Talbot Mundy’s Life of Adventure

Apr 22, 2019 by

Tuesday, April 23, marks the 140th anniversary of the birth of Talbot Mundy. Born William Lancaster Gribbon in Hammersmith, London, Mundy truly led a life of adventure. A natural born storyteller, young William Gribbon started off as the rebellious black sheep of the family. Like many young Victorian Englishmen, he took advantage of colonial opportunities abroad in Africa and India.

These experiences gave him much fodder for his future career as an author, though his own conduct when entrusted with responsibility was considered disgraceful. Unsurprisingly, Mundy portrayed himself as a noble adventurer rather than a scoundrel. He turned to writing in 1911 and quickly found a niche in the pages of ADVENTURE using his newly adopted pseudonym.

His earliest work, including the much-reprinted “Soul of a Regiment,” drew favorable comparisons to Rudyard Kipling. He soon began making use of recurring characters such as his Hindi femme fatale, Yasmini, and the heroic British adventurer, Athelstan King. Both were featured in numerous stories and novels including the bestselling KING OF THE KHYBER RIFLES (1916).

Mundy’s growing interest in Christian Science led him into Theosophical circles. Consequently, his work took on a more mystical bent. This gradual transformation is best seen in the popular Jimgrim series featuring a recurring cast of characters whose eponymous hero is cut from the same cloth as T. E. Lawrence and soon functioned more as a critic of Western imperialism rather than an embodiment of its values.

A growing interest in Buddhism and Eastern philosophy saw Mundy’s work grow more complex and literate in its ambitions, but he never lost his ability to thrill readers. He also penned a series of historical adventures more akin to Harold Lamb than to his contemporary adventure tales, though some (particularly his adventures of Tros of Samothrace) still reflect his Theosophical ambitions. Toward the end of his life, his health and popularity had begun to decline, but he still brought a thrilling spirit of adventure and a fascination for the exotic East to many of the episodes of the long-running radio series JACK ARMSTRONG, THE ALL-AMERICAN BOY that he scripted up until his death in 1940 at age 61.

Mundy mixed with many of the most notable bohemian artists and literati of the early 20th Century. Most pulp fans know of him as an influence on Robert E. Howard (particularly on Howard’s El Borak and Kirby O’Donnell adventures). Talbot Mundy’s works have been collected in recent years by some of the leading pulp nostalgia publishers including Black Dog Books, Altus Press, and Murania Press. The full extent of his influence and literary excellence remains ripe for rediscovery at a later date.

Keep watching our website for more on the pulp greats. Then plan to attend 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. It’s easy to register, just click the register button below our home page banner.

(Beginning in 1911, William Lancaster Gribbon — better known as Talbot Mundy — began his thirty-year association with ADVENTURE. Over the next three decades, the magazine featured many fine covers. However, one of our favorites is the August 1911 number, with cover art by Percy E. Cowen. Published in the issue was the first of many fine short stories that Talbot Mundy authored for the magazine.

Murania Press publishes YASMINI THE INCOMPARABLE by Talbot Mundy on May 1. Altus Press published THE COMPLETE UP AND DOWN THE EARTH TALES by Talbot Mundy in December. Mundy historian and author Brian Taves hosts an active and highly informative Facebook group, TALBOT MUNDY – MASTER OF MYSTICAL ADVENTURE, dedicated to the author. DMR Books has featured “Mundy Mondays” since January as John E. Boyle reviews the author’s works in chronological sequence.)

Starting Today — 3 Posts a Week

Apr 15, 2019 by

Since last August, we’ve had an announcement about PulpFest once a week. Starting today, we’ll release a post every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. We’ll maintain that pace until mid-July. Then we’ll have one post every weekday. Even the PulpFest promotion department needs a day off.

