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Friday, 14 September 2012

Interesting site on the pulp magazine industry, with in-depth looks at certain genres


As I was cutting my way through the internet jungle with the help of my trusty search engine, I stumbled upon an interesting site. I sat down to look at it and saw that it was merely the tip of a box full of interesting articles about pulp magazines and their history. I dug it up, and the contents are interesting. More after the break. 

Warning: The articles on the website and blog have various typographical problems that make it difficult to read: different fonts in the same article; seemingly random usage of colors and formatting; everything is clickable but not necessarily  linked to anything useful.

Despite all this, the content IS interesting. Normally, i'd just give you the link to the website and it'd be over. Keeping in mind that navigation in that corner of the jungle is hard, here's a map.
The website has articles on
The History of Breezy Stories, One of the Longest Running Pulps of All Time
An overview of the western romance pulp genre (really a listing of all the magazines with a small decription of each)
A history of Women in Crime, a Canadian pulp
A history of the Under the Counter pulps and where readers read them
Some interesting thoughts about how the pulp magazines didn't really die in the 40s, but just retooled themselves and continued into the 50s and 60s
A history of the Hillman group of pulps
Christmas in the pulps

The blog has some interesting articles as well:
An article extracted from the "true crime" pulps
A History of the “Detective Stories Publishing Company”
The history of Erle Stanley Gardner's Court of Last Resort
Pulp Basics

There are more interesting articles on magazine history in the blog. I'll leave you to go through those. Find them if you can. Enough said. Enjoy.

13 comments:

  1. This is a fascinating website with many interesting articles about the pulps. I'll be going back and looking at it in more detail. One thing I do definitely disagree with and that is the site's definition of pulp. They include all sorts of magazines and paperbacks.

    This type of definition leads us to saying everything is pulp, etc. We have to have firm guidelines as to the different eras and formats. There were dime novels, pulps, digests, mens adventure magazines, true crime magazines, paperbacks, etc.

    They were not all pulp! A pulp magazine, in simple terms, was a 7 by 10 inch fiction magazine published approximately during the 1900-1955 period. There were some exceptions like bedsheet formats of 8 1/2 by 11 and ASTOUNDING trying out three formats of pulp, bedsheet, and digest.

    We have to have these definitions so we know what we are talking about. We all know what a dime novel is, a digest, a mens adventure magazine, a Playboy imitator, a paperback. But we won't know if we call everything "pulp".

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  2. Interesting question. Is pulp a format, a genre or both?

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  3. Thanks for checking out my site. My definition of pulp magazines is a little different than most. Depending on how you define it, Bernar MacFadden and Fawcett never put out pulp magazines--and both were major pulp publishers. For most of the publishers, writers and artists the pulp was only one of several types of products they produced. Since it is all the same stuff, why quibble about packaging. People are certainly free to disagree.

    The listings are currently split between the website and the blog. I am hoping to organize the blog's postings by topic in the future. The latest blog entry is on "I Was Hitler's Doctor" a book advertised in pulps, slicks and comic books from 1941 until the early 1960s.

    I handle mostly the obscure topics. I don't claim to know everything and if I have made a mistake, your comments are always invited.

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    Replies
    1. Walker, in a later comment, points to the PulpMags Yahoo! group which had a poll on "What is a pulp?".

      The majority of people voted for 7x10 magazine, and the intent was to clearly differentiate the pulp magazine from other magazine types. There was a significant minority that did vote for "All fiction mags printed on pulp paper of any size are pulps." which I think is closer to your position.

      If you want to read the earlier discussion on this, sign up for PulpMags and read this thread.

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    2. And for another viewpoint on the definition of the term "pulp", here's an article from Beau Collier of Darwination Scans.

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    3. I've visited Darwination Scans many times because I collect so many different types of magazines and the site also discusses all types of titles. This article by Beau Collier is very interesting but I have to disagree with the last paragraph which says everything is pulp: comics, paperbacks, music and monster magazines, and even some slicks.

      I realize that the word "pulp" has now become to mean to most people some type of sleazy, sensational, or lower class literature. Just like film noir is now defined as all types of crime films. But if we follow this all inclusive definition then we really are including everything, much of which is not really pulp or film noir. As collectors, readers, and scholars, we must be able to talk about what really is pulp, paperback, mens adventure, true crime, and slick. It is not all pulp. To the general public yes, I guess they think so, but we know better, don't we?

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  4. I've added a Link to this website on my Blog. I find it very interesting. I do agree with Martin that you can't call everything "pulp". http://pulplair.blogspot.com/

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  5. By the way, over a year ago, we talked about this subject of what is a pulp magazine on the PulpMags discussion group. Sai, I know your are a member of the group and you can read the results of a poll if you go to the PulpMags home page(click on visit your group) and look at the Polls link. Quite a few members voted and the results are of interest to this discussion.

    On another subject, I'm not getting a separate article when I click on "Western pulp lovers-a site for us". Can you double check from your end?

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    Replies
    1. Walker, thanks for pointing out this problem. I think I've fixed it, please try again the homepage. Apologies for this goofup.

      Note:
      For some strange reason, this problem only happened with Internet Explorer. Anyway, lesson learned - check with other browsers before publishing.

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  6. There are only two categories of magazines based on the type of paper they were printed on: pulp (rough paper) and slick (smooth white paper), independent of size and genre. Nevertheless, men's adventure magazines and true crime magazines are not the same as pulp fiction magazines, despite being printed on pulp(or newsprint) paper. Liberty, The American, and Colliers published fiction but were not pulps because they used smooth white paper.

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  7. Unfortunately, these articles on the web site have so many errors, misinformation, misconceptions, and made up terminology that its impossible to separate the facts from fiction. Since he sites no sources, it seems he is reciting information from his faulty memory. They actually do a disservice to anyone interested in pulp history, no matter how you define the term. There are many more accurate web sites out there.

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    Replies
    1. I agree that the author's definition of pulp is different than what most pulp collectors would agree with.

      I would like to understand which facts are actually in error - that should help all of us (including the blog author) get better information and correct errors wherever they are.

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