Yesterday, I gave a teaser of sorts. A page from the magazine Weird Tales, circa 1946. This wasn’t about the Haunted Staircase, but about the publication itself.
Weird tales dates back 90 years. An American horror and fantasy magazine that began publication of stories in the pulp style in March 1923. The publication was set up in Chicago by J. C. Henneberger who was a former journalist who had a fascination with the macabre. The years that past showed this fascination grow, as stories such as the Haunted Staircase and others leaned toward the aspect of the supernatural and things that go bump in the night. Weird Tales was the place where some of the early 20th Century’s horror and gothic novelists began their careers such as H. P. Lovecraft, C. M. Eddy, Jr., Clark Ashton Smith and Seabury Quinn. The subgenre of fiction that Weird Tales produced was called weird fiction.
Like many of the pulp style magazines of its day, it didn’t last long, though had a good run. However, paper shortages during the Second World War and finally competition from comic book, radio dramas and paper back novels eventually brought the publication to an end in 1954.
There were two attempts to bring it back. A rather unsuccessful attempt in the 1970’s to bring back the magazine that lasted four issues. A second series of novel publications was printed from 1981 to 1983 and edited by Lin Carter. But it didn’t see any long lasting success again until 1988, when the publication was brought back on a monthly basis with issue 290.
Weird Tales wasn’t the only book of it’s kind. There was also A. Merritt’s Fantasy Magazine, Famous Fantastic Mysteries, Fantastic Adventures, Fantastic Novels, Fantastic Story Magazine, Ghost Stories, Strange Stories, Strange Tales, Tales of Magic and Mystery, The Thrill Book, Uncanny Tales (Canadian), Unknown, Weird Tales, and The Witch’s Tales. Naturally, this type of book crossed over different genres and included such memorable pulp style magazines like Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine and Issac Asimov’s Science Fiction.
But for some classic horror tales, Weird Tales and books like it were some of the best places to go.