The Psychos of Philip José Farmer — The Nine

May 15, 2017 by

Since 2011, PulpFest has hosted FarmerCon, a convention that began in Peoria, Illinois, the hometown of Philip José Farmer. Originally a gathering of Farmer fans figuratively, and literally, in Farmer’s back yard, 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 such as PulpFest, Farmer fans get a variety of programming and a room full of pulp and book dealers to enjoy. As always, PulpFest is very pleased to welcome its FarmerCon members to our joint conference.

We’re equally pleased that year after year, FarmerCon has asked to help with our programming. On Friday, July 28 at 7 PM, please join PulpFest as we turn our programming stage over to our FarmerCon XII members and “The Psychos of Philip José Farmer — The Nine.” Win Scott Eckert, who edited the anthology MYTHS FOR THE MODERN AGE: PHILIP JOSÉ FARMER’S WOLD NEWTON UNIVERSE and collaborated with Phil on THE EVIL IN PEMBERLEY HOUSE, the novel that introduced adventuress Patricia Wildman, will moderate the panel. Joining him will be Frank Schildiner — author of THE QUEST OF FRANKENSTEIN, THE TRIUMPH OF FRANKENSTEIN, and other works — and Dr. Art Sippo, author of SUN KOH: HEIR OF ATLANTIS and host of the ArtsReviews podcast.

As this year’s PulpFest will be focusing on the “hardboiled dicks, dangerous dames, and a few psychos” of the pulps, our FarmerCon friends have decided to turn their attention toward Philip José Farmer’s novels of the Nine: A FEAST UNKNOWN, LORD OF THE TREES, and THE MAD GOBLIN. Win Scott Eckert is currently working on the fourth book in the series — a Doc Caliban novel entitled THE MONSTER ON HOLD — which is based on a chapter and high-level outline written by Farmer and published in the program book of the 1983 World Fantasy Convention. The series recounts the ongoing battle of the ape-man, Lord Grandrith, and the man of bronze, Doc Caliban, against the Nine, a secret cabal of immortals bent on amassing power and manipulating the course of world events.

With both Art Sippo and Win Scott Eckert having contributed introductions or afterwords to the Titan Books editions of Philip José Farmer’s books, expect a thought provoking and in-depth look at the Nine and the two men who seek to defeat them. It’s all part of PulpFest 2017 and FarmerCon XII at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Pittsburgh – Cranberry, just north of Pennsylvania’s “Steel City” of Pittsburgh. To register for both conventions, please click the Register for 2017 button just below the PulpFest home page banner. To book a room at the DoubleTree by Hilton — our host hotel — click one of the Book a Room buttons likewise located on the PulpFest home page.

Start planning now to attend PulpFest 2017 and FarmerCon XII and join hundreds of pulp fiction and Philip José Farmer fans at the pop-culture center of the universe. You’ll have a maddening time, especially if you’re planning to stay at the DoubleTree! We look forward to seeing you from July 27 – 30.

(Philip José Farmer’s LORD OF THE TREES was originally released in 1970 by Ace Books as part of their double line of paperbacks. The other half the book featured THE MAD GOBLIN. Both sides of the book featured covers created by Gray Morrow, a comic book and paperback artist who also illustrated many science-fiction magazines. He was nominated for the Hugo Award for best professional artist in 1966, 1967, and 1968.)

A Few Psychos: The Villains of THE SHADOW

May 12, 2017 by

With over 300 novels, decades of radio adventures, and multiple movie appearances, The Shadow has faced down more evil than any other pulp hero. Robbers! Killers! Thieves! Con men! And . . . Psychos? Join Tim King on Friday, July 28, at 9:40 PM for a night of “Psycho Bingo” as he showcases a few of the nemeses of The Knight of Darkness.

A hero is defined by his villains. Voodoo Master? Sure. Benedict Stark, The Prince of Evil? Of course. Shiwan Khan? Inevitably. But there are many, many other high quality psychos in the pulp adventures of The Shadow. Tim will use forensic psychology in a fast-paced look back at some of the more dastardly, manipulative, sociopathic antagonists of The Dark Avenger. How are psychopathic villains different than others? Are their actions predictable or preventable? How does The Shadow deal with evil, remorseless psychotic villains? (Hint: it starts with a 4 and ends with a 5). If you love The Shadow, and you want to sneak a peek into his secret archives and get inside the methods and motives of his adversaries, then this is the talk for you!

