Another Clue to Our Guest of Honor

Jan 8, 2016 by

Argosy 1896-12Last night, we drew your attention to the fact that we are planning to announce our convention’s 2016 guest of honor on Monday, January 11th. The news will be released here and on our social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter. We also mentioned that we’re planning to offer a wide array of programming at PulpFest 2016, including a salute to the 120th anniversary of the first pulp magazine, THE ARGOSY.

Pulp magazines were named for the cheap paper on which they were printed. Frank A. Munsey pioneered the format in late 1896 with THE ARGOSYcreating the first American periodical specifically designed for the common man. A decade later, pulps began to pick up steam with titles like BLUE BOOK (1906) and ADVENTURE (1910), then exploded in 1912 when THE ALL-STORY printed a yarn written by Edgar Rice Burroughs and called “Tarzan of the Apes.” Soon after, genre titles began to flourish, among them DETECTIVE STORY, WESTERN STORY and LOVE STORY.

In the 1920s, pulps continued to flourish with publishing legends such as BLACK MASK (1920), WEIRD TALES (1923) and AMAZING STORIES (1926) taking hold. The thirties was the era of the “hero” or single-character pulp magazine, inspired by the phenomenal success of Street & Smith’s THE SHADOW MAGAZINE. The late thirties saw the blossoming of the science-fiction pulps as the genre’s “Golden Age” arrived in the pages of ASTOUNDING SCIENCE-FICTION.

Following World War II, the demand for pulp magazines waned as a more convenient form of cheap entertainment took hold – paperbacks. These were often just as “pulpy,” since they were generally written by many of the same authors and featured covers by pulp artists. In the fifties, television became the favored form of escapism and the surviving pulps ceased publication. Fiction magazines continued to be published, but in new formats. The science-fiction and mystery digests and “men’s adventure magazines” are considered descendants of the pulps. It was as one of the latter that the final issue of ARGOSY from its original run appeared.

Although ARGOSY was the first pulp magazine, it “shifted to a slick magazine with mixed content” in the fall of 1943. Still later, it was converted to the men’s adventure magazine format. Here’s our second clue to the identity of our PulpFest 2016 guest of honor: during our 2016 guest of honor’s career, he or she worked for both the rough-paper and slick magazines. Drop by our site over the next few days for more hints. You can leave your guess to our special guest’s identity on our Facebook page. If you haven’t done so already, be sure to “like” us. We’ll provide a free membership to PulpFest 2016 to the first person who guesses the identity of this year’s honored guest. And remember to visit www.pulpfest.com on Monday, January 11th when we’ll reveal the identity of the PulpFest 2016 Guest of Honor.

(The December 1896 issue of THE ARGOSY, published by Frank A. Munsey, was the world’s first pulp fiction magazine. It would continue for nearly eighty years, ending as a “men’s adventure magazine.” It’s final issue was dated November 1978.)