Saturday, April 26, 2014

Saturday Morning Western Pulp: The Masked Rider Western Magazine, April 1934

This is the first issue of the pulp featuring The Masked Rider, a character pretty obviously inspired by The Lone Ranger. Or was he? I seem to recall reading speculation that Oscar Schisgall's novel THE BLACK CABALLERO was written as a stand-alone and quickly turned into a series after the success of the Lone Ranger radio program. I don't know, but I believe this is the only Masked Rider novel by Schisgall, which makes me think it's possible he didn't intend to write any sequels and the publisher bought the rights to the characters from him.

At any rate, the series ran for 13 issues from its original publisher, Ranger Publications (Ranger...hmmm), then went away for a few months before returning from Better Publications, one of the imprints of Ned Pines' Thrilling Group. It had a good long run there, lasting until 1953. Quite a few of the novels were reprinted in paperback by Curtis Books during the Seventies. I've read a number of them and enjoyed most of them.

The early Masked Rider stories from Ranger Publications, although featuring the same characters, Wayne Morgan (aka The Masked Rider) and his Yaqui sidekick Blue Hawk, are somewhat different in tone from the later ones, based on the one or two I've read. In those stories, The Masked Rider is more of a Shadow-like character, often manipulating the action from behind the scenes.

The first three novels in the series have been reprinted by Altus Press. I hope to have a chance to read them soon.


Suresh Ramasubramanian said...

Don't forget that McCulley also created zorro, who was also a masked rider wearing black. No Yaqui sidekick that I can remember, only a supposedly deaf and dumb (but actually only dumb) valet named Bernardo

Shay said...

The Pulp Magazine Project has two issues as free downloads.

Richard said...

Apparently, from that cover, the horse can also fly. Artistic license, no doubt.

James Reasoner said...

You've got to admit, a flying horse would be a handy thing for a Western pulp hero to have.

Albie The Good said...

I've only read 2 of the later ones in paperback, both by Walker Topmkins. I really liked them, though. Unlike the Lone Ranger, The MR only wore his mask on outings as hero, had a regular identity as a rancher, and his Indian sidekick spoke good English and Spanish.

Cool series I think.

Erwin-K said...

In a moment of Shameless-Self-Promotion let me tell you that Airship-27 will soon release a book of all new Masked Rider tales. My story is called "Thunder At Devil's Tower."

When I was about 15 I found one of the later issues of Masked Rider in a used bookstore. Now, some fifty years later, I've done my best to add to the legend.

Eric Stedman said...

Visit or

to see the real original Masked Rider in live on-screen action.