Introduction

To introduce the publisher Gerald G Swan and explain his prominence in publishing in the war-time and immediate post-war years, I can do no better than quote the following from Mike Ashley’s article "Weird Tales – English Style", reproduced here with his kind permission. You can find the full article here.

"With the declaration of war on September 3, 1939 the clamp came down on imports, and paper, ink and printing type — amongst a whole lot else — were rationed. For the next six years reading matter for entertainment (as opposed to propaganda) was at a premium. The war brought an end to many of Britain’s popular magazines of the twenties and thirties and those that survived were shadows of their former selves. In order to continue operating publishers had to show considerable enterprise.

One of the most enterprising was Gerald G. Swan (1902-1981). Swan had taken note of the looming signs of war and during the late thirties had stockpiled paper in a large warehouse in Marylebone. When the restrictions came he was sitting pretty. He had established his publishing business during the thirties with an emphasis on magazines and books for boys and girls, many of which are now collectors’ items in themselves. He then expanded to cover gangster fiction, science fiction and weird fiction."

Swan published three war-time issues of "Weird Tales", described separately under WTK1, and I show here some of his other publications in science fiction and weird fiction.

This is far from a complete list and I will add others in due course.

SWA – Swan American Magazines

In the late 1940s, the publisher GG Swan brought out a number of reprint magazines in a mixed-genre series called "Swan American Mags". Some of these were partial reprints of specific issues of US titles, others seem to have drawn stories from several sources. There were 17 in total, but only two were science fiction; the rest were a mixture of western and detective stories. Little has been known about this series until recently, but they have now been fully indexed here. The two SF issues shown here are:

From the images I have, it is not possible to tell whether the covers have been repainted, but certainly the colours seem much inferior to the US original. This could, though, have been a product of local paper, ink and printing technology.

1948 #11
Bok
1950 #15
Luros

WSM1 – Weird Story Magazine (1st series)

It is perhaps going too far to describe this as a series as there was only one issue. It was issued in August 1940 and all of the stories seem to be original, though more than half of them seem to be by the same author (William J Elliott) under a variety of different pseudonyms. This short-lived title was then cut short, while Swan carried the flag for SF and weird fiction through the early war years with the Swan Yankee series.

Aug 1940 #1
unknown

WSM2 – Weird Story Magazine (2nd series)

The WSM title was revived shortly after the war for two more issues – exactly when isn’t clear. The dates below are those offered by Tuck, but the SFFWF Index and indefatigable Swan collector Morgan Wallace both say 1946, on what evidence I do not know. Since Morgan does actually own copies of these magazines, it may be that 1946 is more reliable. Again, all the stories seem to be original. The cover of # 1 is almost attractive by the standards of most Swan magazines, and the red and blue colour scheme is very distinctive, though no doubt it was chosen on economic rather than artistic grounds.

1947 #1
unknown
Jun 1948 #2
unknown


YAN – Yankee Shorts

This series has also been described as "Swan Yankee Magazine", but the titles of the individual issues varied. Like SWA above, it was a rotating genre series of which only eight are of interest here. They are:

The others were variously called Y. Romance Shorts (1, 4, 12, 15, 18), Y. Gang Shorts (8, 13, 20), Y. Western Shorts (7, 17), Y. Love Shorts (9) and Y. Air Action (10, 16). This information is taken from the SFFWF Index, where most of the SF, mystery and weird issues are indexed, the rest just listed. All 21 of the series were issued in 1941-42 and, as some of the later issues were actually dated, this can probably be relied upon. Despite the "Yankee" designation, by no means all of the fiction was reprinted from US sources. Much of the weird fiction and some of the science fiction was original

Unfortunately, I can only provide five of the relevant eight covers. These magazines are very uncommon and are rarely offered for sale. I have to point out in passing that the mis-spelling of both "Weird" and "Suspense" on the cover of #19 has to be an editorial own goal of truly heroic proportions.

Jun 1941 #3
unknown
1942 #6
unknown
1942 #11
unknown
May 1942 #19
unknown
Jul 1942 #21
unknown

Source of Images

Some of these images are from copies offered for sale on eBay, but the majority were borrowed with kind permission from Morgan Wallace’s website here, which is a mine of information on these and other Swan publications