Pulpcraft: Espionage in The Shadow Magazine

May 13, 2015 by

Shadow 35-08-01Fans of the pulp adventures of The Shadow are familiar with the character’s mysterious background, including his service as a spy during the First World War; membership in The Seventh Star, the secret Russian intelligence service; and his network of agents in his war on crime. Fans may also be familiar with raconteur Walter B. Gibson making use of his background in magic tricks and stage illusions to infuse his pulp stories with mystery and misdirection. But the greatest trick Gibson ever pulled may have been inserting real world spy techniques into the pulp adventures of The Shadow, and misdirection kept reader’s minds clouded–until now!

Join Tim King as he gives a rapid-fire presentation on Thursday evening, August 13th, about Gibson’s use of real-world counterintelligence and espionage secrets in the pulps. For longtime fans and new readers alike, Tim will highlight select aspects of real espionage techniques that Gibson hid in plain site while writing as Maxwell Grant. Beyond authoring 283 of the 325 novels for Street and Smith while pounding Smith-Corona typewriters into submission, Walter Gibson may have been secretly showcasing advanced, insider knowledge of espionage methods!

Agent networks! Secret writing! Intelligence collection! Clandestine communication! And… chalk?

Tim King is a career counterintelligence officer, having worked for the United States Intelligence Community and the Fortune 500 business community. Trained in the shadowy arts of human intelligence, spy and counterspy, Tim was introduced to The Shadow through the radio. His love of the character led him to the comics and then the original pulps. Among other things, his membership in the Office of Strategic Services Society and the Society of American Magicians makes him uniquely qualified to explore this previously hidden element of The Shadow.

Tim King’s “Pulpcraft: A Counterintelligence and Espionage Guide to the Pulp Adventures of The Shadow” will lead off the PulpFest 2015 programming schedule beginning at 8 PM on Thursday, August 13th. You may never view the pulp adventures of The Shadow the same way again!

(In “The Man from Scotland Yard,” originally published in THE SHADOW MAGAZINE for August 1, 1935 and reprinted in Sanctum Books 70th volume of their reprint series, the Master of Darkness teams with Scotland Yard’s Eric Delka to investigate an international spy ring. The Scotland Yard inspector and the Dark Avenger would be brought together again in the December 1, 1935 issue as they worked to  recover missing submarine plans, stolen by the legendary Parisian super-criminal, Gaspard Zemba. George Rozen painted the covers for both issues of the Street & Smith pulp magazine.)