The Black Cat Pulp Magazine 1899 1st Jack London Story Platinum Comic Age RARE
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The Black Cat Pulp Magazine 1899 1st Jack London Story Platinum Comic Age RARE:
THE BLACK CAT
1ST JACK LONDON STORY
MAJOR KEY ISSUE!!!
ONLY A FEW LEFT
PLATINUM AGE PULP
GLOSSY & CLEAN!
NO STAPLE RUST!
PROBABLY THE BEST
120+ YEARS OLD!
WE HAVE ALL ISSUES OF THE BLACK CAT AVAILABLE!
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THE BLACK CAT IS THE GRANDDADDY OF ALL PULP MAGAZINES!
TITLE:The Black Cat
FEATURED:1st published/paid JACK LONDON STORY - A THOUSAND DEATHS
ARTIST:Nelly Littlehale Umbstaetter
PUBLISHED BY: The Shortstory Publishing Co.
CONDITION: Approximately FN/VFN
Glossy Covers! Bright colors! Flat and clean. Check out the photo that shows all the original cover gloss on this issue! This is a pulp magazine from the Platinum Age over 120 years ago! One never ever finds issues of this magazine in this high grade. Most magazines from the 1800s are well read, damaged and very soiled. In addition, this issue is extremely rare! There are only a few of these left in existence! We purchased this issue over 25 years ago and it was very expensive then! THIS IS A MAJOR KEY HISTORICAL PULP ISSUE! Any photo glare or shadow is due to the high gloss reflection & camera flash. See Photos, Grading Chart below.
SECURE PROTECTED SHIPPING: In a Mylar sleeve with backing board between multiple layers of cardboard. This rare collectible will be sent registered mail.
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HISTORY & SIGNIFICANCE:
The Black Cat magazine was an American literary magazine published in Boston, Massachusetts in October 1895 and ran through 1923. It was the first continuous monthly pulp magazine devoted to unusual fiction, adventure, fantasy, science fiction & horror short stories.
Herman Umbstaetter (1851-1913) was the editor and his wife,Nelly Littlehale Umbstaetterwas the illustrator of every cover through 1920.
NOTABLE WRITERS PUBLISHED IN THE BLACK CAT
Jack London - (John Griffith London - born John Griffith Chaney; January 12, 1876 – November 22, 1916) an American novelist, journalist and social activist. A pioneer of commercial fiction and American magazines, he was one of the first American authors to become an international celebrity and earn a large fortune from writing.He was also an innovator in the genre that would later become known asscience fiction.
London was part of the radical literary group "The Crowd" inSan Franciscoand a passionate advocate ofunionization, workers' rights,socialism, andeugenics.He wrote several works dealing with these topics, such as hisdystopian novelThe Iron Heel, his non-fictionexposéThe People of the Abyss,War of the Classes, andBefore Adam.
His most famous works includeThe Call of the WildandWhite Fang, both set in theKlondike Gold Rush, as well as the short stories "To Build a Fire", "An Odyssey of the North", and "Love of Life". He also wrote about the South Pacific in stories such as "The Pearls of Parlay", and "The Heathen".
Philip Francis Nowlan (November 13, 1888 – February 1, 1940) was an American science fiction author, best known as the creator of Buck Rogers. He wrote the Buck Rogers comic strip, illustrated by Dick Calkins. He remained a writer on the strip until 1939. The comic strip ran from 1929-1967. Spin-offs included a radio-serial series Buck Rogers in the 25th Century (sporadically aired from 1932-1947), a 1939 movie serial Buck Rogers, a brief 1950-51 television series, and a 1979-1981 television series Buck Rogers in the 25th Century.Nowlan also wrote several other novellas for the science fiction magazines as well as the posthumously published mystery, The Girl from Nowhere.
