Following is a play-by-play look at the creation of PulpFest 2013, told through the posts that originally appeared on the convention’s home page during 2012 and 2013. They began in September 2012, soon after the organizing committee started to plan, arrange, and promote the 2013 convention–what many have termed the “best PulpFest of them all!”
PulpFest 2013 Plans Are Underway!
Sept. 27, 2012–The PulpFest committee is delighted to announce that our 2013 convention will once again be held at the Hyatt Regency hotel in downtown Columbus, Ohio. Our 2013 confab will take place from Thursday, July 25th, through Sunday, July 28th. It will boast the same combination of product and programming that has made PulpFest the must-attend annual event for fans, scholars, and collectors of pulp fiction.
Two very important anniversaries will figure prominently in PulpFest’s 2013 programming. First and foremost, we are celebrating the hero pulp revolution that began 80 years ago in 1933, with the debuts of such popular figures as Doc Savage, The Spider, Nick Carter, Pete Rice, The Lone Eagle, The Phantom Detective, and G-8 and His Battle Aces. The success of Street & Smith’s Shadow pulp, launched two years earlier, spurred this revival of single-character magazines, which had been a phenomenon of the dime-novel era. The hero pulps revitalized an industry laid low by the Great Depression, and they dominated the rough-paper field for the rest of the decade. They remain the most avidly collected and frequently reprinted periodicals in the hobby.
We’ll also acknowledge the centennial of Sax Rohmer’s Dr. Fu Manchu, who made his American bow in a February 1913 issue of Collier’s Magazine. The initial cycle of short stories was published between hard covers later that year as The Insidious Dr. Fu Manchu. The first and greatest “Yellow Peril” villain, Rohmer’s Devil Doctor was widely imitated in American pop culture; rough-paper knockoffs included The Mysterious Wu Fang and Dr. Yen Sin, two short-lived pulps from Popular Publications.
With so many possibilities for panels and presentations, the PulpFest committee once again plans to offer a full night of programming on Thursday, before the convention’s “official” opening on Friday, so attendees are urged to make early arrival a part of their PulpFest travel plans.
The Hyatt Regency has asked for a modest increase in guest-room rates, which will be $112 per night as opposed to the $109 we paid this year. However, to reward loyal attendees who support the convention by staying at the host hotel, PulpFest is happy to be able to offer a ten-dollar rebate redeemable at the registration desk. This will cover the three-dollar nightly increase incurred by Hyatt guests.
We are also happy to once again supply a third table free of charge to exhibitors who stay at the Hyatt and rent two tables in our hucksters’ room. That’s three tables for the price of two, or six for the price of four. The massive size of the Regency Ballroom enables us to provide this extra exhibit space to loyal PulpFest dealers, for whose continued support we are most grateful. Remember, though, this special offer is good only to dealers staying at the host hotel.
Although the 2013 convention is still ten months away, you can rest assured that the committee is already hard at work on planning and promotion. Ideas for panels and presentations have already been proposed and, as always, we remain open to programming suggestions and volunteer presenters. Most importantly, though, we wanted to let you know that our venue is confirmed. So start saving for the next PulpFest right away and check back periodically for updates.
Happy Holidays from PulpFest
Dec. 22, 2012–Here’s wishing everyone the happiest of holiday seasons. As we near 2013 and the eightieth anniversary of the “hero pulp explosion,” when characters such as Doc Savage, G-8, The Spider, and The Phantom Detective were introduced to the reading public, let’s hope there’s a copy of your favorite pulp magazine tucked into Santa’s sack to help tide you over until April 12th, when the Windy City Pulp and Paper Convention will begin in the Chicago area.
After you’ve finished celebrating the winter holidays, please stop back at the PulpFest website as we gear up for next Summer’s Great Pulp Con. Better still, sign up for our email updates by filling in the little gray box titled “E-Mail List” right here on our home page. And while you’re at it, why not “like” our facebook page as more than 500 others have done. You can also follow PulpFest on Twitter.
Many thanks to Keith “Kez” Wilson for allowing us to use his Rescuing Rudolph fantasy Doc Savage cover, based on James Bama’s painting for the Bantam edition of Quest of Qui. You can see more of Kez’s great cover spoofs at his Doc Savage Fantasy Cover Gallery.
Celebrating the Pulp Heroes of 1933
Jan. 23, 2013–Eighty years ago, following the great success of The Shadow, the pulp industry exploded with eight new single-character magazines. The Phantom Detective, Doc Savage, Nick Carter, The Lone Eagle, G-8 and His Battle Aces, The Spider, and Pete Rice all debuted in their own magazines in the glorious year of 1933. Join PulpFest on Thursday, July 25th as we begin our celebration of “Doc Savage and the Pulp Heroes of 1933.”
Enter the Phantom
Jan. 29, 2013–In 1933, Franklin Delano Roosevelt was inaugurated the 32nd president of the United States of America, proclaiming that “We have nothing to fear but fear itself.” Adolph Hitler was named the Chancellor of Germany, amid promises of a parliamentary democracy. San Francisco broke ground for the construction of the Golden Gate Bridge. King Kong premiered in New York City and the hero pulp revolution began.
The tremendous success of Street & Smith’s The Shadow Magazine prompted the return of the single-character periodical. The first of these hero pulps was The Phantom Detective. Launched by Ned Pines’ Thrilling Group, the Phantom was the alter ego of man-about-town Richard Curtis Van Loan. A veteran of the first world war, this moneyed playboy was bored with life until a family friend recommended he “try his hand at solving a mysterious crime which had stumped the police.” His initial success led Van Loan to dedicate his life and fortune to combat crime, making the Phantom “a name known and admired by the police of every nation.”
The first issue of The Phantom Detective was dated February 1933. It would be followed that year by other single-character pulps including Doc Savage, The Spider, and Pete Rice Magazine. The Summer 1953 issue would be the final number of The Phantom Detective. It was the longest-lived of the hero pulps, lasting for just over twenty years.
Join PulpFest in July for a celebration of “The Hero Pulps of 1933.”
The cover art for the February 1933 issue of The Phantom Detective is by Bertram Glover, illustrating “The Emperor of Death,” written by D. L. Champion, a.k.a. Jack D’Arcy.
Hutchison, Don. The Great Pulp Heroes (Revised Edition). New York: Book Republic Press, 2007.
Johnson, Tom, et al. The Phantom Detective Companion. Boston: Altus Press, 2009.
Kenneth Robeson Coming to PulpFest
Feb. 2, 2013–Following the astounding success of their first single-character pulp, The Shadow Magazine, Street & Smith publishing set out to duplicate its good fortune in the adventure magazine market. Working with the company’s business manager, Henry W. Ralston, Shadow editor John Nanovic spent a year developing a scientist adventurer who would travel the globe, righting wrongs and punishing evildoers. They were joined in late 1932 by Lester Dent, a former telegraph operator turned pulp writer. Soon thereafter, Doc Savage, the world’s first superhero, was born.
Doc Savage Magazine premiered early the next year with its first issue dated March 1933. The lead novel, “The Man of Bronze,” introduced Clark Savage, Jr. to a disheartened country thirsting for heroes amidst the dark days of The Great Depression. The magazine was an immediate success, soon rivaling the popularity of The Shadow Magazine on America’s newsstands.
Although the first tale of Doc Savage and his five trouble-busting assistants was credited to Kenneth Roberts, a name belonging to a former journalist and author of historical novels, later novels in the series would be said to be the work of Kenneth Robeson, a house name that hid the identity of Dent as well as Laurence Donovan, Ryerson Johnson, William Bogart, and other writers.
PulpFest is pleased to announce that the current “Kenneth Robeson,” Will Murray, will be one of its presenters at the 2013 convention for fans of pulp magazines and pulp fiction. The author of a dozen Doc Savage novels for Bantam Books and Altus Press, Will hopes to be Kenneth Robeson for a long time to come. Click on Will Murray under the Programming link of our home page for more details on our guest, one of the leading historians of the pulp era as well as one of the best adventure authors of our day.
The March 1933 issue of Doc Savage Magazine featured front cover art by pulp great Walter M. Baumhofer, illustrated Lester Dent’s novel, “The Man of Bronze.”
Murray, Will. “Doc Savage: The First 75 Years” in Windy City Pulp Stories #8. Normal, IL: Black Dog Books (2008).
Murray, Will. “The Duende Doc Savage Index” in Duende Vol. 1. North Quincy, MA: Odyssey Publications (1977).
Murray, Will. “Intermission” in Doc Savage #14. Encinitas, CA: Sanctum Productions for Nostalgia Ventures, Inc. (2008).
Doc Savage Meets King Kong
Feb. 11, 2013–For the 80th anniversary of the Man of Bronze, Will Murray has teamed Doc with another legend that debuted in 1933—King Kong—in Skull Island. Meet the author at PulpFest 2013, July 25th – 28th at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Columbus, Ohio. We’ll be celebrating the pulp heroes of 1933 and more.
The World’s Greatest Detective
Feb. 18, 2013–Nick Carter, the creation of John Russell Coryell, debuted in 1886 in Street & Smith’s New York Weekly. Five years later, the character was handed over to Frederic Dey and other writers who would pen over a thousand stories featuring the “Little Giant.” The character was so popular that when Detective Story Magazine began in 1915, Street & Smith claimed “Nicholas Carter” was its editor.
By 1933, interest in the old Nick Carter stories was beginning to wane. It was the era of the hardboiled detective with characters such as Dashiell Hammett’s Continental Op and Sam Spade, Carroll John Daly’s Race Williams and Vee Brown, and Frederick Nebel’s “Tough Dick” Donahue and Jack Cardigan tearing up the pages of rough paper magazines like Black Mask and Dime Detective.
It was also the time of the pulp hero. With The Shadow Magazine flying off America’s newsstands on a twice-monthly basis, Street & Smith decided to expand the single character field with magazines featuring adventure and detective heroes. For the latter, it was decided to create a hardboiled version of the “Little Giant” of the dime novels and Nick Carter Magazine was born. Dated March 1933, the new pulp would sport a cover by Jerome Rozen and lead with the novel, “Marked for Death,” the work of author Richard Wormser (writing as “Nick Carter”). The second of the hero pulps of 1933, Nick Carter Magazine would run through June 1936.
Clurman, Robert. “Introduction” in Nick Carter, Detective. New York: Macmillan (1963).
Cox, J. Randolph. “Nick Carter Library” and “Nick Carter Weekly” in Mystery, Detective, and Espionage Magazines (edited by Michael L. Cook). Westport, CT: Greenwood Press (1983).
Cox, J. Randolph. “The Story of Nick Carter” in Nick Carter #1. San Antonio, TX: Sanctum Books (2013).
Goulart, Ron. The Dime Detectives. New York: The Mysterious Press (1988).
Murray, Will. “Intermission” in Nick Carter #1. San Antonio, TX: Sanctum Books (2013).
Thanks to Sanctum Books for the great cover scan from the March 1933 Nick Carter Magazine.
The World’s First Superhero
“There was death afoot in the darkness. It crept furtively along a steel girder. Hundreds of feet below yawned glass-and-brick walled cracks–New York streets. Down there, late workers scurried homeward. Most of them carried umbrellas, and did not glance upward.”
Feb. 19, 2013–Eighty years ago, the words above helped convince readers to buy Doc Savage Magazine when it appeared on newsstands around the middle of February 1933. Sporting a front cover painted by the “King of the Pulps,” Walter M. Baumhofer, and published by Street & Smith, the new rough paper magazine promised “a thrilling saga of a scrappy outfit hunting a treasure and being hunted in turn.”
“The Man of Bronze,” credited to Kenneth Roberts, was the work of Lester Dent, a writer who had broken into the pulp market in 1929 with an aviation yarn published by Top-Notch Magazine. In the ensuing years, he had sold about three dozen stories to a variety of magazines including Air Stories, Detective-Dragnet Magazine, Scotland Yard, Sky Riders, War Birds, and Western Trails.
Impressed by Dent’s ability to combine an “extravagant plot, scenes and action with comparatively high credibility and reasonableness of motivation,” the author was invited to the offices of Street & Smith to join business manager Henry W. Ralston and Shadow Magazine editor John L. Nanovic in a brainstorming session to flesh out a new adventure series–Doc Savage.
Although Doc Savage Magazine was the third hero pulp to premier in 1933, it would certainly become the most popular of the single character magazines that debuted in that year, tailing only The Shadow in total issues published. The character would go on to not only inspire the original pulp readers, but also the fans of the Bantam reprints that appeared from 1964 through 1990 and the readers of today who regale to the original pulp tales collected by Sanctum Books and Will Murray’s new adventures of the man of bronze, published by Altus Press.
Join PulpFest 2013 over the last weekend of July to celebrate eighty years of Doc Savage and the pulp heroes of 1933.
Dent, Lester. “The Man of Bronze.” Doc Savage #14. San Antonio, TX: Sanctum Books (2008).
Murray, Will. “The First Heroes.” Pulp Vault #3. Chicago: Tattered Pages Press (1988).
Murray, Will. “Introduction.” Doc Savage, Supreme Adventurer. Greenwood, MA: Odyssey Publications (1980).
Spring Training for PulpFest
Feb. 23, 2013–With spring comes baseball, pulp cons, and paperback shows. Leading off is the 34th annual Los Angeles Vintage Paperback Show. This one-day show will feature appearances by over forty writers including James Blaylock, Dennis Etchison, William F. Nolan, and Harry Turtledove, all of them very happy to sign your books. It will take place on Sunday, April 7th, at the Valley Inn and Conference Center in Mission Hills, California.
The Windy City Pulp and Paper Convention is in the number two hole. Now in its 13th year, this Chicago-area event will be celebrating ninety years of science-fiction and fantasy magazines with salutes to Weird Tales and the “Scientific Fiction Number” of Hugo Gernsback’s Science and Invention. The Windy will be held at the Westin Lombard Yorktown Center from April 12th – 14th.
The three spot features the South’s leading “pulp culture” convention, Pulp Ark. A writers’ conference and pulp convention, it focuses on the methodology of pulp fiction, storytelling involving “action, adventure, larger-than-life heroes and villains, and a strong focus on both plot and characterization.” Featuring guest appearances by Joe Devito, Martin Powell, and Paul Bishop, Pulp Ark will take place April 26th – 28th at the Holiday Inn Springdale Hotel and Convention Center in Springdale, Arkansas.
Batting clean-up on May 11th is Canada’s premier pulp event, the 17th annual Fantastic Pulps Show & Sale at the Lillian H. Smith branch of the Toronto Public Library in Toronto, Ontario. You can learn more about this small, pulp-specific show by writing to Girasol Collectables, 3501 Glen Erin Drive, Suite 1409, Mississauga, ON, Canada L5L 2E9 or via email at email@example.com.
Penciled in to follow on May 17th – 19th is the 2013 Edgar Rice Burroughs Chain of Friendship (ECOF) Gathering, hosted by the Chicago Muckers, the regional chapter of the Burroughs Bibliophiles. It will be held at the Quality Inn in Morris, Illinois and feature artist Mike Hoffman as its guest of honor.
Cinevent 45 is slotted in at number six, taking place over Memorial Day weekend, May 24th – 27th. In addition to 170 tables of movie-related collectibles such as posters, lobby cards, presskits, DVDs, and 16 mm films, Cinevent features an extensive schedule of classic sound and silent films and one of the country’s largest live auctions of vintage posters. It will be held at the Ramada Plaza Hotel and Conference Center in Columbus, Ohio.
Robert E. Howard Days is installed as the number seven hitter on June 7-8 at the the Robert E. Howard House & Museum in Cross Plains, Texas. This annual gathering of fans of Two-Gun Bob is presented by Project Pride of Cross Plains and sponsored by the Robert E. Howard Foundation, with help from the members of the Robert E. Howard United Press Association. Tim Truman, artist and writer for Dark Horse Comics, will be guest of honor.
Pinch-hitting sometime later this spring is Classicon 43, one of the first pulp and paperback shows ever established. Featuring 35 tables and thousands of collectible pulp magazines, paperbacks, vintage comic books, original artwork, and more, it is held twice a year in Lansing, Michigan. For further information, write to the Curious Book Shop at 304 East Grand River Avenue, East Lansing, Michigan 48823 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
At the bottom of the line-up is the best pulp event of all, the summertime destination for fans and collectors of vintage popular fiction and related materials, PulpFest 2013. Join us from July 25th through July 28th at the Hyatt Regency Columbus for summer’s great pulp con, celebrating eighty years of Doc Savage and the pulp heroes of 1933 and the centennial of Sax Rohmer’s villainous Dr. Fu Manchu!
The art above includes Ray Johnson’s cover to the Avon Books edition of Jack Williamson’s The Green Girl (1950); Margaret Brundage’s sadistic Weird Tales cover from March 1936, often associated with Paul Ernst’s Doctor Satan story printed in that issue; Virgil Finlay’s cover to the March 1949 issue of Fantastic Novels, doctored by Neil Mechem of Girasol Collectables; Conan, as depicted by Margaret Brundage for the August 1934 number of Weird Tales; and Walter Baumhofer’s classic rendition of “The Man of Bronze” from the March 1933 issue of Doc Savage Magazine.
It’s Munsey Nomination Time
Feb. 27, 2013–PulpFest annually recognizes the efforts of those who work to keep the pulps alive for this and future generations. Each year, someone is selected to receive The Munsey Award (pictured at left). Named after Frank A. Munsey, the man who published the first pulp magazine, nominations for the award are now being accepted. All members of the pulp community, whether they plan to attend PulpFest 2013 or not, are welcome to nominate a deserving person for this year’s award.
You can also nominate someone for the Rusty Hevelin Service Award. Initiated in 2012, this award is designed to recognize those persons who have worked long and hard for the pulp community with little thought for individual recognition. It is meant to reward especially good works, and is thus reserved for only those individuals who are most deserving.
If you have someone in mind that you feel worthy to receive either of these prestigious awards, please let us know. All members of the pulp community, excepting past winners of the Munsey, Hevelin, or Lamont Awards, are eligible. Please send the person’s name and a brief paragraph describing why you feel that person should be honored to Mike Chomko, 2217 W. Fairview Street, Allentown, PA 18104-6542 or to email@example.com. The deadline for nominations is April 30, 2013. The recipient of the Munsey and/or Rusty Hevelin Service Award will be selected by a panel of judges consisting of recognized experts in the pulp field. The award will be presented on July 27th, during the convention’s evening programming.
