Sunday, October 29, 2017

Sunday Morning Bonus Pulp: Weird Tales, November 1941


This cover by Hannes Bok seems appropriate for a few days before Halloween. I like the 1940s issues of WEIRD TALES. Great lineup of authors in this one: Edmond Hamilton, Manly Wade Wellman, Henry Kuttner, August Derleth, Frank Gruber, Clifford Ball, Robert H. Leitfred . . . These guys wrote some fine weird fiction.

7 comments:

Walker Martin said...

You are right about WEIRD TALES in the forties. It was a good magazine but has always suffered in comparison to the Thirties issues. I would recommend collecting both decades: the thirties and forties.

Barry Traylor said...

I agree with Walker, that is why I collected both decades.

c zar said...


walker,

any specific favorites from the forties? all of the ones that i've read and own are from the thirties.

i relish the good stuff in here--ca smith, cave, hpl, wandrei, jacobi, reh, ernst, etc.---but i've read some issue from the "prime" period that are 90% dreck. weird tales is one of my top 5 pulps (adventure, argosy, spider, and operator #5 are the others), but the least consistent in that top 5 by far from the issues i've read. i never know what i'm gonna get even with a great line up of authors.

s. craig zahler said...

c zar = s. craig zahler

Walker Martin said...

Farnsworth Wright was once asked why he printed so many mediocre or just plain poor short stories dealing with horror cliches. He responded that he couldn't publish a monthly magazine with blank pages. In other words he had to fill the issues with something and keep the monthly schedule. So that's why we see such inconsistent quality. Like you say we see HPL, Clark Ashton Smith, Robert Howard, Cave, etc but also many poor stories in the thirties.

By the forties HPL, Smith, and Howard were either gone or appearing a lot less. The new editor only had to fill an issue every 2 months instead of every month. This made a difference in the overall quality of the magazine. True the Big Three were gone or like Smith appearing a lot less but you had Bradbury, Bloch, Wellman, Leiber, and others. Also I believe the overall art was better especially the bizarre work of Lee Brown Coye.

My advice is to buy the complete run of the forties(and what the hell you might as well buy the fifties also) because they are a lot cheaper than the thirties. You can't go wrong in collecting WEIRD TALES.

I agree that you are collecting some real interesting pulps(WEIRD TALES, ADVENTURE, ARGOSY, SPIDER, and OPERATOR 5). I would also advise you to collect DIME DETECTIVE in the late thirties and all through the forties. Also in forties Popular Publications took over BLACK MASK and it was basically the same magazine as DIME DETECTIVE during the forties. I find the stories to be witty, humorous, and full of tough, hard boiled action. The plots are very complicated and bizarre for both magazines in the forties. Merle Constiner especially wrote two stunning series about The Dean in DIME DETECTIVE and Luther McGavock in BLACK MASK.

By the way, speaking of Clark Ashton Smith, Centipede Press has just published a brand new book on Smith's artwork. The book shows many examples of his sculpture and paintings. Amazon.com has copies heavily discounted to $161.00. Centipede Press copies are $225.

s. craig zahler said...

walker,

thanks for the information. i do not relish bradbury, bloch, and wellman the way that i adore the finest works of donald wandrei, carl jacobi, hpl, cas, reh, hugh b. cave, and the superb but less well known weird tale master, david h. keller, whose tale 'the last magician' is a stunning masterpiece.

any great weird tales issues that stand out to you from the forties would help, though knowing that they cut things down to every other month sounds promising in terms of a higher bar being set.

i already collect dime detective, have read a bunch of issues, and am a fan (especially of allhoff & woolrich & (the derided) race williams stories), though i find those stories, even when good, stay with me for a shorter period of time than do novel length hero pulps and great adventure stories and great weird stories and great sci-fi stories. some of these types have remained in my brain clearly for years or decades.

alongside dime detective and my top five pulps of adventure, argosy, op5, spider, and weird tales, i collect--and more importantly read--jungle stories, astounding science fiction, wonder stories, star western, and various weird menace titles. i never buy a pulp i don't intend to read, unless it is a gift for somebody else, so i'm okay to pick and choose rather than acquire large runs.

Walker Martin said...

You make a good point about never buying a pulp that you don't intend to read. Many pulp collectors, not the majority but a good percentage, absolutely do not read the magazines at all. The either like the covers or just like accumulating runs of issues. Many people who collect only high grade issues don't read them either.

I have to be able to read them also but I'm willing to collect complete runs of the best titles to make sure. However you have to have the space for a massive collection and that's something I'm finally running out of even though I live in a large house. Collecting the cover paintings takes up space also.

There must be a forties issues that stands out but I can't think of one offhand. I get your point about the best work of HPL, Smith, Howard, etc. Once we've read such masterpieces it's hard to read lesser works that are only "good".

I also collect the other titles you mention: Jungle Stories, Astounding, Wonder, Star Western. I used to have all the weird menace titles but I finally burnt out on them by reading too many!