Thrilling Wonder Stories was a pulp magazine that was published from 1936 to 1955. It was one of several pulp magazines that had the word “thrilling” in its title. The stories were mostly science fiction and I guess they were meant to be more thrilling than all of the other science fiction that was being published at the same time. The stories were apparently thrilling enough for the magazine to run for 19 years.
Below are a few of the covers of Thrilling Wonder Stories, done by some of the best artists of the pulp era.
From 1932 to 1952, the Phantom Detective fought crime and had adventures in his very own pulp magazine. Released shortly after the first issue of The Shadow and a month before the first issue of Doc Savage, The Phantom Detective was the second pulp hero to get his own magazine and also one of the most successful. With a 170 issues, The Phantom Detective had the third-highest number of “official” adventures of any pulp character. (Ahead of him were, again, the Shadow and Doc Savage.)
Much like both the Shadow and the soon-to-be introduced Batman, the Phantom Detective was a playboy by day and a crime fighter by night. Richard Curtis Van Loon may have begun life as a member of the idle rich but, after experiencing the horrors of World War I, he found it difficult to return to his former lifestyle. So, he became the Phantom Detective and used his powers to solve mysteries, fight crime, and protect the public.
Given the magazine’s long run, it’s no surprise that many different artists did covers for The Phantom Detective. Below are just a few covers from his original run. Where known, the artist have been credited.
Who was Captain Future? He was Curtis Newton, who was born on the moon and who, after the murder of his parents by intergalactic spies, was raised and trained by a scientist and two robots. Captain Future kept the solar system safe from crime and other extraterrestrial threats. His adventures took place in the distant future year of … 1990. (At the time his stories were published, that was the future!) Captain Future headlined his own magazine from 1940 to 1951, with additional stories appearing in publications like Startling Stories and Amazing Stories.
Below are a few covers from Captain Future’s adventures. The majority of these were done by Earle Bergey, though Rudolph Belarski and Jerome Rozen did some work on the series as well.
Happy New Year and welcome to the future! Whenever we start a new year, I always like to go back and see what people thought the future would be like. While a visitor from the 1950s would be astounded by much of what we take for granted in 2020, they might still wonder why we don’t have a single lunar colony.
Here are just a few examples of what the pulp era expected from the future:
Skeleton and skulls are naturally creepy, especially when they’re still moving and talking! Skulls and bones were a mainstay on the covers of pulp and especially horror related magazines. For this Halloween, take a trip back into the bony past with a few skeletal covers from the pulp era!
Are you scared of snakes? If so, you’re not alone. According to 2001 Gallup Poll, 56% of Americans said they were scared of snakes. By comparison, only 45% of Americans said they were scared of public speaking while 41% said heights. Only 36% said they were scared of spiders and only 7% were frightened by the prospect of going to the doctor.
There are nearly 3,000 different species of snakes in the world and only 25% of them are poisonous. Most snakes are harmless and even the poisonous ones usually won’t strike as long as they’re left alone. But people will always be scared of snakes. The sound of a hiss is enough to send most people into a panic.
Back in the pulp era, snakes used to regularly appear on the covers of magazines and paperbacks, often being held by a cultist or threatening a bound victim. When it comes to pulp art, snakes are never good news. Take a look: