Gibson, Walter B

Tagged: Author | Editor

(1897-1985) US newspaper magician, journalist, editor and writer whose first published work was a puzzle piece called "Enigma" for St Nicholas Magazine in 1905, the first of a huge number of puzzles and other articles relating to magic published over the next 80 years, the grand total of this and other periodical work coming to at least 6800 pieces, not counting at least 2000 published crossword puzzles; Gibson's lifelong interest in magic led to the publication of a large number of books on magic (not listed here) and the founding and editorship of Tales of Magic and Mystery (1927-1928) – where he published his first piece of genre interest, "The Miracle Man of Benares", in 1927 – as well as True Strange Stories (1929) for Bernarr Macfadden, and Fantastic Science Fiction (1952); this latter lasted only two issues, and is not to be confused with Fantastic, also founded 1952.

Variously prolific under his own name and under several pseudonyms and House Names including John Abbington, Andy Adams, Ishi Black, Douglas Brown, C B Crowe, Felix Fairfax, Wilber Gaston, Maborushi Kineji, Gautier LeBrun, Rufus Perry, and P L Raymond (not all have been disclosed), Gibson remains best known as Maxwell Grant – technically a House Name, though "pseudonym" would perhaps be a more accurate term, as Gibson wrote almost 300 novels as Grant, 282 of them for the celebrated pulp magazine The Shadow (325 issues 1931-1949), whose hero The Shadow – originating in a 1930 radio series – is a mysterious vigilante who often walks by night, and whose powers – his Invisibility is not in the end created out of his magician's bag of tricks but is clearly an sf/supernatural power, as are his feats of Hypnosis – gradually became understandable as fantastic. The famous catchphrase which begins each episode in the Radio serial – "Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? The Shadow knows", first pronounced basso profundo by Orson Welles on 26 September 1937 – clearly conveys more than the overview of a secular crime fighter. Over and above the underlying fantastic premises of the sequence, about twenty-five or so of The Shadow tales contain explicit sf themes, often involving Inventions and Robots. Many novels from the magazine were republished in book form, beginning with The Living Shadow (1 April 1931 The Shadow; 1931), and continuing into the twenty-first century. For Checklist of The Shadow titles authored by Gibson as by Maxwell Grant, see below; see also Maxwell Grant for additional book titles by other authors.

The El Head Legends sequence, beginning with Head Out West (1937) with Frederick Faust (see Max Brand) writing together as Grant Faust, translates into Western format a nineteenth-century legend about an indigenous figure with demonic powers, perhaps Native American.; some of the titles, like The Head and the Yellow Peril (1938) (see Yellow Peril), are set in California. Some of Gibson's Norgil the Magician tales reached book form, beginning with Norgil the Magician (coll of linked stories 1976). Gibson also adapted his own scripts as Rod Serling's The Twilight Zone (coll 1963; cut vt Chilling Stories from Rod Serling's The Twilight Zone 1965) and Twilight Zone Revisited (coll 1964). [JC]

Walter Brown Gibson

born Germantown, Pennsylvania: 12 September 1897

died Kingston, New York: 6 December 1985

works

series

The Shadow

single volumes

Listed in order of magazine publication.

omnibus volumes

Titles including more than one novel, listed in order of book publication.

El Head Legends

Written with Frederick Faust (see Max Brand) under the joint pseudonym Grant Faust; two titles by Norvell W Page are included for convenience.

  • Head Out West (New York: Gold Medallion, 1937) with Frederick Faust (see Max Brand) writing together as Grant Faust [El Head Legends: hb/]
  • A Price on the Head (New York: Gold Medallion, 1938) with Frederick Faust (see Max Brand) writing together as Grant Faust [El Head Legends: hb/]
  • Vengeance of El Head (New York: Gold Medallion, 1938) with Frederick Faust (see Max Brand) writing together as Grant Faust [El Head Legends: hb/]
  • The Head and the Yellow Peril (New York: Gold Medallion, 1938) with Frederick Faust (see Max Brand) writing together as Grant Faust [El Head Legends: hb/]
  • Head Hunters Out West (New York: Gold Medallion, 1940) by Norvell W Page as Grant Faust [El Head Legends: hb/]
  • Head and Hemp (New York: Gold Medallion, 1940) by Norvell W Page as Grant Faust [El Head Legends: hb/]
  • Head Quarters of the West (New York: Gold Medallion, 1940) with Frederick Faust (see Max Brand) writing together as Grant Faust [El Head Legends: hb/]
  • All Rails Come to a Head (New York: Gold Medallion, 1941) with Frederick Faust (see Max Brand) writing together as Grant Faust [El Head Legends: hb/]
  • Devil Machines of El Head (New York: Gold Medallion, 1941) with Frederick Faust (see Max Brand) writing together as Grant Faust [El Head Legends: hb/]
  • Dutchman's Peril (New York: Gold Medallion, 1941) with Frederick Faust (see Max Brand) writing together as Grant Faust [El Head Legends: hb/]
  • Ride Like Head for Leather (New York: Gold Medallion, 1944) with Frederick Faust (see Max Brand) writing together as Grant Faust [El Head Legends: hb/]
  • Head for the Final Trail (New York: Gold Medallion, 1944) with Frederick Faust (see Max Brand) writing together as Grant Faust [El Head Legends: hb/]

Twilight Zone

Norgil the Magician

nonfiction

about the author

links

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