I started seeing these cover images online a couple of months ago. They started popping up on some of the blogs and tumblr accounts I follow. The paintings are beautiful. If there had only been one of them I probably would have noted the story that the painting was illustrated and then quickly forgotten about it.
Seeing three covers for Morgo the Mighty piqued my interest enough that I wanted to find out more the story.
You’ll notice that there’s no link to more information about the story. I looked. There’s a mention of it in an essay about Hollow Earth stories. It’s discussed in a few paragraphs at the end of a long article about Tam, Son of the Tiger. Otherwise, there’s really nothing useful. No fansite. No wikipedia article. No author’s bio. No Gutenberg Project e-text.
The author’s name “Sean O’Larkin” is apparently a pseudonym for J.F. Larkin. I didn’t find much beyond that. The cover illustrations are by Howard V. Brown. Him you can find info about and most of it includes examples of his lovely art.
Morgo the Mighty was serialized in four issues of The Popular Magazine. Interior illustrations were by Clarence Rowe.
I may not have been able to find much about the novel online but I was able to find someone selling a facsimile collection of it on ebay. I did find out enough about Morgo to know it takes place in a lost subterranean land populated with prehistoric monsters so I knew it was a representative of a genre I have affection for. So I bought it.
The seller seems to have scanned and cleaned up the original printed pages from The Popular. Instead of just reading it and keeping it to myself I’m going to share the story with you. Over the next few weeks I’m going to be retyping the story here, a chapter at a time.
Will we discover a forgotten classic? Or a rightfully forgotten pulp diversion?
I don’t know if this novel is in the public domain. Since it was published in 1930 it’s possible that it’s under copyright. The copyright lockdown that the Disney corporation engineered has prevented many works published after 1928 from entering the public domain. If J.F. Larkin is still alive somewhere or has heirs who have renewed the copyright please let me know. Otherwise, once I’m done posting the novel here I plan to donate the text to Gutenberg.