Francis Lillie Pollock (February 4, 1876 – 1957) was an early twentieth-century Canadian science fiction writer. He was born in Huron County, Ontario, Canada in 1876. He wrote 'commercial fiction' under the pseudonym Frank L. Pollock, western or adventure fiction under the name Frank Lillie Pollock, and literary fiction under his own name. Some of Pollock's early commercial fiction can be found in The Youth's Companion. He also regularly published short stories and poetry in Munsey's Magazine, The Smart Set, The Atlantic, The Bookman (New York) and The Blue Jay (renamed in 1905 as Canadian Woman Magazine).
The sale of a serialized novel,The Treasure Trail, enabled him to leave his job at theToronto Mail and Empirein 1907 to pursue a full-time writing career. Pollock's writing career was pursued in tandem with a life of beekeeping. Many of his fictions are influenced by bees. Pollock kept an apiary in Shedden, Ontario and farmed commercially. He and his second wife, Zella Taylor retired to Georgetown, Ontario.
Pollock is the author of the short story "Finis", published in the June 1906 issue ofThe Argosymagazine, and his work has been anthologized several times. Briefly, "Finis" is the story of a new star that is discovered which turns out to be a new, hotter sun. It is a short hard hitting story which shows a man and woman, who stay up the night to watch the expected new star arise. Though written in 1906, it is set in the future of the mid 20th century. Pollock also wrote several science fiction stories forThe Black Catmagazineas well assea storiesfor magazines such asAdventure.
Henry Valentine Miller December 26, 1891 – June 7, 1980) was an American writer and artist. He was known for breaking with existing literary forms and developing a new type of semi-autobiographical novel that blended character study, social criticism, philosophical reflection, stream of consciousness, explicit language, sex, surrealist free association, and mysticism.His most characteristic works of this kind are Tropic of Cancer, Black Spring, Tropic of Capricorn, and the trilogy The Rosy Crucifixion, which are based on his experiences in New York and Paris (all of which were banned in the United States until 1961). He also wrote travel memoirs and literary criticism, and painted watercolors.
Cleveland Moffett(April 27, 1863 – October 14, 1926) was an American journalist, author, and playwright. During his journalism career he contributed articles and stories to magazines and weeklies. In 1894, he translated Cosmopolis, an 1892 novel by French author Paul Bourget. His mystery short The mysterious card was published in the Boston-based The Black Cat in 1895. This work had the novelty of not revealing the answer to the puzzle posed, thereby gaining widespread attention; it was followed up a year later by The mysterious card revealed. In addition to serialized short stories, he also wrote several plays, including Money talks (1905) and The battle (1908). The latter was a dramatization of his 1907 novel, A king in rags. Many of his works were set in locations outside the United States.
Rex Todhunter Stout(December 1, 1886 – October 27, 1975)- An American writer noted for his detective fiction. His best-known characters are the detective Nero Wolfe and his assistant Archie Goodwin, who were featured in 33 novels and 39 novellas between 1934 and 1975. In 1959, Stout received the Mystery Writers of America's Grand Master Award. The Nero Wolfe corpus was nominated Best Mystery Series of the Century at Bouchercon XXXI, the world's largest mystery convention, and Rex Stout was nominated Best Mystery Writer of the Century.
Clark Ashton Smith (January 13, 1893 – August 14, 1961) was an American writer and artist. He achieved early local recognition, largely through the enthusiasm of George Sterling, for traditional verse in the vein of Swinburne. As a poet, Smith is grouped with the West Coast Romantics alongside Joaquin Miller, Sterling, and Nora May French and remembered as "The Last of the Great Romantics" and "The Bard of Auburn". Smith's work was praised by his contemporaries. H. P. Lovecraft stated that "in sheer daemonic strangeness and fertility of conception, Clark Ashton Smith is perhaps unexcelled", and Ray Bradbury said that Smith "filled my mind with incredible worlds, impossibly beautiful cities, and still more fantastic creatures".
