Nonfiction
Leo Margulies Giant of the Pulps: His Thrilling, Exciting, and Popular Journey

by Philip Sherman
Altus Press, April 2017, $19.95

Leo Margulies (1900-1975) was one of the most successful and long-serving pulp magazine editors and publishers. Most familiar of his titles to today’s readers is Mike Shayne Mystery Magazine, in format a digest but in spirit a pulp, which began in 1956 and outlived him by a decade. Along with titles from the science fiction, sports, Western, romance, and aviation genres, he oversaw such crime pulps as G-Men, Mystery Book Magazine, Popular Detective, Phantom Detective, and Thrilling Detective. He was the original publisher of The Saint Detective Magazine, and later launched shorter-lived digests fronted by Charlie Chan, Shell Scott, The Man from UNCLE, and The Girl from UNCLE.

The author is a relative and provides personal and family insights along with the account of his uncle’s professional life. While he could be prickly and difficult, Margulies was clearly a fair and decent man, as well as a good writer and editor. Over a hundred pages of appendices include listings of his magazines arranged by publishing imprint, anthologies, novels published by his Gateway Books imprint, comic books, his own published writings, (a short story and anthology introduction serve as examples), and posthumous tributes by Forest J. Ackerman and Will Murray. Statistical buffs will be interested in the approximate numbers of contributions bought from his most prolific writers. Topping the list is Norman Daniels (270). Some others include Johnston McCulley (170), Louis L’Amour (140), Dennis Lynds (110), Michael Avallone (70), and Henry Kuttner (40).

Sherman is an experienced researcher and careful scholar, whose rare errors may be owing to a limited knowledge of popular fiction genres and their authors. A series of short story collections by Leslie Charteris from the 1950s and 1960s, including The Saint in Europe and The Saint on the Spanish Main among others, are described as anthologies rather than single-author works. And Sherman seems surprised that Leo Margulies was not credited as their editor, stating that Leslie Charteris was. The implication is that the stories were not actually written by Charteris. While this is possible, it seems more likely that Sherman is confusing these collections with a series of paperback anthologies from the ’40s with the title The Saint’s Choice and edited by Charteris.

Jon L. Breen

Leo Margulies (1900-1975) was one of the most successful and long-serving pulp magazine editors and publishers. Most familiar of his titles to today’s readers is Mike Shayne Mystery Magazine, but he oversaw such crime pulps as G-Men, Mystery Book Magazine, Popular Detective, Phantom Detective, and Thrilling Detective.

Teri Duerr
5808
Sherman
April 2017
leo-margulies-giant-of-the-pulps-his-thrilling-exciting-and-popular-journey
19.95
Altus Press