During the depression years and the uncertain times heading into World War II America turned to fictional heroes for entertainment and the pulps provided a number heroes that each lasted over a decade and into the hunderds of issues.
Browse by Pulp Fiction Magazines, Hero, Characer, Author or Genre
|The Spider He strikes terror into the hearts of the most hardened criminals. He is proficient and unswerving, and deals swift justice, to those who prey upon the innocent. His trademark, stamped on the foreheads of those upon whom he has passed judgment, is a sinister warning to all denizens of the Underworld of his wraith--a hideous, blood red spider!|
|Operator 5, America's Secret Service Ace, appeared in 48 novels in the classic pulp magazine bearing his name. From April 1934 to November 1939, Jimmy Chistopher fought villains from inside the United States and invaders from without. Don't miss the Purple Invasion series, a true epic of the Pulp Era!|
|G-8 and His Battle Aces The year is 1933 and the era of the great pulp heroes is just beginning. Flying out of the fertile minds of Popular Publications comes G-8 and His Battle Aces. A World War I flying spy who takes on the most fantastic of German foes that ever flew a fokker. Written by former WWI aviator, Robert J. Hogan, G-8 flew the newstands for 110 issues until the horror of World War II in 1943.|
|Doc Savage A daring experiment transmuted Clark Savage into the Herculean Man of Bronze. Welding five courageous soldiers of fortune into a Band of Iron, this invincible superman travels the world battling threats to humanity. Not since the days of King Arthur and Robin Hood has mankind known greater crusaders for justice.|
|The Shadow "Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? The Shadow Knows!" The Shadow returns to action in The Shadow Pulp Fiction Reprints and in Old Time Radio The Shadow Radio Broadcasts.|
From the far corners of the globe to the deep recesses of history, Adventure Pulps brought you action packed adventure. Explore the jungles of Borneo and Africa are the past of the Crusades or Pirates sailing the seas.
World War I flying aces, dogfights pitting Spads vs Fokkers comes alive with these great action stories.
The hard-boiled detective developed his own code of honor and methods that at times put him outside the law. Justice was his law of the land and was dealt with hot lead and cold corpses to follow. Sam Spade, Race Williams, Satan Hall, Max Latin, Dan Turner and Cardigan were just a few men who fought corruption and gangsters with forty-fives in hand.
Hero Pulps had some of the largest followings of all the magazines. Perhaps it was because of the flashy characters and the non-stop action. Doc Savage, The Shadow, The Spider and G-8 dominated the entire decade of the 1930s.
The Pulp Fiction tradition of fast paced action and creative story lines continues today with the likes of Indiana Jones and many others.
Tame by today's standards, the Spicy Pulps combined the Adventure, Mystery, Weird Menace and Hard Boiled Detective genres with beautiful damsels in distress in various stages of undress.
The October, 1933 issue of Dime Mystery Magazine kicked off a new era in the pulps where terror, horror, torture, murder, and other bizare and sadistic means were meant to strike fear in all but the most courageous of readers.
The American West of the 19th and early 20th century was a rich setting for many action and adventure pulp fiction stories. Some of the most popular and longest running of all the pulp fiction magazines were dedicated to the western tale.
About Pulp Fiction
Pulp fiction magazines were the main source of everyday entertainment for the masses during the first half of the 20th Century. These magazines delivered action and heroes that were some of the most creative in literary history. Pulp heroes and their authors have influenced every medium including comics, movies, and television.
The Pulps delivered stories for every possible genre, including detective, western, adventure, spicy, spy/military, as well many other, smaller niche genres. The Pulps were also responsible for the creation of the hardboiled detective story as well as the sci-fi genre. The pulps emerged out of the cheap "dime novels" of the late 19th century. From 1900 to 1920, the newspaper like dime novels evolved into the well known magazine format. Magazines such as Argosy, All-Story Weekly, and Blue Book dominated the field with general fiction stories. Tarzan and Zorro are two classics from this era come to mind qucikly.
The 1920s saw the transformation from general fiction to genre fiction. The general fiction magazine Black Mask evolved away from standard fiction and cozy style mysteries into the home of Dashiell Hammet and the Hard Boiled Detective. Meanwhile, Weird Tales the Unique Magazine provided an outlet for weird and fantastical writings which launched the fantasy and horror genres for writers such as H.P. Lovecraft, Robert E. Howard, Clark Ashton Smith and many others. Soon came along Astounding Stories and Astonishing Stories which launched the Golden Age science fiction and speculative fiction.
The 1930s saw an explosion in terms of number of magazines and genres. This decade was the prime period producing some of the best (and worst) pulp fiction that impacted American entertainment then and continues to reverberate today with derivative works. The writing careers of Raymond Chandler, Erle Stanley Gardner, Robert A. Heinlein, Isaac Asimov, and many others began in the pulps.
With the 1940s and World War II, paper shortages and changing readers the pulps began their decline. The paperback industry was begining to take hold. The Radio and Movie industry had been tempting away talent and competing for audiences for some time. But the end for the pulps came in about 1952. Television was in its infancy and about to captivate a nation. But a collapsing newstand distribution network effectively end the pulp fiction era.
Although the pulps were incredibly popular during its day most were destined to be forgotten quickly. Much of the innovation and creativity that occurred in the pulps has been forgotten or attibuted to later mediums, authors and characters.
On the verge of extinction something incredible occurred. A band of fans during the 1950s and into the 1960s began to slowly organize through fanzines and conventions. The fanzines recorded pulp history and the conventions provided a means for the fans to get together, collect and perserve pulps, and to continue the hobby.
The late 1960s and 1970s saw a number pulps reissued as paperback reprints including the Doc Savage paperback run bringing in a new generation of fans. During the 1980s, the pulp community continued to grow in both numbers of fans as well as the start of a small press publishing network for pulp reprints.
The 1990s and the internet generation allowed the pulp community to move online. During late 1995 we approached Joel Frieman and Bob Weinberg at Argosy Communications who owns the rights to a number of the Popular Publications magazines. We obtained a license to begin reprinting their hero pulp stories online in electronic format.
On May 10, 1997, the Vintage Library opened its doors for business. We currently have over 150 stories available for immediate download. But the power of the internet has gone much farther than just electronic downloads. Its brought together a fan base and created a market where we've encouraged a number of small press publishers to create a regular stream of pulp reprints and to constantly improve quality. The result...
Today we are experiencing a pulp fiction revivial where new fans are coming into the hobby in large numbers and we have more and more books, magazines, reprints and replicas available than ever before. Adventure House, Girasol Collectables, and Wildside Press are some of today's top publishers keeping us awash in pulp fiction.
Pulp Fiction Central is your source to great pulp fiction reading with pulp replicas, pulp reprints, electronic pulps, articles, fanzines, and even original pulp magazines for sale.
Introduction to Pulp Fiction
If you are new to the world of pulps, Welcome! There are limitless ways for you to explore and enjoy the almost forgotton era where the pulps dominated the newstands and the stories entertained millions of readers on a regular basis. Thanks to a band of small press publishers, fanzine editors and writers, and the pulp fiction fan community, you can once again enjoy the pulps on a regular basis.
Whether its collecting the original magazines, reaading the regular stream of new reprints or replicas, tracking down favorite authors or character, collecting the cover art or interior illustrations, or conversing and meeting other fans online or at the conventions, the world of pulp fiction is a great hobby. Here are some articles to get you started:
- What is Pulp Fiction
- Pulp Magazine Collecting
- Pulp Magazine Grading
- Pulp Interviews
- Pulp Lists and Checklists
And, as always, check out our What's New section for our latest additions.