Pulp Era Sources
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This is a Bibliography page for sources in the Pulp Era. The Pulp Era covers a period roughly from the 1920s through World War II, when magazines printed on cheap "pulp" paper provided thrills and adventure. There are several genres represented in this era, including Space Opera and Hard-Boiled Detective stories



  • Ceram, C.W.
    • Gods, Graves and Scholars (1947) Entertaining account of some of the pioneers of archaeology. These were the real life models of Indiana Jones.
  • Grant, Maxwell — A 'house name' used by Street & Smith Publications on the Shadow novels. Most of these were written by Walter B. Gibson
    • The Living Shadow (1931) First of the Shadow stories originally appearing in The Shadow Magazine and running from 1931-1949. The Shadow was a mysterious figure who stalked criminals by night and used a variety of pseudonyms. He originated on the radio, and was voiced by Orson Welles. The radio version had the ability to "cloud men's minds" using hypnotism.
  • Gold, Glen David
    • Carter Beats the Devil (2001) A fictionalized biography of real-life stage magician Charles Joseph Carter ("Carter the Great") placing him at the center of the mystery surrounding the death of Warren G. Harding
  • Malmont, Paul
    • The Chinatown Death Cloud Peril (2007) A pulp-style novel set in the 1930s has Lester Dent teaming up with Walter B. Gibson and several other writers of the era fighting an insidious plot.
  • Robeson, Kenneth — A 'house name' used by Street & Smith Publications on the Doc Savage novels. Most of these were actually written by Lester Dent
    • The Man of Bronze (1933) First of the Doc Savage stories. Originally published in Doc Savage Magazine, the series ran from 1933-1949. In the early '90s, new novels were written for Bantam Books; many based on outlines by Dent. Doc Savage is one of the classic Pulp heroes, a brilliant, two-fisted scientist with a team of adventurous associates who fight mad scientists and high-tech crooks.
    • Justice, Inc. (1939) First story featuring The Avenger, a pulp hero who could alter his features to impersonate other people in pursuit of justice. Like Doc Savage, he had a team of assistants and utilized an arsenal of gadgets. He had a customized .22 caliber pistol that he could shoot accurately enough to knock a man out by creasing his skull with the bullet. Most of the stories were written by Paul Ernst and appeared in The Avenger Magazine.
  • Vaz, Mark Cotta
    • Living Dangerously: The Adventures of Merian C. Cooper, the Creator of King Kong. (2005) Biography of the movie producer and director who had an exciting pulp-filled life travelling the world even before he filmed King Kong


  • Doc Savage: The Man of Bronze (1975) George Pal's disappointing adaptation of possibly the greatest of the Pulp Heroes. Done in a painfully campy style. It's worth seeing, but you will never be able to listen to John Philip Sousa again.
  • King Kong (1933) The original. The grand-daddy. Kong rules.
    • Son of Kong (1933) Hard to find, but well worth seeing
    • King Kong (1976) The Dino DeLaurentis version. Listed only for completion's sake. This update is not set in the pulp era and is just plain bad. Flee it.
    • King Kong (2005) The Peter Jackson remake has incredible visual effects.
  • The Phantom (1996) Has some good points and nice visuals, but many places where you will need to turn your brain off.
  • Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) Do I need to explain?
    • Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984) Not as good as Raiders, but has plenty of material for adventure in the exotic East.
    • Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989) Sean Connory. Say no more.
    • Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008)
  • The Rocketeer (1991) Excellent visualization of the Dave Stevens comic
  • The Shadow (1994) The plot has some logic holes, but the film is a fun ride, somewhat merging the radio version of the Shadow with the book version

TV Series

  • Bring 'Em Back Alive (1982-1983) An action series spawned in the wake of the success of Raiders of the Lost Ark, loosely based on the exploits of real-life big game trapper Frank Buck.
  • Tales of the Gold Monkey (1982) A rousing action series set in the 1930s. It's hero is an ex-Flying Tigers pilot operating an air cargo service off of a remote Pacific island.
  • TaleSpin (1990-1991) Animated Disney series featuring characters from Disney's Jungle Book transplanted into a setting similar to that of Tales of the Gold Monkey. Although the world of the series is modern in places, it still retains a lot of pulp feel


The Pulp Era was also the Golden Age of Radio and many pulp heroes also appeared in radio drama. The Shadow first appeared on the radio, where he was voiced by Orson Welles


  • Porco Rosso (1992) Brilliant Miyazaki film (aren't they all?) about a WWI pilot fighting sky pirates above the Adriatic Sea in 1929 Italy. But why does he look like a pig…?


  • Hannibal Tesla Adventure Magazine (shameless self-promotion)
  • The Phantom comic strip Long-running newspaper comic strip about a legendary jungle protector. Although he only appears in a few American newspapers today, the Phantom continues to be enormously popular in South America and overseas.
  • The Rocketeer Dave Stevens' wonderful tribute to pulp adventure and the movie serials of the 1930s and 1940s.


  • GURPS Cliffhangers (Steve Jackson Games) A supplement for GURPS 3rd ed. containing background information on the era and character ideas, as well as the first installment of what was intended to be a serial adventure module.
  • Justice, Inc. (Hero Games) — a pulp-era RPG using the HERO system. Out of print now, but contains a lot of period background material.

Game and Story Use

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