Building a Weird Tales Library: Part 3

Sunday , 24, April 2016 2 Comments

scan0011In the 1960s, Warren Magazines revolutionized comic books. Using the 8 ½ x 11 inch size with black & white interiors, the company side skirted the comic books code. Horror returned with the success of Creepy, Eerie, and Vampirella. I can remember issues of the magazines making the rounds on the bus ride home from school in the early 1970s.

If you opened an issue of a Warren Magazine, one of the things the mail order department carried was a full two pages of paperback books. The Captain Company carried movies, posters, Vampirella T-shirts, and jig saw puzzles among other novelties. A number of horror anthologies came out in the late 1960s and early 190s. There were three or four anthologers responsible: Alden Norton, Vic Ghidalia, Roger Elwood, and Herbert van Thal.

Alden Norton went back to the pulp magazine era as the replacement editor for Frederik Pohl at Astonishing Stories and Super Science Stories. He edited five horror anthologies, two co-edited with Sam Moskowitz.

All were for Berkley Medallion Books. The anthologies must have done well as they all had at least two reprints. Horror Times Ten (1967), Masters of Horror (1968), Hauntings and Horrors: Ten Grisly Tales (1969) generally have anywhere of one to three Weird Tales reprints. Norton seemed to like reprinting BerkleyX1414Robert Bloch, Robert E. Howard, H. P. Lovecraft, and Ray Bradbury. The Ray Bradbury reprints were generally from the detective pulps and not from Weird Tales. Clark Ashton Smith and Henry Kuttner were also reprinted though not from Weird Tales. Norton ran stories originally from Famous Fantastic Mysteries and also a scattering of stories from the turn of the century by Robert W. Chambers and W. C. Morrow. While not heavy on Weird Tales content, these paperbacks are a good introduction to horror fiction.

Sam Moskowitz’s Horrors Unknown first had a hardback edition in 1971. The Berkley Medallion paperback was not until 1976. For years, this was the easiest place to find the round robin story “The Challenge From Beyond.” That story had chapters by C. L. Moore, A. Merritt, H. P. Lovecraft, Robert E. Howard, and Frank Belknap Long. The book also contains one of C. L. Moore’s “Northwest Smith” (“Werewoman”) stories that originally appeared in a small press magazine and not in Weird Tales.

Moskowitz co-edited Horrors in Hiding with Alden Norton. Seabury Quinn, Robert Bloch, and August Derleth from Weird Tales are present while Henry Kuttner from Strange Stories was included.

BerkleyX1497Robert Hoskins’ The Edge of Never (Fawcett, 1973) appears to be intended as a survey of fantasy from the mid-1800s to the present. Clark Ashton Smith’s “A Night in Malneant” and Isaac Asimov & Frederik Pohl’s “Legal Rites” are the Weird Tales reprints. C. L. Moore’s “Werewoman” is again reprinted.

Vic Ghidalia edited solo and jointly with Roger Elwood generally for McFadden Books. The Little Monsters (1969) had reprints from August Derleth, Ray Bradbury, and Greye La Spina. Beware the Beasts (1970) had Lovecraft, Fritz Leiber, August Derleth, and Greye La Spina again.

Elwood and Ghidalia’s Horror Hunters is mostly of Weird Tales origin with Lovecraft, Robert E. Howard, Fritz Leiber, August Derleth, and Theodore Sturgeon.

Vic Ghidalia edited a mummy themed anthology– The Mummy Walks Among Us (Xerox, 1971) which is printed on thick, stiff paper like the old Centaur paperbacks. Out of seven stories, five are from Weird Tales by Seabury Quinn, Robert Bloch, Frank Belknap Long, and August Derleth & Mark Schorer.

Wizazrds and Warlocks (Manor Books, 1972) contains four Weird Tales reprints including August Derleth & Mark Schorer, Clark Ashton Smith, Robert Bloch, and probably the only paperback reprint of E. Hoffmann Price (“Apprentice Magician”).

Horror Stories #4

Ghidalia placed one anthology with Berkley Medallion in Gooseflesh! (1974). Three out of eight stories are from WT: August Derleth, Clark Ashton Smith, and Ray Bradbury. There is also a story by Robert E. Howard published posthumously (“Black Country”).

A botanical horror theme is the subject for Nightmare Garden (Manor, 1976). This includes a rare Donald Wandrei paperback reprint appearance with his last story in Weird Tales– “Strange Harvest.” There is also a Jules de Grandin story by Seabury Quinn and a totally obscure story “The Plant Thing” from 1925 by R. G. Macready.

Feast of Fear (Manor, 1977) was Vic Ghidalia’s last horror anthology. The book has an uber-cool sword and sorcery cover by the late Ken Barr. Three stories from Weird Tales FSTFFRBB1977by Robert Bloch, Fritz Leiber, and Henry Kuttner (“Masquerade”). One of August Derleth’s “posthumous collaborations” (actually a pastiche) with H. P. Lovecraft and another posthumous story by Robert E. Howard (“The Cobra in the Dream”).

The Pan Book of Horror Stories was a U.K. series edited by Herbert van Thal that lasted for 24 volumes from 1959 to 1984. That might be a record. The earlier volumes included a few Weird Tales reprints. There were three Berkley Medallion paperbacks that had selections from the U.K. editions.

Horror Stories #3 (1970) contained Frank Belknap Long’s “The Ocean Leech” from Weird Tales. Horror Stories #4 (1970) had Robert Bloch and Joseph Payne Brennan’s classic “Slime.” There was a #5 that contained no Weird Tales reprints. Apparently, #1 and #2 were never published.

So, Ray Bradbury and Robert Bloch seemed to have been favorites with anthologists. August Derleth makes a strong showing also in addition to the obligatory H. P. Lovecraft, Robert E. Howard, and Clark Ashton Smith. The Alden Norton anthologies are especially strong. A novice to horror fiction could get up to speed reading Norton’s books.

2 Comments
  • Cro-Magnon Man says:

    The venerable Pan Book of Horror Stories lasted even longer than you think. It didn’t finally expire until 1989 with the publication of volume 30. Bertie Van Thal edited the first 25 volumes and Clarence Paget the final five. Even then there has been at least one attempt at reanimation/resuscitation/resurrection – call it what you will – with the short lived Jones & Sutton edited DARK VOICES. But the Pan series, much like Weird Tales itself, is something very much of its time. Both are like that cake left out in the rain in MacArthur Park: no one can replicate the recipe however hard they try. And in WT’s case its not for wont of effort.

    Anyway, another cracking installment pulpmeister. Keep ’em coming.

  • Steve Dilks says:

    Some nice information. I was not aware that Moore’s “Werewoman” had been anthologized before Karl Edward Wagner’s “ECHOES OF Valor II” IN 1987. As far as I knew it had only been printed in Robert H. Barlow’s fanzine LEAVES in 1938.
    Robert E. Howard’s story, “The cobra in the dream”, published in FEAST OF FEAR is evidently an early version of what eventually became his WEIRD TALES published story, “The dream snake.”

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