Riding high with the ‘Trucker King’ pulp

It’s amazing sometimes to see the number of pulps out there. You can look through thousands of cover images without ever seeing a repeated image. Sure, a lot of the situations are the same … Detective saving the girl in the red dress from cultists or the rocket jock blasting away at aliens.

But by the 1970s, the days of the pulps were practically extinct. Venerable titles that had slogged along for decades were shrunk to Reader’s Digest size –in fact,  I just saw a copy of a 1970s edition of “Adventure” that was smaller than my hand.

But here and there, pulp latched on to new genres and rode them for all they were worth.

Nothing is a better example of this than “Trucker King.”  It was a book dedicated to the life and adventures that entwined themselves in CB culture.

The magazine was published out of West Germany (while it was still called that) from 1976 (I believe) until 1996. That’s a whopping 250 issues of figuring out adventures for truckers to go on.But with a little creativity, they didn’t do so bad.

Even more amazing, it was all in German. As far as I can tell, there was never an attempt to bring it to America, where it seems that many of the adventures were set.

Even spy thrillers, super-speed races and hijack capers got old after a while though. By the 1980s, the magazine’s writers were really thinking outside the box, pitting its heroic truckers against the new “monsters” of the day — juggernaut-like wrestlers, stealthy ninjas and honor-bound samurais to name a few.

And when painting the covers got to be a chore, the artists took shortcuts — namely by swiping images of American celebrities. It all probably happened without said celebrity’s permission. There’s a Kevin Costner, a Meg Ryan and, of course, a David Hasselhoff ripoff by way of Adrian Zmed.

While I can’t say much about the content in these books, since they’re all in German, I can’t help but imagine that the trucking life in Europe had its own trials and tribulations. Just imagine:

  • Losing your brakes while barreling down the Autoban.
  • Sneaking cargo into an enemy country.
  • Mixing it up with international spies.
  • The idea of truckers bringing loads in and out of those amazing castles.
  • Trucking into dangerous, far eastern nations.
  • Foiling a plot to sink a barge crossing the English Channel.
  • The rise of terrorism in the form of hijackings.

There certainly is a lot of potential out there. You just have to look for it, and somehow, I bet “Trucker King” did.

(And finally, to look at all 250 covers, go here.)


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