PULP MAGAZINE COLLECTOR DR. DAVE ANDERSON LETS LOOSE A SPECTACULAR ASSEMBLAGE 25 YEARS IN THE MAKING
By Nick Rallo
Dr. Dave Anderson knows just how spicy the pulpiest of pulp magazine cover art can get. He knows because he owns the sauciest, rarest and most valuable pulp issues on the planet. Known in comic book circles as “The Dentist,” a nod to his day job, Anderson has amassed a collection that runs back to 1919 – with a rarely seen enigma called The Thrill Book – and forth to 1937, a year that saw the Saucy Detective tackle such cases as The Woman Draped Over the Stallion in Her Negligee (official title: Stephen Storm’s “Case of the Mad Stallion”). The cover of that Saucy Detective issue, one of the hundreds of steamy images in Anderson’s assemblage, features a nearly exsanguinated-pale woman tied to the back of a rearing horse, negligee sliding, above text that reads “Murder Most Foul!”
“I set out to build a collection in the nicest condition possible,” Anderson says, adding that he was particularly fond of Saucy Movie Tales, Saucy Romantic Adventures and the pulp genre’s Spicy titles. But now he’s ready to let go of his salacious medley. From September 21-22, Heritage Auctions will present the Pulp Spectacular Showcase Auction, featuring magazines from The Dentist’s treasured collection.
Anderson has been building his team of pulp mags for 25-plus years but has yet to unearth a few key clues that would lead to the complete runs of Spicy Adventure, Spicy Detective, Spicy Mystery and Spicy Western – a challenge that soon will belong to a new collector. One of the most prized gems in Anderson’s collection is the March 1937 issue of Saucy Movie Tales, the rarest, most valuable Saucy Movie issue ever seen. The cover features a bare-breasted woman, clothing mangled, clomping through the snow in little-but-boots. A soldier marches the woman forward, a bayonet gripped in one hand, a leash tied around the woman’s wrists gripped in the other. It is pulp bondage at its finest.
There’s also the infamous Weird Tales cover from October 1933 – the Margaret Brundage Bat-Woman cover (aka Astonished Woman Wears a Bat’s Back Half Like a Neato Little Hat). And the Spicy Mystery Stories from October 1935 featuring a little number called “Satan’s Mistress.” Plus, the 1933 classic The Shadow Magazine, a title dedicated to an early super-ish hero who could instantly cloud the minds of any bipedal mammals with a single drop-dead, piercing gaze. The Shadow is best read under the covers with a flashlight suspiciously low on battery.
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Anderson’s assemblage also includes several 1919 issues of The Thrill Book (originally sold for 15 cents a pop). These are the first Heritage Auctions has ever seen of this incredibly rare series.
Like the pulps he collects, Anderson’s identity has an air of mystery in the comics community. A simple Google search reveals a message board straight out of a vintage issue of Detective Comics: “Who is the Dentist?” One user responds, “He works on people’s teeth. He is a private collector that likes to remain private.”
Anderson’s dental patients are in the shadows, too. “My work as a dentist is entirely separate from my collecting,” he says. “A few select patients know.”
Did you just hear a distant cackle? Probably nothing.
NICK RALLO is a staff writer at Intelligent Collector.