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'Action Stories' Pulp Magazine Covers

 Collection — Box: 1
Identifier: RC2022-020

Scope and Contents

The 'Action Stories' Pulp Magazine Covers contains 18 separated covers from the pulp magazine 'Action Stories,' with a focus on covers depicting Western-themed stories. In addition to the art, the covers contain titles and/or authors of the stories that were published in that edition of the magazine. The character of Senorita Scorpion appears on three of the covers. The covers were arranged in chronological order in this collection.


  • 1925 - 1944


Conditions Governing Access

The 'Action Stories' Pulp Magazine Covers has no restrictions and is available for research.

Conditions Governing Use

The 'Action Stories' Pulp Magazine Covers is the property of the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum. Materials, even if owned by the NCWHM, may be protected under third party copyright. It is the patron’s responsibility to research and secure any such additional copyright and pay any required fees or royalties. It is not the intention of the NCWHM to impede upon any third party rights, and the NCWHM cannot be held responsible if the patron is involved in legal action due to violation of third party copyright claims.

Biographical / Historical

Pulp magazines were a popular genre of fiction during the first half of the twentieth century. This genre evolved from the adventure serials of the Victorian era, and contained stories in a wide variety of genres, including Westerns, detective stories, science fiction, romance, and horror. The name 'pulps' refers to the cheap paper these magazines were printed on. Despite their cheap production and sometimes lurid associations, a number of notable authors found their start in pulp magazines, including Tennessee Williams, Raymond Chandler, H. P. Lovecraft, and Dashiell Hammett.

'Action Stories' was a cross-genre pulp, with a focus on adventure stories. These adventures could be in the West, but they could also be in a sporting arena, on a battlefield, or in foreign countries that the average reader would likely never travel to. 'Action Stories' was published between September 1921 and the fall of 1950, with only a brief hiatus in publication towards the end of 1932. The publication frequency changed over time, ranging from a monthly issue to only a quarterly issue by the end of the run.

Les Savage, Jr. was one of the authors frequently published in 'Action Stories.' Born in California in 1922, the self-described city slicker was descended from Old West cowboys and wrote about what he saw as one of the most fascinating times in the world's history. He began writing for pulps in his early twenties, and quickly grew to become a cover author. Savage wrote almost 90 magazine stories, many of which were published by 'Action Stories' publishing company Fiction House. His first novel, 'Treasures of the Brasada,' was published by Simon & Schuster in 1947. By the time of his death in 1958, Savage had published 24 novels.

One of Savage's most notable characters in 'Action Stories' is Senorita Scorpion. One of the most popular characters in a normally male-dominated subject, Senorita Scorpion appeared in seven stories between 1944 and 1949, six of which were written by Les Savage, Jr. Elgera Douglas (aka Senorita Scorpion) is a Robin Hood-esque outlaw, fighting against ruthless cattle baron Anse Hawkwan, who has his eye on her family's land. Savage's attention to historical detail is apparent in these stories, and his inclusion of diverse characters (Elgera herself is implied to be mixed race) is unusual for the time period.

George Gross was one of the top illustrators for Fiction House, and is responsible for creating the Senorita Scorpion covers in this collection. He studied at Pratt Institute, just as his father had, and worked out of his father's art studio in Manhattan. After World War II, Gross began to do freelance illustration work for a number of paperback book publishers. In the 1950s, Gross shared a studio with fellow illustrator Mort Kunstler.

Emery Clarke created the cover art for the February 1938 edition of 'Action Stories.' Clarke was born and raised in Kansas, but moved to New York City in 1938, seeking work as a magazine illustrator. He started out freelancing illustrations for pulp magazines, but eventually was hired on at magazines such as the Saturday Evening Post. During his service in World War II, he met cartoonist Russell Stamm. After the war, the two collaborated on Stamm's comic strip "The Invisible Scarlet O'Neil" for over a decade.


0.16 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



This collection contains 18 covers from the pulp magazine 'Action Stories,' which was published from 1921 to 1951. The covers have been removed from the publications prior to the Museum's purchase of the collection. Several covers feature artwork and stories related to the character of 'Senorita Scorpion.'

Processing Information

The 'Action Stories' Pulp Magazine Covers was purchased by the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in 2022 from Heritage Auctions.

Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the NCWHM Special Collections at Dickinson Research Center Repository

1700 Northeast 63rd Street
Oklahoma City Oklahoma 73111 United States