Thursday, January 14, 2016


It's rare to see this sort of close-up on a 1930s pulp cover, though they became more commonplace a decade later, particular in Adventure and the later larger-sized Argosy. William Foster-Harris, the author of the cover story, was billed without his first name, apparently on the assumption that his hyphenated last name counted for two already. A western specialist overall, he was known best to Argosy readers as the author of a comedy series about a Mr. Weeble, a milquetoast type who always ended up with the upper hand. This week Foster-Harris was overshadowed by Edgar Rice Burroughs, who contributes part two of The Synthetic Men of Mars. That serial inspired a writer to the "Argonotes" letter column later in 1939 to suggest that Burroughs belonged in a psychopathic ward. Overshadowing perhaps even Burroughs today is an author starting a serial without getting the cover. This was a sort of slight to Cornell Woolrich, soon to become a legend of literary noir. But The Eye of Doom is less a true serial than a series of stand-alone stories linked by a common object passing from person to person, in this case a stolen Indian jewel. Rounding out this issue are a Johnston McCulley serial chapter, a boxing novella by Eustace Cockrell, a short story by Charles Tenney Jackson, probably about his series character Mase McKay, a sea story by Captain [A. E.] Dingle, and a short story by the possibly pseudonymous Odgers T. Gurnee, of whom I know and have read nothing. Emmett Watson did the cover. Burroughs and Woolrich together probably drive up the price of this issue, but apart from Woolrich, for whom Eye of Doom is lesser stuff, it doesn't have the talent that would make me pay for it.

Tomorrow we'll take our first look at another of the big general-interest pulps, so stay tuned!

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