What’s This PulpFest All About?

Mar 27, 2017 by

So what’s this PulpFest that has so many people talking? With almost 3,000 likes on Facebook and more than 700 followers on Twitter, it certainly has been generating a lot of excitement. But what’s it all about?

All-Story 12-10PulpFest is named for pulp magazines — fiction periodicals named after the cheap 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, then 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 with DIME MYSTERY MAGAZINE, SPICY MYSTERY STORIES, and TERROR TALES scaring the wits out of readers. The late thirties saw an explosion of science fiction pulps — led by John W. Campbell’s ASTOUNDING STORIES — with other titles such as FANTASTIC ADVENTURES and PLANET STORIES thrilling readers of all ages.

By the early fifties, the pulps were gone, killed by competition from paperback books, comic books, radio, television, and movies. But the fiction and artwork that appeared in the rough-paper consumables of the early twentieth century kept them alive in the hearts and minds of countless individuals. Haunting back-issue magazine shops, flea markets, science fiction conventions, and other venues, these hearty souls 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 that 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 articles have inspired writers, artists, film directors, software developers, and other creators over the decades.

Why not come see what it’s all about? PulpFest 2017 will be paying tribute to the hardboiled dicks, dangerous dames, and a few psychos of the pulps. We’ll be exploring DIME DETECTIVE MAGAZINE — where the hard-boiled detective story developed into an important fiction genre — 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 rough-paper magazines like THE SHADOW. 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.

The convention’s guest of honor will be Pittsburgh 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? One of the few surviving contributors to the pulp magazine industry, Ms. Stoll Karn will be joined by pulp art historian David Saunders — winner of our 2016 Lamont Award — to discuss her freelance career in the pulps and much more on Saturday evening, July 29.

We’ll have all this plus a dealers’ room featuring tens of thousands of pulp magazines, vintage paperbacks, digests, men’s adventure and true crime magazines, original art, first edition hardcovers, series books, reference books, dime novels and story papers, Big Little Books, B-Movies, serials and related paper collectibles, old-time radio shows, and Golden and Silver Age comic books, as well as newspaper adventure strips. For a look at our planned schedule, please visit our home page and click the Programming for 2017 button just below our banner.

The convention will take place from Thursday evening, July 27, through Sunday afternoon, July 30, 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 “Book a Room for 2017” link on our home page or call 1-800-222-8733. Be sure to mention PulpFest in order to receive the convention rate.

Start making your plans now to join in our exploration of “Hardboiled Dicks, Dangerous Dames, and a Few Psychos” at the “pop culture center of the universe” called PulpFest 2017.

(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 — who illustrated many of the Munsey magazines as well as the pulp, SHORT STORIES — painted the front cover art for the magazine. Burroughs’ Tarzan is perhaps the most famous character to emerge from the pulps.

Over thirty years after the publication of “Tarzan of the Apes,” a young Gloria Stoll Karn contributed the cover art for the November 1943 issue of Popular Publications’ DIME MYSTERY MAGAZINE. The artist would paint more than 100 covers for the pulps of the 1940s.)

Saturday at PulpFest

Jul 23, 2016 by

Argosy 20-06-12There’s still time to get in on the action. The PulpFest dealers’ room will be open today from 10 AM until 4:45 PM. Located in Battelle South exhibition hall on the third floor of the Greater Columbus Convention Center, our dealers’ room will feature exhibitors selling and trading pulp magazines and related materials, digests, vintage paperbacks, men’s adventure and true crime magazines, first-edition hardcovers, series books, dime novels, original art, Big Little Books, B-movies, serials and related paper collectibles, old-time-radio shows, and Golden and Silver Age as well as pulp-related comic books and games. That’s why PulpFest is known as the “pop culture center of the universe!”

Single-day memberships to PulpFest will be available for $20 for Saturday and $10 for Sunday. Children who are fifteen and younger and accompanied by a parent, will be admitted free of charge. Members will be able to register for the convention at any time during regular dealers’ room hours. To help things move smoothly, please bring along a completed registration form. You can download a copy by clicking here. Paper forms will also be available at the door. Those who have prepaid for their memberships, will also be able to pick up their registration packets at our door. Please visit our registration page for further details.

