Today’s Favorite Magazine From The V1N1 Collection: Captain Future: Wizard of Science

I’ve probably been unconsciously holding back on posting this one:  Amazing Stories has some pretty deep connections to Captain Future through its publication of Allen Steele’s neo-pulp re-working of the character and his adventures (Captain Future in Love, The Guns of Pluto, 1,500 Light Years From Home, The Horror at Jupiter – you should definitely stop reading right now and go and order a copy of each.  We’ll wait, even if you take the time to read them before coming back!), but when it is Captain Future time, you call Curt Newton and the Futuremen and you do some Captain Futuring!

Captain Future was the first (and most likely only) purely science fiction – oriented “hero pulp” magazine;  it joined the ranks of previous hero pulps such as Doc Savage, The Shadow, Ka-Zar, The Spider, Operator 5 – all of which contained some fantastical elements, but none were consistently SF-themed.

The concept of an SF-based Hero Pulp was developed by two familiar names – Mort Weisinger and Leo Marguiles) for the publisher they worked for – Better Publications (which also published at that time Startling Stories and Thrilling Wonder Stories).  It was probably meant for a younger market, but still managed to capture the attention of a lot of fans back then, and still to this day.

The vast majority of stories (each issue contained a full-length “novel) were written by Edmond “Star Smasher” Hamilton (one of the acknowledged “fathers” of space opera), making the author (until recently) almost synonymous with Captain Future.

Many of the novels were reprinted by Popular Library in the 1960s (which probably exposed most older fans to the property) in a series of paperbacks

Notably, both the magazine covers and paperback covers were illustrated regularly by some heavy hitters:  Earle Bergey cut his teeth on some of the magazine’s first covers, and Frazetta did a couple of the paperbacks.

Captain Future has also become a phenomena overseas, particularly in Japan, where an anime series was produced;  there are also plans afoot for a feature film presentation (one of the hoops we had to jump through in order to bring the Captain back to life in our own publications).

Allen Steele is a big fan, obviously – holding a complete library of Captain Future works and several models, figurines, etc.;  you might even say he is our “Captain of the Future”.

The Captain is also represented in merchandising here – check out our cover-themed coffee mugs, or totes, for example  –

Did you know that Captain Future won a Hugo Award? Yep. Well, actually, the Award for Best Novella in 1996 went to The Death of Captain Future (Asimov’s SF) by Allen Steele. He’s not just from the future, he’s from the award-winning future!

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