Amazing Cover Photos of the Startling Stories Magazine in the 1940s

  • by

Between the years 1939 to 1955, a remarkable American pulp science fiction magazine named ‘Startling Stories’ graced the shelves. Born out of the publishing house of Ned Pines’ Standard Magazines, this gem offered readers an escape into otherworldly tales. Under the keen editorial eyes of Mort Weisinger, who simultaneously handled ‘Thrilling Wonder Stories’, every issue of Startling was a gateway to another universe with its lead novel.


One cannot reminisce about ‘Startling Stories’ without mentioning its inaugural novel, ‘The Black Flame’ by the talented Stanley G. Weinbaum. An interesting tidbit is that when Standard Magazines took over ‘Thrilling Wonder’ in 1936, they also got access to a goldmine of stories from its predecessor, ‘Wonder Stories’. This treasure trove birthed the “Hall of Fame” stories segment, showcasing classic tales from yesteryears.

But what truly set ‘Startling Stories’ apart was its iconic cover art. The genius behind this was none other than Earle K. Bergey. From 1940 to 1952, Bergey’s brushes painted almost every mesmerizing cover. His signature touch? Heroines dressed in fantastical brass bras and outlandish costumes. It’s no exaggeration to say Bergey played a pivotal role in shaping the public’s perception of science fiction during that era.

However, every story has its climax, and for ‘Startling Stories’, it was the 1950s. Aiming for a fresh outlook, Standard Magazines revamped the magazine in 1952 with a refined title typeface and less sensationalized covers. Yet, as the pulp magazine era dwindled, so did ‘Startling Stories’. It valiantly assimilated its sibling magazines, ‘Thrilling Wonder’ and ‘Fantastic Story Magazine’, in 1955. But, as fate would have it, by the year’s end, this legendary magazine bid its readers adieu.

Through its years, ‘Startling Stories’ wasn’t just a magazine; it was an era, a testament to the golden days of pulp sci-fi literature.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.