Amazing Cover Art of the Startling Stories Magazine in the 1940s

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From 1939 to 1955, the American pulp science fiction magazine ‘Startling Stories’ captivated readers. Published by Ned Pines’ Standard Magazines, this exceptional gem provided an escape into extraordinary tales. Edited by Mort Weisinger, who also oversaw ‘Thrilling Wonder Stories’, each issue of Startling offered a portal to an alternate universe through its main novel.

h/t: vintag.es

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One cannot reminisce about ‘Startling Stories’ without mentioning its first novel, ‘The Black Flame’ by Stanley G. Weinbaum. An interesting fact is that when Standard Magazines took over ‘Thrilling Wonder’ in 1936, they also gained access to a wealth of stories from its predecessor, ‘Wonder Stories’. This collection gave rise to the “Hall of Fame” stories section, featuring timeless tales from the past.

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The uniqueness of ‘Startling Stories’ was its distinctive cover art crafted by Earle K. Bergey. From 1940 to 1952, Bergey skillfully painted the captivating covers, featuring heroines wearing imaginative brass bras and extravagant costumes. Bergey’s contribution significantly influenced the public’s view of science fiction at that time.

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However, every story has its climax, and for ‘Startling Stories’, it reached its peak in the 1950s. Standard Magazines aimed to bring a new perspective by giving the magazine a fresh look in 1952, using a more refined title typeface and less sensationalized covers. However, as the era of pulp magazines declined, so did the popularity of ‘Startling Stories’. In a valiant effort to stay afloat, it merged with its sister magazines, ‘Thrilling Wonder’ and ‘Fantastic Story Magazine’, in 1955. Unfortunately, fate had a different plan, and by the end of that year, this iconic magazine said goodbye to its readers.

Over the years, ‘Startling Stories’ was not just a magazine, but also an era and a testament to the golden age of pulp science fiction literature.

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