Saturday, February 6, 2016
THE PULP CALENDAR: February 6
There's nothing about this 1943 issue of Wild West Weekly except that it's the last weekly issue. Going into 1943, Street & Smith still had three weekly titles: Wild West, its more mature stablemate Western Story, and its flagship romance title Love Story. They had outlasted Munsey's rival weeklies by more than a year, but wartime paper needs, I presume, put the kibosh on pulp weeklies for good. All three weeklies carried the same publication date. Western Story put out one more weekly issue on February 13, but it's unclear from the Fiction Mags index when Love Story's last weekly number appeared. The westerns then went on hiatus for the rest of February. Wild West's first biweekly issue has a March 13 cover date, followed by Western Story on March 20. Western Story would continue until Street & Smith wiped out most of its pulp line in 1949, but this was the beginning of the end for Wild West. It became a monthly in September and the November 1943 issue was its last. Western Story, converted to digest format, continued on a biweekly schedule until February 1944 before going monthly. The Feb. 6 Wild West Weekly features two series characters, Chuck Martin's Rawhide Runyan, a recent arrival who first saw print in 1938, and Paul S. Powers's Johnny Forty-Five, credited to Andrew A. Griffin, who dated back to 1930. Familiar authors Lee Bond, Hapsburg Liebe and Walker A. Tompkins also have stories in this milestone issue. Our ancestors were a mighty breed of reader to keep up with the weeklies and even the biweeklies of pulp's golden age, or else they simply had fewer alternatives or distractions. In some ways I envy them.