Greetings and salutations friends, fans and family. It’s time once again for a new Fabulous Find and this week I’ve gone to my bookshelf and pulled off the shelf, two books written by Walter Gibson, writing under the pseudonym of Maxwell Grant. The books in question are; Norgil The Magician and Norgil: More Tales of Prestigitection. The books were published in 1977 and 1979 by The Mysterious Press.
Here is the cover of the first book:
The cover of this hardback book is done by none other than Jim Steranko. Yep, the guy famous for doing those great Nick Fury Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. comic books for Marvel Comics back in the late sixties and early seventies, plus quite a few other great comics, as well.
The book itself features reprints of eight (8) short stories featuring the magician, Norgil, as written by Grant/Gibson from the pulps. Each story employs a famous stage illusion as a plot device, and Norgil becomes a representation of several real-life magicians who made those tricks popular. Eight of these long-lost stories are collected for the first time in this volume, including:
“Norgil – Magician” from the pulp, Crime Busters Nov 1937
“Ring of Death” from Crime Busters Jan 1938
“Murderer’s Throne” from Crime Busters Feb 1938
“The Second Double” from Crime Busters Mar 1938
“Drinks on the House” from Crime Busters Apr 1938
“Chinaman’s Chance” from Crime Busters May 1938
“The Glass Box” from Crime Busters Jun 1938
and “Battle of Magic” from Mystery Magazine July 1940
There is also a seven (7) page introduction written by Walter Gibson just for this edition.
The second book followed in 1979, also sporting a Jim Steranko cover. Take a look:
In this book, Norgil the Magician returns to battle the giants of crime in this second series of adventures. Using elements of stage magic and marvelous illusions, the fearless crime-fighter displays the versatile skill of a Houdini in one story and The Shadow in another. Like the first book, this one reprints eight (8) stories from the pulp magazines of the thirties. This issue reprints the following stories:
“The Silver Venus” from Crime Busters September 1938
“Double-Barreled Magic” from Crime Busters November 1938
“Magician’s Choice” from Crime Busters December 1938
“Old Crime Week” from Crime Busters February 1939
“Murder in Wax” from Crime Busters April 1939
“The Mystery of Moloch” from Crime Busters June 1939
“$5,000 Reward” from Crime Busters July 1939
From what I could find online, there were 23 short stories about Norgil, including The Blue Pearls. There was a book entitles “Lost Treasures from the Pulps” #43 that had all 23 stories, totaling a little over 400 pages. Also, there was the third Norgil volume, “Illusions”, that may have the last seven
tales. Of course, The Blue Pearls could have also had the last seven, too. Hope this helps.
Hey, Ron! Thanks for your research. You know me to be a complistist, so I’ll definitely be looking for those other Norgil stories! I bought these two books for the Steranko covers, but did enjoy the stories contain within, as a bonus! – greg
Gibson and Steranko were seemingly fairly close, or at least as close as one can get to someone 40 years older (or younger, depending on your perspective). Steranko certainly knew him and interviewed him in depth for “The Bloody Pulps” chapter of the History of Comics. And of course, they were both magicians. According to Steranko, it was Gibson who invited him to paint the covers of the Shadow paperbacks.
Enjoyed the post.
Thanks Joe, glad you enjoyed my post. I knew of their friendship, but had no real information regarding it, so I didn’t write about it. Appreciate your update/comments!