The Birth of Dr. Fu-Manchu
“Imagine a person, tall, lean, and feline, high-shouldered, with a brow like Shakespeare and a face like Satan, a close-shaven skull, and long, magnetic eyes of the true cat-green. Invest him with all the cruel cunning of an entire Eastern race, accumulated in one giant intellect, with all the resources of science past and present. Imagine that awful being, and you have a mental picture of Dr. Fu-Manchu, the yellow peril incarnate in one man.”
March 2, 2013–One-hundred years ago, the words above were published in the February 15, 1913 issue of Collier’s. “The Zayat Kiss” was the work of Arthur Henry Sarsfield Ward, better known as Sax Rohmer, and introduced American readers to Dr. Fu-Manchu. Although Rohmer did not create the “yellow peril” story, his tales of “the devil doctor” were certainly the most influential of that story type.
During his life, Sax Rohmer penned four accounts concerning his creation of Dr. Fu-Manchu. Supposedly inspired by a “Mr. King,” a wealthy man of mystery said to control all the Chinese gambling, drug traffic, and Tongs of London, Rohmer claimed that Fu-Manchu arose from a chance encounter that he had one night in the Limehouse district of the city:
I took cover in the entrance to a narrow alleyway. The car pulled up less than ten yards from where I stood. A smart chauffeur switched on the inside light, jumped out, and opened the door for his passengers.
I saw a tall and very dignified man alight, Chinese, but different from any Chinese I had ever met. He wore a long, black topcoat and a queer astrakhan cap. He strode into the house. He was followed by an Arab girl, or she may have been an Egyptian. . . .
The chauffeur closed the car door, jumped to his seat, and backed out the way he had come in. The headlights faded in the mist . . . and Dr. Fu Manchu was born! (Sax Rohmer. “How Fu Manchu Was Born.” This Week, 09/29/57).
That night, alone in my room, I searched through my memories of the East. . . Daylight was not far away when at last I had created Fu Manchu, a genius of princely rank holding degrees of three European universities. . . . closing my eyes, I could both see and hear Dr. Fu Manchu. . . . “You have sought for and you have found me. . . . You have followed me through the forests of Burma. You have tracked me to my palace in Kiang Su. Because you have made, you think that you know me. Do you dream that your Mr. Commissioner Nayland Smith can conquer me? That my mastery of the secret sects of the East can be met by the simple efficiency of the West? I shall prove a monster which neither you nor those you have created to assist you can hope to conquer. . . . It is your boast that you have made me. It is mine that I shall live when you are smoke.” (Sax Rohmer in Meet the Detective, Cecil Madden, editor. New York: Telegraph Press, 1935).
Join PulpFest in July as we celebrate the centennial of Sax Rohmer’s enduring literary icon, Dr. Fu Manchu. We’ll also be celebrating Sax Rohmer’s 130th birthday which took place on February 15th of this year. He was born way back in 1883.
W. T. Benda’s masterful cover for the May 7, 1932 issue of Collier’s, illustrating Sax Rohmer’s The Mask of Fu Manchu appears above, courtesy of The Page of Fu Manchu, the source for much of this article.
Advertise in THE PULPSTER
March 10, 2013–Our editor and designer Bill Lampkin is already hard at work on the next issue of The Pulpster. Along with articles on the pulp heroes of 1933 and Fu Manchu and the yellow peril, Bill has a number of surprises up his sleeves. So expect a slam-bang issue from the new editor of our award-winning program book. Every member of PulpFest will receive a complimentary copy of The Pulpster.
If you’d like to place an advertisement in this year’s Pulpster, there’s still time to do so. However, the June 1st deadline for reserving advertising space is fast approaching. Our rates are very reasonable: color back cover–$160; inside color covers–$125; inside black and white full page–$65; half-page–$40; quarter page–$25. Print specifications, payment information, and more can be found on the Program Book page of our website. To inquire about space availability, please write to Mike Chomko at firstname.lastname@example.org. The Pulpster has a circulation of 450-500 copies. All advertising is sold on a first come, first served basis, with payment expected immediately upon reserving a space. You can also submit your advertising copy to Mike and ask him about back issues.
Another way to advertise at PulpFest is to donate material for our giveaway tables. Over the years The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, Book Source Magazine, Girasol Collectables, Radio Archives, Stark House Press, and other organizations have donated a variety of publications that were given away free to PulpFest attendees. Your donation will be acknowledged on our website and at the convention. If you’d like to offer something for our giveaway table, please contact Mike Chomko at email@example.com.
The front cover of this year’s Pulpster uses Walter Baumhofer’s magnificent portrait of The Man of Bronze from the July 1935 issue of Doc Savage Magazine. Doc Savage is a registered trademark of Advance Publishers, Inc. d/b/a Conde Nast.
Pulp Con Season Starts in Two Weeks
March 24, 2013–With April approaching, the pulp con season begins. First up will be the Los Angeles Vintage Paperback Show, followed by the Windy City Pulp and Paper Convention beginning April 12th. PulpFest committee members Jack Cullers, Mike Chomko, and Ed Hulse will all be there with information about PulpFest 2013.
A couple of weeks after Windy City, the South’s leading “pulp culture” convention, Pulp Ark will take place in Springdale, Arkansas while Canada’s premier pulp event, the Fantastic Pulps Show & Sale, will be held May 11th in Toronto. About a week later, Morris, Illinois will host the 2013 Edgar Rice Burroughs Chain of Friendship Gathering while Columbus, Ohio will be home to Cinevent 45 over Memorial Day weekend.
June 7th and 8th are the dates for Robert E. Howard Days in the author’s home town of Cross Plains, Texas. Still to be announced is the date for the spring edition of Classicon, but the Derby City Comic Con will go off on June 29th in Louisville, Kentucky.
Of course, all of these events are a prelude for the best pulp event of all, the summertime destination for fans and collectors of vintage popular fiction and related materials, PulpFest 2013. This year, we’ll be celebrating Doc Savage and the pulp heroes of 1933 and the centennial of the villainous Dr. Fu Manchu. Our guests will include Will Murray, author of twelve Doc Savage novels, including the just-released King Kong crossover, Skull Island; Lamont Award winner Don Hutchison, leading pulp anthologist and author of The Great Pulp Heroes and numerous articles about the pulps; Nathan Madison, author of Anti-Foreign Imagery in American Pulps and Comics, 1920-1960; William Patrick Maynard, the writer authorized to continue the Fu Manchu series; and pulp art expert David Saunders. There will also be a showing of the complete movie serial, The Spider’s Web, produced by Columbia Pictures in 1938.
PulpFest is now accepting registrations for this year’s convention, running July 25th-28th. From our registration page, you’ll be able to download our member and dealer registration forms. You can pay for memberships and dealer tables through our Paypal order page. You’ll also be able to book a room at the Hyatt Regency Columbus at the convention rate of $112 plus tax via our special link to the hotel.
We are also happy to once again supply a third table free of charge to dealers who stay at the Hyatt and rent two tables in our hucksters’ room. That’s three tables for the price of two, or six for the price of four. The massive size of the Regency Ballroom enables us to provide this extra exhibit space to loyal PulpFest dealers. Remember, this special offer is good only to dealers staying at the host hotel.
With about a quarter of the vast collection of pulp researcher Al Tonik tucked away in storage, PulpFest is delighted to report that the remainder of Albert’s superlative library of hardcovers, paperbacks, pulps, dime novels, comic books, fanzines, art books, and reference books will be sold during our Saturday night auction on July 27th. For additional details, including a link to the catalog, please visit the Tonik Auction page under our Auctions button.
All this and more can be found by clicking the buttons along the left side of our home page. And don’t forget, you can make your nominations for the 2013 Munsey and Rusty Hevelin Service Awards through the end of April. Please send the name of the person that you’d like to nominate and a short paragraph describing your reasons for your nomination to Mike Chomko, 2217 W. Fairview St., Allentown, PA 18104-6542 or to firstname.lastname@example.org.
In the coming weeks, PulpFest will start previewing its highly respected programming on this site. So please visit often. We look forward to seeing you July 25th through July 28th.
This year’s Windy City Pulp and Paper Convention will be saluting ninety years of science fiction and fantasy magazines including the August 1923 issue of Hugo Gernsback’s Science and Invention magazine, its “Scientific Fiction Number” which sported front cover art by Howard V. Brown. The scan is from the January 31, 2012 Tellers of Weird Tales.
Programming at PulpFest 2013
April 25, 2013–PulpFest is proud of the variety of presentations we offer to attendees. So we are very excited to announce that our tentative programming schedule is now available on the Programming page of our website. Our themes will revolve around Doc Savage and the Pulp Heroes of 1933 and the centennial of Sax Rohmer’s Dr. Fu Manchu and the Yellow Peril Genre.
All scheduled programming will take place in the Fairfield Room located on the second floor of the Hyatt Regency Columbus. Click the link above or the “Programming” button along the left side of our home page for a preview of this year’s convention as well as instructions on how to stay informed about “Summer’s Great Pulp Con,” PulpFest 2013.
Free Wi-Fi at PulpFest
April 25, 2013–PulpFest 2013 Chairman Jack Cullers is very pleased to announce that free, in-room Wi-Fi will be provided to all members who will be staying at the Hyatt Regency Columbus during this year’s convention. So don’t lose any time. Book your room immediately at the special convention rate of $112 per night–which also includes one free parking pass–to be assured of “a room at the inn.”
To reward loyal attendees who support the convention by staying at the host hotel, PulpFest will also provide a ten-dollar rebate redeemable at the convention’s registration desk. Remember, you must place your reservation by July 5, 2013 to receive the special convention rate of $112 per night.
You can book a room online by clicking here, an electronic reservations interface customized for PulpFest attendees. Or call 1-888-421-1442 or 1-614-463-1234 to book a room by telephone. Be sure to mention PulpFest to get the special convention rate. By staying at the Hyatt Regency, you’ll help to ensure the convention’s success. Thanks.
Above is Frank R. Paul’s illustration for the 13th World Science Fiction Convention, Clevention, held in Cleveland, Ohio in 1955.
The Pulp Heroes Take to the Air
May 27, 2013–Americans in 1933 had “nothing to fear, but fear itself,” and the pulp heroes introduced early that year had been proving the country’s new president to be absolutely correct. During that harrowing year, The Phantom Detective, Nick Carter, and Doc Savage had met and defeated “The Emperor of Death,” “Maniacs of Science,” “The Red Skull,” and other adversaries. As the year wore on and The Great Depression savaged other genres, the pulp heroes of 1933 surged forward, their magazines disappearing from America’s newsstands. And the publishers noticed.
When Fiction House introduced Air Stories during the summer of 1927, aviation fiction had become a standard of the industry. With the launching of War Birds in early 1928, Dell Publishing would add war to the mix. Riding the tide of “air-mindedness” inspired by the heroic flight of Charles Lindbergh, both magazines proved to be instant hits and similar titles were rushed to the stands.
With the stock market crash of 1929, “the vision that aviation would lead mankind to a higher level of civilization…came plummeting down to earth,” taking much of the air pulp market with it. However, the genre was far from dead. In 1932, a trio of air-war magazines was born–Popular Publications’ Dare-Devil Aces and Battle Birds and the Thrilling Groups’ Sky Fighters. Their pages filled with the exploits of flying aces of the First World War, these pulps were “especially sought after by boys raised on the courageous exploits of fathers and uncles who had served in the Great War, boys who kept themselves busy building model planes constructed of balsa wood.” Little wonder that the next pulp heroes to be introduced in 1933 would take to the air, retelling the adventures of two flying aces of the First World War.
Borrowing one of the nicknames given to Charles Lindbergh following his nonstop flight from New York to Paris, Standard Magazines was first to the stands with The Lone Eagle. Retelling the heroic adventures of Air Intelligence Agent John Masters, “the world’s greatest Sky Fighter,” as proclaimed on the magazine’s cover, the pulp debuted in the late summer of 1933.
“Masters showed a natural affinity for a stuttering machine-gun and as his natural proficiency increased, he built up a dark and terrible reputation about his name. He became the “Lone Eagle” of the skies…. He showed an indomitable courage and a dynamic driving power, in pushing to a successful conclusion his secret missions. Many men feared him, many hated him–an occasional one loved him.”
Those words, written by F. E. Rechnitzer, appeared in “No Man’s Air,” the lead novel for the first issue of the new hero pulp A former World War I allied pilot and prisoner-of-war, Rechnitzer is believed to have written many of the adventures of The Lone Eagle, hidden behind the “Lt. Scott Morgan” house name. Robert Sidney Bowen probably contributed most of the later novels. In all, seventy-five tales of “the world’s greatest Sky Fighter” would appear through the spring of 1943 when the magazine would fly off into the sunset as The American Eagle.
One month after the debut of Standard’s air hero, Popular Publications premiered G-8 and His Battle Aces with Robert J. Hogan at the controls. An air cadet at the end of the first world war, Hogan turned to writing after losing employment as an airplane salesman. Although he also wrote sports and Western fiction, Hogan was a regular for the air pulps, scoring big with his Smoke Wade and Red Falcon stories.
In the summer of 1933, Henry Steeger, co-founder of Popular Publications, had asked Hogan to come up with a book-length air character patterned after The Shadow and Doc Savage, pitting “a super protagonist and his loyal side men against heinous forces of power and evil.”
“We have decided to make you a special agent of the spy system of America. A special independent system…. No one will take command over you. You may choose any assistants you wish. You may take matters entirely in your own hands. You will answer to no one but us, and that will be at your discretion. Your first job will be to stop this deadly plan of the fiend, Krueger…”
Determined “to avoid similarity and dullness with a healthy injection of fantasy,” Hogan created diabolical masterminds to match wits with his flying spy: “Herr Doktor Kreuger, a fiendish, thick-lensed gnome whose outsized brain conceived surgically altered man-beasts and mammoth bird monsters, deadly rays and flying swords…. Chu Lung, an oriental mercenary scientist with a retinue of padding hatchet men, and the huge Herr Stahlmaske, crazed and scarred in a fiery crash, who wore a bullet-shaped steel mask and commanded an underworld corps of disfigured brutes equipped with razored gloves. There were others with secret formulas from the ancient tombs of Egypt, voodoo priests and flying zombies from Haiti, cobra charmers and poison dart mystics from India and Africa, and even a tribe of defrosted Vikings from northern glaciers.”
Debuting in the October 1933 number of G-8 and His Battle Aces in “The Bat Staffel,” Hogan’s hero would appear in 110 adventures, battling “The Skeleton Patrol,” “Staffel of the Floating Heads,” “The Black Aces of Doom,” “Squadron of the Flying Dead,” “Skeletons of the Black Cross,” “Hordes of the Wingless Death,” and other hideous horrors of the hated Hun. The final issue of the Popular Publication would be dated June 1944.
To learn more about these and the other great pulp heroes of 1933, register now for PulpFest 2013, running from Thursday, July 25th through Sunday, July 28th.
The covers pictured above are from the August 1927 Air Stories (artist Frank McAleer with scan from The Fiction Mags Index); the September 1933 The Lone Eagle (artist Eugene M. Franzden with scan from All Things Pulp); and the October 1933 issue of G-8 and His Battle Aces (artist Frederick Blakeslee with scan from Savage Tales)
Bradd, Sidney H. “G-8, Flying Spy of the Pulps.” Xenophile #11 (March 1975). St. Louis, MO: Nils Hardin.
Chomko, Michael. “The Rise and Fall of the Air Pulps.” The New, Complete, Thrilling, Popular, Spicy, Mammoth, All-Comment Magazine #17 for the April 2002 PEAPS Mailing.
Hogan, Robert J. G-8 and His Battle Aces #1: The Bat Staffel. New York: Berkley Publishing (1961).
Rechnitzer, F. E. “No Man’s Land” in Wings of War. Normal, IL: Black Dog Books (2011).
Bill Maynard Presents Fu Manchu
May 30, 2013–They were called scribes, word slingers, hacks, and penny-a-worders. But perhaps the most favored term, especially among the men and women who labored for the bloody pulps, was fictioneer or, more specifically, a fiction writer, particularly a prolific creator of commercial or pulp fiction. Join PulpFest as we celebrate today’s fictioneers—the authors writing the new pulp fiction—the New Fictioneers!
Our special guest, William Patrick Maynard, will get things rolling on Friday, July 26th. Authorized by the estate of Sax Rohmer to continue the Fu Manchu series, Maynard’s debut novel, The Terror of Fu Manchu, was published in 2009 by Black Coat Press. A sequel, The Destiny of Fu Manchu, followed in 2012. Bill will be reading from The Triumph of Fu Manchu, his forthcoming novel concerning Rohmer’s fabulous devil doctor.
Bill pens a weekly pulp fiction column for The Black Gate and was formerly a regular contributor to The Cimmerian. His articles have been published in Blood and Thunder, Windy City Pulp Stories and The Pulpster, among others, while his short fiction has appeared in The Ruby Files (Airship 27), Gaslight Grotesque (EDGE Publishing), and Tales of the Shadowmen: Grand Guignol (Black Coat Press). He has contributed essays to Serial Squadron’s remastered Drums of Fu Manchu DVD and to the Sax Rohmer collection, The Voice of Kali (Black Dog Books). He is a past nominee of a Pulp Factory Award for Best Pulp Novel and a Rondo Award for Best Genre Article in a Periodical. Most recently, he received three nominations for the 2012 Pulp Ark Awards including Best Pulp Novel and Best Short Story.
Meet “the yellow peril incarnate in one man” as William Patrick Maynard gets our annual New Fictioneer readings off to a tremendous start at 1 PM on July 26th in the Fairfield Room located on the second floor of the Hyatt Regency Columbus.
The Destiny of Fu Manchu was Bill Maynard’s second novel to be published by Black Coat Press. Christine Clavel provided the front cover art for the book.
Wold Newton Fictioneers
June 3, 2013–Longtime Farmerphile Win Scott Eckert is a familiar face at summer’s great pulp con. Since FarmerCon joined with PulpFest in 2011, Win has appeared on several panels, signed books, and regaled audiences as part of the convention’s popular New Fictioneers presentations. For his reading this year, Win has decided to share center stage with his good friend and fellow Philip José Farmer devotee, John Allen Small.
