Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Fight Stories, September 1930 / REH's Sailor Steve Costigan

Fight Stories v03n04 (1930-09.Fiction House)(Darwination vs McCoy).cbr
Get the full high resolution scan here.

A quick post today of a new scan that fits into my last theme of sports pulps, another scan of Fight Stories, this time an early issue featuring a cover from Earle Bergey and most notably one of Robert E. Howard's Sailor Steve Costigan stories. Howard is well-known for being the creator of Conan, but he wrote all manner of pulp stories in many genres and in a variety of pulp titles.

Howard was an avid boxing fan and an amateur boxer himself, and I think you can tell how much he enjoys and understands the sport in his Costigan yarns. Costigan is a hard-drinking brawler with more than a bit of bloodlust who is nonetheless quite charming. There is a nice biography of Howard at The Robert E. Howard United Press Association page here. You can find many of the Sailor Costigan stories in text form at the following two locales (thanks to the gent that pointed me here):

I will iterate that these text versions are NOT a replacement for the need to scan the original pulps, Howard's stories are just one part of what Fight Stories was about and can only be fully appreciated in context, as part of a vital pulp and boxing culture. Boxing was huge in our culture at the time on all levels. The largest bouts captivated the nation's headlines just a amateur boxing clubs were even in small towns and local bouts served as opportunities for fight lovers to gather, gamble, and gab about classic bouts. And while I'm on the subject of understanding our boxing culture and its roots, I'd be remiss not to recommend a recent book on the subject, "The Manly Art: Bare-Knuckle Prize Fighting in America" by Elliot J. Gorn:

(Excuse the Amazon link, I'm not spamming I swear, it's just an easy way to point out new books! I cannot lie, I do shop Amazon but also buy author-direct when possible and also patronize smaller booksellers...) My cousin recommended this to me a while back, and it is a superb read. It's a nice history of some of the legends in American boxing that demonstrates how entwined boxing has been with so many aspects of American History - class struggles, definitions of manliness, urban gangs and the urban political machines, etc. It's a great history - fun, informative, and thought-provoking at the same time.

But back to our issue! Contents and samples:

The splash for the Howard story:

One of the best things about Fight Stories are the descriptions of classic bouts. From The National Police Gazette into the pocket magazines and men's adventure magazines of the 1950s, there are many descriptions of epic battles. Here Jack Johnson battles Tommy Burns down under

And lastly, a sample on staying fit from Jimmy DeForest who trained Jack Dempsey.

Enjoy the pulp, keep your guard up, and stay on your toes! And lest I forget, thanks to McCoy for the edit work on this issue! Some knockout work ;)

Next time, some magazines from my childhood along with some thoughts on why magazines make for such powerful nostalgia and the importance of preserving this throwaway medium.


Walker Martin said...

I collect magazines, especially pulps, so needless to say I am very interested in your website.

Your last few posts on the sport pulps have been excellent and groundbreaking. There is very little research being done with the sport pulp genre, so I am happy to read your comments. Please do continue.

darwination said...

Thanks for your kind works, Walker. It's nice sometimes to know that someone out there is reading my posts, especially on what on the surface might seem to be a not-so-sexy subject. I agree that the sport genre has gotten little attention and do promise to return to the subject again in the near future.

As a student of American literature and culture studies, let me say this. The neglect of these magazines has gone on too long! In all my years in academia, I barely heard mention of these magazines which I now know are ripe for study and appreciation on so many levels. Many of the current approaches to literature and media that are so popular in English and American Studies departments these days have yet to be applied to the pulps, and there are many, many discoveries just waiting to be made by the casual reader and academics alike. Hopefully the emerging movement to preserve these magazines digitally will make the pulps more easily accessible by students and book lovers everywhere. Pulp preservation means not only saving these crumbling magazines for the future, it also means celebrating and understanding the whole breadth of story-telling that entertained readers and informed American culture for decades. Our print and media culture would be vastly different without the pulps, but I daresay if you were to show the man on the street a pulp magazine 99 out of 100 would have no idea what they were looking at...

AD-Italy said...

I would like to see some more issues of pulp magazines from the "Man Action/Adventures" series...

darwination said...

Howdy AD. My next men's adventure project will be coming up a little bit later this year, but in the meantime you are welcome to the sweat mag scans I've managed to gather up here:

Very few of these scans are mine, so thanks to the fellas that have been working in this area.

E. Martínez said...

As a Spanish pop literature fan and collector I would like to congratulate you for the exceptional work you are doing in terms of digital preservation of vintage pulp mags. You are really doing a superb restoration job! I have added a link to your site in my blog Acotaciones in order to invite my fellow readers to visit your blog. Thank you for giving us the opportunity to share with you the pleasure of admiring these hidden jewels.

Greetings from Spain.

Mark Finn said...

Huzzah! Steve Costigan and Robert E. Howard are finally breaking out of the sword and sorcery genre that has kept these wonderful stories hidden for so long. I've been working alongside a handful of REH fans and experts for years to give his boxing stories their due attention. Thanks for putting this up, and keep up the good work on your blog.

Nelson Asator Gomez said...

i want to thanx for gives us the opportunity to read all these materials