, having shot down at least 80 enemy airplanes.
1964—Satellite Spreads Radioactivity
An American-made Transit satellite, which had been designed to track submarines, fails to reach orbit after launch and disperses its highly radioactive two pound plutonium power source over a wide area as it breaks up re-entering the atmosphere.
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Reader Pulp
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