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This is an old revision of CharacterPulps made by TpnEditor on 2011-07-18 21:44:12.


Character pulps

Hero pulps, also called single-character pulps, were magazines named for and featuring a lead novel about a single character. The Shadow was the first hero pulp magazine.


Before the debut of The Shadow in 1931, pulp magazines comprised short stories and, often, serialized novels. Regular characters were not uncommon in the pulps before that time. Characters such as Tarzan, Zorro, Conan and others appeared periodically, but not regularly in magazines named after them.

The success of Street and Smith’s decision to name a pulp after a single character, and feature that character in a lead story each issue, triggered a rush of hero, or single-character, pulps. The Phantom Detective and Doc Savage followed in 1933. Soon news stands were stocked with pulps titled Operator #5, Dusty Ayres and His Battle Birds, Secret Agent X, The Mysterious Wu Fang and Captain Future.

The character pulps rode high for nearly 20 years. Then television, movies, comic books and paperbacks finally took their toll and the pulps vanished in the 1950s.

The phrase “character pulps” is a bit more inclusive than “hero pulps” since several of the magazines that fit this genre featured a villain as the title character. Among those pulps featuring villains were The Mysterious Wu Fang, Doctor Death and The Octopus.


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