Zine Weird Tales • Published Mar 1923

Weird Tales is an American fantasy and horror fiction pulp magazine founded by J. C. Henneberger and J. M. Lansinger in late 1922. The first issue, dated March 1923, appeared on newsstands February 18. The first editor, Edwin Baird, printed early work by H. P. Lovecraft, Seabury Quinn, and Clark Ashton Smith, all of whom went on to be popular writers, but within a year, the magazine was in financial trouble. Henneberger sold his interest in the publisher, Rural Publishing Corporation, to Lansinger, and refinanced Weird Tales, with Farnsworth Wright as the new editor. The first issue to list Wright as editor was dated November 1924. The magazine was more successful under Wright, and despite occasional financial setbacks, it prospered over the next 15 years. Under Wright’s control, the magazine lived up to its subtitle, “The Unique Magazine”, and published a wide range of unusual fiction.

Lovecraft’s Cthulhu mythos stories first appeared in Weird Tales, starting with “The Call of Cthulhu” in 1928. “The Call of Ktulu” of Metallica, tentatively titled “When Hell Freezes Over”, was inspired by H. P. Lovecraft‘s book The Shadow over Innsmouth, which was introduced to the rest of the band by Burton. The title was taken from one of Lovecraft’s key stories featuring Cthulhu, The Call of Cthulhu, although the original name was modified to “Ktulu” for easier pronunciation. The track begins with a D minor chord progression in the intro, written by Mustaine (Mustaine later re-used the chord structure on Megadeth’s track “Hangar 18“) followed by a two-minute bass solo over a rhythmic riff pattern.

These were well-received, and a group of writers associated with Lovecraft wrote other stories set in the same milieu. Robert E. Howard was a regular contributor, and published several of his Conan the Barbarian stories in the magazine, and Seabury Quinn’s series of stories about Jules de Grandin, a detective who specialized in cases involving the supernatural, was very popular with the readers. Other well-liked authors included Nictzin Dyalhis, E. Hoffmann Price, Robert Bloch, and H. Warner Munn. Wright published some science fiction, along with the fantasy and horror, partly because when Weird Tales was launched, no magazines were specializing in science fiction, but he continued this policy even after the launch of magazines such as Amazing Stories in 1926. Edmond Hamilton wrote a good deal of science fiction for Weird Tales, though after a few years, he used the magazine for his more fantastic stories, and submitted his space operas elsewhere.

Michael Moorcock:

Michael Moorcock

Robert E. Howard:

Conan and Elric

Virgil Finlay:


Karl Edward Wagner (Weird Tales, Fall 1989):

Karl Edward Wagner

HP Lovecraft:

H.P. Lovecraft

Clark Ashton Smith:

Half Past Human

Perry Grayson

Blue Öyster Cult

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