Do you see the masked hero as a timeless tradition only for pulps, or did it evolve?
|Pure pulpy goodness. Yep.|
And I'll prove it to you in two ways, in two separate directions: writing style and writing topics.
The style argument is easy. Look at any bestselling mainstream work nowadays, and you'll see the legacy of pulp all over it. Fast action? Check. Lots of dialog? Check. The style of pulp was such a hit with readers that it moved right out of pulp into the big publishing houses just as soon as people had money to spend on blockbuster books again and didn't have to just buy cheap editions. But the time spent reading the pulps during the Depression changed the type of storytelling people expected. In effect pulp trumped lit and still does today if you look at it as a matter of pure style.
(Sure, there are a minority of bestsellers that have a "high" writing style and become cultural phenomenons, but the straightforward bestsellers far outnumber them.)
|More pulp-influence goodness.|
But at their heart, all these things were still and are still pulp. Deftly written, action-focused stories for the average reader to enjoy, pure escapist fiction.
Of course, there are trends within sci-fi, horror, and fantasy that were going on at the same time -- also rooted in pulp, and not all the lines of changing trends were as clearly defined as I've made them sound in this article. But those are discussions for another day.