Weird Tales is more influential on our modern culture than most of us know. It popularized the supernatural horror genre, and gave us timeless authors like H. P. Lovecraft, and Robert E. Howard. This is the list of Weird Tales Magazine issues.
Weird Tales Magazine is a pulp magazine published in the 1920s. It was founded by J.C. Henneberger, and it has had an interesting history with some pretty big names associated with it. This blog post will cover the different publishers of Weird Tales Magazine, their editors, and what happened to them over time!
What is Weird Tales Magazine?
Weird Tales is a fantasy and horror fiction pulp magazine that started in 1922. While it covered pretty much all forms of fantasy of the day, most of these came in the form of “weird fiction” or supernatural horror (before Tolkien, pretty much all fantasy was either supernatural horror or children’s fairy tales).
The magazine ran continuously until 1954. It was later revived several times, and continues to this day.
A Complete List of Weird Tales Magazines
This list contains every issue of Weird Tales that has ever been published. However, in some cases, details are scant, and all we have is the issue volume, number, and release date. Wherever possible, we’ve collected as many PDF scans of the issues that we can. If you don’t see a PDF here, that likely means that we were unable to find it online.
As we find more resources with more information on the different issues out there, we will include them here.
And if you have more information about this magazine or other pulp magazines, be sure to let us know and we can update the page accordingly.
The History of Weird Tales Magazine
Weird Tales has an interesting history. And while it started from humble beginnings, it would eventually become one of the most important magazines in history of Pulp Fiction.
It was founded by J. C. Henneberger and J. M. Lansinger in 1922, with the first issue coming out in February 1923, though it was dated for March.
The Rural Publishing Corporation Era
The first publisher of Weird Tales was the Rural Publishing Corporation. The first editor of Weird Tales was Edwin Baird, who had previously edited Detective Tales.
Sales were initially poor, but a few tweaks in the magazine size to make a more visible increased sales somewhat.
That said, the magazine lost a lot of money while Edwin Baird was the editor, eventually totaling in $40,000 in debt. By that time Detective tales was doing well as was another magazine of Henneberger’s called College Humor. So Henneberger decided to sell both magazines to his partner Lansinger in order to invest that money in Weird Tales.
Henneberger would also end up making a deal with the printer, for whom he owed the most debt, to give them a majority stake in a new company called Popular Fiction publishing. In short, Weird Tales was able to continue.
By that time Edwin Baird had moved on, and so Henneberger was looking for another editor. Among the candidates, was H.P. Lovecraft, who had submitted a couple of short stories to the magazine thus far. But after a lot of persuasion, H.P. Lovecraft either refused or Henneberger simply gave up.
Instead Henneberger hired Farnsworth Wright near the end of 1924, and Weird Tales was moved under Henneberger’s new company, Popular Fiction Publishing.
The Popular Fiction Publishing Era
Henneberger would give Farnsworth Wright full control of Weird Tales, and Wright would continue to edit the magazine all the way until 1940. However, Farnsworth Wright suffered from Parkinson’s disease, and the symptoms grew worse and worse as he retained his editorship, and by the end of the 1920s he was unable to sign his name.
Nevertheless he stayed on for many years more as editor, with some assistance.
The magazine never sold particularly well during this time, but was consistent and steady, and paid well. Nevertheless, the depression meant that it was never able to get out of its financial difficulties, and the magazine would later be sold in 1938 to William J. Delaney, who was the publisher of Short Stories at the time. Short Stories was one of the more successful pulp magazines, focusing on general fiction.
The Delaney Era
The magazine moved to New York, and Farnsworth Wright moved with it, though he would later retire as editor and died in 1940. Dorothy McIlwraith would take over in his stead.
Dorothy would stay on as editor from 1940 to 1954, though an associate editor, Lamont Buchanan, would take over primary editing responsibilities from halfway through 1945 till the end of 1949.
Delaney would try several experiments to increase the profitability of the magazine, but none of these worked too well. The entire pulp industry was in decline by that point, and so after having run continuously for decades, Weird Tales was officially retired in September 1954 with its last issue.
