Saturday, April 20, 2013

Manhunt: Best Crime Fiction Magazine Ever.

A lot of crime fiction fans would cite Black Mask as the greatest of all crime fic magazines-- after all, it was where Dashiell Hammett prowled, as well as Raymond Chandler, Earl Stanley Gardner, Paul Cain and Raoul Whitfield. Hammett alone would make a strong argument for Black Mask. But honestly, once you get past those greats, well... there was more mediocre stuff in Black Mask than great stuff.

I'm going with Manhunt as the greatest crime fiction magazine ever. I realize a lot of it is down to personal tastes, but come on, just scope out some of these great writers that contributed to Manhunt:

Mickey Spillane. Lawrence Block. Evan Hunter. Gil Brewer. Donald Westlake. Bret Halliday. David Goodis (!!). John D. MacDonald. Helen Nielsen. Honestly, just about every great writer of hard-boiled and/or noir in the '50's and early '60's appeared in Manhunt.

The editors of Manhunt had spot-on taste, were amazingly fearless in the subject matter and types of situations they allowed, and the writing was almost uniformly great.

My first brush with Manhunt came with the great anthology HARD-BOILED, edited by Bill Pronzini and Jack Adrian. There were several stories in it culled from Manhunt, and being the sharpish fella I am, I noticed that all my favorite selections shared that in common. I began seeking out more stuff from Manhunt, came across a paperback original called BEST FROM MANHUNT that served to solidify my opinion.

Since then, I've been collecting original issues when I can afford them (which is not often).

Here's something that would be great: Someone should get a hold of the rights to the name "Manhunt Magazine" (if such rights even exist?), and revive it. Make it a paying market, maybe as an on-line venue, with great art and only the best noir stories available. Yeah, there's plenty of excellent sites featuring dark crime fiction already, but c'mon... if you're a writer, wouldn't you LOVE to have something published in Manhunt?


  1. I'm a big fan of MANHUNT also and I recently did an online article about my adventures in collecting the magazine. The link is

    1. Walker, I actually read your article a while back and found it very useful. Sorry I never commented.

  2. MANHUNT was the best.

    You know what, if someone revived MANHUNT, and if it was a paying venue, I'd grab the shovel and dig up the editor hat I'd decided to never wear again, if my services were desired. Not that they would be, but just the same.

    1. Yeah, me too, Kent.
      So we have the editors; now we just need investors. Oh, and the legal rights.

  3. Crowdfund it! If people want a magazine like this (and I reckon they would – know I would) then getting the crime fiction community to help fund it makes perfect sense. Get designers to deal with the print, Kindle and app editions, editors and copy editors to make sure everything reads silky smooth, and I reckon it would be a goer.

  4. Which issue is that nude cover from? I'll go out and buy that one now!