PULP COVER FRIDAY GOES ACROSS THE POND
I’m still awaiting a new scanner so I can share some of the stuff I picked up at World Con, including some notices for new books that you might be interested in. In the meantime, I thought I’d try for something different this time around, and while the result is admittedly mixed, it’s interesting enough to share.
So far (besides a quick trip to Japan) we’ve been concentrating on American pulp covers, but the pulp phenomenon was international in scope. This time around I thought you might like to see what the pulps looked like in Old Blightly (or Great Britain, for you non-Anglophiles out there).
I picked STREET AND SMITH’S SHADOW MYSTERY MAGAZINE, since it had a fairly long run and I thought it’d be interesting to compare the US vs the GB versions of a classic pulp character. S&SSMM had a classic pulp format, even though its first issue came out in June 1954, by which time most US pulps were deader than the wood pulp they were printed on. As you might suspect from the title, it consisted of reprints from The Shadow, though by August 1955 its name was changed to STREET AND SMITH’S MYSTERY DETECTIVE MAGAZINE and included stories from DOC SAVAGE and DETECTIVE STORY MONTHLY as well. The last issue in its 40 issue run came out in Sept. 1957.
It must be a fairly scarce magazine (or else hardly no one cares about it) because not all the covers were available in the database I rely upon, though most were. A quick scan revealed only three issues that actually depicted the Shadow on the cover and none, alas, with Doc Savage. The zines’ art director went mostly for the symbolic rather than the representational. Some of the symbolic covers are interesting. None of the representational ones are what I’d call outstanding and some of them are frankly kind of amateurish. The lack of sensational art may perhaps be partly related to the British tendency to restraint and understatement. This can particularly be noted in the story blurbs on a couple of the covers.
I’ve got the first and last covers, the Shadow covers, and a couple of others I thought particularly interesting or rather lame. It’s up to you to decide which is which.