The Weird Tales Tradition
WEIRD TALES has enjoyed a devoted following for many decades as the very first magazine of gothic fantasy, sci-fi, and horror. Founded in 1923, the pioneering publication introduced the world to such counter-culture icons as Cthulhu the alien monster god and Conan the Barbarian. WEIRD TALES is well known for launching the careers of great authors like H.P. Lovecraft, Ray Bradbury, and Robert E. Howard — hell, Tennessee Williams made his first sale here! — not to mention legendary fantasy artists like Virgil Finlay and Margaret Brundage. The magazine’s influence extends through countless areas of pop culture: fiction, certainly, but also rock music, goth style, comic books, gaming… even Stephen King has called WEIRD TALES a major inspiration.
(For a detailed history of the classic Weird Tales, check out Robert Weinberg’s comprehensive book The Weird Tales Story.)
The Modern Magazine
After the original magazine operation folded in 1954, there were several brief attempts to revive it — reprint anthologies in the ’60s, four new magazine issues in the ’70s, four original paperbacks in the early ’80s — before the resurrection finally achieved full-fledged afterlife under editor-publishers George H. Scithers, Darrell Schweitzer and John Gregory Betancourt. Beginning in 1988, WEIRD TALES has published more or less continuously, albeit through a few format / frequency / ownership changes, to date. Over the past twenty years, the magazine has featured works by such modern masters as Tanith Lee, Ramsey Campbell, Thomas Ligotti, and Nina Kiriki Hoffman.
Now published by Betancourt’s Wildside Press, WEIRD TALES has undertaken to recommit itself to the magazine’s original mission — to publish brilliantly strange material that can’t be found elsewhere — even while bringing its unique aesthetics fully into the 21st century. The year 2008 marked the 85th anniversary of WEIRD TALES’s founding and Ann VanderMeer joined the staff as fiction editor. She and creative director Stephen H. Segal revamped the magazine and began introducing a new generation of writers, artists, and other storytellers who lure unwary readers into the shadowy places between dream and reality…
Segal left Wildside in early 2009, but continues with WEIRD TALES as a consulting editor. VanderMeer became editor-in-chief, Mary Robinette Kowal joined the staff as art director, and Paula Guran became the nonfiction editor.