For those visiting PulpFest for the day, you can also use the Chestnut Street Garage for parking. Rates vary based on time, but at this writing, $14 will get you a day’s parking. Additional parking is available at the Convention Center underground garage. Again, rates are time-based and, at this writing, $14 will get you parking for 12 hours with no in and out privileges. Click here for a more detailed look at parking near the Hyatt Regency. Alternately, if you don’t mind walking a few blocks, there are many inexpensive options. Click here for an interactive parking map of Columbus and search near 350 North High Street.

Our Saturday afternoon programming will start at 1 PM with our New Fictioneers readings. Afterward, Ron Fortier will moderate a New Pulp Fiction Panel on “Writing Hero Pulp.” It will be followed by a presentation on Anthony Tollin’s Sanctum Books featuring Mr. Tollin and Doc Savage author Will Murray.

Amazing Stories 70-05For pulp fans who like games, gaming fans who like pulps, or just people who like to have fun, PulpFest 2016 will be organizing a gaming track. Many of the themes found in the world of modern games resonate from the pulps and the stories published in those magazines. There are games based on Conan, the Cthulhu Mythos, space operas such as Doc Smith’s Lensman series, westerns, mysteries and, of course, the pulp heroes. Role-playing games, or RPGs, are especially noted for quick action, cliff-hangers, and adventure.

The PulpFest 2016 gaming track will begin at 10 AM on Saturday and last until 10 PM or thereabouts. All games will be set up in the Clark Room, located on the second floor of the Hyatt Regency. The only requirements to play games at PulpFest 2016 are a PulpFest membership, your imagination, and a desire to have a good time. So if you enjoy pulps and you enjoy games, PulpFest will be the place to be.

Come out to PulpFest 2016 where you can explore our substantial dealers’ room and find exciting pulp fiction and books to read. Then stop by our game room where you can save Earth from aliens, explore new planets circling far-flung stars, or seek out ancient artifacts and knowledge.  You’ll learn how to play a variety of new games and “boldly go where no man has gone before.”

The PulpFest dealers’ room will closing be at 4:45 PM today. This should allow plenty of time for people to prepare for our Saturday Night Dinner at Dick’s Last Resort, a get-together arranged by registration and volunteer coordinator Sally Cullers. Dick’s is located at 343 North Front Street, just a few minutes’ walk from the Hyatt Regency Columbus in the Arena District. If you don’t plan to attend PulpFest‘s group meal, there are plenty of other restaurants close to the hotel. You’ll find a guide to the many fine downtown restaurants by clicking here.

Saturday evening’s events will include the PulpFest 2016 Business Meeting. Two lucky PulpFest members who prepay for their membership, book a room for three nights at our host hotel, and choose to attend our business meeting will receive free memberships to PulpFest 2017. You must provide proof of your stay at the Hyatt Regency Columbus and be present at the drawing to receive your prize. It will be followed by the 2016 Munsey Award Presentation.

Our programming for Saturday evening will include Our Guest of Honor presentation, featuring science fiction author and pulp fan Ted White. The editor emeritus of AMAZING STORIES, Mr. White will speak about his career, AMAZING STORIES, science fiction fandom, the pulps, and much, much more from 7:30 to 8:15 in the Union Rooms on the second floor of the Hyatt Regency. Pulp collector and scholar Doug Ellis — the co-founder of the Windy City Pulp and Paper Convention — will also be on hand with a presentation on 120 Years of THE ARGOSY — The World’s First Pulp Magazine. All PulpFest members are very much welcome to attend.

Our evening will conclude with the annual PulpFest Saturday Night Auction. Featuring material consigned by our membership, any member of PulpFest 2016 can submit items to the auction. Your PulpFest badge number will be used as your auction bidder and/or seller number. All lots submitted must have a minimum value of $20. All lots that do not receive a bid of $20 or more will be passed. If you plan to offer an auction lot with a reserve price, your reserve must be $50 or more. No lots with a reserve price of less than $50 will be accepted. PulpFest reserves the right to reject any auction material that is unlikely to meet our minimum bid or reserve price standards as well as our content standards. The convention charges sellers 10% of the selling price for anything sold in the auction.We will begin taking consignments for the auction when our dealers’ room opens at 10 AM. Barry will be accepting material for our auction near the entrance to the PulpFest dealers’ room. The sooner you submit your consignment to our auction coordinator, Barry Traylor, the more likely that it will be included in our auction. All auction lots must be submitted to Barry prior to 2 PM on Saturday, July 23. For additional information, please click on the auction link on our programming schedule.

