Weird Tales

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The cover of Weird Tales issue May 1934 featuring Queen of the Black Coast, one of Robert E. Howard's original stories about Conan the Barbarian.

Weird Tales is the name of an American fantasy fiction and horror pulp magazine first published in March of 1923. The magazine was set-up in Chicago by J.C. Henneberger, an ex-journalist with a taste for the macabre. Edwin Baird was the first editor of Weird Tales, and his assistant was Farnsworth Wright.

Baird was replaced by Farnsworth Wright after fourteen issues. Wright (who suffered from Parkinson's disease) gave Weird Tales a unique identity, and began to publish stories by H.P. Lovecraft, as well as the hugely popular Jules de Grandin stories of Seabury Quinn. Another successful contributor was Robert E. Howard, whose Conan the Barbarian stories, among many others, were hugely popular. Wright also gave early opportunities to such highly regarded pulp writers as Robert Bloch and Clark Ashton Smith. Wright continued as editor until March 1940, dying in June the same year.

Weird Tales always struggled financially, and like most pulp magazines including the similarly legendary crime fiction title Black Mask, suffered competition from comic books, radio drama, and eventually inexpensive paperback books. After the death of Lovecraft and retirement of Wright, Weird Tales took on a different flavor, but commercially generally declined until it ceased publication in September 1954 after 279 issues. Under the editorship of Dorothy McIlwraith, Weird's later years were distinguished by an influx of newer writers, including such major figures as Robert Bloch, Manly Wade Wellman, Fritz Leiber, Henry Kuttner, C. L. Moore, Theodore Sturgeon, Joseph Payne Brennan and Margaret St. Clair, a somewhat more eclectic range, and occasional pieces of "lost" Lovecraft completed, and Lovecraftian pastiches written by his self-appointed literary executor August Derleth, who also wrote better fiction for the magazine in his own voice.

After several shortlived reincarnations, including four issues as a magazine in the early 1970s edited by Sam Moskowitz and published by Leo Margulies, Robert Weinberg & Victor Dricks purchased the title after Marguiles' death and licensed a series of four paperback anthologies from 1981-1983 edited by Lin Carter. Weird Tales was revived under license by publisher/editors George H. Scithers, John Gregory Betancourt, and Darrell Schweitzer in 1988, beginning with issue 290. Some combination of these three have edited it since. The revived magazine has seen reasonable commercial success (as far as fiction magazines go) publishing notable contemporary writers such as Tanith Lee, Brian Lumley, and Thomas Ligotti. Weird Tales became part of the DNA Publications chain for several years around the turn of the millennium, and in 2005 was sold to Wildside Press (owned by former co-editor John Gregory Betancourt) and changed to a bimonthly (6 issues/year) schedule. Betancourt, Scithers, and Schweitzer remain as co-editors.

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Original Wiki source: Wikipedia