Tower Publications

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Tower Publications
Statusdefunct 1981; 37 years ago (1981)
FoundedJune 2, 1958; 60 years ago (1958-06-02)
Country of originUnited States
Headquarters location500 Fifth Avenue,[1] New York City
Key peopleLouis Silberkleit, Harry Shorten
Publication typesBooks, Comic books
Nonfiction topicsHistory, Religion, Sociology
Fiction genresErotic literature, Science Fiction, Horror, Mystery
ImprintsMidwood Books
Tower Books
Tower Comics
Belmont Tower

Tower Publications was an American publisher based in New York City that operated from 1958 to c. 1981. Originally known for their Midwood Books line of erotic men's fiction, it also published science fiction and fantasy under its Tower Books line and published comic books in the late 1960s under its Tower Comics imprint. In the early 1970s, Tower acquired paperback publisher Belmont Books, forming the Belmont Tower line. Archie Comics' cofounder Louis Silberkleit was a silent partner in Tower's ownership; longtime Archie editor Harry Shorten was a major figure with Tower in all its iterations.[2][3]

History[edit]

Tower Publications was formed on June 2, 1958.[1] The company's first publications were cheap paperbacks in Midwood Books's numbered erotic Midwood line, aimed at male readers. (Many of the titles were branded as Midwood-Tower Publications.) The covers of many Midwood Books featured works by prolific illustrators of the era, including Paul Rader; authors published by Midwood (mostly using pseudonyms) included Lawrence Block, Donald Westlake, Robert Silverberg, and Richard E. Geis.

From 1965 to 1969, Tower ran a comic book division, Tower Comics, which was mostly run by cartoonists Wally Wood and Samm Schwartz.[4] Tower is most well known for Wood's own T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents; besides Wood and Schwartz, notable creators associated with Tower included Dan Adkins, Gil Kane, Reed Crandall, Steve Ditko, Richard Bassford, Len Brown, Steve Skeates, Larry Ivie, Bill Pearson, Russ Jones, and Roger Brand. Tower Comics went defunct in 1969.

Tower Publications' Tower Books line published science fiction and fantasy from 1968 to c. 1981. Writer Gardner Fox produced between thirteen and twenty-five "Lady from L.U.S.T." (League of Undercover Spies and Terrorists) novels for Tower (and later Belmont Tower) between 1968 and 1975 using the name "Rod Gray".[5]

In 1971, Tower acquired the assets of Belmont Books, merging the two companies to form Belmont Tower. (Belmont had been founded by all three Archie Comic Publications founders: Silberkleit, John L. Goldwater, and Maurice Coyne.)[6] Although the new line continued to publish fiction, Belmont Tower published many notable nonfiction books from 1971 to 1980. Authors who published with Belmont Tower included Paulette Cooper, Ovid Demaris, Gardner Fox (writing as Rod Gray), Firth Haring Fabend, Hans Holzer, T. V. Olsen, and Harry Turtledove.

Tower ceased publishing in 1981; the company officially went out of business in January 2012, long after it had ceased operations.[1]

Selected titles published[edit]

Midwood Books (1958–1968)[edit]

Tower Comics (1965–1969)[edit]

  • Fight the Enemy (3 issues, Aug. 1966–Mar. 1967) — war title
  • T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents (20 issues, Nov. 1965–Nov. 1969) — and spin-off titles:
    • Dynamo (4 issues, Aug. 1966–June 1967)
    • NoMan (2 issues, Nov. 1966–Mar. 1967)
  • Undersea Agent (6 issues, Jan. 1966–Mar. 1967) — minimal ties with T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents
  • Tippy Teen (27 issues, Nov. 1965–Oct. 1969) — teen comics; includes the unnumbered Tippy Teen Special Collector's Edition (Nov. 1969); and spin-off titles:
    • Teen-in (4 issues, Summer 1968–Fall 1969)
    • Tippy's Friends Go-go and Animal / Tippy's Friend Go-Go (15 issues, Aug. 1966–Oct. 1969)

Paperback collections (published by Tower Books)[edit]

  • Dynamo, Man of High Camp (Tower Book 42-660) 1966 — reprints T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents #1
  • NoMan, the Invisible THUNDER Agent (Tower Book 42-672) 1966 — reprints NoMan stories from T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents #2-5
  • Menthor, the T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agent with the Super Helmet (Tower Book 42-674) 1966 — reprints Menthor stories from T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents #2-5
  • The Terrific Trio (Tower Book 42-687) 1966 — reprints stories T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents #2, 3, 6

Tower Books (1968–1981)[edit]

  • Rod Gray (Gardner Fox). The Lady from L.U.S.T. series:
    • The Lady From L.U.S.T. (1967)
    • Lay Me Odds (1967)
    • The 69 Pleasures (1967)
    • Five Beds To Mecca (1968)
    • The Hot Mahatma (1968)
    • To Russia With L.U.S.T. (1968)
    • Kiss My Assassin (1968)
    • South of the Bordello (1968)
    • The Poisoned Pussy (1968)
    • The Big Snatch (1970)
    • The Big Snatch (1970)
    • Laid in the Future (1970)
    • Blow My Mind (1971)
  • John Jakes:
  • Sam Moskowitz and Roger Elwood, editors. The Time Curve (1968) — anthology of science fiction short stories[7]
  • Greg Tobin: Season of Power (co-authored with Sam Tanenhaus) (1981)

Belmont-Tower (1971–1980)[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Tower Publications," Best Business NY. Accessed March 3, 2017.
  2. ^ Feldman, Michael. "The Secret Origin of Tower Comics," in The Thunder Agents Companion by Jon B. Cooke (TwoMorrows Publishing, 2005), p. 85.
  3. ^ Shorten entry, Who's Who of American Comic Books, 1928-1999. Accessed Feb. 25, 2017.
  4. ^ Klein, Robert and Michael Uslan. "Introduction," T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents Archives Volume 1 (DC Comics, 2002).
  5. ^ "Rod Gray". FantasticFiction.co.uk. n.d. Archived from the original on February 13, 2013. Retrieved July 31, 2008.
  6. ^ Hyfler, Richard. "Books For Bus Terminals: Whatever Happened to Belmont Productions?" Forbes.com (SEP 15, 2010).
  7. ^ Tower Publications title listing at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database