Spicy Adventure Stories (July 1935)Click on the “Our Auction” link under our homepage banner for highlights of this year’s auction. We’ll have a half-dozen early Arkham House books, including a very collectible copy of H. P. Lovecraft’s THE OUTSIDER AND OTHERS. We’ll also have over two hundred pulps from the collection of the late Woody Hagadish.

You can find additional details about these and all of our presentations by clicking the 2016 Schedule Button found at the top of our home page. Each event on the schedule is linked to a post that provides further information on that event. Just click on the event’s title.

If you are not from the Columbus area and have yet to book your room for this year’s PulpFest, you can try calling 1-888-421-1442 to reach the Hyatt Regency. Perhaps there has been a cancellation. Alternately, you can search for a room at tripadvisor  or a similar website to find a hotel near the convention. Other sites include www.columbusconventions.com/thearea.phpcourtesy of the Greater Columbus Convention Center, and the Experience Columbus lodging page at http://www.experiencecolumbus.com/stay.

PulpFest 2016 will continue tomorrow. Our dealers’ room will be open to all members from 10 AM to 2 PM as our exhibitors pack up. If you are coming just for the day, please be aware that buying and selling opportunities may be limited. Admission to the convention for Sunday, July 24, will be $10, the cost of our annual program book, THE PULPSTER.

Please join us in the Columbus, Ohio Arena district at the Hyatt Regency hotel and the city’s spacious convention center for “Summer’s AMAZING Pulp Con!” You’ll have a FANTASTIC time!

(Although Harold Lamb’s “The Caravan of the Dead” was the cover feature to the June 12, 1920 ARGOSY — featuring front cover art by Fred W. Small — the real highlight of the issue was Murray Leinster’s novelette “The Mad Planet.” Often anthologized, Leinster’s story was called “One of the greatest Munsey scientific romances” by science fiction historian Sam Moskowitz. Pulp scholar Doug Ellis will be discussing such highlights in his presentation on ARGOSY on Saturday, July 23.

Our guest of honor, Ted White, served as the editor of AMAZING STORIES and FANTASTIC from October 1968 until October 1978, upgrading the quality of both magazine’s fiction while showcasing a variety of talented illustrators. One such artist was John Pederson, Jr., whose front cover for the May 1970 AMAZING STORIES was the first original cover painting for White’s magazine. Pederson would paint a half dozen covers for AMAZING and its companion. He also contributed covers to GALAXY, IF, THE MAGAZINE OF FANTASY & SCIENCE FICTION, and WORLDS OF TOMORROW.

Granted, the PulpFest auctions are a bit more tame than the sale of a slave girl, painted by the incomparable H. J. Ward’s as the cover for the July 1935 issue of SPICY ADVENTURE STORIES. Nevertheless our auctions are quite exciting. Plan to attend PulpFest 2016 and find out for yourself why it’s called “Summer’s AMAZING Pulp Con!”)

Friday at PulpFest

Jul 22, 2016 by

Amazing Stories 47-09PulpFest 2016 enters it second day, following a successful night of dealer set-up, early registration, early-bird shopping, and a full slate of exciting programming. If you missed our first day, there’s still plenty of action to come.

From 9 to 10 AM today, the dealers’ room will be open only to dealers for set-up. All visitors will also be able to register for the convention this morning — beginning at 9 PM — and at any time during regular dealers’ room hours. Three-day memberships will be available at the door for $40. Single day memberships will be available for $20 for Friday or Saturday and $10 for Sunday. Children who are fifteen and younger and accompanied by a parent, will be admitted free of charge. To help things move smoothly, please bring along a completed registration form. You can download a copy by clicking here. Paper forms will also be available at the door. Those who have prepaid for their memberships, will also be able to pick up their registration packets at our door. Please visit our registration page for further details.

For those visiting PulpFest for the day, you can also use the Chestnut Street Garage for parking. Rates vary based on time, but at this writing, $14 will get you a day’s parking. Additional parking is available at the Convention Center underground garage. Again, rates are time-based and, at this writing, $14 will get you parking for 12 hours with no in and out privileges. Click here for a more detailed look at parking near the Hyatt Regency. Alternately, if you don’t mind walking a few blocks, there are many inexpensive options. Click here for an interactive parking map of Columbus and search near 350 North High Street.