John grew up wanting to be a writer, and so he did. A journalist and columnist who has earned nearly 200 awards from the Society of Professional Journalists, the National Newspaper Association, and other professional organizations, John hails from Oklahoma. He has also written fiction for The Avenger: Roaring Heart Of The Crucible (2013), The Green Hornet: Still At Large (2012), The Worlds Of Philip José Farmer 2: Of Dust And Souls (2011), and other works; authored two collections of his own; and contributed to the new hardcover edition of Farmer’s Doc Savage: His Apocalyptic Life and the forthcoming Tales Of The Wold Newton Universe. At PulpFest, John will be reading “The Bright Heart of Eternity,” a tribute to Edgar Rice Burroughs and Philip José Farmer, and the opening scene from his Avenger story, “Ghost of Thunder Isle.”
A three-time New Fictioneer, Colorado’s Win Scott Eckert returns to the Fairfield Room stage with two new works. He’ll be reading from The Scarlet Jaguar, his limited edition novella that is to be released by Meteor House at PulpFest 2013/FarmerCon VIII in celebratration of Doc Savage’s eightieth anniversary. Featuring Patricia Wildman, daughter of a certain bronze champion of justice, The Scarlet Jaguar is the sequel to the Eckert/Farmer collaboration The Evil in Pemberley House (2009).
Win also plans to offer an excerpt from A Girl and Her Cat, the first new Honey West novel in over forty years. In this exciting work forthcoming from Moonstone Books that was co-written by Matthew Baugh, Honey teams up with former cat burglar-turned-bodyguard Thomas Hewitt Edward Cat–T.H.E Cat.
In addition to the works mentioned above, Win Scott Eckert is the editor of and contributor to Myths for the Modern Age: Philip José Farmer’s Wold Newton Universe (MonkeyBrain Books), a 2007 Locus Awards finalist. He has co-edited three Green Hornet anthologies for Moonstone Books; the third, The Green Hornet: Still at Large, recently won the 2013 PulpArk Award for best anthology. His tales of The Green Hornet, Zorro, The Avenger, The Phantom, The Scarlet Pimpernel, Captain Midnight, and Sherlock Holmes, can be found in various character-themed anthologies from Moonstone, as well as anthologies such as Tales of the Wold Newton Universe (Titan Books) and Tales of the Shadowmen (Black Coat Press). His critically acclaimed Crossovers: A Secret Chronology of the World was released by Black Coat Press in 2010. Find Win on the web at www.winscotteckert.com.
Join Win Scott Eckert and John Allen Small in the Fairfield Room at the Hyatt Regency Columbus at 3 PM on Friday, July 26th for their exciting New Fictioneers presentation.
The artwork above is by Mark Sparacio for the forthcoming The Scarlet Jaguar from Meteor House, debuting at PulpFest 2013/FarmerCon VIII.
The Future of “New Pulp”
June 5, 2013–At 1 PM on Saturday, July 27th, writer, editor-in-chief of Airship 27, and two-time Pulp Factory Award winner, Ron Fortier, and five contemporary authors will gaze into their crystal balls to chart the road ahead for the new and exciting continuation of the pulp genre known as “New Pulp.” Joining Ron will be Jim Beard, Win Scott Eckert, Rick Lai, Frank Schildiner, and Dr. Art Sippo.
A native Toledoan, Jim Beard became a published fiction writer when he sold a story to DC Comics in 2002. Since then, he’s written Star Wars and Ghostbusters comics as well as several works of new pulp fiction including Sgt. Janus, Spirit-Breaker and Captain Action: Riddle of the Glowing Men, the first pulp prose novel based on the classic 1960s action figure.
One of our 2013 New Fictioneers, Win Scott Eckert is the co-author with Philip José Farmer of the Wold Newton novel The Evil in Pemberley House. Win’s sequel, The Scarlet Jaguar, will premier at this year’s PulpFest. In addition to co-editing three Green Hornet anthologies for Moonstone Books, Win has written countless tales featuring Zorro, The Avenger, Honey West, The Phantom, Captain Midnight, The Scarlet Pimpernel, Sherlock Holmes, and many other genre fiction characters.
Rick Lai is a computer programmer best known for his articles based on the Wold Newton concepts of Philip José Farmer. These were recently collected into four volumes by Altus Press. His short stories have appeared regularly in the Tales of the Shadowmen anthologies published by Black Coat Press. In 2011, Wild Cat Books released Rick’s Shadows of the Opera, a novel about a 19th century female vigilante.
A pulp fan since reading Philip José Farmer’s Tarzan Alive, Frank Schildiner is a martial arts instructor from New Jersey. He has written Black Bat, Ravenwood, and Secret Agent X stories for Airship 27; Avenger yarns for Moonstone Books; tales of Thunder Jim Wade and Richard Knight for Pro Se Productions; and contributed to Black Coat Press’s Tales of the Shadowmen series.
An emergency room physician in St. Louis, Missouri, FarmerCon VIII panel moderator Art Sippo has written a number of articles and short stories grounded in the pulps. His first book, Sun Koh: Heir of Atlantis, was a 2010 Pulp Factory Award nominee for Best Pulp Novel. Art served in the U. S. Army for 36 years.
Rob Davis and Shane Evans created the cover for the third volume of Airship 27 Productions’ Secret Agent “X”: The Man of a Thousand Faces, published in 2008.
The Beard . . . . New Fictioneer!
June 7, 2013–Jim Beard was introduced to comic books by his father, who passed on to him a love for the medium and the pulp characters that preceded it. After decades of reading, collecting, and dissecting comics, Jim became a published writer when he sold a story to DC Comics in 2002. Since then, he’s written comic stories for Dark Horse’s Star Wars and IDW’s Ghostbusters and contributed articles and essays to several volumes of comic book history.
A native of Toledo, Ohio where he is a regular columnist for the Toledo Free Press, Jim broke into the world of “New Pulp” in 2012 when Airship 27 published Sgt. Janus, Spirit-Breaker, a collection of ghost stories featuring an occult detective, and Captain Action: Riddle of the Glowing Men, the first prose novel based on the 1960s action figure. Jim provides regular content for Marvel.com, the official Marvel Comics website, and has new and forthcoming comic and prose work from Bluewater, TwoMorrows, Airship 27 and Pro Se Productions.
Join “The Beard” on Saturday, July 27th at 3 PM when Jim will be reading from Sgt. Janus, Spirit-Breaker, Captain Action: Riddle of the Glowing Men, and “The Parade of Moments,” a story published in Monster Earth, a shared-world anthology of giant monster tales. And to learn more about this exciting new writer, please visit The Beard: The Jim Beard Fan Page.
Doc Meets the King
June 9, 2013–Beginning with the premier of Standard Magazines’ The Phantom Detective at the start of the year and Nick Carter and Doc Savage from Street & Smith in February, on through to the fall when Popular Publications released G-8 and His Battle Aces and The Spider, 1933 was the “year of the hero pulp.” And let’s not forget that The Lone Eagle and Pete Rice likewise debuted that year.
But 1933 was not just the year of the hero pulp. On March 2 of that same year, RKO Radio Pictures premiered “the eighth wonder of the world,” King Kong, at New York’s Radio City Music Hall and the Roxy. In just four days, the film earned nearly $90,000, a substantial sum in those dark Depression days.
To celebrate the 80th anniversaries of “The Man of Bronze” and King Kong, Will Murray, author of The Wild Adventures of Doc Savage, paired the two characters in his novel, Skull Island. On Saturday, July 27th, at 2 PM, PulpFest 2013 will host a special New Fictioneers reading of Mr. Murray’s bestselling novel by Radio Archives’ reader Roger Price.
During his lengthy career as an entertainer, Roger has performed on television, radio and the live stage. At one time or another, he has worked as a stand-up comic, hosted a late night movie series as a character called “The Baron,” worked as a morning radio personality, hosted and emceed numerous live events, served as an entertainment news anchor and even as a ring announcer for professional wrestling. Comic book and pop culture fans know Roger as the creator, director and “voice” of Mid-Ohio-Con, one of the largest and longest running shows of it’s kind.
Through Radio Archives, Roger Price can be heard reading various short stories on Strange Detective Mysteries #1, Captain Satan #1, Captain Zero #1 and other audiobooks. Roger also works with a wide variety of clients as an announcer and voice actor, specializing in character/cartoon voices and dialects.
Following the reading, both Will Murray and Roger Price will be available for questions and conversation.
“Classic Hollywood: 80th Birthday Toast to King Kong. Los Angeles Times (February 17, 2012).
“King Kong Turns 80: 10 Things to Know About the Groundbreaking Film.” Mental_Floss (2012).
The poster above, from the American theatrical release of RKO Radio Pictures’ King Kong, is from Heritage Auctions’ Vintage Movie Poster Signature Auction held in late November 2012. The original poster was produced by the Morgan Litho. Co. of Cleveland, Ohio. The artist is not known.
Master of Men!
June 12, 2013–Popular Publications got its start in late 1930 when Henry Steeger and Harold Goldsmith released their first four titles–Battle Aces, Detective Action Stories, Gang World, and Western Rangers. A year later, they were joined by two more– Underworld Romances and the magazine that helped send the company to the top of the pulp chain, Dime Detective Magazine.
During the spring and summer of 1933, Henry Steeger planned additional releases. Two would be targeted at the Western and love genres, while the others would mark Popular’s entry into the single-character market. “At this point in pulp history, individual titles became very popular, so we decided to try out a few…”
Popular Publications debuted their four newest titles in September 1933: Star Western and Lovers Magazine; their air-war hero pulp, G-8 and His Battle Aces; and the company’s answer to The Shadow Magazine, the phenomenally popular Street & Smith character pulp, that Steeger entitled The Spider.
Leading off that first issue of The Spider, cover dated October 1933, was R. T. M. Scott‘s “The Spider Strikes.” A mystery novelist well known for his character Secret Service Smith, Scott would only write the first two novels of the magazine’s long run. He would however, introduce many of the trappings that would endear the pulp’s characters to readers of The Spider.
With its third issue, The Spider was turned over to a new writer, Norvell W. Page, a newspaperman turned pulp writer. Hiding behind the name Grant Stockbridge, Page would contribute 91 tales of the “Master of Men”–more than three-quarters of the magazine’s 118-issue run–writing with “heart, feeling and emotion,” as the late Michael Avallone wrote in the June 1981 issue of Mike Shayne Mystery Magazine:
Richard Wentworth, playboy millionaire by day and caped crusader by night . . . Master of disguise, superbly-conditioned body, keen, alert brain and altogether hair-trigger personality when the United States and the world was threatened by master villains, Yellow Perils, horrible hordes, devastating plagues and killing, chilling terrorism. Wentworth who became the cragged, grotesque Spider who left his vermillion trademark on the dead foreheads of The Enemy.
Started as a knock-off of the first single-character pulp, The Spider would eventually join Doc Savage, G-8 and His Battle Aces, Jim Hatfield (in Texas Rangers), The Phantom Detective and The Shadow, the magazine that inspired them all, as one of the longest-lived of the hero pulps, thanks largely to the white-hot prose of Norvell Page.
PulpFest 2013 salutes eighty years of The Spider and “The Pulp Heroes of 1933″ from July 25th – 28th in Columbus, Ohio.
Chomko, Michael. “Popular Publications’ Pulp Output.” The New, Complete, Thrilling, Popular, Spicy, Mammoth, All-Comment Magazine #20 for the October 2003 PEAPS Mailing.
Hardin, Nils. “An Interview with Henry Steeger.” Xenophile 33 (July 1977).
Murray, Will. “The Web.” The Spider #1. San Antonio, TX: Sanctum Books (2013).
Sampson, Robert. Spider. Bowling Green, Ohio: Bowling Green State Popular Pres (1987).
Scott, R. T. M. The Spider Strikes. New York: Berkley Publishing Corporation (1969).
Walter Baumhofer painted the cover to The Spider: Master of Men! for October 1933, pictured above.
The Ancestors of Batman
June 14, 2013–PulpFest‘s programming begins with an off-site presentation to which convention attendees are cordially invited. On Thursday, July 25th, in Room 150A-B at Ohio State University’s Thompson Library, PulpFest committee member and Blood ‘n’ Thunder editor/publisher Ed Hulse will deliver a lecture titled The Ancestors of Batman: Colorful Crime Fighters of Pulp Fiction.
Ed’s presentation ties in with PulpFest‘s 80th-anniversary celebration of the 1933 hero-pulp explosion that gave us Doc Savage, The Spider, The Phantom Detective and others. As he will point out, these characters directly influenced such later comic-book heroes as Batman–whose very first exploit was, in fact, plagiarized from a 1936 Shadow novel.
The Dealers of PulpFest 2013
June 16, 2013–PulpFest 2013 is very happy to announce that its dealers’ page has been updated to include all sellers who have registered for the 2013 convention to date.
Every great pulp con is centered around its dealers’ room and this year, PulpFest will be hosting about fifty sellers of pulp magazines and related materials, vintage paperbacks, digests, men’s adventure and true crime magazines, first edition hardcovers, series books, dime novels, original art, Big Little Books, Golden and Silver Age comic books, vintage films and radio programs, and other pop culture collectibles. There will be over one-hundred tables of material. You’ll find most of our sellers listed on the freshly revised Our Dealers page.
The PulpFest dealers’ room will be situated in the Regency Ballroom, a 15,800 square-foot gathering space that will feature wide aisles and spacious work areas for our sellers. Located on the third floor of the Hyatt Regency Columbus, the ballroom can accomodate up to 1600 people at any given moment.
If you are interested in selling at this year’s PulpFest, there is still “room at the inn.” Please visit our registration page for further instructions or write to Jack Cullers at email@example.com. And don’t forget, for those dealers who plan to stay at the Hyatt Regency, PulpFest is offering one free table for every two reserved. That’s three for the price of two, six for the price of four, and so on. Additionally, dealers staying at the Hyatt will also receive ten dollars back from their registration fee.
Dealer set-up will take place on Thursday, July 25th from 4 – 11 PM. There’s a side entrance to the hotel for loading and we have been granted exclusive use of a freight elevator that opens up near the north wall of the dealers’ room. All dealers are urged to take advantage of our lengthy load-in period on Thursday, so PulpFest attendees will find a fully functioning hucksters’ room as soon as the convention opens on Friday, July 26th.
The PulpFest dealers’ room will be open to all registered attendees from 9 AM until 5 PM on July 26th and 27th and from 9 AM until 2 PM on Sunday, July 28th.
Pictured above is an Omaha, Nebraska newsstand from late 1938. Visit ThePulp.Net’s Pulp photos to see more newsstands.
Batman was hardly the first colorful crime fighter to affect the pose of wealthy idler. The pulp magazines beat him to that characterization by a quarter century. Bruce Wayne simply joined a fraternity whose members already included Jimmie Dale, Lamont Cranston, Richard Wentworth, and Richard Curtis Van Loan, to name just a few. But great wealth and social prominence were not the only traits shared by these men, as Ed will point out.
The presentation will also include latter-day examples of hero-pulp concepts that became embedded in American popular culture. One example is 24‘s Jack Bauer, who shares with pulpdom’s Operator #5 the distinction of being a government agent working outside the system to combat terrorists seeking to inflict grave harm on the United States with apocalyptic weapons.
The Ancestors of Batman is scheduled to begin at 4:30 PM, is open to the public (click here for directions), and will set the tone for the many informative and entertaining programs scheduled for this year’s PulpFest.
Let the Voting Begin
June 16, 2013–The PulpFest Organizing Committee is pleased to announce that thirteen individuals were nominated by their peers for the 2013 Munsey Award. In the interest of manageability, the final nominee list was pared down to the eight individuals who received the most nominations. This year, no one was nominated for the elite Rusty Hevelin Service Award.
The following nominees will be forwarded to a committee made up of all the living Lamont, Munsey, and Rusty Award winners who will select the person to receive the 2013 Munsey: Charles Ardai, Randy Cox, Steve Miller, Laurie Powers, Garyn Roberts, J. Barry Traylor, George Vanderburgh, and Dan Zimmer. You’ll find further details about each nominee on the 2013 Award Nominees page of our website.
Others nominated for this year’s award include William G. Contento, Chris Kalb, Phil Stephensen-Payne, Celina Summers, and Howard Wright. Congratulations to all thirteen nominees.
The recipient of the 2013 Munsey Award, a limited edition print (pictured above) designed by artist and pulp enthusiast David Saunders, will be announced on July 27th as part of the Saturday evening programming, open to all PulpFest 2013 registrants.
The Pulps After Fu Manchu
“Tall, thin with lizard-green eyes, yellow robe and black cap embroidered with coral bead, Fu Manchu was the very picture of warped genius. Such unusual potions as spiders, scorpions and plague-carrying tsetse flies were just part of Fu’s prescription to foreshorten the white race’s actuarial expectations. Master of super science and creative toxicology, he . . . was the Yellow Peril.”
June 17, 2013–Although it is believed that Kaiser Wilhelm coined the term “Yellow Peril,” it was Sax Rohmer who profited most from the idea, largely through the villainous Dr. Fu Manchu. Little wonder that countless pulp writers, from Walter B. Gibson and Norvell W. Page to Robert E. Howard and George Worts, turned to the devil doctor to find inspiration for their lurid pulp tales.
To begin PulpFest‘s celebration of the 100th anniversary of Sax Rohmer’s infamous creation, Rick Lai looks at “The Pulp Descendents of Fu Manchu,” beginning at 8 PM on Thursday, July 25th in the Fairfield Room located on the second floor of the Hyatt Regency Columbus. Rick will discuss the influence of Sax Rohmer’s devil doctor on the pulps with a look at villains such as Wu Fang, Shiwan Khan, The Blue Scorpion from Peter the Brazen, and Robert E. Howard’s Skullface and Erlik Khan.
Best known for his articles expanding on Philip José Farmer’s Wold Newton Universe concepts, recently collected by Altus Press as Rick Lai’s Secret Histories: Daring Adventurers, Rick Lai’s Secret Histories: Criminal Masterminds, Chronology of Shadows: A Timeline of The Shadow’s Exploits and The Revised Complete Chronology of Bronze, Rick lives in New York. His short fiction has been collected in Shadows of the Opera (Wild Cat Books, 2011) and two upcoming Black Coat Press collections to be printed this year–Shadows of the Opera: Retribution in Blood and Sisters of the Shadows: The Cagliostro Curse.
