Ginger Stories was a magazine whose covers promised reading that was "Piquant, Pungent, Peppery, Pleasing." It was launched in November 1928 and ran for 31 issues before its publisher, Frank Armer, changed the title to simply Ginger with the June 1931 issue. The magazine ran for another 10 issues under this title before ceasing publication in April 1932.
The leading publisher of girlie pulps in the late 1920s, Armer is perhaps best remembered today as the editor of the notorious Culture/Trojan line of Spicy pulps, or the publisher of the bizarre Zeppelin Stories. His chief contribution to magazine culture, however, was as a pioneer in the art photo and girlie pulp industry.
Armer and his partner, Harry Donenfeld, had already enjoyed great success publishing girlie photo magazines such as Art and Beauty Magazine, Art Photos, World of Art, Modern Art, Art Studies Magazine, Fine Arts Quarterly, and other magazines devoted to the edification of shapely forms. They moved into the pulp market in December 1926 with Pep!, a hybrid magazine that defined the path Armer followed for the rest of the decade.
Due to the enormous newsstand sales of Pep! and Armer's realization that buyers preferred the stories best of all, Pep! became Pep Stories with its May 1927 issue. It dropped the nude photos, and switched from a saddle-stitched, slick format to the conventional pulp format. Armer soon followed the success of Pep Stories with similar titles like Broadway Nights, Real Story Book, and—in November 1928—Ginger Stories.
In the spring of 1932, the New York Committee on Civic Decency would pressure the police to arrest four newsstand owners, whose "indecent" girlie pulps included several titles published by Armer. Though charges against the four were dropped in July, Armer and other publishers promised to "tone-down" their material and "pay closer heed to the proprieties." They also agreed to cease publication of Ginger, Hollywood Nights, Gay Broadway, Broadway Nights, French Follies, and La Paree Stories.
Two months earlier, Armer had already been forced to surrender the gems of his line, Pep Stories and Spicy Stories, to Harry Donenfeld for printing debts owed. Ginger had also ceased publication by that time, though Armer probably owned a controlling interest in Henry Marcus's (Pictorial) French Follies and Hollywood Nights. Despite the publishers' agreement in July 1932, Donenfeld would continue printing La Paree.
The title Ginger was reincarnated in May 1935 by Henry Marcus under the Edmar imprint, and a few months later by the Nudeal Publishing Company. This version (bottom cover illustration on right) was larger in format than the Armer title; and though it shared authors, such as Robert Leslie Bellem, the new Ginger was an entirely different publication. It ran for 15 issues—under a variety of publishing imprints—before ceasing publication in 1936.
Beau Collier, Darwinscans
Works Cited and Consulted
Ellis, Douglas. Uncovered: The Hidden art of the Girlie Pulps. Silver Springs, Maryland: Adventure House, 2003.
Jones, Gerard. Men of Tomorrow: Geeks, Gangsters, and the Birth of the Comic Book. New York: Basic Books, 2004.
Murray, Will. "Close Up: Frank Armer – Pulp Potentate," Windy City Pulp Stories #9, 2009. Reprinted from Independent News, Vol.1, 1944.
Murray, Will. "DC's Tangled Roots!," Comic Book Marketplace #53, November 1997.