Tuesday, January 26, 2010
Fight Stories, Fall 1949
Fight Stories v09n06 (1949-Fall.FictionHouse)(Darwination-DPP).cbr
Get the scan here!
This was a highly enjoyable pulp, if you read just one of these sports issues, this is the one I'd recommend. Contents:
I am a boxing/fight fan to some extent, but must admit I was pleasantly surprised that a whole pulp revolving around boxing would keep me so thoroughly interested. How much punishment can a man take? When does the man taking a beating turn it around to pummel his opponent? When is taking a dive actually the moral thing to do? These stories seem to contain a lot of the wonderful interior struggles and thoughts of these fighters, and I was also entertained by the wide world of old school boxing these stories could conjure. There's the down and out fighter, the up and coming boxer, the whole world of organized crime and carnival promotion around boxing, and the always present sports journalist trying to figure out what's really going on. In particular, I like the first novel, "One Fist was Irish," very much having a wee bit of the Irish temper in me, and also "Homecoming," a peek inside a boxer's mind years after taking a dive in a big fight on his first trip home to take a second dive. The short historical sketch, "Poor Jake!," don't ask me if it's true or not, about American Jake Kilrain's 106 round bare-knuckle boxing held in France in front of a crowd of jeering Englishmen is a true portrait of horror. The description of the beating he takes is astounding. The way the seconds (kind of like a trainer I suppose, but perhaps more like the use of the term in a duel) would participate in these matches is quite interesting and seems more like something that would be staged in our modern wrestling matches. Also, this mag includes biographical sketches towards the end of some issues that are of interest to the boxing historian. This issue's biographical sketch discusses the career of Tony Zale, most famous for his series of bouts with Rocky Graziano. Robert Richard's sports writing is excellent here, and I love his narration of the three bouts with Graziano - there is a palpable excitement and you can feel Graziano's rage at his first loss. Richards does a nice job of portraying Zale as midwestern, blue-collar champion of the steelworker who can take a beating then give one in return. With the decline of boxing's popularity in recent years, we sometimes forget how exciting and central it is in the American past, but reading a pulp like this helps us remember.
The cover is by George Gross.
As always, samples. Some nice art in this issue, Fiction House had some great artists doing there interiors in the late 40s.
And this week's studies in the oddities of pulp advertising:
Gentlemen, do watch out if you encounter a woman wearing this scent, will you?
Ah, an absolute mainstay of advertising for men, the rupture easer. Be thankful for modern surgery, eh?
Oh yes, a sure path to riches
Next time, 80s Night?!?!?