In the next few weeks, we’ll look at Talbot Mundy, upcoming conventions, the Munsey Award, and SCIENCE WONDER STORIES. We’ll also welcome guest writer Sara Light-Waller, author of ANCHOR: A STRANGE TALE OF TIME and the PulpFest 2018 hit, LANDSCAPE OF DARKNESS. Throughout most of May and early June, we’ll explore our 2019 programming schedule. This year’s convention will focus on the pervasive influence of pulp magazines on contemporary pop culture. We hope you can join us at PulpFest 2019 for “Children of the Pulps and Other Stories.”

So what are you waiting for? Register now for PulpFest 2019! There’s no other way to be part of “Summer’s Great Pulp Con.” While you’re at it, reserve a room at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Pittsburgh – Cranberry. Click the “Book a Room” button under the PulpFest banner on our home page. You can also call 1-800-222-8733 to book a room. Be sure to mention PulpFest to get the special convention rate. By staying at the DoubleTree, you’ll help to ensure the convention’s success. Given its popularity, we urge every member to book a hotel room for PulpFest 2019 as soon as possible.

(Designed by PulpFest’s artistic director, William Lampkin, our PulpFest 2019 post card features the work of artist Walter Baumhofer. His painting was originally used as the cover art for the March 1933 number of Street & Smith’s DOC SAVAGE MAGAZINE

Our post cards are being distributed by book stores, comic shops, mail order dealers, conventions, book fairs, and other venues. They publicize all the wonders that are PulpFest 2019. If you’d like to help, please email the convention’s marketing director, Mike Chomko, at mike@pulpfest.com.)

Read All About It! PulpFest 2019!

Apr 1, 2019 by

With the Windy City Pulp and Paperback Convention fast approaching, Jack Cullers and his volunteers have been manning the presses. With the ink barely dry, the latest PULPFEST newsletter is winging your way.

Our newsletter tells all about this year’s convention. You’ll find a programming preview, hotel information, registration and auction instructions, and much more. A registration form for both dealers and regular members is also part of the newsletter.

If you have not received a copy of the PulpFest newsletter by late April, please contact David J. Cullers at jack@pulpfest.com or at 1272 Cheatham Way, Bellbrook, OH 45305. Provide your mailing address and he’ll get one off to you.

If you can’t wait for the mail, you can visit our home page. Click on our registration link and scroll down to the heading that reads “To Learn More.” There, you’ll find a link to our 2019 newsletter.

Although the newsletter contains plenty of info, don’t forget about us here. Be sure to bookmark our home page, like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter and InstagramWe’ll have plenty more to tell you before convention time.

Start making your plans to attend PulpFest 2019 and join hundreds of genre fiction fans at the pop-culture center of the universe. We’ll see you August 15 – 18 at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Pittsburgh – Cranberry, just nineteen miles north of Pittsburgh. If you need a hotel room, you can book one directly through the PulpFest website. Just click the “Book a Room” link below our home page banner or call 1-800-222-8733. Be sure to mention PulpFest in order to receive the convention rate.

(Our 2019 newsletter was written by PulpFest’s marketing and programming director Mike Chomko and designed by advertising director and PULPSTER editor William Lampkin.)

Related Posts

Share This

Join the Winning Team!

Mar 25, 2019 by

Be a PulpFest Sponsor!

 

The late Bill Veeck once said, “There are only two seasons – Winter and Baseball.” In a few days, Major League Baseball starts its 2019 season here in the states. It’s time for you to join the winning team!

Sign up to be a PulpFest sponsor. Join AbeBooks.com — the online marketplace for books and collectibles — and the other fine organizations that have signed on to sponsor summer’s great pulp con.

AbeBooks has been one of our website sponsors since 2016. They have also sponsored the convention’s badges, our banners, the PulpFest program book, and more. Along with  science fiction and fantasy publisher Meteor HouseAbeBooks has also helped to sponsor the PulpFest hospitality suite for the last two years.

AbeBooks is a company with a “passion for pulps!” Show your passion as a PulpFest sponsor. Please contact marketing director Mike Chomko at mike@pulpfest.com. He’ll be happy to work out a sponsorship that meets your level of comfort.

