Sunday, February 14, 2016


Not every Asian on a pulp cover is the Yellow Peril. This fellow, for instance, is more likely defending his own land against a White Peril in the form of Jimmie Cordie and his merry band of American mercenaries, whom I presume to be the heroes of W. Wirt's serial The Guns of The American. Even if this isn't a Cordie story I've enjoyed everything by Wirt I've read so far. The enigmatic Wirt -- I still don't know what the first W stands for -- headlines what looks like a mighty 1931 issue of Argosy. Not only are two of my regular favorites, Frank Richardson Pierce and Ralph R. Perry, inside this week, and not only does Theodore Roscoe have a novelet, but the incredible Frederick Nebel makes what seems to be his only appearance ever in Argosy. Nebel is probably the best writer from the Black Mask stable after the canonized Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler. There's an emotional intensity in his hard-boiled stories of cops, detectives and reporters, a fury directed at crooks and crooked cops alike, that no other pulp writer I know of can match. I'm not sure what genre "The Creed of Sergeant Bone" falls into, but I suspect the story will kick ass, since everything pulp I've read from Nebel has done that. Tragically, Nebel himself didn't appreciate his gift. He seemed happy to write boring stuff for the slicks from about 1937 on and didn't care to see his pulp stuff reprinted. Sometimes writers themselves don't realize how good they are. That's probably more true for the pulps, where every writer presumably is conscious of writing by the word for the money, than anything else. As for this pulp, it's an issue I'd definitely like to own some day.


  1. What? No Valentine's Day pulps, Sammy? Shame on you!

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  3. You are right about Nebel's blindness concerning his pulp work. Joe Shaw wanted to include a Nebel story in his ground breaking anthology, THE HARD BOILED OMNIBUS, and Nebel refused permission. He thought his slick magazine work was far more important but we now remember Nebel only for his pulp fiction.