Smith was one of "the big three ofWeird Tales, withRobert E. Howardand H. P. Lovecraft",but some readers objected to his morofferness and violation of pulp traditions. The fantasy criticL. Sprague de Campsaid of him that "nobody since Poehas so loved a well-rotted corpse."Smith was a member of the Lovecraft circle and his literary friendship with Lovecraft lasted from 1922 until Lovecraft's death in 1937. His work is marked by an extraordinarily rich and ornate vocabulary, a cosmic perspective and a vein of sardonic and sometimes ribald humor.
Of his writing style, Smith stated: "My own conscious ideal has been to delude the reader into accepting an impossibility, or series of impossibilities, by means of a sort of verbal black magic, in the achievement of which I make use of prose-rhythm, metaphor, simile, tone-color, counter-point, and other stylistic resources, like a sort of incantation."
Rupert Raleigh Hughes - An American novelist, film director, Oscar-nominated screenwriter, military officer, and music composer. He was the brother of Howard Hughes Sr. and uncle of billionaire Howard Hughes Jr.
Susan Keating Glaspell - An American playwright, novelist, journalist and actress. With her husband GeorgeCram Cook,she founded the Provincetown Players,the first modern American theatre company.
Ellis Parker Butler - An American author. He was the author of more than 30 books and more than 2,000 stories and essays published in more than 225 magazines.
Alice Hegan Rice - An American novelist. Her 1901 novel Mrs. Wiggs of the Cabbage Patch became a play and four films.
Holman Francis Day - An American author and in 1889-90 he was managing editor of the publications of the Union Publishing Company in Bangor, Maine. He was also editor and proprietor of the Gazette in Dexter, Maine, a special writer for the Journal in Lewiston, Maine, representative of the Boston Herald, and managing editor of the Daily Sun in Lewiston. From 1901 until 1904 he was military secretary to Gov. John F. Hill of Maine.
William Sydney Porter - Better known by his pen name O. Henry, was an American short story writer. In 1902, after the death of his wife, Porter moved to New York, where he soon remarried. It was while he was in New York that Porter's most intensive writing period occurred, with Porter writing 381 short stories. Porter's works include "The Gift of the Magi", "The Duplicity of Hargraves", and "The Ransom of Red Chief". His stories are known for their surprise endings and witty narration. Porter also wrote poetry and non-fiction. Porter's legacy includes the O. Henry Award, an annual prize awarded to outstanding short stories.
Charles Edward Barns - An American writer, journalist, astronomer, theater impresario, and publisher.
Harry Stephen Keeler - A prolific but little-known American fiction writer, who developed a cult following for his eccentric mysteries. He also wrote science fiction.
Octavus Roy Cohen - An early 20th century American author specializing in ethnic comedies. His dialect comedy stories about African Americans gained popularity after being published in the Saturday Evening Post and were adapted into a series of short films by Al Christie.
EDITORIAL AND OWNERSHIP HISTORY
Under the Short Story Publishing Co imprint, Herman Umbstaetter was editor until the September 1912 issue when his health forced him to sell the magazine to Samuel E Cassino (1856-1937) who ran it with his son, Herman, until 1919. Theresa E Dyer (1872-1967), who had been Umbstaetter's assistant, continued to edit the magazine, but when Cassino transferred the magazine to Salem, MA, the editor became (from December 1913) Frank Wellman Osborne until 1915 when Harold E Bessom (1895-1982) took over. The magazine was transferred to New York during 1919 and set up under its own company owned by Fox Films, and Bessom remained as editor until the magazine ceased in October 1920. It was briefly revived by William R Kane, of Highland Falls, New York, from January 1922 to at least December 1922 (the last sighted issue) or perhaps April 1923. The Black Cat appeared twice monthly between January and June 1922.
FAMOUS WRITERS & THEIR STORIES
The Black Cat earned a reputation for encouraging new writers and for publishing clever and original short fiction. Its most famous discovery was Jack London. Although Jack London had placed a few earlier stories in TheOverland Monthly and The White Owl(a Black Cat imitator), The Black Catwas the first magazine to actually pay him for a story beginning his writing career with a prize of $40 for "A Thousand Deaths" (May 1899). The story, concerned a scientist using a human as a guinea pig to explore how he could bring the dead back to life.
