Tuesday, January 26, 2016
THE PULP CALENDAR: January 26
I only see one man of murder on this 1929 cover -- if that's what he is -- but to be fair to the cover artist Edgar Wallace's serial was just getting started, and maybe the other men of murder would show up in subsequent weeks. Wallace was one of the most popular crime-story writers on Earth through much of the twentieth century. He was so popular in Germany, for instance, that a whole genre of film, the krimi, was inspired by Wallace's work thirty years after his death in 1932. Besides his urban crime stories, Wallace was known for his jungle tales of Commissioner Sanders (aka Sanders of the River), and as a co-creator of King Kong. He was popular enough in the U.S., where he died after moving to Hollywood, to appear in pulps and slicks simultaneously. Detective Fiction Weekly shared him with Street & Smith's Detective Story Magazine and the slick weekly Collier's (also the stamping ground of Sax Rohmer) at this time. While Wallace is obviously the main attraction here, a short story by the mysterious W. Wirt -- does anyone know what the W. stood for, or whether Wirt was male or female? -- is a bonus. Wirt was the creator of Jimmie Cordie, the leader of a motley band of bickering, bantering adventurers who are arguably the precursors of everyone from Doc Savage's amazing crew to Buffy the Vampire Slayer's Scooby Gang. Cordie's rampaging adventures in the Orient were a popular yet divisive series, appearing mostly in Argosy, where some readers found the body counts absurd. There'll be more about Cordie and his gang in due time, but Wirt also produced some hard-boiled crime stuff, of which this issue's "The Baron and I" may be a sample. Most of the other authors, apart from Edward Parrish Ware, are unknown to me, but the man in the top hat, mask and gun makes a strong case for this issue, don't you think?