Blog: Commentary from the den of a pulp super-fan

‘Windy City Pulp Stories’ #17

Posted by at 10:00 am Wednesday, May 31, 2017 in Fanzines, Non-fiction, Reprints, Review
Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

‘Windy City Pulp Stories’ #17

'Windy City Pulp Stories' #17The 2017 Windy City Pulp and Paper Convention has come and gone and we have a new edition of the Windy City Pulp Stories #17.

This year’s focus is on gangster pulp and Martin Goodman‘s Red Circle pulp line. Martin Goodman also started Timely and Marvel comics. As always, we get new and reprinted articles, and some fiction as well.

From the gangster pulps we get several articles. We get “The NEW Gangster Story,” by Joséph Lichtblau, which is reprinted from Writer’s Digest in 1930. Harold Hersey, who was a pulp publisher and formed (among others) Ace Magazines gives us “Underworld, Gangster, G-Men, Etc.,” another reprint, this time from Pulpwood Editor from 1937. Here Hersey briefly gives info on how he starts new gangster pulp mags.

A bit different is “Two Magazines Suspend Under Sumner Threat” from New York newspapers from around 1930. They describe how pulp publishers agreed to stop publishing Racketeer Stories and Gangster Stories.

“Gangsters Real and Fictional,” by George Hagenauer, is a new article, looking at the gangster who appeared in the pulps, both real and not.

And finally, a work more involved with art. Tom Roberts provides an article on Tom Lovell, who did many covers for Hersey’s gangster pulps (under the “red and blue band” magazines). We get a few samples of his work in black and white, and the cover of this issue is from one of his pulps. There is also a list of his gangster pulp cover issues.

As noted, the pulp magazines of Martin Goodman was the next area of focus. We learn in the article by Gene Christie about the history of his involvement in pulps, first partnering with one of the founders of MLJ Magazines (all of them being involved with pulps as well). Goodman got involved with another company and branched out with half a dozen publishing companies, done to protect his magazines in case something failed, a practice that others did, as well as comic publishers. He tried using “Red Circle Magazine” as a unifying branding (similar to Thrilling), but seems to be inconsistent. I thought it interesting that two of his companies were Atlas Fiction Group and Atlas News Co., as he used the “Atlas” name for his distributing company and later his comic book company (between Timely and Marvel).

Harry Adler provides a look at the weird menace elements of the line with “Have You a Little Sadism in Your Dome?”

We get a couple of reprints. “Meet the Editor: Robert O. Erisman,” from Writer’s Digest in 1940. Erisman was editor at both Newstand and Red Circle (which are one and the same).  And we get “An Interview with Abe Goodman”. Goodman was a younger brother to Martin, and a long time business manager at his pulp line. He described the business side of things at Red Circle, and mentioned Erisman. This interview was done by Robert Weinberg and originally ran in Pulp #10.

For fiction we get a pair of stories from the two areas of focus: “Pineapples!” by Robert Leslie Bellem from Greater Ganster Stories in 1933; and “The Gargoyles of Madness” by Russell Grey from Uncanny Tales in 1939.

Jim Steranko is a kind of third area of focus of this issue. We get “Steranko: Daydreams, Nightmares, and Other Obsessions,” which is an uncredited overview of his career, with samples of his work in black and white. And Tom Roberts interviews him for “Steranko Sounds Off!” I’d really love to see a nice color collection of his work over the years.  Or atleast a collection of his pulp related work.

Long time science fiction fan, illustrator, and author David Kyle passed away, and so in honor of that, we get: “My Life In Science Fiction,” a brief collection of personal recollections by David Kyle; “I Remember David A. Kyle,” by John D. Coker III; and “David Kyle: A Life of Science Fiction Ideas and Dreams,” also by Coker. I mainly remember him from his new Lensman trilogy.

Another great collection as always. I enjoyed reading many of the articles, which added to my knowledge of pulps. As always, I recommend this (and all the others you can get) to pulp fans. It’s available from Black Dog Books. I just wish the earlier ones were still easily available.


  1. I remember more than a few years back the series “Fiction Illustrated”, which included Steranko’s hard-boiled pastiche “Chandler: Red Tide”. It was a tribute to the private eye of pulp and film, and I think Steranko drew the title character based on himself!

    • Yeah. I think I touched on Fiction Illustrated in my Weird Heroes posting, as both series were done by Byron Preiss.

      Chandler was reprinted by a couple of other publishers since, including Dark Horse.