Play ball!!!

(Join the winning team of PulpFest! If you or your organization is interested in discussing a PulpFest sponsorship, please contact Mike Chomko, the convention’s marketing director. Perhaps one of our 2019 banners will feature your logo! Imagine your name on that big round baseball, drawn by Norman Saunders for the July 1950 issue of Red Circle’s COMPLETE SPORTS.

And don’t forget, the Pittsburgh Pirates will be in town during PulpFest 2019. The convention will begin on Thursday evening, August 15, and run through Sunday afternoon, August 18. At PNC Park, the Bucs will be battling the Cubs on August 16 – 18. Pulps and baseball! Who can ask for more?)

Related Posts

Share This

H. J. Ward, Superman Artist

Mar 4, 2019 by

Normally, when we think of Superman’s artists, people such as Wayne Boring, John Byrne, Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez, Dan Jurgens, Alex Ross, Joe Schuster, and Curt Swan come to mind. Why doesn’t pulp artist, H. J. Ward pop into our heads?

Born on March 8, 1909, Ward studied at the Philadelphia School of Industrial Art. His first sale was made to Teck Publishing’s WILD WEST STORIES AND COMPLETE NOVEL MAGAZINE in 1931. According to artist and art historian David Saunders, “Sensational pulp covers by H. J. Ward were soon appearing on ACE-HIGH WESTERN, ARGOSY, DOUBLE DETECTIVE” and other rough-paper magazines. Although Ward sold freelance covers to many publishers, most of his work was done for Harry Donenfeld’s Trojan line of Spicy pulps. Ward painted covers for THE LONE RANGER MAGAZINE, PRIVATE DETECTIVE STORIES, SPICY ADVENTURE STORIES, SPICY DETECTIVE STORIES, SPICY MYSTERY STORIES, and other Trojan pulps.

By 1940, Donenfeld had assumed control of National Allied Publications, the publisher of ACTION COMICS, Superman’s home. Around that time, H. J. Ward was paid $100 to create a nearly life-size portrait of The Man of Steel. Ward’s painting was used to promote THE ADVENTURES OF SUPERMANa radio show that debuted in New York City on February 12, 1940. The painting hung for many years in Harry Donenfeld’s office at DC Comics, and later, in his townhouse. According to Saunders, it was eventually donated to Lehman College, part of the City University of New York.

As we approach the 110th anniversary of the birth of Superman artist H. J. Ward, we recall that “The Man of Steel” is just one of many “Children of the Pulps.” We hope you’ll join PulpFest 2019 from August 15 – 18 at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Pittsburgh – Cranberry, just north of Pennsylvania’s “Steel City” in Mars, PA. We’ll be celebrating mystery, adventure, science fiction, and more as we focus on the pervasive influence of pulp magazines on pop culture across the globe. Click the “Register” button below our home page banner to learn more about joining “America’s Super Pulp Con!”

(Pulp historian David Saunders learned how the painting “of the guy in a red cape and blue tights came to be hanging in the Lehman College library” while researching his book, H. J. WARD, published in 2012 by The Illustrated Press.

David will be discussing “The Secret Life of Women Pulp Artists” at this year’s PulpFest. We hope you’ll be able to join us on Friday, August 16, for David Saunder’s presentation.)

Related Posts

Share This

About New Pulp Tales

Feb 15, 2019 by

Over the years, PulpFest has been a strong supporter of New Pulp: stories by modern writers who recreate the style of fiction that appeared in the pulp magazines of yore. The authors who labored for the rough paper industry liked to call themselves scribes, word-slingers, penny-a-worders, and, perhaps the most favored term of all, fictioneers. At PulpFest 2019, we’ll celebrate today’s fictioneers — the authors writing the new pulp fiction! On Friday and Saturday, the convention will feature a variety of authors reading from their works and fielding questions and comments from their listeners.

