Weird Tales: a history


Weird Tales, aka “the unique magazine” and “the magazine that never dies“, is considered by many one of the most influential pulp magazines of  our era. In its original form it run from 1923 to 1954, offering a great and interesting sample of stories ranging from supernatural to primordial science fiction, to horror and suspense. It hosted many key authors of the paranormal and the occult, with names such Robert Bloch, H.P. Lovecraft, Seabury Quinn, Clark Ashton Smith, Robert E. Howard among others. During his presence on the newsstands it enjoyed a moderate success, though it never had an easy life. Recurrent financial troubles, in fact, often threatened to quit off the magazine. The last issue of Weird Tales, distributed on September 1954, showed the same cover as the August 1939 issue (maybe they couldn’t afford to pay for a new picture). As a matter of fact Weird Tales’s popularity grew bigger after his disappearing, leading to many attempts of revival over the years. However, fans generally agree that none of such revivals reaches the same level of the original. At present the last of them dates Spring 2014.


Weird Tales, issue of December 1939


What happened to volume four, number one?

Like many magazines of the era, Weird Tales divided his issues by Volumes and Numbers. So, i.e., there were Vol. 12/5, or Vol. 30/6, all of them progressively marked…except one. The first issue of Volume 4 (May 1924) in fact, starts with number 2 instead of 1. The curious thing is that they seemed having realized the mistake only twenty-three years later, in 1947, when they issued two different issues (May and July) with the same volume number, 39/11, thus effectively returning to the appropriate numeration.

If you’re interested in taking a look at the magazine, you can find some issues of Weird Tales digital edition and free to read here.
Printed editions of Weird Tales, either original or replica, can be found in the Pulp Magazines For Sale page.

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