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Marvel Science Stories

Entry updated 24 August 2017. Tagged: Publication.


US Pulp magazine, nine issues August 1938 to April 1941, revived for a further six issues November 1950 to May 1952; published by Postal Publications (first two issues), then by Western Fiction Publishing for the remainder of the first series, and finally by Stadium Publishing, all in New York, and all imprints of the publishers Martin and Abraham Goodman who would launch Marvel Comics in 1939. The first series was edited, uncredited, by Robert O Erisman (1908-1995), and though he was overall editor for the second series his associate editor was Daniel Keyes.

An sf pulp magazine from a chain which included such fringe-sf titles as Uncanny Tales, Marvel was the first of the many new sf magazines of the late 1930s and early 1940s. It was notorious for the mildly erotic approach of its early issues, to which Henry Kuttner contributed several stories, including "The Time Trap" (November 1938). The February 1939 issue featured Jack Williamson's After World's End (1961). After five issues the title changed in December 1939 to Marvel Tales, and for two issues the magazine leaned more heavily towards titillating sex and sadism, like "Lust Rides the Roller Coaster" (December 1939) by Ray King and "World without Sex" (May 1940) by Robert Wentworth (Edmond Hamilton). The title changed again in November 1940 to Marvel Stories, and the magazine returned to straightforward sf. Although initially successful enough to generate a companion, Dynamic Science Stories, Marvel, which began as a quarterly, became less and less frequent through 1939-1940, ceasing with the April 1941 issue. It was revived in pulp format in November 1950 under its original title, switched to Digest size after two issues, appeared three times in that format, and reverted to pulp size for its final issue; it was Marvel Science Fiction for the last three issues. Although the second series contained work by L Sprague de Camp, Murray Leinster and Jack Vance the stories were minor pieces. Overall, Marvel's existence is more as evidence of trends than of quality.

The February 1951 issue was published in a UK reprint May 1951. [MJE/MA]


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