- US magazine-publishing house, based in Chicago until 1950, then New York. It entered the sf field in 1938 when it bought AMAZING STORIES from Teck Publishing Corp, New York, the 1st Z-D issue being April 1938, ed Raymond A. PALMER under Bernard G. Davis (the Davis of Ziff-Davis) as editor-in-chief. Under Palmer and later Howard BROWNE, AMZ was the most juvenile and lurid of the pulp SF MAGAZINES. The Z-D stable was expanded in May 1939 with the founding of a new title, FANTASTIC ADVENTURES, also lurid. Local Chicago writers, many of them hacks, churned out material for Z-D at immense speed, and often under the huge variety of house names thatcharacterized these magazines and made them a bibliographer's nightmare: Chester S. GEIER, David Wright O'BRIEN, Rog PHILLIPS, Leroy YERXA and manyothers whose work was hardly known outside the Z-D publications. Covers were colourful, to the say the least, J. Allen ST. JOHN being especially notable in this regard; Robert FUQUA was also a regular cover artist and Rod RUTH drew many interior illustrations.As the pulp era drew to a closein the 1950s, many sf magazines failed, and others converted to the DIGEST format, as AMZ did in 1953. By then Z-D had founded a new digest magazine, FANTASTIC, in 1952. This covered similar ground to Fantastic Adventures,which it absorbed in 1953. The only sf/fantasy addition to the stable thereafter was the short-lived DREAM WORLD, ed Paul W. FAIRMAN, in 1957, though Z-D did publish occasional COMICS titles, like Space Patrol in 1952. Stories created by factory-production techniques continued in thenew digest magazines, now based in New York; Robert SILVERBERG was one who learned his craft in the 1950s by being slotted into the assembly line. Both AMZ and Fantastic improved enormously under the editorship of CeleGOLDSMITH 1958-65, but it was too late. Bernard G. Davis had left in the 1950s, and fiction magazines were becoming anomalies in the Z-D line-up, now largely concentrated (because of the potential for advertising revenue) on specialist nonfiction magazines like Popular Photography and Popular Electronics. Fantastic and AMZ were sold in 1965 to Sol Cohen'sUltimate Publishing Co., where he made a good thing for years recycling Z-D backlist stories in new magazines, as well as continuing the 2 main titles. The newly married Goldsmith stayed with Z-D to work on Modern Bride. Bernard Davis's son Joel went on to form his own publishingcompany, Davis Publications, which founded ISAAC ASIMOV'S SCIENCE FICTION MAGAZINE and later bought ASF. The Davis sf dynasty, therefore, continued,in a much different guise, until 1992, when Dell Magazines bought both journals.PN
Science Fiction and Fantasy Encyclopedia. Academic. 2011.