Pulp Cover Friday Presents: DIME MYSTERY!
So, it’s been rather an unusual week around here. Bought a car. Got my right eye lasered (almost). Gail’s 1981 Corolla finally succumbed to old age. I’m not a car guy. There’s probably nothing I dislike more than spending money on cars, but I guess every thirty or so years you’ve got to suck it up, head down to the dealership, and get taken advantage of. Actually it wasn’t as painful as it was boring, kind of like the eye. After losing all day Monday to the car, I lost all day Wednesday to the eye. Had to be done of course. Initially the surgeon thought he could do it in one visit, but then realized he hadn’t authorization from an insurance monkey. I have to go back next Wednesday and pretty much have it done all over again. It’s the time thing that bugs me. The procedure itself isn’t much, although they did take like forty photos of my eye using a flash placed approximately one millimeter away that was about as bright as your average solar flare. The best thing about the whole experience was that they injected me with a dye that turned my urine a fantastically neon-glowing yellow (TMI?). So, I have that to look forward to, again, next week.
Which is all my way of saying I didn’t get some posts up here I wanted to this week, since it’s already Pulp Cover Friday time. But here’s the good news. I recently got a book written by Robert Kenneth Jones called THE SHUDDER PULPS, which is a history of the weird menace pulps. Pretty good, though I am not too far into it. One of the things I learned immediately however, was that DIME DETECTIVE had a companion magazine called DIME MYSTERY, so we’ve a nice new batch of covers to work our way through.
DM started out as just your average detective ‘zine. It’s gimmick was to have one very long story (probably a somewhat condensed novel) and a few short ones to fill in the remaining pages. That format was illustrated on the covers of the first bunch of issues, which all showed characters stepping out of an actual book onto the cover of the magazine. Nice if not spectacular idea. I’ve included a couple of these.
But the mag wasn’t selling well, so publisher Henry Steeger envisioned a magazine built on the concept of the Grand Guignol theater in Paris, and the October 1933 issue was the first of the weird menace pulps. Within a year, DM’s motto was “The Weirdest Stories Ever Told.” I’m sure WEIRD TALES wasn’t to thrilled with that, but, what the heck.
I’ll include some more educational notes in future installments. Enjoy the covers. They get weirder.