There would be several attempts to revive Weird Tales. The first of these came in the 1970s with a man named Leo Margulies. He bought the rights to Weird Tales in the ’60s, but mostly used it on reprints. A new version of the magazine would not appear until April 1973, but sales were too low for a sustainable revival, and so that revival did not last for more than a year.
The rights to the magazine would pass through several hands over the next few years, with some paperback anthologies appearing in the early 1980s, in another issue in 1985 that went nowhere.
The most lasting revival came in in 1988, but would remain in financial trouble for the next few years. That revival would last into the 1990s, with sporadic issues. It would also be temporarily rebranded as Worlds of Fantasy & Horror, when it’s owner did not renew the license for the title.
There would be sporadic issues through the 90s and 2000s, with little success for all involved. There was even a TV series in the works from HBO with directors like Tim Burton, Francis Ford Coppola, and Oliver Stone as executive producers, and tapped to direct at least one episode each. Unfortunately, this series never went into production.
In 2011, Weird Tales was sold yet again to Marvin Kaye and John Harlacher of Nth Dimension Media. Several issues would follow, with the last appearing in spring of 2014. Issue number 363, was officially announced in August 2019. This issue would become available to purchase at the Weird Tales website in April 2020, with several issues following that year.
Important Contributors to Weird Tales
Weird Tales was the start of a successful career, and legacy, for a variety of authors. Among these authors, include:
- Seabury Quinn: who wrote the most number of Weird Tales short stories, totaling 145 with 14 articles
- H.P. Lovecraft: known for being the father of cosmic horror, one of the most chilling writers of the era, and author of the Cthulhu mythos. He would also ghost write stories for Harry Houdini
- Robert E. Howard: known primarily as the creator of Conan the barbarian
- Ray Bradbury: one of the more prolific science fiction writers, and author of Fahrenheit 451
- Clark Ashton Smith: considered the third in the “big three” with H.P. Lovecraft and Robert E. Howard.
A list of editors includes:
- Edwin Baird: March 1923 – May/June/July 1924
- Farnsworth Wright: November 1924 – March 1940
- Dorothy McIlwraith: May 1940 – September 1954
- Sam Moskowitz: April 1973 – Summer 1974
- Lin Carter: Spring 1981 – Summer 1983
- Forrest J Ackerman/Gil Lamont: Fall 1984
- Gordon Garb Winter: 1985
- Darrell Schweitzer/George Scithers/John Betancourt: Spring 1988 – Winter 1990 and September 2005 – February/March 2007
- Darrell Schweitzer: Spring 1991 – Winter 1996/1997
- Darrell Schweitzer/George Scithers: Summer 1998 – December 2004
- Stephen Segal: April/May 2007 – September/October 2007 – Spring 2010
- Ann VanderMeer: November/December 2007 – Fall 2009, Summer 2010 – Winter 2012
- Marvin Kaye: Fall 2012 – Spring 2014
- Jonathan Maberry: Summer 2019 – present
The magazine would also showcase some of the more important artists of the pulp era. These would include people like Virgil Finley and Margaret Brundage, who easily left one of the greatest marks on pulp magazines in general, and the style of art that would come to saturate those decades.
The Legacy of Weird Tales
Stephen King was one of many to point to Weird Tales as a major inspiration. Before Weird Tales, we had very little in the realm of supernatural fantasy, relying only on certain authors like Edgar Allen Poe, though his form of Gothic fantasy was far more subtle than what we got with Weird Tales.
Instead, Weird Tales has become a huge influence on modern fantasy in general, especially through the work of authors like Neil Gaiman and China Mieville. It has also contributed to several classic works of horror cinema with films like John Carpenter’s The Thing (1982), Guillermo del Toro’s Pan’s Labyrinth (2006) or even Stephen King’s IT (1990).
Its legacy continues to live on in modern publications, and in the genres that it helped create.
Overall, we owe a debt to Weird Tales not just for giving us a new genre to play with, or for introducing the world to a variety of authors who have had a permanent effect on popular culture. Imagine what life would be like without Cthulhu, or Conan the Barbarian as part of our culture?