Give Thanks for Pulp!

Nov 19, 2018 by

If there’s one thing our media does well, it’s tell us how wrong everything is in our world. This week is a good one to remember to give thanks for all that is right in our lives. It could be our health, our home, our family, our pets, our friends, our hobbies, or our jobs. We all have something in our lives that help us make it through the hard times and the drudgery. These are things for which we should be grateful.

The pulp community has much to be grateful for in particular: dealers and reprint specialty publishers who preserve the treasures of the past; an involved community who meet up at pulp cons across North America several times each year; staying connected online, giving us a thriving network of friends and second families to share our passions and joys.

THE POPULAR MAGAZINE was the prototype pulp magazine bringing Boys’ Own Adventure tales by H. Rider Haggard, H. G. Wells, Rafael Sabatini, Sax Rohmer, John Buchan, Zane Grey, Arthur B. Reeves, Edgar Wallace, and countless others to readers from 1903 to 1931. This seminal Street & Smith publication featured artwork by the likes of N. C. Wyeth and Leslie Thrasher.

Pulp made a very big world accessible to readers who had no internet and a limited ability to travel. Our world shrunk as together we explored new civilizations, discovered new cultures, and transformed our lives in the process. 103 years ago this week, Leslie Thrasher’s cover for THE POPULAR MAGAZINE illustrated just how far our world had come in only half a century since the abolition of slavery.

Another century and another millennium have come and gone since then. Let’s all be thankful for all that is right in the world and look forward to celebrating our shared interests and passions from Thursday, August 15 to Sunday, August 18 when PulpFest 2019 celebrates our shared heritage as “Children of the Pulps.”

You can book your room directly through our website. Book early and don’t miss the chance to stay at the beautiful DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Pittsburgh – Cranberry. Just click the link that reads “Book a Room” below the PulpFest banner. You’ll be redirected to a secure site where you can place your reservation.

(The legendary Leslie Thrasher (1889-1936) was synonymous with THE SATURDAY EVENING POST, but his amazing artwork also graced the covers of RED BOOK, COLLIER’S, LIBERTY, and THE POPULAR MAGAZINE, included the November 20, 1915 number. A veteran of The Great War, he studied under the esteemed Howard Pyle and was a friend and colleague of Norman Rockwell. He suffered respiratory ailments for years following exposure to poison gas during the First World War. Complications from smoke inhalation during a house fire prematurely ended his life at age 47.)

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Children of the Pulps Meet Children of the Night

Oct 29, 2018 by

HORROR STORIES was introduced in January 1935 as the sister title to TERROR TALES. Both Popular Publications titles harkened back to pulp’s roots in penny dreadfuls. They fell victim to the wartime paper shortage in 1941. During its six year run, HORROR STORIES boasted some of the genre’s best cover art by the great John Newton Howitt.

The Children of the Pulps, much like “the Children of the Night,” are happily still with us. As Bram Stoker’s Count Dracula noted, “What music they make.” Beginning on Thursday evening, August 15, and running through Sunday, August 18, PulpFest 2019 will celebrate that heritage with “Children of the Pulps and Other Stories,” an examination of the pervasive influence of pulps on contemporary pop culture.

You can book your room directly through our website. Book early and don’t miss the chance to stay at the beautiful DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Pittsburgh – Cranberry. Just click the link that reads “Book a Room” below the PulpFest banner. You’ll be redirected to a secure site where you can place your reservation.

 

“On the last of October
When dusk is fallen
Children join hands
And circle round me
Singing ghost songs
And love to the harvest moon;
I am a jack-o’-lantern
With terrible teeth
And the children know
I am fooling” to go

To PulpFest 2019!

 

(Hugh B. Cave’s “Death Calls from the Madhouse” was the lead story for the September 1935 issue of HORROR STORIES. The cover art was by the great John Newton Howitt (1885-1958). An accomplished landscape artist whose work was showcased at fine arts galleries, the prolific Howitt worked for slicks as well as pulps . He was also active in the advertising industry as a graphic artist. His 1936 legal battle with Street & Smith over tax burden established a precedent that benefits artists to this day. Howitt turned his back on pulps in 1939 at the behest of his wife. A veteran of the First World War, Howitt painted propaganda posters for the U.S. Government during World War II.)

 

 

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120 Years of Arthur J. Burks

Sep 10, 2018 by

Arthur J. Burks was born September 13, 1898. While his name may not be familiar to the more casual pulp fan, he was a prolific and successful pulp writer who authored more than 800 stories (and possibly as many as 1400 when his many pseudonyms are taken into account). Burks was one of a number of pulp writers who distinguished themselves by averaging more than one million words per year. Regardless of the precise amount of his output, he was a prodigious and highly inventive storyteller.

Born to a farming family in Washington state, Burks was a veteran of both World Wars and retired from the service at the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. While stationed in the Caribbean, he witnessed voodoo rituals which inspired his second career as a pulp writer beginning in 1920. Burks wrote countless weird menace, adventure, detective, aviation, and boxing stories for WEIRD TALES, ASTOUNDING STORIES, THRILLING WONDER STORIES, STRANGE TALES, SCIENCE FICTION QUARTERLY, MARVEL SCIENCE STORIES, and many others.

Burks’ series characters included Chinatown detective Dorus Noel and boxer Kid Friel. Burks died at age 75 in May 1974. He remained a writer to the very end. He concentrated on the paranormal and metaphysics beginning in the 1960s and became a popular fixture on the lecture circuit sharing his knowledge with the curious and skeptical alike and offering readings. Much of Burks’ fantasy fiction centers on the metaphysical. One of his best known works (and one of the few to be published in book form), THE GREAT MIRROR (1942) concerns Martian technology utilized by Tibetan monks to foster ESP and matter transmission.

Burks married at age nineteen. He and his wife raised four children. While not one of the legendary names in the pulp world, his work in so many genres and under so many pseudonyms made him a fixture during the golden age of pulp and beyond.

Keep watching our website for more on the pulp greats. Then plan to attend next year’s PulpFest. We’ll be highlighting the many ways that pulp fiction and pulp art have inspired writers, artists, film directors, software developers, game designers, and other creators over the decades. PulpFest 2019 will take place August 15 – 18 at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Pittsburgh – Cranberry.

(Arthur J. Burks penned some of WEIRD TALE’s best macabre stories during its early years, including “The Ghosts of Steamboat Coulee” and “Bells of Oceana.” His science fiction story,”The Invading Horde,” was published in the November 1927 number. The cover art for the issue was created by C. C. Senf, the artist who painted most of covers for”The Unique Magazine” from early 1927 through mid-1932.)