Wednesday, November 30, 2011

WILD WEST WEEKLY - United Kingdom Issues

At PulpFest last summer, Walker Martin found a copy of WILD WEST WEEKLY that was issued in the United Kingdom. We'd always known that the magazine had an English counterpart, but I for one had never seen one. One of the ads in this issue advertises a future issue in which Sonny Tabor, one of my grandfather's heroes, would appear. Walker, being the generous person he is, gave me this copy as a gift.

Then, last weekend my aunt showed me a box full of WILD WEST magazines that were issued in the United Kingdom in the late 1930s - most of them 1938-39.

There are many distinct differences between the US version and the US. The magazine was called WILD WEST instead of WILD WEST WEEKLY, was bedsheet size and the exterior cover art is totally different than the US counterparts. The contents appear to be an average of 8 to 10 stories, but none of the issues have a Table of Contents. None of the stories have a byline; so no authors are given credit for their stories. Zero.

The most interesting difference to me was that Sonny Tabor ends up as "Sonny Taylor" in the UK version (even though they advertised it as Sonny Tabor earlier.)

For those of you who are interested, the publisher, as indicated on the back, was The Amalgamated Press, Ltd., and the printer was The Sun Engraving Company.

Here are more scans of just a fraction of the collection. Unfortunately my scanner isn't big enough to capture the entire cover, but you get the idea. The art work ranges from quite striking to bizarre.

So the WILD WEST WEEKLY adventure continues.

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Walker Martin said...

According to Galactic Central this title lasted 50 issues from March 12, 1938 through Feb 18, 1939 before being incorporated into THE THRILLER.

The robot comedy cover has to be one of the most bizarre western covers ever.

Barry Traylor said...

Wow! There are some very strange covers on these mags. The one with what appears to be a robot with a cowboy hat. Science Fiction/Fantasy? And the one with the guy in a business suit with flames in the background being greeted by an outlaw. What a hoot.
I wonder why no author credit was given? A way to avoid payment perhaps. I have always wanted to know who wrote the stories I am reading.

Chap O'Keefe said...

I see some cover art there by Amalgamated Press stalwarts Derek C. Eyles and Eric Parker. Although Wild West never returned after World War II, both artists continued to work in later decades on publications like Western Library and Cowboy Picture Library. I commissioned interior art for the Edgar Wallace Mystery Magazine from Eric Parker in the early 1960s.

Barry, the gent in the business suit is none other than detective Sexton Blake, a UK "household name" back in the Golden Age of Detection. And AP was usually more forthcoming with bylines in its publications, though its main story-paper rival, D. C. Thomson, continued giving no author credits well into the 1960s. By and large, neither company gave author or artist credits in the comics that took the place of their story papers.

Even today, some UK publishers of genre fiction tend to tuck away author credits among rocks and horses' legs at the bottom of covers. The top spot is reserved for the name of the publisher's line. Since the busier writers are encouraged to use a multiplicity of bylines, one can only assume such near anonymity is a matter of policy, not so much as to avoid payment (soup-kitchen level anyway) as to ensure no single writer is able to become significant to the list's fortunes and put up a strong argument for better reward.