On Saturday, August 17, you can also join PulpFest 2019 for “Contemporary Pulp: Writing the New Pulp Fiction.” Moderated by Fu Manchu author William Patrick Maynard, this panel will feature some of today’s leading New Pulp authors. Joining Bill will be John Bruening, Christopher Paul Carey, and Will Murray.

While you’re waiting for the convention, why not try New Pulp Tales? It publishes weekly installments harkening back to the golden era of magazine storytelling. The website was born as a result of Chinese food and a Heidi Ruby Miller class on the rising genre of New Pulp. Like-minded classmates in Seton Hill University’s Writing Popular Fiction Master’s Program joined together to create a web platform where they could create original pulp tales for a modern audience. These tales span the genres of Sword and Sorcery, Weird Fiction, Detective Tales, and Science Fiction. There are currently six ongoing stories to dive into on the site.

Give them a try. You’ll find New Pulp Tales at www.newpulptales.com/.

(At the urging of Death, even The Shadow is giving New Pulp Tales a try. At least that’s what we think George Rozen was trying to depict when he painted the cover art for “The Book of Death.” It was the lead novel for the January 15, 1942 number of Street & Smith’s THE SHADOW.)

Related Posts

Share This

Charles Beaumont — A Child of the Pulps

Jan 2, 2019 by

What were the pulps?

Cheaply printed, luridly illustrated, sensationally written magazines of fiction aimed at the lower- and lower-middle-classes.

Were they any good? No. They were great.

DOC SAVAGE, THE SHADOW, THE SPIDER, G-8 AND HIS BATTLE ACES, THE PHANTOM, ADVENTURE, ARGOSY, BLUE BOOK, BLACK MASK, THRILLING WONDER STORIES, MARVEL TALES — and all the hundred-and-one other titles that bedizened the newsstands of America in the halcyon days — provided ecstasy and euphoria of a type unknown to this gloomy generation. They made to crawl deliciously young scalps. They inspired, excited, captivated, hypnotized — and, unexpectedly, instructed — the reckless young . . .

We gave ourselves over wholly to the habit and pursuit of the most potent literary drug known to boy, and all of us suffer withdrawal symptoms to this day.

Charles Beaumont wrote these words for the September 1962 issue of PLAYBOY. He later expanded “The Bloody Pulps” into a chapter for his last book — REMEMBER? REMEMBER? — published by MacMillan in 1963.

A prolific writer of both fiction and nonfiction, Beaumont was born Charles Leroy Nutt on this very day in 1929. According to award-winning writer and editor Roger Anker, “In a career which spanned a brief thirteen years,” Beaumont wrote and sold “ten books, seventy-four short stories, thirteen screenplays (nine of which were produced), two dozen articles and profiles, forty comic stories, fourteen columns, and over seventy teleplays.”

As a teenager, Charles Beaumont published his own fanzine, UTOPIA, and began writing letters to the science fiction pulps. He also began to draw. Collaborating with Ronald Clyne, Beaumont broke into print with a cartoon, published in the October 1943 number of FANTASTIC ADVENTURES. Although he “worked hard, managed to crack most of the pulp magazines with illustrations, graduated to book jackets and slick magazine cartoons,” Beaumont decided he was not an artist. Instead, he turned to writing.

During the summer of 1946, Beaumont met author Ray Bradbury in Los Angeles. Through a mutual interest in comic strips, the two became friends. Bradbury also became Beaumont’s writing mentor, reading and critiquing the budding author’s work. “When I read the first one, I said: ‘Yes. Very definitely. You are a writer,’ recalls Bradbury. ‘It showed immediately. . . . Chuck’s talent was obvious from that very first story.'”