The dealers’ room will open to all at 10 AM and will remain open until 4:45 PM. Located in Battelle South exhibition hall on the third floor of the Greater Columbus Convention Center, our dealers’ room will feature exhibitors selling and trading pulp magazines and related materials, digests, vintage paperbacks, men’s adventure and true crime magazines, first-edition hardcovers, series books, dime novels, original art, Big Little Books, B-movies, serials and related paper collectibles, old-time-radio shows, and Golden and Silver Age as well as pulp-related comic books and games. That’s why PulpFest is known as the “pop culture center of the universe!”

Western Story 1932-09-03Our afternoon programming will start at 1 PM with our New Fictioneers readings. Our evening programming will begin shortly before 7 PM as PulpFest chairman Jack Cullers offers an official welcome to all attendees. Friday night’s programming will include our FarmerCon XI presentation which will feature a panel of writers who will discuss their collaborations with Grand Master of Science Fiction Philip José FarmerPulpFest favorite David Saunders starts off our celebration of the 120th anniversary of the first pulp magazine with “The Artists Who Make ARGOSY — 120 Years of Sensational Pulp Art;” our salute to the 90th anniversary of the first science fiction magazine continues when Joseph Coluccio, president of the Pittsburgh Area Fantasy and Science Fiction Club, explores the history of AMAZING STORIES during the pulp era; closing out the evening will be pulp historian Laurie Powers with a look at “LOVE STORY MAGAZINE and the Romance Pulp Phenomenon” and author and pop culture scholar Will Murray examining “WESTERN STORY MAGAZINE and the Evolution of the Pulp Western,” both part of PulpFest‘s remembrance of “A Century of the Specialty Pulp.”

You can find additional details about these and all of our presentations by clicking the 2016 Schedule Button found at the top of our home page. Each event on the schedule is linked to a post that provides further information on that event. Just click on the event’s title. All of our programming events will take place in the Union Rooms on the second floor of the Hyatt Regency. Watch for the “panels” banner and you’re there.

If you are not from the Columbus area and have yet to book your room for this year’s PulpFest, you can try calling 1-888-421-1442 to reach the Hyatt Regency. Perhaps there has been a cancellation. Alternately, you can search for a room at tripadvisor  or a similar website to find a hotel near the convention. Other sites include www.columbusconventions.com/thearea.phpcourtesy of the Greater Columbus Convention Center, and the Experience Columbus lodging page at http://www.experiencecolumbus.com/stay

PulpFest 2016 will continue on Saturday and Sunday. It concludes at 2 PM on Sunday, July 24. Please join us in the Columbus, Ohio Arena district at the Hyatt Regency hotel and the city’s spacious convention center for “Summer’s AMAZING Pulp Con!” You’ll have a FANTASTIC time!

(Artist Malcolm Smith‘s cover painting for the September 1947 issue of  AMAZING STORIES illustrated Edmond Hamilton’s “The Star Kings,” one of the author’s finest space operas. Smith’s first cover for AMAZING was the January 1942 number. He also contributed covers and illustrations to FANTASTIC ADVENTURES and Ziff-Davis’s MAMMOTH line of pulp magazines.

Walter M. Baumhofer — best remembered for his classic covers that appeared on DOC SAVAGE MAGAZINE — was one of many great artists whose work — including the September 3, 1932 issue — graced the front covers to Street & Smith’s WESTERN STORY MAGAZINE.)

PulpFest 2016 Primer

Jul 19, 2016 by

2016 Post CardPulpFest 2016 will begin on Thursday, July 21, at 4 PM, as our dealers begin to erect their displays for “Summer’s AMAZING Pulp Con!” All members will be able to register for the convention from 4 to 8 PM, right outside our dealers’ room. There will be early-bird shopping in the dealers’ room from 6 to 9 PM for loyal attendees who help to defray the convention’s costs by staying three nights at our host hotel. The cost is $30 for those who stay elsewhere. Our full programming slate for the evening will begin around 9 PM with a look at The Skipper and The Whisperer, two pulp superheroes that debuted eighty years back in 1936. PulpFest will also be celebrating the 150th anniversary of the birth of science fiction author H. G. Wells with a presentation by Garyn G. Roberts, winner of the 2013 Munsey Award. When our programming is over, PulpFest members are welcome to socialize together in the Hyatt Regency’s Big Bar on 2. Talk “Pulps in the Pub!

