About PulpFest 2019

So what’s this PulpFest that has so many people talking? With over 3,200 likes on Facebook, hundreds of followers on Instagram, and nearly 1,100 followers on Twitter, it certainly has been generating a lot of excitement. But what is PulpFest all about?

PulpFest is named for pulp magazines — fiction periodicals named after the cheap pulp paper on which they were printed. Frank A. Munsey pioneered the format in 1896 with THE ARGOSY. A decade later, pulps began to pick up steam with titles like BLUE BOOK and ADVENTURE. They exploded in 1912 when THE ALL-STORY printed a little yarn by Edgar Rice Burroughs called “Tarzan of the Apes.” Soon thereafter, genre titles began to flourish, among them DETECTIVE STORY, WESTERN STORY, and LOVE STORY. In the twenties, publishing legends such as BLACK MASK, WEIRD TALES and AMAZING STORIES debuted. The following decade saw the advent of the so-called “hero pulps,” with magazines such as THE SHADOW, DOC SAVAGE, and THE SPIDER attracting new readers to the rough paper format. Weird-menace magazines premiered around the same time, scaring the wits out of readers in titles like DIME MYSTERY MAGAZINE, SPICY MYSTERY STORIES, and TERROR TALES. The late thirties saw an explosion of science fiction pulps — led by John W. Campbell’s ASTOUNDING STORIES — with other magazines, such as FANTASTIC ADVENTURES and PLANET STORIES, thrilling readers of all ages.

By the early fifties, the pulps had essentially disappeared. While some continued in the smaller digest format, most were killed by competition from paperback books, comics, radio, television, and movies. But the fiction and artwork that appeared in the rough-paper consumables of the early twentieth century kept them living in the hearts and minds of scattered individuals.

Haunting back-issue magazine shops, flea markets, science fiction conventions, and other venues, these hearty enthusiasts gradually assembled astounding collections of genre fiction, all published in the rough and ragged magazines known as pulps. Eventually, these collectors organized a convention dedicated to the premise that the pulps had a profound effect on American popular culture. The pulps reverberated through a wide variety of mediums — comic books, movies, paperbacks and genre fiction, television, men’s adventure magazines, radio drama, and even video and role-playing games. Today, we call this convention, PulpFest.

The summertime destination for fans and collectors of vintage popular fiction and related materials, PulpFest seeks to honor the pulps by drawing attention to the many ways these throwaway magazines have inspired writers, artists, film directors, software developers, and other creators over the decades.

Why not come see what it’s all about? PulpFest 2019 will focus on the many ways pulp fiction and pulp art have inspired and continue to inspire creators. We’re calling this year’s theme, “Children of the Pulps and Other Stories,” an examination of the pervasive influence of pulp magazines on contemporary pop culture. The pulps inspired everything from STAR WARS and JURASSIC PARK to Batman, Spider-Man, and everything in between, including video games and anime. Please click the Programming button below our home page banner to get a taste for the topics that we’ll explore in 2019.

Of course, there’s also our spacious dealers’ room. It will feature tens of thousands of pulp magazines, vintage paperbacks, digests, genre books, original art, first edition hardcovers, series books, reference books, men’s adventure and true crime magazines, dime novels and story papers, Big Little Books, B-Movies, serials and related paper collectibles, old-time radio shows, and collectible comic books and newspaper adventure strips.

The convention will take place from Thursday evening, August 15, through Sunday afternoon, August 18, at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Pittsburgh – Cranberry, just nineteen miles north of the exciting city of Pittsburgh. You can book your room directly through the PulpFest website. Just click the button below the PulpFest banner to “Book a Room. Alternately, you can call 1-800-222-8733 to book a room by telephone. When calling, be sure to mention PulpFest to get the special convention rate.

Start planning now to join PulpFest 2019 at the “pop culture center of the universe.” You can join the convention by clicking the Register button below our home page banner. If you’d like to pay for your membership via Paypal, you’ll find our Paypal link on our registration page.

(Published by the Frank A. Munsey Company, the October 1912 issue of THE ALL-STORY featured Edgar Rice Burroughs’ novel “Tarzan of the Apes,” published in its entirety. Clinton Pettee painted the front cover art for the magazine. Burroughs’ Tarzan is perhaps the most famous character to emerge from the pulps. Others include Zorro, Conan the Barbarian and King Kull, Dr. Kildare, The Shadow, Buck Rogers, Sam Spade, Doc Savage, and Cthulhu.

Over the years, pulp characters such as Tarzan have inspired creators across the globe. Another is Popular Publications’ The Spider. Painted in close-up by Rafael DeSoto for the October 1941 number of THE SPIDER, the “Master of Men” was sited by the late Stan Lee as one of the sources for Marvel Comics’ Spider-Man.

Characters such as The Spider continue to inspire the world’s pop culture creators. Come to PulpFest 2019 and learn about their efforts. We’ll be exploring “Children of the Pulps and Other Stories.”)