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James Patterson's new novel The Shadow highlights special sale of pulp magazines at Heritage Auctions
James Patterson and Brian Sitts The Shadow Signed Galley Copy (Grand Central Publishing, 2021).

DALLAS, TX.- James Patterson, the best-selling author ever, is auctioning a signed galley copy of his new novel, The Shadow, to benefit charity as a featured lot in Heritage Auctions' May 20 Rare Pulps and Collectibles Special Online Auction on Patterson donated the signed galley copy of the novel, which will revive the vintage crime fighter The Shadow, will be released this summer.

"Who can forget The Shadow's historic tagline: 'Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men?'" Patterson said in an official announcement. "Well, The Shadow knows. And soon readers will, too. I've long been a fan of The Shadow and am looking forward to bringing his legendary character to life in the modern age."

In addition to Patterson's rare signed galley copy, more than 580 lots offer a number of important magazines spanning 50 years, particularly the 1920s and 1930s. The era is considered the height of the pulp magazine, said Rick Akers, Consignment Director of Comics at Heritage Auctions. "This is the second auction of pulps and collectibles at Heritage, and each one is more popular than the last."

A December auction set numerous world records, such as a $22,800 bid that set the world record for the highest auction price ever paid for the first issue of Doc Savage, from March 1933. The "pulps magazine" moniker is derived from the cheap paper made from wood pulp, on which the inexpensive fiction magazines were printed.

This season presents a standout copy of issue #1 of Doc Savage from March 1933 (Street & Smith), the historic debut issue of the iconic hero pulp series. Created by Street & Smith Publications to further capitalize on the success of its other pulp hero, The Shadow, Doc Savage quickly became popular with readers. The offered copy is the nicest of the five copies Heritage experts have seen to date, only three of which are unrestored, Akers said.

A scarce first edition of The Shadow, published in April 1931 (Street & Smith) is only the second copy Heritage has ever offered. This exceptionally rare pulp was every bit as influential as Action Comics #1 or Detective Comics #27, and is far more difficult to find, Akers said. The magazine is widely considered the very first "hero pulp," and hit newsstands some seven years before Action #1 started the Golden Age of comics.

Two important collections highlight the popularity pulps enjoyed during the first part of the 20th century.

A group of British penny dreadful magazines titled Spring-Heeled Jack are likely to spark intense bidder interest. The character, Spring-heeled Jack, was inspired by a Victorian-era urban legend. This series features a heroic bat-winged avenger of the night, and was a precursor to several pulp and comic book characters. Early copies of the series all date to 1904 and include Spring-Heeled Jack #1. Penny dreadfuls typically refers to a story published in weekly parts of 8 to 16 pages during the 19th and early 20th century, each costing one penny. They remain highly collectible today.

A first edition, second-state copy of Weird Tales from March 1923 is a second-state copy is a stunning specimen of the debut issue of the longest-running and most influential pulp horror title, Akers said.

"Obtaining a copy in any condition is a remarkable achievement for most collectors," Akers said. "This very rare variant of Weird Tales is one of only a handful of copies of issue #1 we've seen in the past decade, and only the third copy of the corrected version that Heritage has had the opportunity to offer."

Another important copy of Weird Tales, published in February 1928, features a story titled "The Call of Cthulhu" by H. P. Lovecraft, which launched a science fiction and fantasy realm still popular among readers and mainstream television.

Later editions, which make up a second, special group of Weird Tales publisher file copies that were given to artist Margaret Brundage when she began creating art for the title. It includes more than 30 issues of Weird Tales, file copies which span the late 1920s and early 1930s. Brundage maintained ownership of these file copies, which gave her an idea of what had been done before her arrival and helped her acclimate to the magazine's style.

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