Blog: Thoughts and comments on the world of the pulp magazines

Selling the pulps with postcards

Posted by at 10:00 am Tuesday, April 11, 2017 in Pulp Art, Pulp Collectibles, Pulp History, Pulps
Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

Selling the pulps with postcards

A postcard promoting 'The Shadow Magazine' from the 1930s.Continuing my “selling the pulps” series, this post turns our attention to postcards.

The postcards featured below were mailed out by Street & Smith Publications to magazine wholesalers (regional distributors) or vendors (the folks who actually sold pulp magazines to readers).

The postcards come from the collection of John Olsen, who writes our That’s Pulp! blog, and who also provided the scans. (Thanks, John!)

I haven’t found much — make that, any — information about these cards in my research over the past couple of months. I talked with Dwight Fuhro, who has at least one of The Shadow postcards, but he had little information, either. With that in mind, I will at least put the postcards in context.

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What if… ‘The Shadow’ were on Netflix?

Posted by at 9:55 am Tuesday, March 28, 2017 in Movies/TV/Radio, Pulps
Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

What if… ‘The Shadow’ were on Netflix?

Marvel’s Iron Fist showed up on Netflix earlier this month, and I’ve been slowly watching through the series.

Danny Rand/Iron Fist (Finn Jones) ventures into Chinatown in the Netflix series 'Iron Fist.'

Danny Rand/Iron Fist (Finn Jones) ventures into Chinatown in the Netflix series Iron Fist.

As with Netflix’s previous Marvel miniseries — Daredevil, Jessica Jones, and Luke CageIron Fist got me thinking, to borrow an old Marvel comic-book title, What If…?

The earlier miniseries were tremendously well done. All were gritty, story-driven series with plenty of action, great characters (and villains), and fine casts. (Iron Fist, so far, hasn’t lived up to the bar set by its predecessors.)

Daredevil’s first season pitted him against Kingpin, Wilson Fisk. The dangers seemed real for Matt Murdock as he struggled to become Daredevil, and for his friends and the other residents in Hell’s Kitchen. The second season was a bit more expansive, but still limited in scope. The same went for Luke Cage. Jessica Jones, on the other hand, was a more personal conflict between Jessica Jones and Kilgrave that other people got pulled into it.

Back to my question: What If… there were a limited-episode, streaming series based on a pulp character?

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Selling the pulps in ads, II

Posted by at 10:00 am Thursday, February 23, 2017 in Pulp Art, Pulp Collectibles, Pulp History, Pulps
Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

Selling the pulps in ads, II

'Love Story Magazine' logoLast week’s post looked at ads for Street & Smith Publications‘ pulp magazines that appeared in its movie-fan magazine, Picture Play. Those ads ran from September 1932 through March 1934.

We pick up with that same March 1934 issue of Picture Play this week as we look at full-page ads for Love Story Magazine.

Romance pulps, along with western pulps, were among the best-selling pulp magazines, yet often get short shrift in favor of hero, detective/mystery, science fiction, and fantasy pulps. Love Story, in particular, hit a circulation of around 600,000 copies in the 1930s, which may have been the highest circulation for any pulp magazine, according to some sources.

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Selling the pulps in ads

Posted by at 10:00 am Thursday, February 16, 2017 in Pulp Art, Pulp Collectibles, Pulp History, Pulps
Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

Selling the pulps in ads

Nick CarterWe usually think of pulp magazines as selling themselves — that their garish, often lurid covers splashed across newsstands were all it took to propel the fiction magazines into the hands of eager readers.

But pulp publishers weren’t satisfied with simply relying on the magazines themselves. They turned to tried-and-true methods of advertising.

Think of this as installment four of a series on “selling” the pulp magazines to readers.

The first post, “Selling the pulps with posters,” was way back in July 2014. “Selling the pulps with posters, II” appeared this past December. In both of those posts I took at look at posters that pulp publishers gave to magazine vendors to promote sales.

A couple of weeks after that first post in 2014, “Ads for The Shadow” featured a collection of full-page ads for The Shadow Magazine that appeared in Picture Play, a movie-fan magazine published by Street & Smith Publications Inc.

We return to the pages of Picture Play today with a look at a few full-page ads for other Street & Smith pulps.

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Selling the pulps with posters, II

Posted by at 10:00 am Tuesday, December 13, 2016 in Pulp Art, Pulp Collectibles, Pulp History, Pulps
Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

Selling the pulps with posters, II

street-and-smithIt’s easy to think of the pulp magazines as solitary items today — 70, 80, 90 or more years after they were for sale on newsstands — and forget that there was a whole business behind them. There were writers, artists, editors, publishers, printers, secretaries, vendors, and others who depended on getting magazines sold so that they could get paid.

Just like with retailers today, pulp publishers in the first half of the 20th century had to advertise to make readers eager to shell out their nickels, dimes, or quarters for the latest fiction magazine. The covers did a lot of the selling, but posters provided a larger canvas to promote the magazines, one that could be seen farther away.

A couple of years ago, I featured a selection of posters that publishers used to advertise their pulp magazines. I thought it would be fun to take look at a few more.

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Paul A. Carter: 1926-2016

Posted by at 10:00 am Monday, December 5, 2016 in Movies/TV/Radio, News, Obituaries, People, Pulp History, Pulps, Pulpsters
Estimated reading time: 1 minute

Paul A. Carter: 1926-2016

'Astounding Science Fiction' (August 1946)Science-fiction author Paul A. Carter died Monday, Nov. 28, 2016, in Kingman, Ariz. He was 90.

Carter’s earliest work of fiction, “The Last Objective,” appeared in the August 1946 number of Astounding, though he had numerous letters published in a number of sf pulps prior to that. “The Last Objective” was adapted in 1951 for NBC radio’s Dimension X anthology series.

In addition to writing fiction for the pulps and, later, digests, Carter authored The Creation of Tomorrow: Fifty Years of Magazine Science Fiction, published in 1977. It looked at the impact of pulp magazines on the genre of sf from the 1920s through the 1970s. Kirkus Review, at the time, called The Creation of Tomorrow “an important book: invaluable from a bibliographer’s standpoint, of commanding interest for any serious student of science fiction.”

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