If you have not yet booked a room for your stay, call 1-888-421-1442 to reach the Hyatt Regency. Perhaps there has been a cancellation. Please book a room for three nights and register now for PulpFest 2016! If you can’t find a room at the Hyatt Regency Columbus, you’ll find a list of area hotels courtesy of the Greater Columbus Convention Center at www.columbusconventions.com/thearea.phpAlternately, you can search for a room at tripadvisor or a similar website to find a hotel near the convention. Thanks so much to everyone who has reserved a room at our host hotel. By staying at the Hyatt Regency, you’ve helped to ensure the convention’s success.

As mentioned above, early registration for the general membership will take place on Thursday, beginning at 4 PM, right outside the dealers’ room in the Battelle South exhibition hall on the third floor of the Greater Columbus Convention Center. All members, dealers included, can pick up their registration packets at this time. To help things move smoothly, please bring along a completed registration form. You can download a copy by clicking here. Look for the SHOP banner to find our dealers’ room.

For those of you who have not yet registered for PulpFest 2016, Thursday evening will be an ideal time to do so. Four-day memberships will be available for $40. There will be no single-day memberships available for Thursday only. Children who are fifteen and younger and accompanied by a parent, will be admitted free of charge. Please visit our registration page for further details. Members will also be able to register for the convention on Friday morning, beginning at 9 PM, and at any time during regular dealers’ room hours. Single day memberships will be available for $20 for Friday or Saturday and $10 for Sunday.

Please note that advance registrations are no longer available. Our Paypal page was shut down around 10 PM on Monday night.

Wells War of the Worlds film posterFrom 4 PM to 11 PM on Thursday, the dealers’ room will be open for exhibitors to set up their displays. At this point, we urge all of our dealers to take full advantage of our generous load-in and set-up period. Since our dealers’ room will be located in the Greater Columbus Convention Center, unloading and loading for those selling at the convention will be at the center’s loading dock.

To reach the convention center’s loading dock, go north on High Street until you come to Warren Street.  Turn right on Warren and follow it to Summit Street. Summit becomes 3rd Street.  Stay on this street and pass the exit to I-670.  As soon as you pass the exit, you will see a sign that reads, “Right lane ends.” At this sign there is a ramp that goes off to the right.  Take this ramp and it curls around to the docks. The convention plans to have people there to help dealers unload.  After unloading, follow the ramp away from the dock and it takes you to the Chestnut Street garage area.

Remember that we’ll also be offering early-bird shopping in the dealers’ room from 6 to 9 PM on Thursday evening, an extra three hours of selling opportunities to people who are ready to buy!

Although the focus of PulpFest is pulp magazines and related materials, digests, vintage paperbacks, men’s adventure and true crime magazines, first-edition hardcovers, series books, dime novels, original art, Big Little Books, B-movies, serials and related paper collectibles, old-time-radio shows, and Golden and Silver Age as well as pulp-related comic books and games are also allowed.

Amazing Stories 47-06From 9 to 10 AM on Friday, July 22, the dealers’ room will be open only to dealers for set-up. It will open to all at 10 AM and remain open until 4:45 PM. Our afternoon programming will start at 1 PM with the first of our New Fictioneers readings. Our evening programming will begin shortly before 7 PM as PulpFest chairman Jack Cullers offers an official welcome to all attendees. Friday night’s programming will include our FarmerCon XI presentation which will feature a panel of writers who will discuss their collaborations with Grand Master of Science Fiction Philip José FarmerPulpFest favorite David Saunders starts off our celebration of the 120th anniversary of the first pulp magazine with “The Artists Who Make ARGOSY — 120 Years of Sensational Pulp Art;” our salute to the 90th anniversary of the first science fiction magazine continues when Joseph Coluccio, president of the Pittsburgh Area Fantasy and Science Fiction Club, explores the history of AMAZING STORIES during the pulp era; closing out the evening will be pulp historian Laurie Powers with a look at “LOVE STORY MAGAZINE and the Romance Pulp Phenomenon” and author and pop culture scholar Will Murray examining “WESTERN STORY MAGAZINE and the Evolution of the Pulp Western,” both part of PulpFest‘s remembrance of “A Century of the Specialty Pulp.”

