Cabinet 1: US Pulps
In 1939, the Australian government placed an embargo on American pulp magazines. This decision was prompted by the moral majority, who claimed comics and other ‘objectionable’ material were undermining societal mores, and an importation crisis due to World War II.
As a consequence, local Australian publishing houses began churning out their own pulp fiction. After the war and the lifting of paper rationing, local publishers, writers and artists continued to find an eager market for these cheap, mass-produced ‘pulp’ publications. Hundreds of thousands of soft-covered novelettes spewed forth each month, and by the early 1950s, publishers were asking local Australian writers for American crime fiction. Most of the publishers were Sydney-based:
Action Comics, Calvert Publishing, Cleveland Publishing, Currawong, Invincible Press, and Horwitz Books. Writers included Alan Yates, Des Dunn, Don Haring, and J. E. Macdonnell. Importantly, many of the titles were distributed to New Zealand and were eagerly devoured by local readers.
A select few of these ‘objectionable’ materials are on display, notably Frank Munsey’s Argosy All-Story Weekly, the influential The Shadow, the popular Sax Rohmer, the perennial westerns, and Adventure, called ‘the most important pulp magazine in the world.’ (Bleiler).
* full call references are in the ‘Pulp Fiction’ hand-list (PDF format).