[Brown | Howard V.] [Gallun | Raymond Z.]

Astounding Stories Pulp February 1938

Volume Xx | Number 6



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Featuring the first ever “mutant cover,” the February 1938 issue of Astounding Stories, a science fiction pulp magazine.

Measures 6.5″ x 9.5″. Original paper wraps, illustrated cover by Howard V. Brown. Solid text block, a few small chips along edges, otherwise fine. Previous ownership note in pencil on front cover. Includes stories by Arthur Burks, Eando Binder, and E.E. Smith. Cover art features the “Mercutian Adventure,” a new short story written by Raymond Z. Gallun. A vibrant example.

This “mutant cover,” a term coined by the head editor John W. Campbell Jr., features a view of the sun as seen from Mercury. The primary goal behind an alternate cover like this one was to appear more sophisticated and attract more mature readers, as opposed to the “childish” cartoons that other readers may be embarrassed to carry around. (The Time Machines, Ashley p. 107) “Mutant” or “variant” copies became more common with superhero comics in the 1960s and 70s to increase collectibility and future resale value. In addition to the unique artwork, this issue is the last to feature the name “Astounding Stories.” In March, 1938, Campbell changed the name to Astounding Science Fiction to more effectively showcase the genre of stories in the magazine. (Ashley, 108)

Additional information

Location Published

New York


Street & Smith


Volume Xx, Number 6

Date Published



Original wraps


Near Fine


[Brown | Howard V.] [Gallun | Raymond Z.]


[Brown | Howard V.], [Gallun | Raymond Z.]