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New Treasures: Adventure Tales #7

Sunday, June 15th, 2014 | Posted by John ONeill

Adventure Tales 7-smallHurrah! Hurrah! The latest issue of Adventure Tales has arrived! And a spectacular issue it is.

It starts with the cover, a reprint of my all-time favorite Planet Stories cover. I’ve always wanted to know who painted it — and I still don’t know, as the cover artist remains uncredited. (Maybe nobody knows? Sadly, that’s entirely possible.)

It’s been a long, long time since we’ve seen an issue of Adventure Tales, Wildside Press’s flagship magazine of pulp reprints. And speaking as a magazine publisher who thought he was doing well putting out one issue a year, that means something. Here’s an explanatory snippet from John Betancourt’s (anonymous) editorial:

We are, as usual, managing to keep to our “irregular” schedule with an issue that’s “only” 4 years in following the last one. Hopefully that won’t happen again. (Blame the economy… we’ve had to focus on things that actually make money, rather than the publisher’s time-consuming pulp-magazine hobby!)

I’m hugely appreciative of Wildside’s tireless efforts to keep countless genre authors — many of whom have no other outlet — constantly in print. But having said that. I still vote for more issues of Adventure Tales. Let’s hear it for time-consuming pulp-magazine hobbies! They make the world go round.

Lots of good stuff in this issue. For one thing, Betancourt and team have acquired the literary estate of Mack Reynolds, a prolific SF writer of the 50s and 60s who’s been unfairly neglected since his death in 1983, and they’re wasting no time mining it for great adventure stories. Here’s Betancourt again:

Wildside Press recently purchased the literary estate of Mack Reynolds, one of the top science fiction writers of the 1960s and 1970s, and we have been going through his early pulp stories (and finding some great reads!) — so we are making him the Featured Author in this issue, with no less than 2 essays and 6 of his early stories… plus a bibliography of all his novels.

Planet Stories July 1951, containing Mack Reynolds' "Mercy Flight."

Planet Stories July 1951, containing Mack Reynolds’ “Mercy Flight.”

That impressive bibliography takes a page and a half of small print, and doesn’t include the 189 short stories Reynolds published between 1950 and 1986 (98 in the decade between 1950 and 1960 alone, in places like Fantastic Adventures, Planet StoriesAmazing, Thrilling Wonder Stories, and Super Science Stories). Reynolds had an extraordinarily productive career, but virtually all of his work is now out of print. The guy doesn’t even have an Amazon page. So it’s great to see him finally getting some attention here and I look forward to seeing what Wildside will do with the rest of his catalog.

The Mack Reynolds stories reprinted herein include “Long Beer – Short Horn” (Fantastic Adventures, November 1950), ”Mercy Flight” (Planet Stories, July 1951), ”With This Ring…” (Fantastic Adventures, August 1951) and ”Your Soul Come C.O.D” (Fantastic Adventures, March 1952).

The rest of the issue is equally impressive — it includes stories by Frank Belknap Long, Rafael Sabatini, Greye La Spina, David H. Keller, M.D., and many more. It also includes poems from Fritz Leiber, Robert E. Howard, Clark Ashton Smith, and more.

There’s also a generous amount of art, much of it the original illustrations that accompanied the first appearance of these stories in pulp magazines. I appreciate the obvious care taken with reproducing the art, which looks as crisp and finely detailed as when it originally appeared.

Adventure Tales #7 was edited by John Betancourt and published by Wildside Press on May 5, 2014. It is 130 pages with no ads, priced at $12.50. There is no digital edition.

We last covered the magazine with the previous issue, Adventure Tales #6.

9 Comments »

  1. John, it’s a little difficult to read, but to the left of the foot of the standing armored figure on AT #7 seems to be the cover artist’s name. It appears to me to read “Leydenfrost,” and the style does seem to be that of Alexander Leydenfrost. That’s my guess on the artist.

    Comment by Ty Johnston - June 15, 2014 1:18 pm

  2. Ty,

    I don’t know how you did that. I’m holding the print version, and staring at it with one eye bugging out of my head, and I still can’t quite make out that signature. And you nailed it from the jpeg.

    You’re absolutely right — it is Alexander Leydenfrost.

    http://www.pinterest.com/pin/558868634981639603/

    Comment by John ONeill - June 15, 2014 1:34 pm

  3. ADVENTURE TALES is a title that does not match its contents. I would think more of reprints from ADVENTURE, BLUE BOOK, ARGOSY, and SHORT STORIES than Clark Ashton Smith, and PLANET STORIES reprints. Betancourt needs to put a Fantastic in front of ADVENTURE TALES.

    Comment by docpod - June 15, 2014 4:48 pm

  4. John, it was the woman on the cover that tipped me off. I’m not sure exactly what it was about her, but for some reason she struck me as a Leydenfrost figure. Then when I noticed the artist’s signature, I still couldn’t quite make it out, but the general length and shape of the characters seemed to say, “Leydenfrost.”

    Comment by Ty Johnston - June 15, 2014 6:20 pm

  5. > Betancourt needs to put a Fantastic in front of ADVENTURE TALES.

    docpod,

    John actually does a fine job giving each issue of the magazine a unique flavor, and that flavor varies quite a bit. The last issue, for example, was very light on the fantastic, with a focus on H. Bedford-Jones.

    Comment by John ONeill - June 15, 2014 7:53 pm

  6. Cool! I know what I’m asking for for Father’s Day. (I know Father’s Day is almost over. I don’t care.)

    Comment by westkeith - June 15, 2014 11:07 pm

  7. That’s your all-time favorite Planet Stories cover, John?
    Well, it’s great, naturally. That pulp had so many good covers that it’s kind of a challenge to find one that isn’t cool in one way or another.

    But give me Summer, 1944.
    Stalwart bubble-helmed Space Hero weilding a blaster, Betty Page-coiffed heroine in state-of-the-art Space Garb, both battling a bug-eyed, taper-tentacled, Space Squid with fangs, antennae and a lashing forked-tongue.

    All of this on a time-worn, mystic roadway stretching away toward a mysterious city looming in the emerald distance.

    http://francesca.net/images/pulps/images/(PlanetStories1944Oct.JPG

    Comment by John Hocking - June 16, 2014 7:12 am

  8. A fine piece, John! That cover did a great job conveying the sense of space as a destination filled with strange ancient civilizations and lurking menace, which Planet Stories excelled at.

    I guess picking a favorite among Planet Stories covers is really an impossible task. It depends as much on the day of the week as anything else. Here’s three more candidates.

    This one is the Spring 1942 issue. I love this one for the weird alien menace (curiously inspecting a fine specimen of womanhood, naturally), and for the laser blaster so slow you can see the green rays leisurely making their way through the thick alien air.

    http://www.blackgate.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/Planet-Stories-Spring-1942.jpg

    Here’s Winter 1943, another superb example of the weird dangers of space archeology. And why, oh why, do future women always dress for the beach on these dangerous expeditions?

    http://www.blackgate.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/planet-stories-winter-1943.jpg

    And finally, here’s one of the most famous pulp covers of all time (and deservedly so). I’ve seen this one reproduced on pillows, fridge magnets, and even the packaging of a graphics accelerator ten years ago. It the March 1951 issue, divinely inspired by Leigh Brackett’s “Black Amazon of Mars.”

    http://www.blackgate.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/Planet-Stories-March-1951.jpg

    Comment by John ONeill - June 16, 2014 12:17 pm

  9. Not only do they dress for the beach, but they usually are wearing high heels.

    Comment by westkeith - June 16, 2014 4:24 pm


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