Hutchison, Don. It’s Raining Corpses in Chinatown. Mercer Island, WA: Starmont House (1991).
Jerome Rozen’s menacing cover art for the March 1936 issue of Popular Publication’s The Mysterious Wu Fang.
From Pulp Page to Silver Screen
June 19, 2013–Blood ‘n’ Thunder editor Ed Hulse explores the pulp-to-movie connection in his PulpFest presentation Hollywood and the Hero Pulps, one of several pre-convention programs scheduled for Thursday, July 25th, at 9 PM.
Motion-picture incarnations of pulp magazine protagonists date back to the medium’s earliest days. Moviegoers of the nickelodeon era—the pre-World War I years—were treated to cinematic adaptations of Short Stories’ Hamilton Cleek and The Popular Magazine’s Terrence O’Rourke, among others. Tom Mix became the industry’s top Western star on the strength of his 1920 portrayal of Max Brand’s Whistlin’ Dan Barry. And master detective Nick Carter, who successfully made the transition from dime novel to pulp magazine, appeared on screens both in the U.S. and overseas in several sets of short subjects produced between 1908 and 1927.
With the coming of talkies and the emergence of Hollywood as the world’s filmmaking capital, pulp fiction became an even more frequent source of story material. Hundreds of movies released during the Thirties, Forties and Fifties—feature films and short subjects alike—were made from yarns originally printed in rough-paper periodicals.
As Blood ‘n’ Thunder readers know, Ed is the leading authority on pulp-related movies, having researched and written about them for decades. His PulpFest presentation will touch on many, but concentrate on those adapted from hero pulps, with special emphasis on such serials as The Spider’s Web (1938), The Shadow (1940), and The Spider Returns (1941). He’ll present little-known, behind-the-scenes info gleaned in part from his own interviews with people who worked on these episodic epics, including Victor Jory (who played the serial Shadow) and Iris Meredith (who played Nita in The Spider’s Web). Ed will address the rumor that Columbia Pictures planned a G-8 and His Battle Aces serial for 1939 release, and he’ll also report what little is known about the proposed Republic chapter plays that would have featured Doc Savage and Nick Carter.
This program, leading into the screening of Chapters One through Five of The Spider’s Web, promises to get PulpFest’s 2013 hero-pulp tribute off to a fascinating start.
Kenneth Duncan as Ram Singh reads an issue of The Spider in this publicity photo for the 1938 Columbia Pictures movie serial, The Spider’s Web.
The Spider’s Web
June 21, 2013–Beginning at 10 PM on Thursday, July 25th, PulpFest 2013 will present the fifteen-chapter Columbia Pictures movie serial, The Spider’s Web. Released in 1938 and starring Warren Hull as Richard Wentworth, the “Master of Men,” and Iris Meredith as his beloved Nita Van Sloan, The Spider’s Web is today considered to be one of the greatest chapter plays ever filmed. PulpFest will show the serial in its entirety over three nights.
Columbia Pictures released its first cliffhanger serial in 1937. Jungle Menace and its immediate successors, The Mysterious Pilot (also 1937) and The Secret of Treasure Island (1938), were independently produced by the Weiss brothers, Poverty Row denizens with roots in the motion-picture industry going back to the early silent-movie days. Their serials were competent but cheaply made and uninspiring. Columbia executive Irving Briskin surmised that for the company to capture a significant share of the chapter-play market, it would have to make serials in house, and invest them with more “production value” than the Weiss brothers could provide on their shoestring budgets.
Briskin began negotiating for screen rights to popular characters from other media. In short order he secured The Spider from Popular Publications. He then assigned the property to newly hired producer Jack Fier, lured to Columbia from Republic Pictures, then turning out the industry’s finest serials and grade-B Westerns. Granted a generous budget (more than twice what the Weiss brothers spent on their chapter plays), Fier undertook the daunting task of bringing one of pulpdom’s most popular heroes to the screen—and, by extension, establishing Columbia as a formidable competitor in the arena of episodic epics.
As serial historian Ed Hulse will explain in his PulpFest presentation on movie adaptations of hero pulps, Fier’s first chapter play went into production as The Spider—Master of Men. As a result of careful writing (with editorial input from Norvell Page, chronicler of the Spider’s pulp-magazine adventures), this Columbia serial maintained an unusally high degree of fidelity to its source material. Jack Fier’s attention to detail and relatively liberal expenditure of money paid off, and after some last-minute tinkering (the result of Production Code administrators complaining to Columbia about the serial’s high body count) the newly retitled The Spider’s Web went into release in late October of 1938, eliciting mostly favorable reviews and generating more box-office revenue than the previous two Weiss serials combined.
Never commercially released in a home-video format, The Spider’s Web has nonetheless been available for many years in “grey market” editions of varying quality. PulpFest has obtained the best version currently in circulation and will offer all 15 high-octane chapters to convention attendees in five-episode increments spread out over three nights.
Above is a two-color advertising bill for the 1947 re-release of The Spider’s Web in Australia. To learn more about this great movie serial and its sequel, please visit The Spider Returns website. You’ll find a link to the “serials” section in the site’s menu. For a five-minute preview of the chapterplay, visit The Serial Squadron’s Action Scenes from Pulp Serial The Spider’s Web. You’ll also find a link to our The Spider’s Web preview under the “Connections” section of our home page.
The Sheriff of Buzzard Gap
June 23, 2013–When the powers at Street & Smith saw what a gold mine they had in The Shadow Magazine, they began laying plans for a raft of companion titles, selecting as their themes four top pulp genres–adventure, detective, aviation and Western. The first two were covered when the publisher released Doc Savage and Nick Carter early in 1933. Their aviation title, Bill Barnes, Air Adventurer, was held back until the beginning of the next year. But as soon as circulation figures demonstrated the new single-character titles to be winners, Street & Smith launched its Western hero pulp, Pete Rice Magazine. Its first issue was dated November 1933.
Street & Smith Publications, Inc., the oldest and foremost fiction-publishing house in America, take pleasure in presenting this first issue of Pete Rice Magzine to their discriminating readers. It is not “just another magazine,” but a publication which has been a long time in developing, and one which is aimed at the new, modern trend of public taste.
In this magazine you will feel the real pulse of the great West as it actually exists. The scenes and action will be familiar to all those who know of the West, and will be instructive to those who do not. The characters will live and breathe through these pages as no others have, and they will give you more entertainment than you have ever deemed possible from fiction before.
“Pistol Pete” Rice was the sheriff of Buzzard Gap, Arizona—a clean-living, non-swearing, alcohol-avoiding paragon of frontier virtues and terror to outlaws—who still lived with his mother. He was backed by two trusty deputies—300-pound giant William Alamo Butler, better known as “Teeny,” and the town’s combination barber and medico, Lawrence Michael Hicks, colloquially known as “Misery.” Pete rode a sorrel horse named Sonny and was sometimes accompanied by a dog called Vulcan.
This hard-riding trio, operated in the never-never land of the Pulp West, a vague, undated era in the magazine’s early issues. As the series progressed, the stories took on the quaint qualities of a 1930s Hollywood Western film, where the sheriff and his posse would start out in an automobile and switch to horseback when the terrain got too rocky for rubber. In one story, Pistol Pete hopped a plane to Chicago to get his man.
By trying to have the West both ways, the magazine had a short lifespan. It folded in 1936 after just 32 issues. The author of all the Pete Rice novels was Ben Conlon, writing as Austin Gridley. Afterward, Conlon took the series to Wild West Weekly, where Pete encountered other S&S buckaroos such as Sonny Tabor. Eventually, Pete’s creator was replaced by other writers hidden by the Gridley house name. The series finally petered out in 1939 after some fifty adventures—not counting a short-lived radio program. Fans best remember Pete Rice Magazine because it shared the same cover artists as Doc Savage. Walter M. Baumhofer painted the cover art for both series until Robert G. Harris took them off his hands in time for Pete Rice‘s finale.
Although Pete Rice Magazine ran for less than three years, it paved the way for other Western character pulps, beginning with Ranger Publications’ The Masked Rider Western Magazine in the spring of 1934 and later that same year, Popular Publications’ Mavericks. The longest-lived Western pulp hero, Jim Hatfield, would debut in the October 1936 issue of Texas Rangers. Standard Publications’ “Lone Wolf” hero would ride the range for 206 issues, heading into the sunset with its February 1958 number. Among the hero pulps, only The Shadow Magazine appeared more often.
Pistol Pete was the last of the pulp heroes of 1933—seven in all. From July 25th-28th, join PulpFest in Columbus, Ohio as we celebrate these characters who had “nothing to fear, but fear itself” during those dark days of The Great Depression when the great pulp heroes were born.
Many thanks to Will Murray, PulpFest 2013 special guest, for his many contributions to this article.
Powers, Laurie. “Two Pulp Hunks: Pete Rice and Sonny Tabor.” Laurie’s Wild West for 11/03/09.
Street & Smith Publications, Inc. “Announcement.” Pete Rice Magazine for November 1933.
The great Walter M. Baumhofer contributed the cover art for the first issue of Pete Rice Magazine, pictured above.
The Black Bat, the Forgotten Hero?
June 24, 2013–There was an eighth single-character pulp that debuted in 1933. Black Bat Detective Mysteries began with its October 1933 number and ran for a total of six issues, ending in the spring of 1934. The magazine’s lead novels featured a character called the Black Bat (not to be confused with the Black Bat that appeared in Standard’s Black Book Detective Magazine beginning in 1939).
Created by Murray Leinster, the Black Bat, whose real name was never revealed, was an omniscient amateur detective who worked closely with the police. The character was more along the lines of a defective detective rather than a pulp hero. Although technically Black Bat Detective Mysteries was a single-character magazine, it more resembled a detective pulp. Published by a small outfit out of New York City, Berryman Press, and given its limited run, the magazine had little impact on the pulp market.
The cover to the first issue of Black Bat Detective Mysteries, reproduced above by moviepostershop.com, was created by John A. Coughlin.
Countdown to PulpFest
June 25, 2013–Today, PulpFest 2013 is exactly one month away. It will begin on Thursday, July 25th, at about 4 PM when our dealers will begin setting up their exhibitions for the hucksters’ room opening on Friday morning at 9 PM. Early registration for all members will start right outside the dealers’ room at 6 PM. And our programming will begin at 8 PM that evening.
In one half-hour, PulpFest will begin counting down the days to the convention’s start on our Facebook site by taking a look at the pulps that were inspired by the “hero pulp explosion of 1933.” Every day for the next month, we will try to post a couple of the pulps that followed The Phantom Detective, Nick Carter, Doc Savage, The Lone Eagle, G-8 and His Battle Aces, The Spider, and Pete Rice Magaine, the seven hero pulps that will be 80 years old in 2013. We’ll try to schedule these posts to go online around noon in the days ahead.
First up will be Bill Barnes, Air Adventurer and Secret Agent “X.” We’ll be offering capsule histories of each pulp as well as a peek at an historic issue (such as the one above, the first appearance of The Shadow on the cover of The Shadow Magazine). So be sure to “like” PulpFest on Facebook and ask for our posts to be delivered to your personal Facebook page.
Later on today, we’ll begin posting snippets of our Facebook posts on the hero pulps to our Twitter page. It’s very easy to “follow” the PulpFest account on Twitter. So what are you waiting for? Our “tweets” we’ll probably go up around 4-5 PM each day.
And remember to keep visit the PulpFest homepage for news about our plans for the 2013 convention. Every few days, we’ll have posts detailing our programming in the month ahead. And as convention time approaches, the posts will be appearing more often to make sure you have all the goods about “Summer’s Great Pulp Con.”
Another way to keep abreast of things PulpFest is by subscribing to our “email list.” You can do so very easily by scrolling down to small gray box on the home page. Just fill in the required information and you will soon be on your way.
We look forward to seeing you at the Hyatt Regency in Columbus, Ohio in one month. We’ll be there from July 25 – 28 for PulpFest 2013.
The Shadow appeared for the first time on the cover of his own magazine with the pulp’s December 1931 number. Only his shadow had appeared on each of the previous two issues. There was no sign of him on either of the first two numbers of the long-running hero pulp magazine. The Shadow Magazine ran for a total of 325 issues (the most of any hero pulp), beginning with its April 1931 number and running through the Summer 1949 issue.
The Shadow Magazine was the inspiration for the “hero pulp explosion of 1933″ and for all the hero pulps that followed. In 2011, PulpFest saluted the magazine’s 80th annivesary.
Philip José Farmer’s Doc Savage
June 25, 2013–Since 2011, PulpFest has hosted FarmerCon, a convention within a convention. FarmerCon began in Peoria, Illinois, the hometown of Grand Master of Science Fiction Philip José Farmer. Originally a gathering of Farmer fans figuratively, and literally, right outside Phil’s back door, FarmerCon offered presentations, dinners, and even picnics at the author’s house.
After the passing of Phil and Bette Farmer in 2009, it was decided to take FarmerCon on the road to broaden its horizons. By holding the convention alongside events like PulpFest, Farmer fans get a variety of programming and a room full of pulp and book dealers to enjoy. This year, PulpFest is once again pleased to welcome FarmerCon VIII to the Hyatt Regency Columbus.
As it has every year since 2011, FarmerCon will provide some of PulpFest’s evening programming. On Friday, July 26th, at 7:30 PM, our FarmerCon friends turn their attention toward the Grand Master‘s work related to Doc Savage with a panel entitled His Apocalyptic Life, Escape from Loki, and The Mad Goblin.
The earliest of the three works, The Mad Goblin, was first published in 1970, paired with The Lord of the Trees as half of an Ace Double. Both novels were sequels to an earlier work, A Feast Unknown, that introduced Lord Grandrith, a thinly disguised Tarzan, and a “man of bronze” known as Doc Caliban. In Feast, Grandrith and Caliban learn that a powerful secret society known as The Nine has manipulated their lives. The two heroes go to war against their tormentors: The Mad Goblin tells the story from the point of view of Doc Caliban, while The Lord of the Trees presents Lord Grandrith’s version.
Although he published over fifty novels and 100 short stories during his career, Philip José Farmer may be remembered best for his Wold Newton Family. According to the author, the radiation from a meteorite that landed near the village of Wold Newton caused mutations in the villagers’ descendants, making them smarter, stronger, and more driven than most. Including among the offspring was Lord Greystoke, Sherlock Holmes, Sam Spade, Fu Manchu, and Dr. James Clarke Wildman, Jr., best known as Doc Savage. Much of Doc Savage: His Apocalyptic Life, first published by Doubleday in 1973, is devoted to this idea.
The last of Farmer’s works of bronze was Escape from Loki, published by Bantam Books in 1991. Shot down behind enemy lines during World War I, sixteen-year-old Clark Savage, Jr. finds himself in a German baron’s notorious escape-proof prison. Here Doc and his future aids come together to match wits and derring-do against the sinister baron, who Doc believes is intent on wielding a weapon of mass destruction that could very well mean the end of freedom and victory for the Kaiser.
Moderator Art Sippo, author of Sun Koh: Heir of Atlantis, a 2010 Pulp Factory Award nominee for Best Pulp Novel, and his panelists will dissect and analyze the Grand Master‘s contributions to the Doc Savage mythos. Joining Art will be Christopher Paul Carey, the co-author with Philip José Farmer of Gods of Opar: Tales of Lost Khokarsa, and the author of Exiles of Kho, a prelude to the Khokarsa series; Rick Lai, well known for his articles expanding on Farmer’s Wold Newton Universe concepts, recently collected into four volumes by Altus Press; Win Scott Eckert, the co-author with Philip José Farmer of The Evil in Pemberley House, and the author of its forthcoming sequel, The Scarlet Jaguar, featuring Doc Wildman’s daughter Pat; and John Allen Small, an award-winning journalist, columnist, and fiction writer whose work includes “The Bright Heart of Eternity,” a tribute to Edgar Rice Burroughs and Philip José Farmer, and “Into Time’s Abyss,” anthologized in The Worlds Of Philip José Farmer 2: Of Dust And Souls.
Meteor House will be premiering a new, expanded edition of Doc Savage: His Apocalyptic Life at PulpFest 2013. Featuring dust jacket art by Joe DeVito (pictured above) and essays by Win Scott Eckert, John Allen Small, Keith Howell, Rick Lai, Art Sippo, Christopher Paul Carey, and current Doc Savage writer Will Murray, it will be available as a deluxe hardcover. Altus Press will be publishing the softcover edition. It will be available at PulpFest through Mike Chomko, Books.
Dealers Tables Are Going Fast!
June 27, 2013–With only four weeks remaining before the 2013 PulpFest begins, convention chairman Jack Cullers reports that most available exhibit space has already been booked, and that dealers who’ve not yet registered for the convention should reserve their tables immediately lest they risk being shut out.
As last year’s PulpFest attendees know, our huckster room at the Hyatt is far more spacious than the one we had previously at the Ramada Plaza. But in addition to welcoming back some of our regular merchants who couldn’t make the 2012 show, we’ve picked up several new dealers this year. And don’t forget about our generous offer for dealers who stay at the Hyatt Regency Columbus during the convention. They will receive one free table for every two that they rent, plus $10 off their three-day membership. So the remaining space is shrinking fast. As of this writing we can still accommodate more exhibitors, but booking time is getting short.
Dealers interested in selling their wares to PulpFest‘s serious buyers and long-time collectors should get in touch with Jack as soon as possible. You can reach him via email by writing to firstname.lastname@example.org or by regular mail at 1272 Cheatham Way, Bellbrook, OH 45305. Please visit our registration page and take advantage of our downloadable registration form and if you like, our Paypal Order page to reserve your table space today! Please remember to ask for your free table if you will be staying at the Hyatt Regency Columbus and will be renting two or more tables.
Doc Savage & the Pulp Heroes of 1933
June 28, 2013–Eighty years ago, following the astounding success of The Shadow Magazine, the pulp industry created a tremendous splash in publishing by releasing a wave of single-character magazines. The Phantom Detective, Nick Carter, Doc Savage, The Lone Eagle, G-8 and His Battle Aces, The Spider, and Pete Rice Magazine all debuted in 1933, despite the economic hardships wrought by The Great Depression.
