Wednesday, April 28, 2010

ZORRO: The Masters Edition


Remember these fine volumes published between 2000 and 2002? This bold undertaking proposed to reprint, for the first time ever, the entire series of Zorro novels and stories. Sadly, three volumes is as far as they got. What went wrong? I don't know. If anyone does, I'd sure like to hear about it. And if anyone knows the publishers, please tell them they still owe me the $14 I prepaid for the next volume, which was to be a third collection of short stories from West magazine. Please advise them that in lieu of the cash, I'll gladly accept an emailed text document containing the stories for that unpublished volume.


Volume 1 (above) presented the first three short stories from Argosy (there had already been three serialized novels in earlier issues of the magazine), a two-part novelette, and the first two short stories from West. Internet dealers currently offer this book for between $75 and $278.


Volume 2 (above and below) gave us the next ten short stories from West. For those keeping score, these are the same ten stories gathered earlier in the squinty-eyed little Hanos reprint, Zorro Stories Vol. 1.  Dealers want between $45 and $176 for this one.


The third Master's Edition book (below) is not an official Volume. It reprinted a complete short novel from the June 1947 issue of West. This book now appears to be unavailable at any price. A smaller print run, perhaps?


The saddest thing about this was that the job was left undone. The second Zorro serial from Argosy, "The Further Adventures of Zorro", has not been reprinted since 1928, when it appeared in hardcover and paperback as The Sword of Zorro (and is now outrageously expensive). The third and fourth serialized novels have never, to my knowledge, been reprinted at all. And there are still another 39 stories from West waiting (only 21 of these appeared in Hanos' Zorro Stories Vol. 2 & 3) , and possibly three more from other magazines. Will someone PLEASE reprint these?? I want to read them!

17 comments:

Randy Johnson said...

You lucky dog. I didn't find out about these volumes until the price on the secondary markets were a bit high. The only one I've got is the paperback of the first serial.

Max Allan Collins said...

I have never understood why the Zorro stories by McCulley -- in particular the novels -- have never been reprinted...even back in the '40s and '50s when Zorro was generating movies and TV.

Flat out puzzling.

From my work on the Zorro short story anthology, I know that the current keepers of the Zorro keys have zero interest in (and respect for) Johnston McCulley. This is akind to being in charge of Sherlock Holmes and having contempt for Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

Evan Lewis said...

Hey Randy. I am suddenly reminded that some years back I scanned several of the West stories from one of the Hanos books and inserted them into Word documents. If you're interested, I'd be pleased to send them off to you via email. (The same goes for you other Almanack readers.)

Evan Lewis said...

Sad to hear the Zorro folks are of that attitude, Max. I know they're protective of the rights, but I'd assumed they were holding onto the novels and stories until another paying reprint offer came along. McCulley's writing in these (and his westerns) still seems fresh today, and holds up better than that of some of his contemporaries.

Richard R. said...

Though the Zorro key-holders have no interest in McCulley, you would think they might have some interest in money. Guess they're rich beyond need.

Deka Black said...

Sad, and shameful. I read one month ago Curse of Capistrano and was wonderful! Adventure in his most pure form. And one or two scenes full of laughs too.

Sometimes, i think private collectors, and i mean normal people, but with a love for pulp, are the only ones who care about a very special (and important) fragment of culture very underrated.

beb said...

The fate of the Master Editions of Zorro, like many small press project, got eaten by the Real World. Break-up in relationships, lack of money, health, etc. At one time the person involved was lacking just one issue of West for the entire run, and as I recall, that missing story would have been in the next collection, thus forming a roadblock to continuing the series. The books were selling well but the publishers didn't have the money to finance another printing. I agree that it's sad that the project hasn't been picked up by others and finished, but so it goes.

I reprinted the first Zorro story a couple years ago, using the text from the magazine (It's public domain). I hope to someday reprint the second novel as well. I have five of the six parts to the serial, but the magazine from that time is hard to find. The other novels appeared in the 1930's and are still under copyright.

Evan Lewis said...

I have The Sword of Zorro, beb, and could probably provide most of the missing text to that serial, but it wouldn't be quite the same as reprinting the whole thing from Argosy.

Frank Loose said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Frank Loose said...

The artwork is wonderful. I have never read a Zorro book or s.s. The reseller prices on Amazon for The Master's Editions are, as you and others noted, quite pricey. I ordered a copy of what i guess is the first book, The Mark of Zorro.

There were two publishers with editions available: Tor and Townsend Library. I went with Townsend.
i hope i didn't order some revised or edited version of the original. Perhaps i should have checked with you first, but alas, i hit the purchase button enthusiastically and on impulse. Geez, I've never bought a book that way before. Ha!

Evan Lewis said...

Hard to say about the Townsend edition, Frank. The book has been reprinted dozens of times, usually as The Mark of Zorro (named for the great silent flick starring Douglas Fairbanks) and sometimes under its pulp title The Curse of Capistrano. It's a great story! If you'd like some of those short stories, email me: delewis1@hotmail.com

Frank Loose said...

Upon further investigation, I found this blurb from the Townsend edition: This Townsend Library classic has been carefully edited to be more accessible ...

Oh well. As I said earlier, at times I can be too quick on the trigger. Should have looked more closely.

Leox said...

Spanish pulp
see http://encontretuslibros.blogspot.com/

Good Blog

Randy Johnson said...

definitely interested, Evan. I'll email you.

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