The legendary Weird Tales, arguably the best known horror and pulp fiction magazine of all time, needs no introduction. It launched the careers of master writers of the genre like Lovecraft and Clark Ashton Smith. WT was a stately galleon carrying bizarre and unusual treasures. It presented us sparkling jewels of literature like August Darleth, Ray Bradbury, Robert Bloch and Seabury Quinn among others.
Renowned artists like Margaret Brundage, J. Allen St. John, and Virgil Finlay made Weird Tales famous for its outstanding cover and interior art.
Unfortunately, Weird Tales was ahead of its time. Its bizarre content was not appreciated by contemporary readers and the magazine was on the verge of bankruptcy during the time of Edwin Baird, its first editor. Baird’s successor, Farnsworth Wright, had better luck. The immensely popular Conan the barbarian stories of Howard were published during Wright’s editorial reign.
Did you know that Wright infamously rejected Lovecraft’s The Call of Cthulhu? He thought it was too esoteric.
Dorothy McIlwraith was the next WT editor. The new editor shifted the focus of the magazine from Howard’s Sword and Sorcery to typical horror & SF stuff. McIlwraith introduced promising new authors like Bradbury and Theodore Sturgeon to WT readers.
In spite of all the efforts, Weird tales circulation never crossed 50,000. It terms of readership, it was way behind the bigger players like The Shadow.
In the post World War II era, Weird Tales faced stiff competition from paperbacks, comic books, and radio. Newsprint shortage added to its woes. Finally, after 279 issues, Weird Tales ceased publication in 1954.
Since then WT has seen several reincarnations. Respected figures like Stephen H. Seagal and Marvin Kaye has managed WT in recent times. These days, critics and readers hold Weird Tales in high esteem. The Magazine has gained a cult status and a loyal following. It is widely considered as a landmark effort in Weird fiction. A lot of people still search for old issues of Weird tales, feel nostalgic about the priceless old advertisements that appeared on the magazine, and long for those double column retro pages.
Weird Tales has won Hugo Award and World Fantasy Award for its significant contribution to the genre. More importantly, it has given us a frighteningly delightful world to escape to. May those pages never die.
Here are some collection of stories taken from Weird tales:
1) Weird Tales (1964)
2) Worlds of Weird (1965) all edited by Leo Margulies.
3) Far Below and Other Horrors (1974) ed. Robert Weinberg
4) Weird Tales (1976) ed. Peter Haining.
5) Weird Legacies (1977) ed. Mike Ashley.
6) Weird Tales:The Magazine That Never Dies (1988) ed. Marvin Kaye.
7) Weird Tales: 32 Unearthed Terrors (1988) ed. Weinberg, Stefan R. Dziemianowicz and Martin H. Greenberg.
8) The Eighth Green Man and Other Strange Folk (1989) ed. Weinberg.
9) 100 Wild Little Weird Tales (1994) ed. Weinberg, Dziemianowicz and Greenberg.
10) Best of Weird Tales (1995) ed. John Gregory Betancourt.
11) The Best of Weird Tales: 1923 (1997) ed. Kaye and Betancourt.
12) Weird Tales: Seven Decades of Terror (1997) ed. Weinberg and Betancourt.
13) Weird Tales: The 21st Century (2007) ed. Segal and Wallace.
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