The Shadow Magazine was introduced to readers by Street & Smith Publishing in early 1931. Employing the talents of author Walter B. Gibson, the magazine proved an instant hit. Planned as a quarterly, this first “hero” pulp became a monthly after just two issues. A year later, The Shadow Magazine became a semi-monthly, appearing twice each month until early 1943.
By 1932, Street & Smith was planning other single-character pulps, hoping to emulate the high-flying Shadow Magazine. Other publishing houses also noticed the strong sales experienced by Gibson’s “Dark Avenger.” As Henry Steeger of Popular Publications stated: “At this point in pulp history, individual titles became very popular, so we decided to try out a few . . .” And so began what we now call, “The Hero Pulp Explosion of 1933.”
On Friday, July 26th at 8:30 PM in the Fairfield Room of the Hyatt Regency Columbus, Ed Hulse, editor and publisher of Blood ‘n’ Thunder, and a panel of pulp historians will take a look at Doc Savage and the Pulp Heroes of 1933. Joining Ed will be Nick Carr, one of the elders of the pulp community, who actually read The Spider and other pulps fresh off the newsstand, and has written countless articles about pulp heroes both known and little known; Don Hutchison, who also had the opportunity to buy pulps at a news agency and has likewise written many articles on the history of the pulps as well as the Stoker Award nominee, The Great Pulp Heroes (a “must-read” book for fans of the hero pulps); a child of the sixties when he first discovered “The Man of Bronze” and now today’s “Kenneth Robeson,” Will Murray, yet another author of numerous books and articles concerning the pulps; and Garyn Roberts, professor of English and popular culture studies and unabashed pulp fan and editor of some of the best collections from the pulps including The Compleat Adventures of the Moon Man, The Magical Mysteries of Don Diavolo, and other titles will join Ed to discuss the causes and effects of the “Hero Pulp Explosion of 1933.”
Once again, Walter Baumhofer’s masterful cover to the first issue of Doc Savage Magazine, illustrating “The Man of Bronze.”
Walter Baumhofer: King of the Pulps
July 1, 2013–Who was the “King of the Pulps?” Some say it was H. Bedford Jones, while others claim the title for Frederick Faust, better known as Max Brand. But to the young readers who devoured the pulp magazines and “delighted in his four-color depictions of action and adventure,” the one and only “King of the Pulps” was Walter M. Baumhofer.
When an injury at age fourteen left him unable to perform manual labor, Baumhofer began to intently study art. A scholarship allowed him to attend the prestigious Pratt Institute where he was able to study under Dean Cornwell and H. Winfield Scott. While still a student, he began his art career drawing pen and ink story illustrations for Adventure Magazine. By 1926, he was contributing covers to Clayton Publications and, soon thereafter, to Harold Hersey’s line of pulps. Street & Smith signed him to a contract in 1932 to paint a cover each week for their pulps. Around the same time, he was sought out by Popular Publications to provide cover art for their line of magazines, and so began his reign as the “King of the Pulps.”
Baumhofer labored for the pulp market for just over a decade, painting about 550 covers for a wide variety of titles including Ace High, Adventure, Detective Tales, Dime Mystery Magazine, Doc Savage, Fire Fighters, Gangland Stories, The Spider, Spy Stories, Western Story Magazine, and others. He moved into the slick market and advertising art in the late thirties, contributing work to American Weekly, Collier’s, Cosmopolitan, Esquire, Redbook, Women’s Day, and other magazines. In later years, his paintings graced the covers of Argosy, Outdoor Life, and Sports Afield and his portrait, landscape, and Western art were exhibited in fine art galleries nationwide.
At 9:30 PM on Friday, July 26th, David Saunders will present a biographical profile of Walter Baumhofer’s life story as well as the artist’s fascinating family history. He will exhibit never-before-seen visual documents from the personal world of this pulp art master. Walter was a close friend of the presenter’s father, Norman Saunders, and as such David was personally acquainted with the artist for over thirty years. Baumhofer was a sensationally colorful character and David Saunders looks forward to sharing many amusing anecdotes and incidents that will help to promote a greater awareness of this legendary artist.
American Art Archives. Walter Baumhofer (1904-1987).
Gunnison, John P. (2007). Walter M. Baumhofer: Pulp Art Masters. Silver Spring, MD: Adventure House.
Saunders, David (2009). Walter Baumhofer: Field Guide to Wild American Pulp Artists.
Walter M. Baumhofer contributed the front cover art to the August 15, 1935 Adventure, depicted above.
Free at the Hyatt Regency
July 4, 2013–On this day when we celebrate freedom, PulpFest would like to remind everyone about our generous offers for members staying at the Hyatt Regency Columbus in late July. The hotel itself will provide free wireless Internet service to all guestrooms and complimentary parking at the Chestnut Street Garage, located one block south of the hotel and connected via a covered skywalk.
And to reward loyal attendees for supporting the convention by staying three nights at the host hotel, PulpFest is happy to offer a ten-dollar rebate redeemable through our registration desk. To additionally thank our dealers boarding at the Hyatt Regency, PulpFest is very pleased to supply a third table free of charge for every two tables rented in our huckster’s room. That’s three tables for the price of two, or six for the price of four. The massive size of the Regency Ballroom enables us to provide this extra exhibit space to loyal PulpFest dealers, for whose continued support we are most grateful. Remember, this special offer is good only to dealers staying at the host hotel. You can learn more about these fantastic offers by visiting our registration page.
Rooms at the Hyatt are selling fast. In late June, the hotel added twenty additional rooms with double beds to our already substantial block. The Hyatt’s management has assured us that they will continuously monitor the situation and add rooms as long as they remain available. However, it is advised to place your reservation sooner rather than later as availability cannot be guaranteed; rooms with king-sized beds have already sold out. Click on the Hyatt link in the first paragraph or call 1-888-421-1442 or 1-614-463-1234.
PulpFest would like to thank all of our members who will be staying at the Hyatt Regency Columbus. By doing so, you are supporting our convention by helping us to control the sizable costs required to mount this annual event.
At this point we would also urge all dealers to take advantage of our generous load-in and set-up period. There’s a back entrance to the hotel for unloading and we have exclusive use of a freight elevator that opens up behind the hucksters’ room. We feel very strongly that attendees have every right to expect a fully-set-up dealers’ room as soon as the convention opens on Friday. That is why PulpFest would like all exhibitors to set up on Thursday, July 25th, from 4 – 11 PM. Thank you for your cooperation.
For non-exhibiting conventioneers who will be attending PulpFest, please take advantage of our early registration hours from 6 – 8 PM on Thursday, July 25th, right outside the dealers’ room on the third floor of the Hyatt Regency Columbus. We will also be starting our programming at 8 PM.
The PulpFest committee is very excited about our second show in this upscale and conveniently located venue. Our programming is set and, as is always the case this time of year, we’re fielding lots of questions from eager registrants, some of them attending PulpFest for the first time. It’s going to be a great weekend!
Dr. Fu Manchu & the Yellow Peril
July 6, 2013–One hundred years ago, Sax Rohmer’s Fu Manchu made his American debut in Collier’s, a five-cent weekly. “The Zayat Kiss” ran in the February 15, 1913 number. Nine more stories featuring Rohmer’s “devil doctor” would appear in Collier’s through June 28, 1913. In September of that year, McBride would release The Insidious Dr. Fu-Manchu, collecting all ten tales into novel form.
Although Sax Rohmer did not create the “yellow peril” genre of pulp fiction, his Fu Manchu stories would greatly influence the bloody pulps. From writers as diverse as Dashiell Hammett, Carroll John Daly, Walter B. Gibson, Norvell W. Page, Arthur J. Burks, Philip Nowlan, H. P. Lovecraft, and Robert E. Howard, pulpsters delivered many a story inspired by Rohmer’s evil genius. Even Robert J. Hogan’s flying spy, G-8, battled oriental evildoers in the author’s fantasy version of the First World War.
At 8 PM on Saturday, July 27th, PulpFest will salute the American centennial of Dr. Fu Manchu with a panel exploring Sax Rohmer’s character and his influence on the pulp fiction of the early twentieth century. Moderated by Blood ‘n’ Thunder editor and publisher, Ed Hulse, the panel will consist of pop culture experts Gene Christie, editor of three collections of Rohmer’s fiction and a leading authority on early American science fiction and fantasy; Win Scott Eckert, known for his work on literary crossovers and chronologies, including Marvel Comics’ Shang-Chi: Master of Kung Fu, a classic series concerning the son of Dr. Fu Manchu; Nathan Madison, author of Anti-Foreign Imagery in American Pulps and Comics, 1920-1960; William Patrick Maynard, authorized by the literary estate of Sax Rohmer to continue the Fu Manchu series; and Will Murray, author of the Wild Adventures of Doc Savage and one of the world’s leading authorities on the pulp era.
The Page of Fu Manchu represents an ongoing effort by scholars and readers around the world to create a definitive Sax Rohmer bibliography, reference and archive. It is edited and maintained by Dr. Lawrence Knapp, an English Professor at Thomas Edison State College, located in Trenton, NJ.
Joseph Clement Coll’s Collier’s cover for April 12, 1913, illustrating “The Call of Siva,” Sax Rohmer’s fifth Fu-Manchu story to be published in the United States.
Hero Pulp Premiums and Promotions
July 9, 2013–How did pulp magazine publishers keep readers coming back month after month? Of course the best way was to publish excellent stories. Regardless of genre, the leading pulps–Adventure, Astounding Stories, Black Mask, Blue Book, Dime Western, Doc Savage, Love Story, The Shadow, The Spider, Sports Stories, Startling Stories, Weird Tales, Wings–attempted to do just that, issue after issue.
Another method that publishers employed to lure dimes on a regular basis from buyers with thin wallets was to create a club and offer premiums. For a few cents or by clipping coupons from a favorite pulp magazine, a devoted fan could become a member in good standing of the Doc Savage Club, one of the Friends of the Phantom, or Adventure Magazine’s Camp-Fire Club. Also available were rings, pins, and other items such as the Spider Pencil, a celluloid mechanical pencil with rubber eraser of The Spider seal, produced in very limited quantity during 1941-42.
On Saturday, July 27th, at 9 PM, please join PulpFest website designer Chris Kalb in the Fairfield Room located on the second floor of the Hyatt Regency Columbus as he takes us back to a time when a few cents not only bought a pulp magazine filled with thrills, but also an Operator #5 ring, a G-8 Battle Aces Club pin, or a membership in the Green Lama Club. Chris will be presenting Hero Pulp Premiums and Promotions, an event that you cannot afford to miss.
For a look at some other pulp premiums, please visit Pulpster editor Bill Lampkin’s The Pulp.Net website and do a search for “premiums.” Bill has photographs of rings, membership cards, pins, and other items on his highly informative website.
Tonik Auction Continues!
July 12, 2013–One of the many highlights of PulpFest is its Saturday night auction. Organized by J. Barry Traylor and a gaggle of enthusiastic volunteers, the auction is always the final programming event of summer’s great pulp con. Any registered member of the convention may submit items to sell at auction as long as they meet the guidelines listed on our Auctions page.
PulpFest is very proud that this year’s auction will include 115 lots made up of approximately 250 books from collector and scholar Al Tonik’s huge library of hardcovers, paperbacks, pulps, dime novels, comic books, fanzines, and reference books. At its 2012 convention, PulpFest sold about seventy percent of the Tonik collection with more than $15,000 bid on a wide range of items. Most of what remains from Al’s library are hard-to-find reference books and author biographies. Over many years, Albert Tonik was one of the leading scholars of pulp history. The winner of a Lamont Award in 1994, Al researched aspects of pulp history previously covered sketchily and loved to share his knowledge with our community.
In addition to the Tonik material, PulpFest will be accepting about 100 lots from registered members of PulpFest 2013. However, due to the substantial amount of Tonik lots, there may be limits on the number of lots that can be offered by each consignee. The sooner you submit your consignment to Mike Chomko (who will be collecting all the auction consignments), the more likely that it will be included in our auction. Mike’s tables will be along the wall, across from the registration desk just inside the entrance to the PulpFest dealers’ room.
For a look at what books will make up the Tonik lots, we are providing an auction spreadsheet. The Tonik lots will be lot numbers 1-30, 56-85, 111-140, and 166-190. The gaps of 25 lots between the Tonik segments represent the 100 lots of consignment material that we will be accepting from PulpFest 2013 members during the actual convention. To examine the spreadsheet, click the “auction spreadsheet” link above.
PulpFest‘s annual Saturday night auction will start at approximately 9:30 PM on July 27th, following the conclusion of Chris Kalb’s presentation, Hero Pulp Premiums and Promotions. Remember to bring your convention badge: your badge number will be used when buying and/or selling during the auction. Our auctioneers will be Adventure House‘s John Gunnison and Joseph Saine, a full-time proprietor of an antique toy shop and licensed auctioneer from northwest Ohio.
If you have any questions concerning the auction or you represent an estate that would like to submit a substantial collection for sale at PulpFest, please contact Barry Traylor via email or at 1767 Crooked Oak Drive, Lancaster, PA 17601.
New Fictioneer . . . Van Allen Plexico
Van is the award-winning and Amazon.com bestselling author of ten novels and nearly two dozen short stories and novellas, as well as five non-fiction books. His works have included everything from Sherlock Holmes to space opera to 1930s air ace combat to Marvel’s Avengers, though he is best known for his ongoing superhero pulp novel series, Sentinels.
A three-time nominee for Pulp Writer of the Year at PulpArk and a founding editor of the All Pulp news site, he has been published by Airship 27, Pro Se Productions, White Rocket Books, Permuted Press, Red Bud Studios, Maple Street Press, and Rittenhouse Archives, among others. He also hosts the weekly pop culture and New Pulp discussion show, The White Rocket Podcast. In his spare time Van is an Assistant Professor of History and Political Science at Southwestern Illinois College. You can find links to all of his stuff at www.plexico.net.
Join New Fictioneer Van Allen Plexico on Friday, July 26th at 2 PM in the Hyatt Regency’s Fairfield Room where he will be reading “River of Deceit,” from the anthology Monster Aces, and a selection from Lords of Fire, the first novel in a new military science fiction/space opera series entitled The Shattering.
July 16, 2013–A number of publishers will be using PulpFest 2013 to roll out new publications for your reading pleasure. One that has caused a substantial stir is Brian Ritt’s Paperback Confidential: Crime Writers of the Paperback Era. Debuting from Stark House Press, this reference work features 132 profiles of the men and women who wrote the books that became the backbone of the pulp and paperback era from the 1930s through the 1960s. Paperback Confidential will be available from Mike Chomko, Books, whose tables will be along the wall, right across from the PulpFest registration desk.
Our friends from FarmerCon will also premier a pair of books, both published by Meteor House. First up will be a new, deluxe hardcover edition of Doc Savage: His Apocalyptic Life, Philip José Farmer’s biography of the bronze crusader who fought almost 200 separate battles against the forces of evil. The Meteor House edition will include a brand new foreword by Farmer expert Win Scott Eckert; tributes by other Farmer and Doc experts, including current Doc Savage writer Will Murray; and other bonus materials not seen in previous editions, all wrapped up with jacket art by Joe DeVito. Mike Chomko, Books, the representative of Altus Press at most pulp conventions, will have softcovers of the revised edition on hand.
Meteor House will also be releasing the sequel to Philip José Farmer and Win Scott Eckert’s Wold Newton novel, The Evil in Pemberley House, the story of Patricia Wildman, daughter of one of the greatest heroes of our time–Doc Wildman, the bronze champion of justice. The new book, a limited edition, signed novella by Eckert, is entitled The Scarlet Jaguar, the first in a planned series featuring Pat Wildman & Co.
On Friday, Win will be signing the entire print run of The Scarlet Jaguar in the PulpFest dealers’ room. He will also be available to sign any other books people might want to bring up to him. Additional details will be announced at the convention.
Ed Hulse of Murania Press is hoping to have a new issue of Blood ‘n’ Thunder on hand. Of course, everyone knows that BnT is THE journal for aficionados of adventure, mystery, and melodrama in American popular culture of the early 20th century. Ed has a Lamont Award to prove it! Ed also hopes to release the new Blood ‘n’ Thunder Guide to Pulp Fiction at the convention. A newly revised and greatly expanded version of The Blood ‘n’ Thunder Guide to Collecting Pulps, the new edition will significantly augment the original text with new chapters on genres not previously represented as well as other additions.
Doc Savage author and noted pulp scholar Will Murray will be selling softcover copies of Wordslingers: An Epitaph for the Western at his table. Murray’s Wordslingers is not only the first in-depth history of the Western pulps, it’s one of the best and most important books on the pulps ever written, perfectly capturing the era, the magazines, and the writers, editors, and agents who helped fill their pages.
Laurie Powers, the granddaughter of Western pulp scribe Paul Powers and creator of the popular Laurie’s Wild West blog, will be selling copies of Hidden Ghosts–a collection of atypical fiction written by her grandfather. Best known for creating the Sonny Tabor and Kid Wolf characters for Wild West Weekly, Paul Powers also wrote in other genres, including horror, historical, noir, romance, and animal stories. A collection of fourteen tales, including four that were previously unpublished, Hidden Ghosts is being released in softcover by Altus Press. Laurie will be glad to sign your copy at the table she will be sharing with PulpFest guest Will Murray.
An award-winning journalist and columnist, FarmerCon attendee John Allen Small will be offering three unique titles at PulpFest. He will have copies of his books, Days Gone By and Something In The Air, both of which contain stories that should be of interest to pulp fans. He will also be selling the recent edition of Pharaoh’s Broker, to which he contributed the Preface. A portion of the proceeds earned on this title will go toward literacy education. For those not familiar with Pharaoh’s Broker, it is an 1899 novel that has been cited as possibly inspiring Edgar Rice Burroughs when he sat down to write Under the Moons of Mars. John will be selling these books at the Meteor House/FarmerCon tables.
From their temporary hangar in the PulpFest dealers’ room, Ron Fortier and Rob Davis of Airship 27 will be offering a brand new premium free to anyone who buys two of their books–the beautiful Airship 27 crew patches. They’ll also be releasing the latest issue of All-Star Pulp Comics, featuring the Black Bat, Domino Lady, Ki-Gor, Lance Star and other exciting characters.
