Few pulp magazines have had the same literary influence as the Black Mask. In its original form, the magazine commenced publication in 1920 and underwent changes in both title and editors before hitting its stride as the ultimate source of detective stories. Of particular note was the influence Black Mask had in shaping and popularizing the now famous genre of the hard-boiled detective story.
More than one famous author of the hard-boiled or crime noir genre’s were first introduced to the reading public through the Black Mask. Masters of the detective story whose work was published in Black Mask include none other than Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett. Indeed, it was in the Black Mask that Hammett introduced the Continental Op, one of the most famous characters of the genre and pulp magazines.
The magazine reached its peak in popularity in the 1930s but began a slow decline in the 1940s as it faced ever increasing competition from other pulps, radio, and the cinema. The original Black Mask ceased publication in 1951.
Back issues are valued as collector’s items and issued containing stories by Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett are particularly sought after.
An online version now exists for fans of the classic hard boiled detective and crime noir stories. To visit the Black Mask website click here!