The Golden Age Of Pulp Fiction Magazines

Frank was clever in many ways. Instead of using the high priced slick paper that other publishers used, he produced his magazines with cheap pulp scraps. This enabled a reach to a much wider audience because almost anyone could afford to pick up a copy of the next great story! He also allowed virtually unknown authors to contribute their stories to his magazine. Many of these writers went on to become famous authors in their own rights such as Edgar Rice Burroughs with his Tarzan series and Ray Bradbury’s “
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Another way he was very clever, was to have writers submit a chapter for his publications with the remaining chapters to be submitted weekly. This captured the reader’s attention and ensured that the next magazines were purchased to continue reading the story. It was a great marketing strategy! He also understood the need for the general American publics need for a hero. It has always been so and continues to be sought after today as is evidenced by our continued fascination with a good book or our favorite movie.

Another hallmark of the pulps was the sensational artwork on the covers of the magazines. Not only were writers born, but illustrators came into their own as well. Many of the covers are collector’s items that are highly prized today.

Around 1915, the pulps further evolved to include detective stories. This was the era we got our first taste of “Ellery Queen”, “Sam Spade” and later on “Doc Savage” and “The Shadow!” Our fascination with the workings of these detectives and villainous characters were a backdrop for many future Hollywood movies to come.

About that time also the Western stories started to appear and we were at the beginnings of what we call “The Golden Age of Pulp Fiction.” The flood gates began to open and all genres of writing began to appear with a whole slew of great pulp fiction writers. And so began the furious competition of writers submitting science fiction, fantasy, mystery, romance, horror, adventure and western stories.

Great writers evolved in this era such as Dashiell Hammett, Ray Chandler, L. Ron Hubbard, Lester Dent and H.P Lovecraft. Their are many more, too many to list here.

War broke out followed by the great depression – but this was a particularly good time for Pulp Fiction. More than ever the people needed relief from these tense times and inexpensive but highly entertaining stories kept some of the troubled times at bay. It was also a time when all American children were required to be schooled. With more of the population being able to read, the continued publication of the pulp magazines were assured and stories continued to pour in.

Today, there has been a renewed interest in pulp fiction stories and fortunately for us, many of these books are in reprint with their original illustrations. Audio books are also available which can make for a very pleasant morning commute to work or as a family gathering such as the radio days of old.

The Golden Age of Pulp Fiction is back! Enjoy!

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