Charles Beaumont’s professional writing career began with the novella, “The Devil, You Say?” published in the January 1951 issue of AMAZING STORIES. Before long, he was appearing in the pulps of his day — primarily digest magazines — IF, IMAGINATION, INFINITY SCIENCE FICTION, THE MAGAZINE OF FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION, MANHUNT, ORBIT SCIENCE FICTION and others. In September 1954, Beaumont’s “Black Country” appeared in PLAYBOY. Before long, his stories were appearing in prestigious magazines such as COLLIER’S, ESQUIRE, and THE SATURDAY EVENING POST.

Beaumont also began to write for television, authoring episodes for programs including ALFRED HITCHCOCK PRESENTS, THE D. A.’S MAN, FOUR STAR PLAYHOUSE, HAVE GUN, WILL TRAVEL, NAKED CITY, ONE STEP BEYOND, ROUTE 66, THRILLER, WANTED: DEAD OR ALIVE, and, most importantly, THE TWILIGHT ZONEBeaumont wrote twenty-two episodes for Rod Serling’s classic series. He also penned a number of screenplays including THE HAUNTED PALACE, THE MASQUE OF THE RED DEATH, and THE CIRCUS OF DR. LAO.

At the height of his writing career, Beaumont began to suffer from a mysterious ailment. “By 1964, he could no longer write. Meetings with producers turned disastrous. His speech became slower, more deliberate. His concentration worsened. . . . after a battery of tests at UCLA, Beaumont was diagnosed as having Alzheimer’s Disease; he faced premature senility, aging, and an early death.” Charles Beaumont died on February 21, 1967 at the age of thirty-eight.

Today, we honor the ninetieth anniversary of the birth of Charles Beaumont. From August 15 – 18, PulpFest 2019 will celebrate this fine author and other “Children of the Pulps.” You can click here to download the convention’s 2019 member registration form. You can also book a room directly through the PulpFest website. Just below the PulpFest banner at the top of the convention’s home page,  you’ll find a link that reads “Book a Room.” Click the link and you’ll be redirected to a secure site where you can place your reservation.

We hope to see you this August at the beautiful DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Pittsburgh – Cranberry in Mars, PA.

(Charles Beaumont was about ten years old when the first issue of PLANET STORIES — dated Winter 1939 and featuring front cover art by Frank R. Paul — appeared on American newsstands. He was the perfect age to become “A Child of the Pulps.” Again, we quote from Beaumont’s “The Bloody Pulps,” first published in the September 1962 PLAYBOY:

“If you were a prepubescent American male in the Twenties, the Thirties or the Forties, chances are you performed the ritual. If you were a little too tall, a little too short, a little too fat, skinny, pimply, an only child, painfully shy, awkward, scared of girls, terrified of bullies, poor at your schoolwork (not because you weren’t bright but because you wouldn’t apply yourself), uncomfortable in large crowds, given to brooding, and totally and overwhelmingly convinced of your personal inadequacy in any situation, then you certainly performed it.

Which is to say, you worshiped at the shrine of the pulps.”

Although Beaumont would break into the pulps proper with a story in the January 1951 issue of AMAZING STORIES, most of his early fiction would appear in the science fiction digests. One of these — ORBIT SCIENCE FICTION — featured three Beaumont tales, including “Hair of the Dog” in its July-August 1954 number. Leading pulp artist, Rudolph Belarski, would contribute the front cover art for the issue.)

PulpFest is Back on Instagram!

Dec 4, 2018 by

After 2+ years, PulpFest is back on Instagram. You can follow us at https://www.instagram.com/pulpfest/.

Right now, we’re still working out the rust. But we hope to post photos regularly. Be sure to watch for them.

In the coming days, we plan to feature PulpFest‘s post cards and flyers from the last ten years. But you’ll have to follow us on Instagram to see them.

(We also hope you join PulpFest in August 2019 for “Children of the Pulps and Other Stories.” We plan to explore the many ways pulp fiction and pulp art have influenced writers, artists, film directors, software developers, game designers, and other pop culture creators over the decades. Click the registration button below our home page banner to become a member of PulpFest 2019!)

Related Posts

Share This