Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The Latecomer Pulp Western: EXCITING WESTERN

EXCITING WESTERN arrived late on the pulp Western scene. The first issue was released in the Fall of 1940 and continued mainly on a bimonthly basis until October 1953.

EXCITING WESTERN was part of Ned Pines' Thrilling Group, published by Better Publications. Each issue included a column called "Trail Blazers," described as a "meaty department devoted to the great outdoors," and written by one Captain Ranger. The column appears to be an odd assortment of essays that mix history and current events - the column in the November 1947 issue is a lengthy and detailed essay on the government's granting of land in the Pacific Northwest to returning veterans, which could easily be mistaken as a Veteran's Administration summary on the program. The September 1947 column is a short manual on how to raise turkeys. April 1945's column is a discussion on the history and current state of farms that raise animals for fur.

As for fiction, W.C. Tuttle had a constant presence in this magazine with his Tombstone & Speedy novels, resulting in Tuttle's name was on the cover of the magazine for an uninterrupted run of six years. THE BLOOD N THUNDER GUIDE TO COLLECTING PULPS says that the Tombstone & Speedy stories bore a marked resemblance to Tuttles' early ADVENTURE characters Hashnife & Sleepy.

The magazine seems to have gotten off to a slow start in 1940, but as the decade progressed, more and more well-known Western authors were seen on bylines. This could have been due to the demise of other well known pulps such as WILD WEST WEEKLY, which stopped circulation in November 1943. WWW authors Walker Tompkins, Lee Bond, and Chuck Martin ended up being regulars in EXCITING WESTERN. My grandfather, Paul Powers, had at least three stories in EXCITING WESTERN. One of those, a story called "Buzzards Hate Bullets" from the November 1947 issue, will be reprinted in the new Paul Powers western collection coming out this spring.

Other well-known writers who appeared in EW were T.W. Ford, Jackson Cole, Wayne D. Overholser, Louis L'Amour, and Ed Earl Repp. A few oddballs show up occasionally, such as a poem "Just an Ordinary Guy," by Langston Hughes in the December 1943 issues, and an ad illustration by Dr. Seuss in the February 1945 issue.

To conclude, here's an ad for Gillette razor blades that appeared in the November 1947 issue, that's got a bit of three genres going on here: adventure, western, and romance.



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7 comments:

PAUL BISHOP said...

Buzzards Hate Bulletts, what a cool title! Nice post and great covers. Thanks for the lowdown . . . and a happy, productive, new year to you!

Evan Lewis said...

I like this mag. Picked up a few for Tuttle's Tombstone and Speedy stories. They'd make a great collection.

Ron Scheer said...

Just finished and wrote up W. C. Tuttle's Hashknife and Sleepy novel THICKER THAN WATER. The man was amazingly prolific. Thanks for the covers.

Walker Martin said...

James Reasoner, on his blog "Rough Edges", reviewed SHOTGUN GOLD by WC Tuttle(posted on Dec 17). It starred Hashknife and Sleepy and he liked it alot. He also mentions Tombstone and Speedy.

WC Tuttle was one of the most prolific of the pulp western authors and one of the best.

old guy rambling said...

Love the pulps - great cover art.

Richard R. said...

I wonder if those Tombstone and Speedy stories have been collected lately?

Deka Black said...

I lke the clothig, instead. is nice.