Tim King is a career Intelligence Officer with training and experience in forensic psychology — the application of psychology to the criminal justice system. He presented at PulpFest 2015 and contributed an essay to Anthony Tollin’s Sanctum SHADOW reprint #103 entitled, “Spycraft and The Shadow.” He is not a psychologist or medical doctor, but he recently stayed at a Doubletree by Hilton. And he is adamant that The Shadow’s greatest female Agent was Myra Reldon, not what’s-her- name.

(George Rozen replaced his brother Jerome as THE SHADOW cover artist in 1931. He went on to become The Shadow’s most renowned cover artist, while his brother branched out into the more prestigious fields of advertising and slick magazines. Selling cover paintings — such as this one for the July 1, 1934 issue of THE SHADOW MAGAZINE — to a wide variety of pulp magazines, including CAPTAIN FUTURE, DR. YEN SIN, THE PHANTOM DETECTIVE, THRILLING ADVENTURES, WAR STORIES, WESTERN ACES, and WINGS, George remained active in the pulp magazine industry through the Second World War. Following the war, his illustrations appeared regularly on paperbacks from Popular Library and Ace Books.)

The Dangerous Dames of Maxwell Grant

May 10, 2017 by

Maxwell Grant was a pen name used by the authors of The Shadow pulp magazine stories. Street & Smith, the publishers of THE SHADOW MAGAZINE, asked Walter B. Gibson, the writer they originally hired to chronicle the Shadow’s adventures, to create a pen name so that numerous authors could be used to write the stories without confusing the readers. Gibson, who was also a nonfiction writer, adopted the pen name Maxwell Grant, taking the name from two magic dealers he knew, Maxwell Holden and U. F. Grant.

Four authors besides Gibson have used the Maxwell Grant pseudonym over the years: Theodore Tinsley, who wrote 27 Shadow stories between 1936 and 1943; Lester Dent, who wrote one story, “The Golden Vulture,” in 1938; Bruce Elliott, who wrote fifteen Shadow stories between 1946 and 1948; and Dennis Lynds, who wrote nine Shadow paperback novels between 1964 and 1967.

Although most hardboiled pulp fiction in the pulps featured male protagonists, some very dangerous dames also found their way into the rough paper magazines. These hardboiled ladies helped to pave the way for such modern day gumshoes as Sue Grafton‘s Kinsey Millhone, Marcia Muller‘s Sharon McCone, and Sara Paretsky‘s V. I. Warshawski. As part of our celebration of the “hardboiled dicks, dangerous dames, and a few psychos,” of the pulps, please join PulpFest 2017 on Thursday evening, July 27, at 10:30 PM as Anthony Tollin explores “The Dangerous Dames of Maxwell Grant: Myra Reldon, Margo Lane, and Carrie Cashin.”

Although Margo Lane is, by and large, the best known of these three characters, she is probably the least dangerous of Grant’s dames. Writing in DEADLY EXCITEMENTS, the late Robert Sampson remarked, “. . . she was a feather-headed nitwit, a flighty pest who lacked any sense of personal danger. . . . The Shadow treated her rather humorously, as if she were a kitten full of catnip. She caused more trouble than she was worth.”

The character was originally created for the Mutual radio broadcasts networks and debuted in 1937. A friend and companion to Lamont Cranston, Margo Lane spies for his alter ego, The Shadow. She would later make her first print appearance in the The Shadow newspaper strips. In 1941, Walter B. Gibson included her in her first pulp novel, “The Thunder King.”

Myra Reldon was the first female agent to work for The Shadow. Born in Shanghai, she had spent many years in Asia learning the languages and the customs of the Chinese. This led her to become an undercover agent for the U. S. Department of Justice, where she disguised herself as “Ming Dwan,” and investigated Chinese matters. The Shadow came in contact with her while working on a case in San Francisco’s Chinatown. He was impressed with her talents and brought her into his organization. Her first appearance was in the 1937 story, “The Teeth of the Dragon.”

Although he used his real name for the Carrie Cashin stories, Theodore Tinsley was the writer who most often — after Walter Gibson — hid behind the Maxwell Grant house name. Attractive as sin, hard-boiled as hell, and one of the very first of the hardboiled lady dicks of the pulps, Carrie Cashin appeared in over three dozen action-packed, fast-paced stories, starting in the November 1937 issue of Street & Smith’s CRIME BUSTERS. This dangerous dame continued in that magazine through a name change — to MYSTERY MAGAZINE in 1939 — right up to her final appearance in November 1942, one of the last issues of the pulp.

