Tuesday, March 8, 2016


I'm cheating today. No March 8 pulps looked that good to me, so here's a slick -- wider, taller and glossier, though not thicker -- from 1930. But as you can see from Collier's choice of cover story, the line separating pulp fiction from slick fiction grows blurry at times. "The National Weekly" had been Dr. Fu Manchu's American home since 1913, and with very rare deviations he kept Collier's as his base of operations until 1948. Sax Rohmer's fiction probably strikes folks as "pulp" but he was too popular to be relegated to the rough-paper press. As I've mentioned a few times, Collier's, along with The Saturday Evening Post, Liberty and a few others, was where pulp authors aspired to be published. In this particular issue you'll find a short story by Alan LeMay, the future author of The Searchers, who had established himself in Adventure before cracking Collier's back in 1929. Another noteworthy author in this number is Richard Connell, best known as the founder of an entire subgenre of adventure story as the writer of "The Most Dangerous Game." There's also plenty of fiction bearing little resemblance to pulp, though by modernist literary standards slick-magazine fiction was barely more respectable and probably less entertaining than pulp. Pulp writers didn't necessarily improve when they graduated to slicks like Collier's. Some authors -- Harold Lamb, Ernest Haycox, Albert Richard Wetjen and Sidney Herschel Small are a few -- produced good short stories for the National Weekly, while others -- Max Brand, Frederick Nebel, George F. Worts, etc. -- produced relatively lifeless work. Collier's didn't quite outlive the pulps. It went biweekly in 1953 and folded at the end of 1956 in the middle of a Luke Short serial. You can take a look at this particular issue, albeit with all the color illustrations and ads greyscaled, at unz.org.

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