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 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 gaurd up, and those feet moving! 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.