Anthony Tollin, publisher, writer, and researcher, is best known for his reprints of Doc Savage, The Shadow, The Spider, and other pulp heroes, issued through the Sanctum Books imprint. These books serve as a source of entertainment and knowledge for veteran pulp fans as well as a major gateway for new people to enter the pulp-collecting hobby. Additionally, Tony was the co-author — with Walter Gibson — of THE SHADOW SCRAPBOOK, and helped to put together and introduce numerous recorded collections of pulp-related radio programs during his association with Radio Spirits. He was also involved with several comic book interpretations of the great pulp heroes and worked as a colorist for many years, primarily for DC Comics. In 2011, Anthony received the Munsey Award for his many contributions to the pulp community.

(Myra Reldon, one of the dangerous dames created by the authors who hid behind the pseudonym of Maxwell Grant, first appeared in the November 15, 1937 issue of THE SHADOW, published by Street & Smith and featuring front cover art by George Rozen.

Although he used his own name for the Carrie Cashin stories, Theodore Tinsley also used the Grant pseudonym, writing 27 of The Shadow’s pulp adventures. His most dangerous dame, Ms. Cashin, was featured in 39 issues of CRIME BUSTERS and MYSTERY MAGAZINE. From time to time, she garnered top cover billing on the magazine — including the November 1938 issue, featuring work by an unknown artist — that also ran the adventures of Lester Dent’s Click Rush, Walter B. Gibson’s Norgil the Magician, Frank Gruber’s Jim Strong, Norvell Page’s The Death Angel, and others.)


Artist Gloria Stoll Karn to be PulpFest GOH

Feb 27, 2017 by

With 2017 being the year that PulpFest celebrates the hardboiled dicks, dangerous dames, and psychos of the pulps, we’re very pleased to welcome as our Guest of Honor, pulp artist Gloria Stoll Karn. In a field dominated by men, it was highly unusual for a woman to be painting covers for pulp magazines. But at age seventeen, Gloria Stoll began contributing black and white interior illustrations to pulp magazines. In a few years, the young artist was painting covers. How’s that for a dangerous dame?

It was Rafael DeSoto who inspired Gloria to become a commercial artist and introduced her to Popular Publications. A graduate of New York’s High School of Music and Art, Gloria Stoll began her career doing black and white interior illustrations for Popular. This evolved into painting covers for the publisher’s line of women’s pulps, particularly RANGELAND ROMANCES. She also did covers for Popular’s ALL-STORY LOVE, LOVE BOOKLOVE NOVELS, LOVE SHORT STORIES, NEW LOVE, ROMANCE, ROMANCE WESTERN, and Standard Publications’ THRILLING LOVE.

Beginning in late 1943, Stoll also began painting covers for Popular’s mystery and detective pulps. Her work was featured on BLACK MASK, DETECTIVE TALES, DIME MYSTERY MAGAZINE, and NEW DETECTIVE. In addition, she did interior illustrations for ARGOSY magazine. The artist continued working in the pulp field until 1949.

In Ms. Stoll Karn’s own words: “Pulp artists were required to come up with ideas for the magazine covers which reflected the general flavor of the stories within. Moving on to painting covers for mystery and detective magazines involved a radical conceptual switch. It was a surprise when I came up with gruesome ideas and concluded that, within the human psyche, there is a shadow side of which we are often unaware. I am grateful that my work struck a balance which uncovered the dark side within, along with the light side depicting the joys of romance.”

Gloria’s pulp artist career ended abruptly when she married Fred Karn in 1948. The couple moved to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania where they raised three children. In the 1950s, Stoll Karn began teaching art classes. Her work has been exhibited at the Carnegie Museum of Art, the Brooklyn Museum’s National Print Annual, and the Pittsburgh Watercolor Society’s International Exhibition. Her work is in the permanent collections of Yale University, the Carnegie Museum of Art, Westinghouse Corporation, the Speed Art Museum, the Brooklyn Museum of Art, and the Pittsburgh Department of Education. She is listed in WHO’S WHO IN AMERICAN ART. Her current work is in abstraction and draws upon her life experience.

PulpFest is very pleased to welcome as its 2017 Guest of Honor, one of the few surviving contributors to the pulp magazine industry, Gloria Stoll Karn. Pulp art historian David Saunders — winner of our 2016 Lamont Award — will be joining Ms. Stoll Karn to discuss her freelance career in the pulps and much more on Saturday evening, July 29, from 7:30 to 8:10 at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Pittsburgh – Cranberry — just north of Pennsylvania’s “Steel City.”