Additionally, on Saturday, July 27th, Fortier and Davis will have a couple of author signings at their tables. Frank Schildiner, who has written Black Bat, Ravenwood, and Secret Agent X stories for Airship 27 will be there from 11 AM until noon. Taking over from 2 to 3 PM will by Jim Beard, author of Captain Action: Riddle of the Glowing Men, Sgt. Janus, Spirit-Breaker, and other works. Captain Action will be available at 1/3 off the normal price.
Of course, there will be plenty of other great exhibitors in the PulpFest 2013 dealers’ room who will also be selling exceptional materials. You can learn more about them by visiting Our Dealers‘ page on the PulpFest website. And when you are in Columbus from July 25 -28, be sure to visit them all in the Regency Ballroom on the third floor of the Hyatt Regency. Our dealers’ room will be open from 9 AM to 5 PM on Friday and Saturday and from 9 AM until 2 PM on Sunday.
One Week Left to Go!
July 18, 2013–PulpFest 2013 will start on Thursday, July 25th. The dealers’ room will be open only to registered sellers to set up their displays from 4 PM to 11 PM. Ohio State’s Thompson Library will also offer a free lecture on the pulps at 5 PM. Early registration for all convention attendees will take place outside the dealers’ room from 6 PM to 8 PM. Beginning at 8 PM, a full slate of programming will get underway.
Thursday, July 25th
4:00 PM – 11:00 PM – Dealer Set-Up – the dealers’ room will be open only to dealers to assemble their displays
4:30 PM – Ohio State Lecture Series – Ed Hulse, the editor of Blood ‘n’ Thunder, examines “The Ancestors of Batman: Colorful Crime Fighters of Pulp Fiction” at Ohio State’s Thompson Library
6:00 PM – 8:00 PM – Early Registration – general members and dealers will be able to register for PulpFest
8:00 PM – The Pulp Descendents of Fu Manchu – Rick Lai discusses the influence of Sax Rohmer’s devil doctor on the pulps with a look at villains such as Wu Fang, Shiwan Khan, the Blue Scorpion, and Robert E. Howard’s Skull Face and Erlik Khan
9:00 PM – Hollywood and the Hero Pulps – Blood ‘n’ Thunder editor Ed Hulse looks at The Spider’s Web, Columbia Pictures’ classic chapterplay, and Hollywood’s other attempts to bring the pulps to the silver screen
10:00 PM – The Spider’s Web – Chapters 1 – 5 of the 1938 Columbia Pictures movie serial starring Warren Hull as “The Master of Men” and Iris Meredith as his beloved, Nita Van Sloan
Friday, July 26th
9:00 AM – 5 PM – Wheeling and Dealing – the dealers’ room will be open to all
1:00 PM – The New Fictioneers – William Patrick Maynard reads from his forthcoming novel, The Triumph of Fu Manchu
2:00 PM – The New Fictioneers – Van Allen Plexico has more than two dozen books under his belt. One of the leading figures of “New Pulp,” he will be reading from Lords of Fire and “River of Deceit” from Monster Aces
3:00 PM – The New Fictioneers – FarmerCon panelists Win Scott Eckert and John Small offer a variety pack of fiction including John’s tribute to Edgar Rice Burroughs and Philip José Farmer, “The Bright Heart of Eternity”
7:25 PM – Welcome to PulpFest – Jack Cullers offers an official welcome
7:30 PM – The Mad Goblin, Escape from Loki, and His Apocalyptic Life – Art Sippo leads a discussion of Philip José Farmer’s contributions to the Doc Savage mythos. Panelists include Christopher Paul Carey, Win Scott Eckert, Rick Lai, and John Allen Small
8:30 PM – Doc Savage and the Pulp Heroes of 1933 – Nick Carr, Don Hutchison, Will Murray, and Garyn Roberts join Blood ‘n’ Thunder editor Ed Hulse to discuss eighty years of “The Great Pulp Heroes”
9:30 PM – Walter Baumhofer: King of the Pulps – pulp art historian David Saunders looks at the life and work of the artist who brought The Man of Bronze, The Master of Men, Pete Rice, and other pulp heroes to life
10:30 PM – The Spider’s Web – Chapters 6 – 10 of the 1938 Columbia Pictures serial in which The Spider battles The Octopus, a criminal mastermind bent on crippling the nation through a wave of terror
Saturday, July 27th
9:00 AM – 5 PM – Wheeling and Dealing – the dealers’ room will be open to all
1:00 PM – The Future of New Pulp Fiction – moderator Ron Fortier is joined by five new writers inspired by the pulp fiction of yore – Jim Beard, Win Scott Eckert, Rick Lai, Frank Schildiner, and Art Sippo
2:00 PM – Doc and the King – Radio Archives’ Roger Price will be reading from Will Murray’s Skull Island, recently released as an audiobook. Both Will and Roger will be available for questions following the reading
3:00 PM – The New Fictioneers – Jim Beard, a columnist for the Toledo Free Press and a freelance writer, will read from Captain Action: Riddle of the Glowing Men, Monster Earth, and Sgt. Janus: Spirit-Breaker
7:30 PM – PulpFest 2013 Business Meeting – all members are invited to ask questions and offer suggestions at this session
7:50 PM – 2013 Munsey Award Presentation – Matt Moring of Altus Press will present this year’s Munsey Award
8:00 PM – Fu Manchu and the Yellow Peril Pulps – Blood ‘n’ Thunder editor Ed Hulse is joined by Gene Christie, Win Scott Eckert, Nathan Madison, William Patrick Maynard, and Will Murray for a discussion of Sax Rohmer’s infamous creation and the character’s influence on the pulps and popular culture
9:00 PM – Hero Pulp Premiums and Promotions – Chris Kalb takes us back to a time when a dime not only bought a pulp magazine filled with thrills, but also a Spider Ring or a membership to Friends of the Phantom
9:30 PM – Saturday Night at the Auction – auctioneers John Gunnison and Joseph Saine complete the sale of pulp researcher Albert Tonik’s substantial collection, plus various lots from the convention’s regular consigners
11:30 PM – The Spider’s Web – Chapters 11 – 15 of the 1938 Columbia Pictures serial directed by James W. Horne and Ray Taylor in which The Spider unmasks the nefarious Octopus and wins the day for the good old USA
Sunday, July 28th
9:00 AM – 2 PM – Wheeling and Dealing – the dealers’ room will be open to all
Donated to PulpFest
July 20, 2013–As happens every year, PulpFest 2013 is helped in a variety of ways by a large number of organizations whose support we would like to acknowledge. As usual, we will be giving away several books and related items to our attendees and would like to thank the following organizations for their very generous contributions to our convention:
John Huckans and Book Source Magazine for sending copies of the final print issue of their magazine for free distribution at PulpFest.
Engle Publishing for sending copies of The Paper & Advertising Collectors’ Marketplace for distribution free of charge at PulpFest.
The Estate of Rusty Hevelin for its donation of two dozen copies of science-fiction author Joe Haldeman’s Mindbridge.
Gordon Van Gelder and Fantasy & Science Fiction, the award-winning magazine that celebrated its sixtieth anniversary in 2009, for donating a large quantity of back issues to give to our members.
Tom Brown and Radio Archives, the leading producer of old-time radio collections and pulp audiobooks, for sending nearly 500 sample CDs of their superb readings of old pulp yarns as well as six complete audiobooks to be used as door prizes.
Greg Shepard and Stark House Press, publisher of some of the finest mystery and supernatural fiction of the past hundred years, for their very generous donation of several cartons of their top-notch books.
Charles F. Millhouse and Stormgate Publishing for sending ten autographed copies of Captain Hawklin and the Skyhook Pirates, a novel written in the style of a 1940s cliffhanger. We’ll be giving them away during our New Fictioneers readings.
We’d also like to thank Acorn Bookshop, Around About Books, Blue Jacket Books, Bookery Fantasy, Dark Star Books, Duncan Books, The Dust Jacket, Karen Wickliff Books, Mavericks Cards and Comics, and the many book fairs and conventions that helped us promote “Summer’s Great Pulp Con.”
The image above is from the July/August 2013 issue of Fantasy & Science Fiction featuring a front cover by Kent Bash and a great new story by Rus Wornom, an author with strong pulp adventure roots. “In the Mountains of Frozen Fire” is the first story in a projected series set on an island in the Gulf of Mexico where time has stood still and the pulp heroes of yesterday are still alive. Included with the story are artifacts–photos, sidebars, excerpts from fictional books and pulps, telegrams, and vintage postcards–that add to the illusion that what you are actually reading is quite real.Since 1983, Rus has been published in Omni, Premier, F&SF, Gauntlet, and Storyboard. He also wrote three pseudonymous novels for TSR back in the ’90s. If you don’t subscribe to F&SF, you can pick up the July/August issue at Barnes & Noble and similar stores.
PulpFest Begins Thursday!
July 22, 2013–PulpFest 2013 will begin on Thursday evening, July 25th, with a salute to the 100th anniversary of the first American appearance of Dr. Fu-Manchu and a presentation on Hollywood’s attempts to introduce the hero pulps to the silver screen. Chapters 1-5 of the classic movie serial, The Spider’s Web, based on the classic Popular Publications’ pulp, will also be shown. The remaining chapters will run on Friday and Saturday nights.
As a prelude to the start of Thursday’s convention, Ohio State University’s Thompson Library will be hosting a lecture by Blood ‘n’ Thunder editor and PulpFest committee member Ed Hulse. Entitled “The Ancestors of Batman: Colorful Crime Fighters of Pulp Fiction,” Ed’s lecture will begin at 4:30 PM. Due to a recent schedule change, the university asked PulpFest to move the talk up by a half hour. Click on the lecture title for additional details about Ed’s presentation.
Friday, we’ll celebrate the 80th anniversary of “The Hero Pulp Explosion of 1933.” In that special year, The Phantom Detective, Doc Savage, The Spider, and four other hero pulps were introduced to pulp readers. PulpFest attendees will also learn about the life and work of Walter M. Baumhofer, the artist who was known as “The King of the Pulps.”
Saturday, PulpFest returns to Dr. Fu-Manchu with a look at the devil doctor’s influence on the pulp fiction that followed his introduction to the reading public. The night will continue with a lively and interesting auction of pulps, books, comics, artwork, and much, much more.
For additional details on all of our afternoon and evening programming events, please visit our Programming page for further details. Each entry is linked to a post that provides further information on that event. Just click on the event’s title.
Early indications are that we will surpass last year’s show both in our number of registrations and rooms booked at the hotel. We are hoping that this year’s con will be our biggest and best yet. For some time, we’ve been receiving registrations every day, many from people who have never attended PulpFest before. If you’ve been thinking about attending, but have yet to pull the trigger, you probably should call the hotel and make your reservation immediately. You can do so by calling 1-888-421-1442 or 1-614-463-1234 or by clicking our link to the Hyatt Regency Columbus on our home page under “Book a Room.” Please be sure to mention PulpFest when placing your reservation.
The Hyatt Regency is located at 350 North High Street in downtown Columbus, Ohio. The hotel is south of I-670, just 15-20 minutes from Columbus International Airport. In the heart of the active Arena District, the Hyatt Regency is just a few minutes’ walk from the trendy Short North Arts District. There are shops and restaurants galore right outside the hotel’s entrance. Click here for directions.
For those who will be staying at the Hyatt Regency during the convention, parking is free at the Chestnut Street Garage, one block south of the hotel. The garage is connected to the hotel via an enclosed and covered walkway. For those visiting PulpFest for the day, you can also use the Chestnut Street Garage. Rates vary based on time, but $9 will get you 12 hours of parking. Additional parking is available at the Convention Center underground garage. Again, rates are time-based and $14 will get you parking for 12 hours. At the Convention Center’s east and north lots, you get 12 hours of parking for $11. Click here for a more detailed look at parking near the Hyatt Regency. Alternately, if you don’t mind walking, more inexpensive options abound. Click here for an interactive parking map of Columbus. Just search using the hotel’s address and you’re good to go.
From 4 PM to 11 PM on Thursday, the dealers’ room will be open for exhibitors to set up their displays. During set-up, dealers are asked to arrange their displays and, upon completion, cover them up and then depart the room. No buying, selling, or trading will be permitted during Thursday’s set-up. Dealers should please refrain from all such activity.
At this point, we urge all of our dealers to take full advantage of our generous load-in and set-up period. While unloading and transporting your goods should be very easy–there’s a back entrance to the hotel for loading and we have been granted exclusive use of a freight elevator–there is bound to be a certain amount of disorientation as folks negotiate their way around the Hyatt. We feel very strongly that attendees have every right to expect a fully-set-up hucksters’ room as soon as the convention opens on Friday, which is why PulpFest has always offered a lengthy load-in period on Thursday. We welcome your cooperation in this aspect of the show.
Early registration for the general membership will also take place on Thursday, beginning at 6 PM right outside of the dealers’ room located in the Regency Ballroom on the hotel’s third floor. All members, dealers included, can pick up their registration packets at this time. For those of you who have not yet registered for PulpFest, Thursday evening will be an ideal time to do so. Three-day memberships will be available for $35. Single day memberships costing $15 per day will also be available. Please visit our Registration page for further details. Please note that tonight is the last night for advance registrations. Our Paypal page will shut down around 10 PM tonight.
The dealers’ room will open to all members on Friday, July 26th at 9 AM and remain open until 5 PM. It will be open from 9 AM to 5 PM on Saturday and from 9 AM to 2 PM on Sunday. Dealers will be allowed to enter the room approximately fifteen minutes prior to opening each day in order to prepare their displays.
All PulpFest attendees will be able to submit material for inclusion in the Saturday Night Auction. For additional information, please visit our Auctions page under “Programming” or contact Barry Traylor via email at email@example.com. In addition to 115 auction lots drawn from the collection of pulp scholar Albert Tonik, we will be accepting a total of 100 additional lots from registered members of PulpFest 2013. However, due to the substantial amount of material remaining from the Tonik collection, there may be limits on the number of lots that can be offered by each consignee. The sooner you submit your consignment to Mike Chomko, the more likely that it will be included in our auction. Mike’s tables will be along the wall, across from the registration desk just inside the entrance to the PulpFest dealers’ room. A link to a spreadsheet listing the Tonik lots is also available on our Auctions page.
For those attendees who would like to ship their purchases to their homes, PulpFest 2013 has arranged for a local UPS provider to be available at the hotel on Sunday, July 28th, from 10 AM to noon. Further information is available on our FAQ page.
The entire PulpFest 2013 organizing committee–Mike Chomko, Jack Cullers, Ed Hulse, and Barry Traylor–is looking forward to seeing you all in just a few days. Have a safe trip to Columbus.
PulpFest’s Hero Pulp Primer @ www.facebook.com/PulpFest
July 23, 2013–For the last month at our Facebook site, we’ve been spotlighting the single-character magazines that followed the “hero-pulp explosion of 1933,” one of the themes of this year’s PulpFest. All told, we have discussed 54 magazines, most published to highlight the adventures of a single character within their pulpwood pages. The series has garnered many “likes” since it began on June 26, 2013.
This is not to say that the curious reader cannot find continuing characters elsewhere in the rough paper magazines: Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Tarzan and John Carter of Mars ran in The All-Story, Argosy All-Story Weekly, Blue Book, and other pulps; Johnston McCulley’s Zorro can be found in All-Story Weekly, Argosy, West, and other magazines while his Thubway Tham and Crimson Clown found their home in Detective Story Magazine; Dashiell Hammett’s Continental Op appeared in Black Mask while Frederick Nebel’s Cardigan investigated crime in Dime Detective Magazine and Robert Leslie Bellem’s Dan Turner looked under the covers in Spicy Detective; Robert E. Howard’s Conan, Kull, and Solomon Kane were all published in Weird Tales, while various Fiction House titles laid claim to his Breckenridge Elkins yarns; and E. E. “Doc” Smith’s Skylark and Lensmen series were featured in Amazing Stories and Astounding Science Fiction. You’ll find continuing characters throughout the Great Pulps.
As we have seen here and on the Facebook site, the first pulp dedicated to a single character was The Shadow (subtitled A Detective Magazine), its initial issue dated April 1931. Following its astounding success, the leading pulp magazine publishers launched seven new titles in 1933—The Phantom Detective, Nick Carter, Doc Savage, The Lone Eagle, G-8 and His Battle Aces, The Spider, and Pete Rice Magazine—what we now call the “hero pulp explosion of 1933.” These eight titles would, by and large, serve as the foundation for over fifty more titles released over nearly two decades. Although most of the single-character magazines that followed that initial burst of 1933 had relatively short lives, they helped to keep afloat an industry that was dying.
Stories of Sheena, Queen of the Jungle, published by Fiction House in the spring of 1951, would be the last single-character magazine to be introduced to the reading public. Within a few years of Sheena’s sole appearance in her own rough-paper title, the entire pulp magazine industry would be gone, the victim of changing public tastes. But for many of us who love the pulps, it was the hero magazines that introduced us to pulp collecting, helping to keep alive the memory of the great pulp era.
From July 25th through July 28th, please join PulpFest 2013 at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Columbus, Ohio as we celebrate “80 Years of Doc Savage and the Hero Pulp Explosion of 1933.” You’ll find additional details by scrolling through our pages.
Modest Stein was the cover artist for the April 1931 issue of The Shadow, A Detective Magazine. The artwork had been previously used by Street & Smith as the cover to the October 1, 1919 issue of The Thrill Book. The reproduction above is from The Shadow #47, published in March 2011 by Sanctum Books to celebrate the Street & Smith pulp’s eightieth anniversary.
Tonight, we thought that we would share something written by Walker Martin and posted yesterday on Yahoo’s PulpMags newsgroup. Take it away Walker . . .
July 23, 2013–Readers and Collectors! We are down to the final minutes now. It’s time to separate the non-collectors from the collectors. Yes, it’s that time of year again. Pulpfest 2013 begins this Thursday, July 25th and continues through Sunday, July 28th in Columbus, Ohio. The complete details are at www.pulpfest.com.
Will you be one of the millions of poor souls that do NOT attend PulpFest? Or will you be among the elite of old magazine collectors, those that DO attend? I’m talking about the 400 or so pulp, digest, paperback, book and original art collectors who will be swarming to the pulp collecting center of the universe. In April it was Chicago for Windy City and now in July, it is Columbus, Ohio.
