Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Aaron's Magazine of the Week :: Dime Mystery July 1940

Dime Mystery July 1940Returning to our history of the pulp magazines, the Magazine of the Week is the July 1940 issue of Dime Mystery magazine.

Dime Mystery, edited by Harry Steeger, was arguably the first of the weird menace pulps, and featured some of the most gruesome covers ever seen in pulp fiction. However, under pressure from Mayor LaGuardia of New York, Dime Mystery decided to tone things down in 1940. It skipped the June 1940 issue, then came back to market with the Magazine of the Week. Dime Mystery continued to show women in peril, but they (a) had clothes on, and (b) were not being tortured or mutilated. The contents of the magazine took longer to change. The Magazine of the Week still has stories with titles like "Satan's Broiler" and "Bodies to Burn."

As it happens, by self-censoring its cover art, Dime Mystery ended up with much more clever and amusing covers, such as the evil little people on the cover of the Magazine of the Week. Okay, this was obviously still rather politically incorrect by modern standards, but at least the magazine was gradually moving in the right direction. Pulp cover art gets a lot more politically incorrect than this, as you may see in future weeks if I decide I'm up to the potential grief. While I think that over, next week we'll see an example of a Western pulp magazine.

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