The most famous story published by the magazine helped establish its reputation for the unusual, "The Mysterious Card" (February 1896) by Cleveland Moffett, where a man has a card upon which he can see nothing but it revolts all he shows it to. The story was so popular that Moffett wrote a sequel, "The Mysterious Card Revealed" (August 1896). It encouraged a number of stories that explored tricks of the mind and the potential of Hypnosis.
One of these was "A Hundred Thousand Dollar Trance" (May 1896) by Eugene Shade Bisbee where an audience believes a man ages in front of them, and "The Man With the Box" (July 1896) by George W Tripp, where a man creates a machine that deludes others into believing something is other than what it is. he cleverest of these stories is "A Mental Mischance" (September 1896) by Thomas F Anderson where a man can genuinely read minds but is fooled by interpreting hopes as memories. Umbstaetter was evidently interested in the potential of the mind. He collaborated with Anderson on "The Mystery of the Thirty Millions" (April 1896) which describes a strange new ship which can influence others by some hypnotic force.
The Black Catwas full of stories about new scientific Inventions, some rather more futile than others. In "My Invisible Friend" (February 1897), Katherine Kip describes a liquid that causes Invisibility. In "Underwater House" (March 1899) by Frank Bailey Millard (1859-1941), a scientist establishes a laboratory on a remote Pacific island where he invents a variety of devices, including a television. There are mechanical slaves (Robots) in both "Ely's Automatic Housemaid" (December 1899) by Elizabeth Bellamy (1837-1900) and "Mr Corndropper's Hired Man" (October 1900) by W M Stannard. A machine that can cancel sound serves little good in "The Horn of Marcus Brunder" (June 1899) by Howard Reynolds. In "The Transposition of Stomachs" (April 1900) by Charles E Mixer there is a stomach transplant, whilst in "A Witch City Mystery" (August 1901) by Frederick Van Rensselaer a scientist discovers how to regenerate healthy humans by first liquidizing them. The first trip into Earth orbit is described in "The Man Who Found Zero" (September 1901) by Ion Arnold. Radium, considered the wonder Element of the period, is used to make spirits visible in "A Rule That Worked Both Ways" (December 1904) by Octavia Z Bond, whilst its curative powers are explored in "Itself" (May 1907) by Edgar Mayhew Bacon (1855-1935).
The two writers who worked with all these themes and produced some of the most original work for The Black Catwere Don Mark Lemon (1875-? ) and Frank Lillie Pollock. In "The Invisible City" (September 1901) Pollock has a Scientist develop a mechanical method for mass Hypnosis and creates an entire City in a desert where almost everything is an illusion. Don Mark Lemon was The Black Cat's most regular contributor of unusual stories. They include "Doctor Goldman" (December 1900), in which tissue transplanted from a dead man's brain also transfers his final memories; "Doctor Million" (February 1905) with a pill that makes people lose weight with the catch being that the only way to stop it reverses the process; "The Man Who Did Things Twice" (June 1905), a Moffettesque-type story in which a man repeats on the following day everything he did on the previous one including, apparently, dying; "The Essence of Advertising" (August 1906) has a chemical that can extract thoughts; "The Mansion of Forgetfulness" (April 1907) has a device that destroys the memory without damaging the brain; and "The Lace Designers" (May 1907) in which spiders are fed a special Drug which causes them to weave remarkable web designs.
Few stories of scientific speculation were published after Umbstaetter's death. The last such story of any significance was "John Jones's Dollar" (August 1915) by Harry Stephen Keeler, which looked at the world of 3221 and how Money invested in 1921 was now sufficient to buy the solar system, such was the power of compound interest. Hugo Gernsback reprinted this story in the March 1927 Amazing Stories pulp magazine.
