The Irvin Department of Rare Books and Special Collections has recently acquired a run of Marvel Science Stories, a serialized science fiction pulp magazine and precursor to the more well known Marvel Comics.
First released in August 1938 by Abraham and Martin Goodman, who would found Marvel Comics the following year, Marvel Science Stories was a science fiction pulp magazine that published 15 issues over two different runs between 1938-1941 and 1950-1952. The first run consisted of 9 issues with prolific science fiction author and Lovecraft Circle member Henry Kuttner taking the cover. Kuttner would publish numerous times in the magazine under his own name and several pseudonyms. During its first run the magazine would feature a number of other notable authors like prolific pulp author Arthur J. Burks and the so called “Dean of Science Fiction” Jack Williamson. The magazine would also draw some of Marvel Comics founding talent. The November 1940 issue would feature illustrations done by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby whose newest creation, Captain America, would premier in Marvel Comics in December.
Although the initial run of the magazine would end in 1941, the Goodmans revived the magazine in 1950 with significant improvements in quality. Robert O. Erisman had been the magazine’s editor for its first run, and remained the lead editor in the second run with Daniel Keyes, author of Flowers for Algernon, as editorial assistant. They featured lesser works by Arthur C. Clark, Isaac Asimov, Jack Vance, and Lester del Ray as by this time most of these authors were selling their best work to larger magazines. Marvel Science Stories would ultimately publish their last issue in May of 1952.
Irvin Department of Rare Books & Special Collections