I’ve heard all the reasons for not attending this pulp convention and there is no acceptable excuse! Illness? Hell, I knew a collector who attended knowing he had a terminal illness and would be dead in a few months. I once attended with a busted back, wrapped up like a mummy, not able to sit down for the entire convention. Every 40 minutes I had to stop the car and get out to stretch and walk around. For awhile I was almost positive that I wasn’t going to make it and I started stopping near hotels in case I had to give up and just lay in a bed for a couple weeks.
But the thought of my collection kept me going. The visions of more SF magazines, more detective and adventure pulps, more westerns. The artwork, the original cover paintings, the interior illustrations. The stacks of digest magazines, the vintage paperbacks. The friends and old pals that I enjoyed talking to and seeing once again. Some of the best friendships in my life are now stretching beyond the 40 year mark. I just had lunch with a collector that I’ve know since 1970 and we talked about books for 3 hours straight. How could I not attend the pulp convention? When I returned home, I took 4 weeks off from work to recuperate from my back problems. Let’s face it, our collections are more important than some job that just pays the bills.
Speaking of money, I’ve heard the excuse about not having the cash to attend the convention. I never let this stop me. Sometimes I borrowed the money from the bank or the credit union. I even borrowed money from my wife. You know you have to be desperate to ask for help from a non-collector! I’ve used my credit cards, pension money, money set aside for bills. I mean we are talking about a serious addiction here!
To be a serious book or old magazine collector, is a calling of the highest order. You are not just some wage slave like the other millions of non-collectors. No, you are a Collector with a capital C. You don’t just eat, work, watch TV, and sleep. And then repeat it day after day like most poor bastards. YOU READ! You Collect valuable and rare artifacts.
In this era of electronic gadgets, you actually collect non-electronic books and pulps. I mean how cool is that? No computer geek can stand up to that. E-books look pitiful next to a beautiful real, hard copy book. You can’t collect E-books like pulps. A stack of pulps is a thing of beauty. The smell, the look, the feel. And they are worth money!
I’ve tried many addictions and they can’t compare to collecting books and pulps. Drugs, alcohol, gambling, all can destroy your health and finances. I won’t even get into sex. Sexual habits can ruin you just like any addiction or at the very least, you will find yourself married to a non-collector!
So there is still time to say to hell with your job and personal responsibilities. Your family can do without you for a few days. Your book addiction needs to be fed. Your Collection must be extended and made larger. You need more books!
Long ago, Walker Martin was almost the proud owner of the original artwork by Walter M. Baumhofer used for the January 1938 issue of Dime Detective Magazine, pictured above. However, his wife just didn’t like the image. The gentleman having his lips sewn shut was probably insisting that he could not attend PulpFest due to a canker sore on his tongue. Or could it illustrate the classic battle of the collector and the non-collector? “But Grandma! Just loan me another thousand for the last issue that I need to complete that Burroughs serial! Mmmph, mmmph, mmmph . . . .”
July 24, 2013–PulpFest 2013 will begin tomorrow, July 25th. Dealer set-up will take place from 4 PM to 11 PM. Early registration will start at 6 PM outside the Regency Ballroom on the third floor of the Hyatt Regency. Information will be available upon your arrival at the hotel. To all of you who will be attending PulpFest, we look forward to seeing you. Please have a safe journey to Columbus.
Barry Traylor, Ed Hulse, Jack Cullers, and Mike Chomko–your PulpFest Organizing Committee.
Doc and Ham are hurrying to PulpFest in Walter Baumhofer’s front cover to the April 1935 Doc Savage Magazine, originally thought to illustrate “The Spook Legion.” The image is from the pulpcovers.com website.
PulpFest 2013 Begins Today
July 25, 2013–Tonight at 8 PM, PulpFest 2013 will begin its programming with a look at the pulp descendents of Dr. Fu Manchu and a presentation on Hollywood’s attempts to bring the pulps to the silver screen. Finishing off the night will be a showing of the first five chapters of the classic Columbia chapter play, The Spider’s Web. This 1938 production is considered one of the best movie serials of all time.
You can find additional details about these and all of our presentations by visiting the Programming page of our website.
The PulpFest dealers’ room will open for business beginning at 9 AM on Friday, July 26th. Tonight, you can register early for what is typically a feeding frenzy as book and pulp collectors scour the room searching for this or that long elusive volume. All you have to do is arrive by Thursday evening at the Hyatt Regency Columbus and register for the convention from 6 PM – 8 PM. Early registration will take place right outside of the Regency Ballroom on the hotel’s third floor.
Admission to the show is $15 per day or $35 for all three days, allowing entry to all convention activities. The general public is very much welcome to attend.
Jerome Rozen’s cover art above appeared on the September/October 1936 issue of Dr. Yen Sin.
PulpFest 2013 Underway
July 26, 2013–PulpFest 2013 got underway on Thursday evening with a full slate of programming starting at 8 PM. Now, in just a few short minutes, the PulpFest 2013 dealers’ room will be open to all. Upon entry to the Hyatt’s spacious exhibition hall, collectors will be greeted by more than 100 tables filled with pulps, books, original artwork, vintage comics, and other collectibles. And the feeding frenzy will begin!
There’s still plenty of time to join in on the fun. The dealers’ room will be open until 5 PM today and from 9 AM to 5 PM on Saturday. Sunday will be a bit shorter, from 9 AM to 2 PM. Friday’s programming schedule includes three author readings in the afternoon. The evening presentations will begin at 7:30 PM with a panel discussion of Philip José Farmer’s contributions to the Doc Savage mythos. Another panel will examine Doc Savage and the pulp heroes of 1933, while pulp art historian David Saunders will look at the life and work of artist Walter M. Baumhofer. Ending tonight’s programming will be a showing of chapters 6 – 10 of The Spider’s Web, Columbia Pictures’ classic chapter play based on the adventures of Norvell W. Page’s vigilante hero.
We’ll have more exciting programming for you on Saturday, including an auction of more than 100 lots of collectibles. You can learn more about all of our great presentations by visiting the Programming page of our website.
Admission to the show is $15 per day or $35 for all three days, allowing entry to all convention activities. Children under 15 accompanied by a parent are free. The general public is welcome to attend.
The cover art above is by Walter M. Baumhofer for the March 1933 issue of Doc Savage Magazine.
PulpFest 2013 Continues . . .
There’s still time to get in on the action. The dealers’ room will be open today from 9 AM to 5 PM and from 9 AM to 2 PM on Sunday.
Today at 1 PM, Ron Fortier will host a forum on “new pulp fiction.” Afterward, Radio Archives’ Roger Price will be reading from Will Murray’s Doc Savage/King Kong crossover, Skull Island, while Jim Beard, a columnist for the Toledo Free Press and a freelance writer, will read from several of his works.
Our evening programming begins at 7:30 PM. PulpFest 2013 will celebrate the 100th anniversary of Dr. Fu-Manchu, the creation of Sax Rohmer, with a panel on the devil doctor and his influence on the pulps and American popular culture. There will also be a presentation on hero pulp premiums and promotions as well as a showing of the concluding chapters of The Spider’s Web, Columbia Pictures’ classic movie serial based on one of the most popular hero pulp magazines of the thirties and forties.
The presentation of the annual Munsey Award and an auction featuring the collection of pulp historian Albert Tonik and other collectible material will also take place during the evening hours. You can learn more about all of our great presentations by visiting the Programming page of our website.
Don’t let PulpFest 2013 slip by. Come to Columbus and join up! Admission to the show is $15 on Saturday and $5 on Sunday, allowing entry to all convention activities. Children under 15 accompanied by a parent are free. The general public is welcome to attend.
Above is a two-color advertising bill for the 1947 re-release of The Spider’s Web in Australia. To learn more about this great movie serial and its sequel, please visit The Spider Returns website.
And the Winner Is . . .
July 27, 2013–Garyn G. Roberts has been named the winner of the 2013 Munsey Award. Nominated by the general pulp community, Garyn was selected through a vote by all the living Lamont, Munsey, and Rusty Award winners. The award is a fine art print by Dan Zimmer of a painting by David Saunders and is presented annually to a person who has worked for the betterment of the pulp community.
Garyn has worked in the field of higher education for many years, teaching English and popular culture studies. He is also an unabashed fan of the pulps. Garyn has written extensively about the pulps, both professionally and as a fan. He has edited or co-edited some of the best collections from the pulps including A Cent a Story: The Best from Ten Detective Aces, More Tales of the Defective Detective in the Pulps, The Compleat Adventures of the Moon Man, The Magical Mysteries of Don Diavolo, and The Compleat Great Merlini Saga. His insightful essays in these books and elsewhere have led to a greater understanding of the pulps both inside and outside of the pulp community. His collection, The Prentice Hall Anthology of Science Fiction and Fantasy, a college level textbook, is notable for the attention paid to the pulp magazines. Additionally, Garyn has helped other researchers with various pulp-related projects and is a regular attendee of pulp conventions where he often serves as a presenter and panelist. Last year’s Munsey Award winner, Matt Moring, publisher of Altus Press, recently said about Garyn: “He’s been nothing but helpful and outgoing with anything I’ve ever asked of him.” That pretty much describes how Professor Roberts reacts to all the requests made of him by the pulp community.
Other nominees for this year’s award included Charles Ardai, J. Randolph Cox, Stephen T. Miller, Laurie Powers, J. Barry Traylor, George Vanderburgh, Dan Zimmer, William G. Contento, Chris Kalb, Phil Stephensen-Payne, Celina Summers, and Howard Wright. John DeWalt also received votes.
Nominations are now being accepted for the 2014 Munsey and/or Rusty Awards. If you have someone in mind that you feel worthy of either award, please send the person’s name and a brief paragraph describing why you feel that person should be honored to Mike Chomko, 2217 W. Fairview Street, Allentown, PA 18104-6542 or to firstname.lastname@example.org. Previous winners of the Lamont, Munsey, or Rusty Award are not eligible for the award. The deadline for nominations is May 31, 2014. Please visit the Awards page of the PulpFest website for additional details. Thanks for your help.
Start Making Plans for PulpFest 2014
July 28, 2013–PulpFest 2013 is drawing to a close, but there is still time to get in on the action. The dealers’ room will be open from 9 AM until 2 PM today. With most of our dealers getting ready to head for home, our admission for the day is only $5 which even includes a copy of our highly ollectible program book, The Pulpster. There are no programming events scheduled for Sunday.
If you have not been able to attend PulpFest in 2013, start making your plans right now to join the 43rd convening of “The Summer’s Great Pulp Con” in 2014. The PulpFest committee is already starting to plan for next year’s convention.
To keep informed about PulpFest 2014, bookmark http://www.pulpfest.com/ and visit often. News about the convention can also be found on the PulpFest Facebook site at http://www.facebook.com/PulpFest. And for those who prefer their news short and sweet, follow our Twitter feed at https://twitter.com/pulpfest. Finally, there’s our email list. It’s the gray box to the right of this post. Subscribe to our list and be the first on your block to get news about PulpFest.
Many thanks to all those who attended this year’s convention. We hope everyone will be able to make it to PulpFest 2014!
Many thanks to our art designer Chris Kalb for his usual excellent work in formulating our flyer for the 2013 convention. The background painting is, of course, Walter M. Baumhofer’s The Man of Bronze that was used as the cover for the first issue of Doc Savage Magazine dated March 1933.
Aug. 1, 2013–Year after year, there are countless individuals and organizations that help to make PulpFest an enjoyable experience for those who choose to attend “Summer’s Great Pulp Con.” The PulpFest Organizing Committee would like to thank the following people and organizations for their invaluable assistance in helping to make PulpFest 2013 a wonderful weekend. We could not have done it without you:
Our all-volunteer front desk staff–Maura Childers, Sam Childers, Aaron Cullers, Jack Cullers, Sally Cullers, Samantha Cullers, and Tess Massey; our panelists, presenters, and auctioneers–Jim Beard, Christopher Paul Carey, Nick Carr, Gene Christie, Win Scott Eckert, Ron Fortier, John Gunnison, Ed Hulse, Don Hutchison, Chris Kalb, Rick Lai, Nathan Madison, William Patrick Maynard, Matt Moring, Will Murray, Van Allen Plexico, Roger Price, Garyn Roberts, Joseph Saine, David Saunders, Frank Schildiner, Art Sippo, and John Allen Small; our behind-the-scenes help–Mike Chomko, Mike Croteau of FarmerCon, Ohio State’s Eric Johnson, Chris Kalb, Lohr McKinstry, Rick and Renee Thomas, Barry Traylor, Chuck Welch, Dan Zimmer, and the staff of the Hyatt Regency Columbus.
The Organizing Committee would also like to thank the people who helped to create The Pulpster #22–Editor and designer Bill Lampkin and proofreader Peter Chomko, plus contributors Michael Chomko, Tony Davis, Monte Herridge, Tom Johnson, John Locke, Nathan Vernon Madison, William Patrick Maynard, Vella Munn, Will Murray, Laurie Powers, William Preston, David Rajchel, George Vanderburgh, , and the magazine’s sponsors–Baen Books, The Comic Book Shop in Spokane, Washington, Doug Frizzle, Richard Halegua, Heartwood Auctions, Larry Latham and Lovecraft is Missing, Murania Press, Pro Se Productions, The Pulp Factory, Radio Archives (who also provided the door prizes for PulpFest 2013), Stark House Press, Alfred R. Taylor, Titan Books, and Weird Tales.
Many thanks as well to the nominators and Lamont Award, Munsey Award, and Rusty Hevelin Service Award winners who helped to select the winner of this year’s Munsey, Garyn G. Roberts. Congratulations to Garyn and to all of the nominees for our 2013 awards.
Again, we’d like to thank the following organizations for the books and similar items that were donated to PulpFest for distribution to our members: John Huckans and Book Source Magazine, Engle Publishing and The Paper & Advertising Collectors’ Marketplace, the Estate of Rusty Hevelin, Gordon Van Gelder and Fantasy & Science Fiction, Tom Brown and Radio Archives, Greg Shepard and Stark House Press, and Charles F. Millhouse and Stormgate Publishing.
Finally, thanks to all of the conventions, book and paper fairs, bookstores, comic and collectible shops, web sites, magazines, newspapers, and other media outlets that helped to promote our show as well as the dealers, attending members and supporting members of PulpFest 2013. It was due to your encouragement and support that our convention was successful. We hope to see you all back next summer along with a good many newcomers for PulpFest 2014. Details will be forthcoming in the months ahead. So please subscribe to our PulpFest email list through the small gray box found along the right side of our home page. You’ll also be able to find information at our Facebook site and through our Twitter account.
Message from the Chairman
Aug. 4, 2013–The spirits within the PulpFest Committee are quite low right now. Perhaps some of the low spirits can be attributed to being tired, but we are also disappointed, frustrated, and questioning whether or not we are on the right track with the convention. I am speaking mainly for myself, but I believe at least a couple of the other committee members agree with my thoughts.
The turnout was somewhat less than we had anticipated. We, and especially Mike, had spent a lot of time preparing for this year’s PulpFest. Mike spent hour after hour updating and writing new material for the social media where we have a presence. I am not exaggerating—hour after hour. Ed spent a lot of time with interviews, press releases, presentations and other such activities. Barry contacted other events and coordinated getting us mentioned on other sites. After all this, we didn’t see much of a jump in attendance. There were some new faces, but I don’t think they offset the number of people who have attended in the past but chose not to this year.
The auction was somewhat of a disappointment. None of the material that was submitted was, shall we say, extraordinary. Barry, Mike, and others spent a lot of the weekend preparing for the auction and we did not have anything that caused anyone to sit up and take notice. Do we discontinue the auction?
I, since it is my area, was disappointed in the hotel. Their response to problems I encountered was dismal. Some of the front desk people appeared to have had no communication concerning the convention and the guests who were attending (parking, wi-fi, location, etc). There was no signage within the hotel announcing the convention and its location. Doors that were supposed to be locked were unlocked, which meant I had to stand guard outside the programming room until someone showed up to lock it (45 minutes). The freight elevator got jammed up on Sunday (horror of horrors), and I had to contact a kitchen worker to help resolve the issue—no one else could be found with a search warrant). I know, minor stuff to most people, but they were things that should not have happened.
And then, still with the hotel, they tell me our dates for next year are not available. The weekend they offered me is August 8-10. We have been trying to stay with the last weekend in July, but it was given to a couple of large local groups (money talks). As of right now, the committee is unsure of our next step. The August weekend is a little further away from Windy City, but we have heard in the past that attendees do not necessarily like August conventions. So, here is another potential impact to attendance.
Very few comments after the convention had to do with the tremendous amount of informative and interesting programing we presented. We had many comments about the lack of WiFi in the ballroom. We negotiated for free WiFi in the rooms, but we decided not to spend the money for the ballroom. This would have entailed raising the price for everyone to accommodate a few. Not on our watch.
We had a comment that the halls were too long and it hurt an attendee’s knees. He or she is not returning. I should mention, by the way, that the attendee did not stay at the Hyatt. He or she stayed at a hotel in the neighborhood which, if you think about it, might have contributed to the long walks.
I got blistered by a woman who arrived at 12:30 on Sunday afternoon, paid nothing at the door, and then wanted to scratch my eyes out because dealers were packing up. She said they had driven all the way from Cincinnati. As chairman I sympathized, but inside my head, not so much. Our postings on the Internet stated that although we were open on Sunday, many dealers would be packing up for their trip home.
So here you have a brief outline of the current status of your PulpFest committee and some of the questions for which we are trying to find answers.
Do we quit advertising? In the beginning, we promised to do more advertising and we have fulfilled that promise. But has it gained us enough in the way of new attendees to justify the considerable cost?
Do we lower our expectations? Is 400-425 the most we can ever expect for our summer pulp convention?
Do we look for new blood to take over part of the convention? Do we merge with another convention to have just one major convention a year? Some of the committee members are no longer spring chickens (I hate to use the barnyard analogy) and eventually, we will step aside anyway.
Stay tuned. We will get to a point where information will need to be filtered to you. Until then, send me your constructive comments and we will add them to the mix. You can contact me at email@example.com.
Chairman, PulpFest Organizing Committee
Comment by Greg Gick — Aug. 7, 2013
Keep on going! PulpFest was great, and IS great. It is the only time I get to meet folks of like interests, as well as a convention where I feel I could take my family and feel safe about them. Maybe it’s just that right now a lot of people are low on funds–I was, with the economy. But don’t give up! I loved PulpFest and want it to continue!
