Monday, April 25, 2011

Rovers of the Sea

Edwin J. Brett’s story paper Rovers of the Sea was published 11 March 1872. The same day his chief rival, George Emmett, published no. 1 of Rover's Log featuring Charles Stevens serial Rupert the Rover on the cover. It ran for 57 weekly numbers. Frank Jay, in Peeps into the Past, had very little to say about Brett’s Rovers of the Sea except to say that he believed it ran to 72 numbers. Both items are extremely rare but thanks to E. M. Sanchez-Saavedra, military historian, archivist and contributor to Dime Novel Round Up and The Henty Society Bulletin (UK), here’s a rare glimpse of Brett’s Rovers of the Sea, which had some of the nicest artwork to ever appear in a Brett story paper.

Mike Saavedra writes that “Rovers of the Sea switched its emphasis from sea stories to American frontier serials beginning with No. 30, but resumed nautical stories in No. 48. My volume ends with No. 60, April 21, 1873. Following E.J. Brett's editorial practice, none of the stories has a by-line. Brett seems to have made an exception for Capt. Mayne Reid and James Greenwood, the “Amateur Casual.” Reid had parallel contracts with Brett and Beadle and Adams for his frontier tales, in addition to the “yellowback” publishers.”

Oll Coomes Ironsides the Scout, or, The White Rider of the Demon's Gorge was published in Street & Smith’s Log Cabin Library no. 83, 1890 and again in the same firms Boys of America story paper 21 Dec 1901 (image posted here from Joe Rainone’s marvelous collection). “The Boys of America serial is definitely a reprint of an earlier story by Oliver “Oll” Coomes (1845-1921). Coomes was one of the best and most highly-paid authors, who worked for Beadle, Tousey and Street and Smith. His “Old Kit Bandy” and “You-Bet Bob” stories are very enjoyable. Boys of America lasted for 107 issues from Oct. 5, 1901 -- Oct. 17, 1903. Large-format story papers were a bit of an anachronism by then,” writes Mike. George Emmett also published some American serials, for instance Roger Starbuck's Boy Mutineer appeared in Emmett's Sons of Britannia Jan 30 1875. Edward L. Wheeler's Buffalo Demon, originally from Beadle, was reprinted by Westbrook in 1899.

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