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Popular Periodicals: 19th & 20th Centuries: Pulps & Comics

A reference guide to historical indexes and sources for popular/mass market periodicals published in the United States, Canada, and Great Britain.


Pulp Magazines, Comics, etc.

What were once regarded as peripheral publications -- pulps, comics, hobbyist magazines, fanzines -- irrevocably destined for WWII scrap drives or Mom's trash basket have acquired a nostalgic patina, mythos, historical importance, and collectors' value once reserved for rare books and literary manuscripts. You won't find the following sites in the Library's Databases listing; they exist only through the diligence, labor, and knowledge of fans who sacrifice their nights and weekends to record, index, and therefore preserve rich creative content that might otherwise have disappeared. Most of these sites are collaborative labors of love. A selected sampling of their endeavors is presented below.

British Juvenile Story Papers and Pocket Libraries Index
A project to index all British children's papers, comics and annuals, 19th-20th centuries (e.g., Boy's Magazine, Chums, Cherry Ames Girls' Annual, School Yarn Magazine,, etc.
"The first goal of this project is to catalog every comic, graphic novel, manga, creator, character and anything else that could possibly relate to the field of comics. But that is only the beginning. The second goal of is to make this wealth of information as useful as possible. This means making as many connections as possible from one issue, one creator, one character to everything else in the site."

Galactic Central
"originally dedicated to bibliographies, specifically those related to science fiction and fantasy authors," GC expanded to include fiction content from popular slick magazines and pulp across the subject spectrum. THE place to find reproductions of pulp magazine covers as well.

Internet Speculative Fiction Database
"The ISFDB is a community effort to catalog works of science fiction, fantasy, and horror. It links together various types of bibliographic data: author bibliographies, publication bibliographies, award listings, magazine content listings, anthology and collection content listings, and forthcoming books." (Fred's fave; an amazing resource.)

LynxNet Magazine Index - News and Sports
Basically just a compendium of links to individual magazine web sites, but many of these maintain their own online archives that may extend back decades in time (e.g., Track & Field News).

Model Train Magazine Index
An index to Model Railroad magazines from 1933 to the present.

Research Society for American Periodicals
Not particularly well-organized, but a valuable compendium of links to full-text periodical sites, online indexes, historical information, period magazines, university digital projects, etc. Includes many newspaper sites

The FictionMags Index
An index compiled by fans of the magazine fiction genre: "Particular emphases are on the “Gaslight” magazines of circa 1880-1914, the pulp magazines of the first half of the 20th century, the “Big Slick” magazines of the mid-20th century, the digest-sized magazines of the 1950s and 1960s — and any other areas of magazine publishing which have been important for fiction. Discussion may cover aspects of the publishing history of the magazines concerned, their editors and editorial policies, the authors they published, and so on.” Caveat: Much of this material originated in listings from online auction sites, where the main intent was not bibliographic accuracy. Individual magazine listings may be incomplete or contain typographical errors. [site]