Wednesday, March 2, 2016


Rudolph Belarski gives this 1940 Argosy a cover perhaps more suited for the pulps' new competition, superhero comics, as a colossal Smooth Kyle slugs a symbolic Bundist -- a member of the German-American Bund --in the heart of an American metropolis. That poor Kraut is going to impale himself on that skyscraper if he isn't careful. The Sun Sets at 5 was Borden Chase's revival of his cabby-turned-government agent after nearly three years dormant. The first of two Smooth Kyle serials that year -- his last appearances, I believe -- they mark his transformation from crimefighter to Axis-fighter, in keeping with the mood of the moment. The other highlight of this issue, which is available at, is Cornell Woolrich's novelette "All At Once, No Alice." The other serials this week are Frank Richardson Pierce's The White Oomailik and Eric North's The Green Flame, the latter reportedly a reprint from 1924. Richard Sale, Robert W. Cochran and John Ames York round out the fiction contents. I've read The Sun Sets at 5 in full and like the other Smooth Kyle adventures it's pretty entertaining, particularly when Smooth is bantering with his hard-boiled girlfriend Gilda. It's definitely more entertaining than the propagandistic cover copy might lead you to believe.

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