There were still many interesting contributors to The Black Catin its final years. The soon to be notorious mystic William Dudley Pelley (1890-1965) contributed "Suspended Animation" (May 1916). Philip Francis Nowlan contributed perhaps his earliest story, the vignette "Mars, Humorist" (September 1916). Carroll K Michener (1885-1970), who later sold stories to Weird Tales first appeared in The Black Catwith "The Dagger" (June 1918). Perhaps the most surprising author to have debuted in The Black Catis Henry Miller who was paid for critiquing stories from earlier issues with his views published in the May, June, August and October 1919 issues. The first story he commented upon was "The Unofferden Guest" (February 1919) by Carl Clausen (1895-1954) who would later contribute to Amazing Stories.
The Black Catwas highly influential and much imitated by magazines like The White Owl, the early Ten-Story Bookand even The Smart Set, and its influence can also be detected in The Thrill Book and Weird Tales. It was an independent and rather idiosyncratic publisher of science fiction and original ideas outside the growth of the field in the early popular fiction and Pulp magazines, and provided an original and clever perspective.
COMIC BOOK GRADING STANDARDS - CPG/CGC
GM -Gem Mint [M+: 10]The best possible existing condition of a comic book. They are very rare, especially in older comic books pre-1990. Books in this condition pre-1980 are virtually non-existent.
M - Mint [M: 9.9, M-: 9.8]An extremely exceptional comic book with only minute printing or bindery defects. The book's cover is flat and without surface wear. Cover inks are exceptionally bright with high gloss. The book's corners are perfectly square and sharp. Staples are clean and shiny. Interior pages must be white in color and supple to the touch.
NM+ - Near Mint+ [NM+: 9.6]This grade is close to mint with some minor defect. You can tell that this comic has been stored properly and looks as new as the day it was printed. There may be a slight stress line by the staples but the staples themselves are generally centered clean with no rust.Some of the color may have chipped or flaked off the cover. The cover is flat with no surface wear and the inks are bright with high reflectivity and very little fading. Corners will be cut square and sharp with ever so slight blunting permitted. All stress marks should be almost invisible and bindery tears must be less than 1/16 inch. Only the most subtle binding and/or printing defects are allowed. The cover will be fairly well centered and firmly secured to the interior pages. Paper is supple and like new. Spine is tight and flat. Unobtrusive date stamps or arrival dates in pencil or ink are acceptable. Many pedigree collection comics have a notation on the cover or the interior of the comic and are considered a bonus to collectors as they help prove the provenance of the comic.
NM - Near Mint [NM: 9.4, NM-: 9.2]This is a nearly perfect comic book with great eye appeal and no apparent obvious defects. It is vibrant and clean with supple pages. Cover has high gloss, is relatively flat, with almost no surface wear. Cover inks are generally bright with medium to high reflectivity. Spine is almost completely flat and tight. The staples may show some discoloration. Older comics may have some discoloration due to aging. Inside pages and covers will usually be off-white to white but can be creamy or slightly yellowish. Permissible defects could include very small stress lines (up to 1/4 inch) near staples, minute corner creases, small binding or printing defects.
VF/NM - Very Fine/Near Mint [VF/NM: 9.0]Slightly better than the Very Fine conditions below but in lesser condition than the grade above.
VF - Very Fine [VF+: 8.5, VF: 8.0, VF-: 7.5]A very fine comic book is a really nice book that appears to have been read a few times but handled with care. Additional minor defects are allowed. Visually there is most of the original cover gloss with minimal surface wear and a near flat cover. There may be small corner creasing, small fold on cover, very minor corner, edge, or spine wear, slight wrinkles at the staples and slight staple discoloration, light cover creases, minor stress marks on spine, a few small chips on the cover (Characteristic Marvel chipping is a good example). interior paper may be off-white. Overall, an exceptional and very collectible comic book.
FN/VF - Fine/Very Fine [FN/VF: 7.0]Slightly better than the Fine conditions below but in lesser condition than the grade above.
