Black Mask was a pulp magazine launched in April 1920 by H. L. Mencken and George Jean Nathan. Though it originally published stories in a wide range of genres, it flourished as a hard-boiled crime fiction magazine and went on to publish work from such authors as Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler, and Erle Stanley Gardner.
The magazine reached its peak in the 1930s with a national circulation of more than 100,000 copies per issue. And in 1936, under Fanny Ellsworth, and thanks to the work of writers like Steve Fiser and Cornell Woolrich, Black Mask lead another revolution toward the noir thriller.
Though World War II paper shortages and new competition from mass market paperbacks eventually drove the pulp magazines out of business, Black Mask remains an institution in the crime fiction community.
Now, Black Mask is back. Individual stories and collections will be republished as ebooks—with select collections to be released as paperbacks—through a partnership with Black Mask Magazine, MysteriousPress.com, and Open Road Integrated Media.
Welcome to The Black Mask Library!
Here's an introduction to Black Mask from our publisher, Otto Penzler.
Black Mask Magazine, its distinctive logo, mask device, line drawings, cover paintings, its fiction, and its non-fiction are copyright © 1920 to 1940 by Pro-Distributors Publishing Company, Inc.; copyright © 1941 to 1953 by Popular Publications Inc.; copyrights © renewed 1948 to 1981 by Popular Publications, Inc. and assigned to Keith Alan Deutsch as successor-in-interest to Popular Publications Inc., proprietor of Black Mask Magazine, and conservator of all copyrights.
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