PulpFest is organized by a committee of five—Jack Cullers, Barry Traylor and Mike Chomko, who for many years managed the auctions for Pulpcon; Ed Hulse, publisher and editor of Blood ‘n’ Thunder; and Chuck Welch, social media consultant and sitesmith for the Hidalgo Trading Company. Assisting the committee with design work is Chris Kalb, the art director for Age of Aces Books and one of the leading developers of pulp-related websites on the Internet. Here’s a little background….
Chairman Jack Cullers was born on a ranch in Montana (or maybe it was a farm in Ohio) where he grew up wrestling pet dogs and garter snakes. It was there that a steady diet of Frank Gruber Westerns turned him into the rough and tumble character we all know and love. Now a resident of Bellbrook, Ohio, Jack has turned in his six-guns for a job with the Greene County Public Library System. He lives with his charming wife Sally, his lovely daughter Sam (who, with Mom, bakes some of the best cookies and brownies for consumption by pulp con regulars), and several rambunctious dogs. Jack is well known in convention circles for his organizing skills. He has also been known to ask people to “step outside” if they desire an exceptionally nice copy of Western Story Magazine that he needs for his collection. Generally, these miscreants are taken away in a cardboard box. “While parts of my bio may be a bit of an exaggeration, there is something about this committee that is not. I really enjoy working with the other members. While we sometimes disagree, we are able to discuss problems and move on. There is no ‘I am the Boss’ feeling here. We are all looking forward to an exciting and well-attended PulpFest this year.” In 2012, Jack and Sally Cullers were recognized for their outstanding service to the pulp community by being named the recipients of the first Rusty Hevelin Service Award.
Although he spends every October preparing his yard for his “Halloween Haunt,” J. Barry Traylor’s enjoyment of pulps matches his love for that holiday. Barry has been breathing pulp flakes for longer than most people spend in the workaday world. He has been organizing book and pulp auctions for just about the same amount of time, almost single-handedly putting together a couple hundred items for sale in a single night’s auction. In 2008, Barry quickly mastered the art of digital photography and stunned one convention crowd with his wonderful images of pulps ranging from rarities like Far East Adventure Stories to more common titles such as Amazing Stories. Retired from the printing industry, Barry makes his home in Lancaster, Pennsylvania in a relatively uncluttered home with his lovely and understanding wife Lynn. His biggest delights are his two granddaughters, with whom he often partakes in tea parties. During these festivities, he usually removes his high-grade copies of Terror Tales from display. His favorite pulp is Weird Tales, something he learned to enjoy while learning at the feet of his pulp mentor, the late Richard Minter.
Mike Chomko, the winner of the 2010 Munsey Award, has been a regular at pulp cons since the early nineties. Somewhere along the line, he started helping his friends, Jack Cullers and Barry Traylor, with the auctions held at several conventions. In September of 2008, Jack, Barry, and Mike joined with Ed Hulse to launch PulpFest, the convention that has become the summer show to attend in the pulp community. A former member of the Pulp Era Amateur Press Society, Mike was the publisher of Purple Prose, a well-respected pulp fanzine that ran for seventeen issues in the late nineties and early 2000s. Mike’s PulpFest partner, Ed Hulse, once told him that Purple Prose helped to inspire the launching of today’s leading pulp fanzine, Blood ‘n’ Thunder. In real life, Mike is a registered nurse, working in the operating room of one of Allentown, Pennsylvania’s several hospitals. He is also a well-known bookseller of pulp reprints and related reference materials. He has been married to Dianne for over thirty years and is the father of two grown children. Mike’s pulp-related book catalog is posted about every six weeks at his Mike Chomko Books website. You can also receive Mike’s catalog via email by writing to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For decades now, Ed Hulse has been scouring the back alleys and deserted farmhouses of his home state of New Jersey, searching for old pulps and 16mm prints of vintage motion pictures. Not content with what he was finding in his home town, he can now be found rummaging through boxes of old pulp magazines in places as far away as Singapore and Kodiak, Alaska, trying to find a pulp that measures up to his lofty Hulsian standards. When not sifting through eBay listings, Ed works as a free-lance journalist. He has been helping to organize pulp and film conventions for many years. He’s the guy who runs the movie projector at the Windy City Pulp and Paper Convention and also publishes Blood ‘n’ Thunder, the leading pulp and popular culture fanzine of our day and age, and Murania Press books. Additionally, Ed has written extensively about both the pulp and motion-picture fields. His The Blood ‘n’ Thunder Guide to Pulp Fiction should be on the bookshelves of every pulp collector. Ed’s publications are available through Amazon.com and other fine booksellers. In 2007, Ed was presented with the Lamont Award for his exceptional work within the pulp community.
Although some may believe he is old enough to have purchased pulps off the newsstand, Chuck Welch is a mere whippersnapper. As one of the original Internet Fans of Bronze, Chuck started attending the summer pulp convention in the late 1990s. After meeting his future wife at one of those conventions, Chuck took some time off to start a family. At the behest of Bill Mann, he returned to attend PulpFest. As is his wont, Chuck immediately started volunteering and making suggestions to Jack, Barry, Ed, and Mike. Having enough of his puppy-dog eyes, the fearsome foursome asked Chuck if he’d like to join the team. Recently moved and having foisted off his old businesses, Chuck accepted. His goal for PulpFest 2014 is to not have any other members call for his head.
Chuck resides in La Crosse, Wisconsin with his wife and daughter. Though the youngest Welch has access to three complete collections of Doc Savage novels, she hasn’t yet found her parent’s love for the character. A generalist by heart, Chuck won’t claim an expert’s knowledge in any area of pulps or pulp collecting. However, he brings technical expertise in the fields of social media, new and dinosaur journalism, and organization.
And helping . . .
Designer and cartoonist Chris Kalb is known in pulp circles for his hero pulp websites, like The 86th Floor and The Spider Returns. He is also the lead designer for Age of Aces Books, a pulp reprint house that specializes in air war fiction. In 2010, Age of Aces received two National Indie Excellence Awards for Chris’ work on the bestselling The Spider Vs. the Empire State. Out in the real world, Chris is a website designer and freelance artist, illustrating books such as ‘Scuse Me While I Kiss This Guy and Other Misheard Lyrics by Gavin Edwards (Fireside), Up Your [SAT] Score (Workman), and Cooking Rocks! Rachael Ray’s 30-Minute Meals For Kids, a New York Times Bestseller in 2004. Chris has continued to work with Rachael on Everyday With Rachael Ray magazine and with the 2008 cookbook Yum-o! More years ago than he cares to mention, Chris’ comic strip in the Yale Daily News won him the Scripps Howard Foundation’s Charles M. Schulz Award for the nation’s most promising college cartoonist. You can sample his comics at breakupgirl.net and for more about Chris, please visit Chris Kalb’s Pop-Up Portfolio.
For questions about these guys, contact local law enforcement. If you’d like to reach any of them via email, simply type their first names followed by “@pulpfest.com.”