Popular Publications

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Popular Publications
Status Inactive
Founded 1930
Founder Henry "Harry" Steeger
Country of origin United States
Headquarters location New York City
Publication types Pulp magazines

Popular Publications was one of the largest publishers of pulp magazines during its existence, at one point publishing 42 different titles per month. Company titles included detective, adventure, romance, and Western fiction. They were also known for the several 'weird menace' titles. They also published several pulp hero or character pulps.

The company was formed in 1930 by Henry "Harry" Steeger. It was the time of the Great Depression, and Steeger had just read The Hound of the Baskervilles. Steeger realized that people wanted escapist fiction, allowing them to forget the difficulties of daily life. Steeger wrote "I realised that a great deal of money could be made with that kind of material. It was not long before I was at it, inventing one pulp magazine after another, until my firm had originated over 300 of them."

In the late 1930s Steeger was under pressure to lower his rate of pay to below one cent a word, which he felt was the minimum decent rate he could offer. He didn't want to have Popular pay less than one cent per word, so a new company, Fictioneers, was started; it was essentially a fictional company, with an address (205 East 42nd St) that corresponded to the rear entrance of Popular's offices at 210 East 43rd St. It was given a separate phone number, and the switchboard girl was instructed to put calls through to staff working on Fictioneers titles only if the calls came to the Fictioneers number. Many staff were working on magazines for both companies at the same time, which made it difficult to maintain the pretense of separation. Science fiction writer Frederik Pohl, on the other hand, was hired specifically to edit two Fictioneers titles: Astonishing Stories and Super Science Stories.[1]

In 1942 the firm acquired the properties of the Frank A Munsey Co.. In 1949, they picked up the rights to several of Street & Smith's pulps, and there were rumors they might acquire S&S's pulp heroes The Shadow and Doc Savage, which never happened.

Other imprints used included Fictioneers, Inc. (1939-58), All-Fiction Field, Inc. (1942-58), New Publications, Inc. (1936-60), Recreational Reading (1936-60), and Post Periodicals, Inc. (1936-60).

In 1972, the company's rights were sold to Brookside Publications. Several years later, they sold the rights to Blazing Publications, which in 1988, renamed itself Argosy Communications. Under those names, it published a few comic book version of characters, as well as allowed the reprinting of several of their properties.

Characters[edit]

Titles[edit]

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ Pohl, Early Pohl, pp. 23–24.

References[edit]

  • Haining, Peter. The Fantastic Pulps. Vintage Books, a division of Random House. 1975. ISBN 0-394-72109-8
  • Pohl, Frederik (1980). The Early Pohl. London: Dobson. ISBN 0-234-72198-7.