Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Lovecraft in Zest Magazine (1956)

The seller's notes indicate that this is a 1956 men's magazine with a rewritten "Rats in the Walls" which was subsequently (circa 1990) reprinted in Call of Cthulhu.

...for auction is a copy of "Zest Magazine", vol. 1 #1 published in Jan. 1956. It has, oddly enough, H.P. Lovecraft's famous story, "The Rats in the Walls". The magazine is listed in the Joshi biblio. supplement 1980-1984 (pg.7) and notes that the story is "abridged and in part, re-written". "Zest" touted itself a 'mens' magazine and for 1956, it was. How the Lovecraft story came to be in is unknown to me. The editor and publisher was James Stuart Gordon. The only other author of note is Michael Avallone, with a short novel. It is interesting to see that, on the cover, the Lovecraft story has no author but that Avallone is credited with his story. A nice picture of a young Jane Mansfield also graces this issue. Along with the "Zest" is a copy of "Crypt of Cthulhu" #72 which was the 'Rats in the Walls' issue. It has a wonderful cover illustration of HPL surrounded by onlooking rats, by Gahan Wilson. The "Crypt" has the usual great stuff from Robert Price and Joshi. No more needs to be said about this except that this issue reprints, in facsimile, the "Zest" "Rats in the Walls" story. The condition of the "Zest" is 'VG'. The staples are still tight, magazine square and the paper is a little browned. There is a small cover corner crease in the lower right. A nice copy. The "Crypt" is 'As New'. Back in the 1980's when this issue of "Zest" was re-discovered by us 'Lovecraftians, it became a Grail quest to find one. With the advent of online auctions and a world wide audience, obtaining one became a little easier. "Zest" #1 is not rare, but it is very scarce and in demand by more than Lovecraft completists. Michael Avallone and Jane Mansfield collectors want it as well as magazine collectors who only buy #1's!

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