Thursday, February 4, 2016


Another stark 1939 cover from the Street & Smith western pulps. Most of the names inside aren't familiar to me this time. Cover-billed Jackson Gregory was an old-timer of nearly thirty years in the business by this point, but I don't immediately recall reading anything by him, since I prefer my western pulps from a period after Gregory died. The one contributor I do know is Peter Dawson. I also know his secret identity. Jonathan H. Glidden was the older brother (by one year) of Frederick Glidden. Fred had broken into the pulps in 1935, taking as his handle the name of a famous gunfighter, Luke Short. His quick success inspired Short to convince not only his wife but his brother John to get into the racket. As Peter Dawson, John started placing stories in 1936. Apart from Dawson, most of the contributors are veterans whose careers dated back to the 1920s, though none went as far back as Gregory. It's with the next generation of western writers, contemporaries of the Gliddens or younger, that I really get interested in the genre, but I have no reason to doubt whether any of these older writers are good. Pulp is a matter of taste, after all. Those 1939 covers have such a modernist vibe, however, that to see old-timey writers inside might be disappointing. Those who've actually read these magazines will know better, of course.

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