Comment by Steve DeNunzio — Aug. 8, 2013
Hi. I’ve gone to the last 16 pulp cons and wouldn’t miss them for the world. After reading about your trials and tribulations at this last con I felt a little down that you might cut it out or merge with another. There really is a great bunch of pulp fans and very knowledgeable in the field of pulps. Fight the good fight and keep it going!
Comment by Mike — Aug. 12, 2013
I thought this year’s PulpFest was the best ever, as did my buddies who attended! We had a blast. Keep it going!
The Book Cave
Aug. 4, 2013–As he has for the last two years, Ric Croxton has been posting recordings of our PulpFest 2013 panels and presentations to The Book Cave. The PulpFest organizing committee would like to thank Ric and the fans who recorded our PulpFest programming events for their past and continuing support. Their help in promoting PulpFest and its exceptional programming is very much appreciated.
Click here for a direct link to The Books Cave‘s Panel Fest recordings and remember to add The Book Cave to your favorites for regular podcasts about books, comics, pulps, movie serials, old-time radio, and TV series.
Munsey Award Update
We’ve just updated the Past Award Winners page of our website, adding an entry on the winner of the 2013 Munsey Award, Professor Garyn G. Roberts, pictured to the left with his well-deserved honor. Just click on the link above and you will be directed to the page.
About a week back, Garyn sent us a letter concerning the award he received at this year’s PulpFest. We’d like to share it with you as it clearly demonstrates why Professor Roberts was very deserving of his Munsey. Way to go, Garyn! You’re the best!
August 5, 2013
Thank you for naming me the 2013 Munsey Award recipient. The honor of being this year’s representative means a great deal to me. There are so many others worthy of this award—for research, writing and publication, presentations, service and promotion of pulp magazine history, preservation, scholarship and fandom. To be associated with our extended group of visionaries and friends, for more than three decades personally, means so much and is an ongoing honor in itself—because of the people and close friends committed to this very important part of American and world literature and culture.
I have read Walter Gibson’s Shadow, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Robert E, Howard and Ray Bradbury since youth. My mother had given me paperback copies of Bradbury’s The Martian Chronicles and Long After Midnight in the early seventies. I have collected and read Big Little Books, comic books, and newspaper strips since I was six or seven in the mid-sixties. My dad told me that, in the 1930s and ‘40s, his cousin Fred used to hide pulp magazines in the barn of the family farm in northeastern Illinois—probably some with semi-provocative covers like Spicys and Saucys and Detectives and Weird Tales and so on.
Years later in graduate school, somewhere during the fall of 1981, my new-found friend and classmate Gary Hoppenstand provided me with my first Fu Manchu story—the yellow Pyramid paperback of The Insidious Fu Manchu, my first Arkham House volume—Carl Jacobi’s Revelations in Black, and my first pulp—a 1940s Weird Tales (with an uncharacteristically and unintentionally dreadful cover—no, I mean the art stunk, the same cover which misspelled Fredric Brown’s name on the cover); Brown’s story there is the really great “Come and Go Mad.” (I still have all three, and now, many dozen Rohmer hardcovers, an 85 percent complete Arkham House collection including multiple copies of some volumes, and a couple hundred Weird Tales.) More importantly, Gary has been a lifelong friend ever since. Today, together we continue writing projects; back then, we published the first volume of Frederick C. Davis’s Moon Man stories under the Purple Prose Press imprint (Bob Sampson, Nick Carr, Will Murray and Bob Weinberg joined us on that project; Don Hutchison was scheduled for the second volume; we donated some the meager profits from that endeavor—by and large we lost money—to Manly Wade Wellman’s end-of-life care), and wrote of defective detectives for Ray Browne’s Bowling Green Popular Press. We later got to meet Fred Davis’s son (Rick Davis) and granddaughter (the talented and beautiful Karen Cunningham)—I number them as good friends, too. We published a volume of dime novel reprints featuring female detectives, and I edited a little volume entitled A Cent A Story! The Best from Ten Detective Aces for the Popular Press at this time as well.
Somewhere around 1982-3, I met someone else. The best student I would ever have in a university class—and many thousands of students later still the best, though I love them all for different reasons—was Robert “Bob” Craig from the greater Cleveland area. I’d have been about 23 when Bob was 18 or 19. After 27 or 28 years, Bob found me again at PulpFest. For three or four years now, Bob and I have been back in touch, meeting at PulpFest, and planning a book project together (on the pulps) soon. One day in class some thirty years ago, Bob scared the hell out of me in my Fantasy and Science Fiction class at BGSU. I had a beautiful lecture prepared on Robert E. Howard, and as I made this presentation, Bob very politely and respectively added specific details to my lecture. Decades later, no one has scared me so badly in the classroom. Bob is scary bright. He is an even nicer person. Soon, Gary got Bob published in Echoes—this article might have been about the pulp-like Ahern novels including The Takers or about The Destroyer novels by Sapir and Murphy.
From Bowling Green in the first half of the 1980s, Gary and I increasingly strayed in quest of books and pulps. Soon we were in Ann Arbor and Dayton. Richard Clear ran The Dragon’s Lair in Dayton (exactly 124 miles south on Hwy 75 from BG), and he had the original “Pulp Vault”—literally a bank vault with a thick heavy metal door and spinning tumbler lock. White paper copies of the rarest, most wonderful pulps lived in this vault. In the meantime, back at BGSU, Bob Craig had completed a set of Bantam Doc Savage paperbacks to date—save one. Bob was missing Bantam #50, The Devil on the Moon. Gary and I bought Bob the issue—only it was the original pulp. I think we paid $15 for a nice copy from Dragon’s Lair. But in those days, at my first PulpCon auction at the University of Dayton, a really nice copy of “Zemba,” a 1930s Shadow pulp novel, went for $12.
At Bowling Green, I used to order pulps and pulp reprints and pulp related publications from Robert and Phyllis Weinberg’s catalogs. In those days we ordered by phone, and it got to a point where—whether Bob or Phyllis answered in Chicago—we knew each other’s voices so well that we did not have to introduce ourselves to each other.
One day, about 1984 or ‘85, Gary and I drove northwest of Ann Arbor another hour and arrived in East Lansing at Ray Walsh’s Curious Bookshop. The summer of 1985 saw us working in East Lansing for Michigan State, cataloguing Fantasy and Science Fiction fanzines donated by P. Schuyler Miller and others. Lots of ERB and REH. (Two strangely titled fanzines I remember were Amoeboid Scunge and The Four Door Grape. We used a hot-burning Apple IIE and lots of note cards.) There was one strange photo of a young Ray Bradbury, who later became my good friend, but . . . .
The summer of 1985 also saw the debut of two wonderful movies: Goonies and Return to Oz. Gary and I visited Curious Books almost daily that summer—especially when we had a little money to spend. I got a really nice copy of Arkham House’s Tales of Science and Sorcery by Clark Ashton Smith from Ray that summer. Still have it and a couple other copies of the book. Oh, that was also the summer that Ray sold me Clark Ashton Smith’s first book (of poetry)—corrected in fountain pen by the author—The Star Treader (1912). That one is locked away in a special place in my collection.
Ray Walsh has been my dear friend ever since. (Unlike Bradbury, Mr. Walsh has yet to be found in any embarrassing photos!) Working part-time in Ray’s shop in 1988 I met his new employee, Virginia, a reddish-brown haired art major; well you know . . . . Virginia and I were married July 31, 1994 in Madison. One winter about 1990 or ‘91, I spent my tax refund on part of an Arkham House collection Ray had on consignment. I think the seller was from Minnesota. But, that is ahead of the story.
May 10, 1986 I completed five years of graduate school and went through commencement at BGSU. After one last summer at my parents’ home in northern Wisconsin, I became an Assistant Professor at Mankato State University in Minnesota. More very important friends appeared.
During the fall of 1986, I journeyed northeast of Mankato about an hour and fifteen minutes to the Twin Cities. My little red Pontiac Sunbird (two-door, hatchback, four-on-the-floor) was filled with fourteen boxes of books to sell and/or trade—in the boxes were multiple copies of what for me were duplicate British Clark Ashton Smith paperbacks and much more. Eventually I walked into this really beautiful store called “DreamHaven” and met a guy named “Greg.” Greg Ketterer has been my good friend ever since.
A few months later, I discovered that Jack and Helen Deveny lived in Edina, a nice, semi-rural suburb of the cities. I visited them often after Friday morning classes at the university. I had corresponded with Jack and had bought pulps from his catalogs for several years. But I cannot tell you how important Jack and Helen were in my life. My friend, Tony Davis, printed a short essay/tribute I wrote about Jack and Helen in The Pulpster about five years ago. I was so happy that Tony let me provide happy personal memories of Jack and Helen. Thanks, Tony.
During the spring of 1987, I had an offer of an interview for a professorial position at Michigan State University. I got a job offer and Mankato countered. I loved Mankato and I have often wondered what would have happened had I not headed east for the big city lights of a Big Ten school. But Ray Walsh and then later Jay, Mark, Christian, Bob, Virginia and so many others would meet me there.
I mention this transition of career and life to set up another pulp remembrance. Michigan State flew me from the Twin Cities (Hubert H. Humphrey airport) to Detroit for my interview. At the time, my old buddy Gary Hoppenstand was teaching in Toledo; he came north to Detroit to meet me. I got off the plane briefcase in hand, and we went to Gary’s car as if to complete some sinister espionage transaction straight from the pulps. Gary brought out his briefcase and we simultaneously opened our cases on the hood of his car. Gary handed me pulps and books, and I handed Gary pulps and books. It was all unscripted. The shady transaction was complete.
There are so many others stories and friends before, in between and after.
I started at Michigan State University fall of 1987; Gary started at MSU exactly a year later in 1988—the place where, back during the summer of 1985, we cataloged fanzines for the Russel B. Nye Special Collections section of the MSU libraries—and where we haunted Curious Books. In 1994, I moved 175 miles northwest to Northwestern Michigan College in Traverse City.
A few years later I started work on what would be an award-winning volume of Fantasy and Science Fiction—not because of me, but because of the content of the volume and the vision of my Senior Editor, Ms. Carrie Brandon. (In 1995 I was a Mystery Writers Finalist for the Edgar Allan Poe Award for Dick Tracy and American Culture: Morality and Mythology, Text and Context—McFarland.) Again, pulp fiction was the mainstay of the F and SF project. Late in life, the great pulp artist Edd Cartier (Shadow and Unknown artist) actually provided an original pulp painting for color reproduction in the book. The book, a college and university textbook and, yet, popular anthology, is still in print: The Prentice Hall Anthology of Science Fiction and Fantasy (Pearson Education). Bob Weinberg and Forry Ackerman helped with that one. And my friend, Carrie? She is the granddaughter of the prolific pulp Western writer, C. W. Harrison. She has become a member of the Roberts family. Carrie toured us through the Louisa May Alcott House outside of Boston during the spring of 2012. It was a trip of a lifetime for my youngest, Morgan, then eleven years old. Before and after, Morgan had and has read the vast majority of what Alcott wrote—memoirs, romances, social melodramas, Civil War hospital accounts, bodice-rippers, supernatural stories, as well as all the Little Women type books.
It was about ten years ago (in the early days of the twenty-first century) when I first met Dr. George Vanderburgh. I was participating in a National American Culture/Popular Culture Association meeting in Toronto. Virginia and our children were with me. Another shady pulp deal was in the offing. George drove to the conference hotel to sell me three hardcover volumes—a complete set of reprints of Seabury Quinn’s Jules de Grandin stories. The whole experience was unbelievable. The volumes were and are extraordinary, and George was a really neat man who quickly became a very dear friend. Dr. George brought me on to his publishing company and has included me in several publishing projects ever since. Bob Weinberg, Rodney Shroeder, and Randy Vanderbeek were and are part of George’s team, too. I got to edit and introduce a range of pulp reprints for George under The Lost Treasures from the Pulps heading. We completed (along with Gary) Frederick C. Davis’s Moon Man saga, and we got Rick Davis and Karen Cunningham on board for that one, too. George had me edit Clayton Rawson volumes, including some very rare Don Diavlo and related pulp stories; volumes of G.T. Fleming-Roberts (no direct relation to me) Green Ghost stories; Park Avenue Hunt Club stories; and more. George’s books are massive and definitive, and we all need them. I hope George, our friends and I will be releasing some new projects soon. There are some great ones in the wings.
A couple of years ago my friend, Steve Haffner, had me write a lengthy introduction to the first of two large volumes of Henry Kuttner weird-menace stories. I got to share the cover bylines on that great book with Kuttner, and the recently passed Richard Matheson. A couple of months ago, I published essays on Kuttner and Robert Bloch in a book for Salem Press. Two or three more essays on my late friend, Ray Bradbury, are due in a book from Salem later this year.
Rick Hall and I are contributing essays to Matt Moring’s Altus Press reprint volumes of James B. Hendryx novels and stories. I have some neat stories to share about Hendryx, probably my favorite adventure writer. Hendryx and I, at different times, both spent lots of years in the greater Traverse City, Michigan area. More introductions for volumes of Giesy and Smith Semi Dual stories are upcoming for Altus Press. Thanks, Matt, for the opportunities.
Mark Hickman is letting me write an essay for the second collection of his father’s (Lynn’s) historic Pulp Era prozines. If you do not have the first collection of Lynn and Mark’s book, you need to get it. Here’s a preview: in part, I am going to talk about how Lynn’s excellent life and work is carried on in his son, my dear friend, Mark.
Ed Hulse has published my work before, too. What an honor for me to be in Blood ‘n’ Thunder. Ed, I promise you something new soon. Ed and Murania Press have recently released The Blood ‘n’ Thunder Guide to Pulp Fiction. This study is an instant cornerstone of any pulp scholarship. If you haven’t already done so, add Ed’s book and Nathan Vernon Madison’s Anti-Foreign Imagery in American Pulps and Comic Books (McFarland, 2013) to your personal library as soon as possible.
There is another friend of more than three decades I need to mention here—one of the genuine gentlemen of the pulp community. Albert “Al” Tonik has provided sincere friendship, excellent research and camaraderie all that time, and I am so very glad that I was able to get a few of the pieces from his research library through the PulpFest auctions of 2012 and ‘13.
I haven’t even mentioned the legendary Doug Ellis (and Deb Fulton) and John (and Maureen) Gunnison, Mike (and Dianne) Chomko, Jack (and Sally) Cullers and their family, and Barry Traylor, Neil and Leigh Mechem, Martin (and Michelle) Grams, Jr., and Francis “Mike” Nevins.
Tom Roberts (friend and family, but not blood relation), John Locke (excellent researcher), Gene Christie (excellent researcher), Bill Mann (Bill, I have enjoyed some G-8 stories through the years, but hadn’t considered myself an Aviation pulp guy until your books—thanks for some really wonderful research and scholarship), Chris Kalb (looking forward to part two of your pulp premiums next summer), Anthony Tollin (master of The Shadow), Laurie Powers (I am so glad to get to know you, Laurie), Walker Martin (we need to collect your blogs and writing in one volume—you are very good, and funny), Phil Nelson and Holly, and Dave Schmidt and Zoey and their family.
What lifelong friends you all are. You have made my life much more than it would have been without you. There are so many others—I am sorry I have not listed you all here. May be that there will be more stories of all of you soon—all good, I promise.
Maybe I am naïve. Yet it seems to me that, the Pulp community, as it has expanded, is comprised of people who work together; petty jealousies and squabbles do not exist. The sincere mutual support for collectors, researchers, writers, publishers, newcomers and others is extraordinary. I think the old pulpmasters of days gone by would approve of what today’s Pulp community has done for their collective legacy.
All this is to say “Thank You” for naming me the 2013 recipient of the Munsey Award. I have been honored beyond words to be associated with the Pulp community for thirty plus years. The image on that Munsey, by my very good friend, David Saunders, is better up close than I could have ever imagined—I was always afraid to ever consider that I might one day have this image as an award. I am still in awe and humbled, but mostly you need to hear my sincere “thank you,” and know my love for you, my friends—no, my extended family. I bet there are pulps in Heaven, and I bet Bob Sampson and Jack Deveny are already cataloging them there.
Garyn G. Roberts, Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin
Chuck Welch, webmaster of the Hidalgo Trading Company site, snapped the above photo of Garyn offering his Munsey acceptance speech on July 27, 2013. If you’d like to hear Garyn’s address, Jason Aiken has posted a recording of it on his Pulp Crazy website.
Comment by Walker Martin — Aug. 15, 2013
Thanks for writing this extremely interesting letter, Garyn. It brings back alot of memories.
There are two things I used to do before attending Pulpcon in Dayton, Ohio. First I would visit The Dragon’s Lair owned by Richard Clear. I also remember the big bank vault that he stored pulps in. Not only did Richard Clear sell me pulps but I bought some pulp art from him including four big illustrations by Norman Saunders.
The second thing I’d do would be to visit Bonnett’s Bookstore. Once a year, he would bring pulps up from his basement for Pulpcon. In fact at an early Pulpcon, Bonnett was the unofficial guest of honor and gave a talk on his pulp writing days when he even managed to crack BLACK MASK.
I also miss Jack Deveny and his wife, Helen. Every Christmas he would send Christmas greetings with a pulp cover on the card. I once loaned him a box of pulps that had Christmas covers and he used the images for many holidays.
Bob Sampson! For 25 years we carried on an extensive correspondence about pulps. I still have his letters, a couple hundred of them. And Ray Walsh! I was wondering recently why I don’t find as many pulps at his table like I used to. And then I realized the answer was because I had bought so many from Ray in earlier years. Ray’s been attending the pulp conventions since the first or second one. We started off as young collectors in our twenties or thirties(I was 30 at the first Pulpcon in 1972) and now we have turned into grizzled veterans.
Well, at least I have, though lately I seem to be fading and crumbling like an old pulp magazine. Just as long as I don’t start shedding like a pulp!
I could go on and on about some of the collectors you mention, guys like Bob Weinberg, who I’ve known since the 1960′s. So thanks for the great letter and congratulations again.
Comment by J. Barry Traylor — Aug. 15, 2013
Garyn, I wish I was as erudite as you. Suffice to say I can’t think of anyone that deserved The Munsey more than you. Not only are you a really nice guy and a person I am proud to know, but a darn good writer to boot.