We look forward to seeing you at the “pop culture center of the universe” from July 27 through July 30 at the beautiful DoubleTree by Hilton in Mars, Pennsylvania. Please join Gloria Stoll Karn — that “dangerous dame of pulp art” — and PulpFest for our celebration of the hardboiled dicks, dangerous dames, and psychos of the pulps. You can register for the convention by clicking one of the registration buttons on our home page. To make place a reservation with the DoubleTree, please click one of our “book a room” buttons.

Thanks so much to everyone who has reserved a room at our host hotel. By staying at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Pittsburgh – Cranberry, you’ve helped to ensure the convention’s success.

(DETECTIVE TALES was the number three title in Popular Publications’ detective pulp group. The publisher’s number one title was DIME DETECTIVE MAGAZINE, which saved Popular from going under during the challenging years of The Great Depression. After that came BLACK MASK, the pulp where the hardboiled detective genre originally took form. Popular had purchased the magazine from Pro-Distributers Publishing in 1940. DETECTIVE TALES ran for eighteen years, mainly on a monthly basis, producing a total of 202 issues. Most of the issues offered twelve stories for ten cents. In 1953, Popular merged it with NEW DETECTIVE to form FIFTEEN DETECTIVE STORIES. Between 1943 and 1945, Gloria Stoll Karn contributed six covers to DETECTIVE TALES, including the July 1945 number.

Although it is best remembered for its action-oriented pulps — magazines such as DIME WESTERN, ARGOSY, G-8 AND HIS BATTLE ACES, and THE SPIDER — Popular also boasted a strong women’s line-up. Although it never approached the popularity of Street & Smith’s LOVE STORY MAGAZINE or Warner Publications’ RANCH ROMANCES, the Popular line featured a number of successful titles. RANGELAND ROMANCES — which debuted with its June 1935 number — was one of its leading pulps for the women’s market. It lasted into 1955 — when it was absorbed by DIME WESTERN MAGAZINE — and ran for over 200 issues. Between 1943 and 1949, Gloria Stoll Karn contributed forty-two covers to RANGELAND ROMANCES, including the July 1944 number.)


Coming Soon to Pittsburgh — PulpFest 2017!

Jan 23, 2017 by

Are you thinking about attending PulpFest 2017? You’re probably wondering what to expect from this year’s convention. PulpFest is known for its great programming and the line-up that we’re planning for our 2017 convention is shaping up to be one of our best.

The focus of this year’s convention will be hardboiled dicks, dangerous dames, and a few psychos. We’ll be exploring DIME DETECTIVE MAGAZINE — one of the pulps where the hard-boiled detective story began to take shape — and Robert Leslie Bellem’s tough-guy detective, Dan Turner; Pat Savage, The Domino Lady, and other dangerous dames of the pulps, the hardboiled ladies who helped pave the way for such modern day gumshoes as Sue Grafton‘s Kinsey Millhone, Marcia Muller‘s Sharon McCone, and Sara Paretsky‘s V. I. Warshawski; and some of the mad scientists, crazed hunchbacks, and foul cultists who decimated American cities on a monthly basis in the rough-paper magazines. We’ll also be saluting the hundredth anniversary of the birth of Robert Bloch, the author of PSYCHO — later adapted to film by Alfred Hitchcock. Bloch got his start as a writing professional in the pulps.

To give you an idea about what you’ll encounter from July 27 through July 30 at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Pittsburgh – Cranberry — just north of Pennsylvania’s “Steel City” — below is the proposed scheduled for PulpFest 2017. We hope to see you at the convention. You can join PulpFest by clicking the Register for 2017 button on our home page. And don’t forget to book a room at the DoubleTree. They’re going fast!

Preliminary Schedule for PulpFest 2017

Thursday, July 27

Dealers’ Room

4:00 PM – 11:00 PM — Dealers’ Room Set-Up

4:00 PM – 8:00 PM — Early Registration

6:00 PM – 9:00 PM — Dealers’ Room Open for Early-Bird Shopping (free with your stay at the Double-Tree)


9:10 – 9:40 PM — Robert Bloch’s PSYCHO: SANITARIUM — A Reading by Chet Williamson

9:40 – 10:05 PM — The Dangerous Dames of Kenneth Robeson: Pat Savage, Nellie Gray and Rosabel Newton (Chuck Welch)

10:05 – 10:15 PM— Scarlet Adventuress — The Domino Lady — A Reading by Ron Fortier

10:15 – 10:50 PM — Compliments of the Domino Lady (Michelle Nolan)