FN - Fine [FN+: 6.5, FN: 6.0, FN-: 5.5]Fine comics are well read, very desirable issues. They may have one major defect such as a larger piece out of the cover (1/4 inch to 1/8 inch) or a one inch plus tear. They have stress lines around the staples and creases from opening and closing of the cover. Interior pages may be off-white to yellowish in color. There could be a reading or subscription crease or a rolled spine, but is not damaged enough to reduce eye appeal dramatically. Some discoloration, fading in colors, and even minor soiling is allowed. The cover and/or insides could have minor tears and/or folds. The cover can be loose from one staple but cover cannot be detached from the interior. Pages and inside covers could be brown but not brittle. There is generally an accumulation of minor defects such as corner dings, minor creases, light spine wear, stress lines around the staples, and rounded corners. Sometimes a comic book that appears to be a higher grade has a major defect that will bring it down to a fine grade.
VG/FN -Very Good/Fine [VG/FN: 5.0]Slightly better than the Very Good conditions below but in lesser condition than the grade above.
VG - Very Good [VG+: 4.5, VG: 4.0, VG-: 3.5]This is a very well read comic but is complete. It may have a major defect such as a large piece out of its cover (1/2 to 1/4 inch), or a one inch plus tear. There is generally low cover gloss or almost none at all. The inside paper quality is not great, yellowing, with small pieces missing. Pages and inside covers could be brown but NOT brittle, with minor tape repairs. One or both staples may be loose but the cover cannot be completely detached. Comic books in these grades have minor tears, corner creases, minor markings, discoloration, and heavy stress lines around the staples and spine or even a rolled spine. They are almost always creased, scuffed, abraded, and soiled. Pages and inside covers could be brown but NOT brittle, with minor tape repairs. Tape on the comic is considered a defect in this grade.
GD/VG -Good/Very Good [GD/VG: 3.0]Slightly better than the Good conditions below but in lesser condition than the grade above.
GD -Good [G+: 2.5, G: 2.0, G-: 1.8]Good is really misnomer. Good is a readable, complete issue with the cover having numerous defects. All of the defects present in a VG comic book plus more such as major creases, rolled spine or a missing a 1/2 inch piece, rusty staples, scuffs, abrasions, and soiling. A good book is complete with no missing pages and is still in a "Collectible" grade.
FR - Fair [F: 1.0]A fair condition comic is heavily worn and tattered. All pages will be present and most of the covers. Large pieces may be missing from either front or back cover. There will of course be heavy creases and folds. The spine and/or cover may be completely split. Staples may be missing. Corners are rounded. Coupons may be cut from cover and/or inside pages. Panels inside may also be clipped out. Paper quality can be very low being dark tan with brittleness being a factor. The centerfold may be loose or missing and the soiling, staining, tears, markings, or chunks missing will interfere with reading. Moderate to extensive amounts of tape is acceptable on a comic in this grade.
P -Poor [P: 0.5]A poor condition comic book has major defects to the point that there is little to no collector value. Issues in this grade typically will have pages and/or around 1/3 or more of the front cover missing (due to distributor returns). there may be severe stains, mildew or heavy cover abrasion to the point where cover inks are gone. Other defacements include paints, varnishes, glues, oil, dyes, indelible markers, pens, or crayons. Also prevalent are large tears, taped pieces or whole pages missing. The inside pages can have extreme brittleness.
No Grade (Coverless/Covers/Pages or Single Wrap)
This designation is only used for the purpose of authentication. Numerous collectors and comic fans will purchase coverless comics to either read or to obtain a filler copy of a book for their collection. Coverless books will typically sell for a percentage of the good condition value. Rare and key comic books that are coverless in many cases may sell for a percentage of guide value depending on the specific comic title and issue number. Typically lower then the .5 value, but can fluctuate based on market value.
Comic Books can be coverless or be an incomplete partial comic (i.e. wraps). Issues in this designation typically will in most cases be beyond collectibility to the majority of the hobby. Rare key comics and incomplete pages i.e. centerfolds are considered to be valuable for either restoration purposes or for individuals who just wish to own a piece of comic history.
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