We 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.Read More
It’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.Read More
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.”Read More
The pulps are more than just the stories and characters depicted on the covers and inside of the magazines.
The pulps are the thousands of writers, artists, and editors who churned out the popular fiction magazines from 1896 through the mid-1950s.
Around this time in 2012, I started noting the anniversaries of births and deaths of pulp writers, artists, and editors on ThePulp.Net’s Facebook page and in its Twitter feed. It started out with just a few a month as I began collecting names and dates in a spreadsheet.Read More
CTHULHU McCTHULHUFACE? I’m sure you heard the entertaining results of the United Kingdom Science Ministry’s online poll to name its new research ship: Boaty McBoatface. Well, you may have missed voting in 2014 on what to name the daughter of web developer Stephen McLaughlin. But a bunch of H.P. Lovecraft fans didn’t.
The website Vox rounds up “Boaty McBoatface and the history of internet naming fiascos.” McLaughlin’s poll is among the list. The winning name: Cthulhu.Read More
Last month, I took a look at a pair of sf stories from 1940s that featured mutants. The premise of the post being that the X-Men weren’t the first time mutants — or evolved humans — appeared in popular fiction.
No doubt, consciously or not, pulp sf stories provided a lot of inspiration for the X-Men , just as the magazines had done for Superman, Batman, and many other comic-book heroes. (You have to remember that many of the early comic-book writers, illustrators, and editors had pulp magazine backgrounds, and if they didn’t, they were likely avid pulp readers.)
Several newsgroup comments after my first post suggested two other stories as precursors to the X-Men. Shelby Vick over in the PulpMags group at Yahoo and Charlie Eckhaus in the FictionMags group both mentioned the Children of the Atom series, which ran in Astounding Science Fiction from 1948 to 1950. And FictionMag’s Art Lortie mentioned “Dragon’s Island,” an abridged version of which ran in the June 1952 number of Startling Stories.Read More