On Saturday, July 23, the PulpFest dealers’ room will be open from 10 AM to 4:45 PM. This should allow plenty of time for people to prepare for people to prepare for our Saturday Night Dinner at Dick’s Last Resort, located at 343 North Front Street, just a few minutes’ walk from the Hyatt Regency Columbus in the Arena District. If you don’t plan to attend PulpFest‘s group meal, there are plenty of other restaurants close to the hotel. You’ll find a guide to the many fine downtown restaurants by clicking here.

Our Saturday afternoon programming will start at 1 PM with our New Fictioneers readings. Afterward, Ron Fortier will moderate a New Pulp Fiction Panel on “Writing Hero Pulp.” It will be followed by a presentation on Anthony Tollin’s Sanctum Books featuring Mr. Tollin and Doc Savage author Will Murray.

Eldritch Horror

For pulp fans who like games, gaming fans who like pulps, or just people who like to have fun, PulpFest 2016 will be organizing a gaming track. Many of the themes found in the world of modern games resonate from the pulps and the stories published in those magazines. The PulpFest 2016 gaming track will begin at 10 AM on Saturday and last until 10 PM or thereabouts. All games will be set up in the Clark Room, located on the second floor of the Hyatt Regency. The only requirements to play games at PulpFest 2016 are a PulpFest membership, your imagination, and a desire to have a good time. So if you enjoy pulps and you enjoy games, PulpFest will be the place to be.

Saturday evening’s events will include the PulpFest 2016 Business Meeting. Two lucky PulpFest members who prepay for their membership, book a room for three nights at our host hotel, and choose to attend our business meeting will receive free memberships to PulpFest 2017. The 2016 Munsey Award — presented for service to the pulp community — will also be awarded on Saturday evening.

Argosy 43-01Other programming on Saturday night will include Our Guest of Honor presentation, featuring science fiction author and pulp fan Ted White. The editor emeritus of AMAZING STORIES, Mr. White will speak about his career, AMAZING STORIES, science fiction fandom, the pulps, and much, much more from 7:30 to 8:15 in the Union Rooms on the second floor of the Hyatt Regency. Pulp collector and scholar Doug Ellis — the co-founder of the Windy City Pulp and Paper Convention — will also be on hand with a presentation on 120 Years of THE ARGOSY — The World’s First Pulp Magazine. Our evening will conclude with the annual PulpFest Saturday Night Auction.

Any member of PulpFest 2016 can submit items to the auction. Your PulpFest badge number will be used as your auction bidder and/or seller number. We will begin taking consignments for the auction when our dealers’ room opens at 10 AM. Barry will be accepting material for our auction near the entrance to the PulpFest dealers’ room. The sooner you submit your consignment to our auction coordinator, Barry Traylor, the more likely that it will be included in our auction. All auction lots must be submitted to Barry prior to 2 PM on Saturday, July 23.

All lots submitted must have a minimum value of $20. All lots that do not receive a bid of $20 or more will be passed. If you plan to offer an auction lot with a reserve price, your reserve must be $50 or more. No lots with a reserve price of less than $50 will be accepted. PulpFest reserves the right to reject any auction material that is unlikely to meet our minimum bid or reserve price standards as well as our content standards. The convention charges sellers 10% of the selling price for anything sold in the auction. For additional information, please click on the auction link on our programming schedule.

For additional details on all of our afternoon and evening programming events, please click the 2016 Schedule button located just below the banner on our home page for further details. Each entry is linked to a post that provides further information on that event. Just click on the event’s title.

On Sunday, July 24, the dealers’ room will be open to all members from 10 AM to 2 PM as our dealers pack up. If you are coming just for the day, please be aware that buying and selling opportunities may be limited. Admission to the convention for Sunday only will be $10, the cost of our annual program book, THE PULPSTER.

We are hoping that this year’s con will be our biggest and best yet. For some time, we’ve been receiving registrations every day, many from people who have never attended PulpFest before. If you’ve been thinking about attending, but have yet to pull the trigger, please book a room without delay. You can try calling 1-888-421-1442 to reach the Hyatt Regency. Perhaps there has been a cancellation. Alternately, you can search for a room at tripadvisor  or a similar website to find a hotel near the convention. You can also try looking for a room at the Experience Columbus lodging page at http://www.experiencecolumbus.com/stay. You’ll also find a list of area hotels at www.columbusconventions.com/thearea.phpcourtesy of the Greater Columbus Convention Center

Ganymede CityThe Hyatt Regency is located at 350 North High Street in downtown Columbus, Ohio. The hotel is south of I-670, just 15-20 minutes from Columbus International Airport. In the heart of the active Arena District, the Hyatt Regency is just a few minutes’ walk from the trendy Short North Arts District. There are shops and restaurants galore right outside the hotel’s entrance. Click here for map & directions.