10:50 – 11:00 PM — Intermission

11:00 – 11:30 PM — Pulp-Pourri Theatre Presents “The Return of Mr. Fye”

Friday, July 28

Dealers’ Room

9:00 AM – 10:00 AM — Early Registration and Dealers’ Room Set-Up

10:00 AM – 4:45 PM — Dealers’ Room Open to All


12:45 – 4:30 PM — New Fictioneers Readings — (author readings by Jim Beard, John Bruening, Peter McGarvey, Heidi Ruby Miller, and Don Shakers)

6:55 – 7:00 PM — Welcome to PulpFest 2017 (Convention Chairman Jack Cullers)

7:00 – 7:20 PM — The Psychos of Philip José Farmer — The Nine (Win Scott Eckert, Frank Schildiner, and Art Sippo)

7:20 – 7:30 PM — The Psychos of Philip José Farmer — Win Scott Eckert Reads from THE MONSTER ON HOLD

7:30 – 7:50 PM — Philip José Farmer and Robert Bloch (Mike Croteau of Meteor House)

7:50 – 8:00 PM — Intermission

8:00 – 8:40 PM — 100 Years with the Author of Psycho: Robert Bloch (Garyn Roberts)

8:40 – 8:50 PM — Pulp-Pourri Theatre Presents Robert Leslie Bellem, a Dan Turner Reading

8:50 – 9:30 PM — Hardboiled and Dangerous: The Many Characters of Erle Stanley Gardner (Jeffrey Marks)

9:30 – 9:40 PM — Intermission

9:40 – 10:20 PM — Hardboiled Dicks: A Look at DIME DETECTIVE MAGAZINE (Matt Moring)

10:20 – 10:30 PM — Philip José Farmer’s Most Dangerous Dame — Win Scott Eckert Reads from THE SCARLET JAGUAR

10:30 – 10:55 PM — The Dangerous Dames of Maxwell Grant: Myra Reldon, Margo Lane, and Carrie Cashin (Will Murray)

11:00 – 11:30 PM — Pulp-Pourri Theatre Presents “Return to the Sabbath,” a WEIRD Audio Play by Robert Bloch

Saturday, July 29

Dealers’ Room

10:00 AM – 4:45 PM — Dealers’ Room Open to All

3:00 – 4:15 PM — Auction Viewing at the DoubleTree


12:30 – 2:00 PM — New Fictioneers Readings — (author readings by Win Scott Eckert and Frank Schildiner)

2:15 – 3:15 PM — Six Writers of New Pulp (moderator Ron Fortier and authors Fred Adams, Jr., John Bruening, Wayne Carey, Michael Maynard, and Charles Millhouse)

3:30 – 4:00 PM —  Pulp-Pourri Theatre Presents “The Return of Mr. Fye”

5:00 – 6:50 PM — PulpFest 2017 Group Meal at Ember & Vine in the DoubleTree (Volunteer Coordinator Sally Cullers)

7:00 – 7:20 PM — PulpFest 2017 Business Meeting (meet the convention organizers)

7:20 – 7:30 PM — 2017 Munsey Award Presentation (presented by Laurie Powers)

7:30 – 8:10 PM — Guest of Honor Gloria Stoll Karn with David Saunders

8:10 – 8:20 PM — The Wild Adventures of Pat Savage by Will Murray — A Reading by Pulp-Pourri Theatre

8:20 – 8:50 PM — Hard-Boiled at 100: The Don Everhard Stories of Gordon Young (Tom Krabacher & Walker Martin)

8:50 – 9:10 PM —  Intermission (Auction Viewing)

9:15 – 12:15 AM — Saturday Night at the Auction (John Gunnison and Joseph Saines, Auctioneers)

Sunday, July 30

Dealer’s Room

9:00 AM – 2:00 PM — Dealers’ Room Open to All (many dealers will be packing up; buying opportunities may be limited)

Please note that this schedule is subject to change.

All PulpFest members are welcome to attend our afternoon and evening programming. All programming events will be in the Hemlock and Hickory Rooms at the DoubleTree

For questions about our programming, please write to our programming director Mike Chomko at

For questions about our New Fictioneers Readings, please write to our afternoon programming director Chuck Welch at

For questions about our dealers’ room, please write to our convention chairperson Jack Cullers at

(Designed by PulpFest’s artistic director, William Lampkin, our PulpFest 2017 post card features the work of artist John Newton Howitt. His painting was originally used as the cover for the April 15, 1934 number of Popular Publications’ DIME DETECTIVE MAGAZINE.)