Friday 21 August 2020

Walker Martin: Collecting and Reading Black Mask

[In a recent mail thread with Walker Martin, I was joking about how his set of Black Mask would have kept him safe from the coronavirus, if only he hadn't sold it. He could have read every issue while saying to his family - "See, a Mask a day keeps you safe." 

Because he's a nice guy, he responded to this sick humor with a mail about collecting Black Mask. Sensing an opportunity for a free article on this blog, i asked him a few more questions and he responded to those too. The result is what you have before you today. 

If you want more in this vein, tell Walker that. Leave a note in the comments section - you don't have to have a Google login to do that.] 

Your question about Black Mask has started me thinking about how I collected the set and then read most of it.  In fact, I've often said once you complete a set and then read much of it, the next step in the collecting process is to sell it.

I may have told you this story before and some of it I wrote online for Mystery File back when I started the Collecting Pulps: A Memoir series but it all started when I was drafted into the army in 1966.  The Vietnam war was heating up and I was headed for an infantry company when the army discovered I knew how to type thus possibly saving my life. I now had plenty of time to read and while in the PX I noticed Ron Goulart's The Hardboiled Dicks.

US Army PX - inset image of Ron Goulart's The Hardboiled Dicks
US Army PX - inset image of Ron Goulart's The Hardboiled Dicks