THE SPIDER >> CREATORS >> HARRY STEEGER
Henry "Harry" Steeger (1903-1990) entered the pulp field in 1927. He worked at Dell Publishing doing various editing duties on Famous Story Magazine, War Stories Magazine, Sky Birds, and finally War Birds. At Dell he also edited The Funnies, one of the very first comic books. Steeger was also a writer who co-wrote the bestselling How to Fly an Airplane (with Curtis Mitchell) and The Question and Answer Book. During his 25-year pulp career, he would also write a monthly column which took him around the world.
In 1930, still only in his late twenties, Steeger borrowed $5,000 from his stepfather, and together with Harold Goldsmith of Ace Publications, who secured a like sum, they leveraged their combined money into $125,000 of credit and launched Popular Publications. They started with four modest titles—Battle Aces, Detective Action Stories, Gang World, and Western Rangers—but by the 1940s they were the largest pulp publishing house in the country. They thrived until pulps breathed their last in the mid 1950s, contributing 25-years of great stories in over 100 titles. Incidentally, those magazine titles were all selected by Steeger himself, who also had a hand in choosing the cover art.
Steeger liked to adventure with various artists and authors that he worked with. During such a jaunt in Baja with Earle Stanley Gardner (creator of Perry Mason) they devised a new feature for Argosy that would reexamine the cases of people who may have been falsely convicted; It was called The Court of Last Resort and it later became a TV show on NBC for two seasons. Steeger was also very involved in civil rights, advising President Eisenhower, and writing a book on the subject in 1969.
In the early 1960s a warehouse fire destroyed most of the records, covers, and illustrations of Popular Publications. The company was sold in 1972 to Brookside Publications, and Steeger moved into television, real estate, then back to publishing—and he never stopped writing. He died of cancer in 1990.
Content by Chris Kalb