Reward #2 April 1954

Reward #2 April 1954

True crime magazines have a long history, but are largely absent from newsstands today. The only line I’m aware of still being published are those of Magazine Design & Publishing Ltd. in the UK. Their titles include True Crime Monthly, Master Detective, True Detective and Murder Most Foul. I believe all are A4-size and are somewhat difficult to find in the US. When you do, they come at a premium, I imagine because of the shipping costs. Visit their website at truecrimelibrary

In the 1950s there were a collection of pocket-size true crime magazines on the stands. But at the time Reward #2 appeared, April 1954, it claimed the honor of “The only pocket size true crime monthly.”

These tiny magazines were one quarter the size of a standard sheet of paper, measuring about 4.25” x 5.5” and selling for 15¢ a copy. This issue of Reward was 68 pages, counting the covers, which were full color on the outside only. Inside everything was in lurid black & white.

You can read an entire issue of these pocket mags in one sitting. The articles are short and packed with photos and they used a lot of police photography, some quite graphic, so they must have been very inexpensive to produce. The covers always featured a pretty woman, and there were a few inside to open some of the stories, but most of the pictures look like snapshots before and after some heinous crime—usually murder.

Reward was published by John B. Musacchia, who also produced another pocket-sized mag called Tops, which I think was kinda sorta in the realm of People magazine. It had celebrity news but also stories about UFOs and some true crime, so I’m not sure how to categorize it.

There are price guides and collector’s guides for pulps, digests, and paperbacks, but I’m not aware of one focused on true crime magazines. If anyone out there knows of one, please contact me through the site.