For those who will be staying at the Hyatt Regency during the convention, parking is free at the Chestnut Street Garage, one block south of the hotel. The garage is connected to the hotel via an enclosed and covered walkway. For those visiting PulpFest for the day, you can also use the Chestnut Street Garage for parking. Rates vary based on time, but at this writing, $14 will get you a day’s parking. Additional parking is available at the Convention Center underground garage. Again, rates are time-based and, at this writing, $14 will get you parking for 12 hours with no in and out privileges. Click here for a more detailed look at parking near the Hyatt Regency. Alternately, if you don’t mind walking a few blocks, there are many inexpensive options. Click here for an interactive parking map of Columbus and search near 350 North High Street.

For those attendees who would like to ship their purchases to their homes, the Hyatt Regency offers a paid shipping service for its guests. Please inquire at the hotel’s front desk to learn more about this service.

The entire PulpFest 2016 organizing committee – Mike Chomko, Jack and Sally Cullers, Bill Lampkin, Barry Traylor, and Chuck Welch – is looking forward to seeing all of you. Have a safe trip to Columbus for “Summer’s AMAZING Pulp Con.”

(Most of our promotional materials for PulpFest 2016 featured Frank R. Paul’s cover art from the August 1927 issue of AMAZING STORIES, illustrating H. G. Wells’ “War of the Worlds.”

Pulp magazines are not the only collectible that you’ll find at PulpFest. Although there will be thousands of pulp magazines for sale at the convention, other things will be available as well. Perhaps you’ll even find some of the artwork used to publicize George Pal’s THE WAR OF THE WORLDS, released in 1953. Unfortunately, the creator of the publicity art is not known.

In 1938, Ziff-Davis took over AMAZING STORIES and Ray Palmer became the magazine’s editor. Toward the end of his editorial reign, Palmer started “The Shaver Mystery,” a hoax involving an evil race that causes all of mankind’s problems from their home in underground caverns.  The June 1947 issue featuring cover art by Robert Gibson Jones was a special “Shaver Mystery” issue.

By popular demand, one of the PulpFest gaming tables will be running ELDRITCH HORROR, a board game featuring a band of investigators battling entities from the Cthulhu Mythos. From game designers Corey Konieczka  and Nikki Valens, it is published by Fantasy Flight Games and features cover art by Anders Finer.

One of the events that PulpFest will be saluting in 2016 will be the 120th anniversary of the first pulp magazine, THE ARGOSY. Originally founded by Frank A. Munsey in 1882 as a children’s weekly, it was converted to an all-fiction pulp magazine with its December 1896 number. During its long history, it was merged with other pulps, sold to Popular Publications, converted to a bedsheet magazine, and later, to a men’s adventure magazine. ARGOSY for January 1943 — with cover art by Peter Stevens — was one of the magazine’s last issues in the large pulp format. With its September 1943 issue, Popular Publications converted ARGOSY to a slick magazine.

It might not be quite as hospitable as beautiful downtown Columbus, Ohio, but according to pioneering science fiction illustrator Frank R. Paul, the city of Gatos on Ganymede — Jupiter’s largest moon — seemed to be a pretty hopping place! “Gatos, crater city of Ganymede is built at the magnetic pole, and  uses the magnetism of the planet for power, heat, light. Its people — tiger-like — are masters of its animal world, and ride giant lizards.” Frank Paul imagined life on Ganymede for the back cover to AMAZING STORIES for February 1942. This year, PulpFest will celebrate the 90th anniversary of the debut of AMAZING, the first continuing science fiction magazine.)

120 Years of THE ARGOSY — The World’s First Pulp Magazine

Jun 21, 2016 by

Frank A. MunseyThe leading American magazines of the late 1800s – HARPER’S, CENTURY MAGAZINE, and SCRIBNER’S – were beyond the financial and the intellectual reach of the average U. S. citizen. It was left to Frank A. Munsey – a man about whom it has been suggested, “contributed to the journalism of his day the talent of a meat packer, the morals of a money changer and the manner of an undertaker” – to deliver the first American periodical specifically intended for the common man: “A magazine of the people and for the people, with pictures and art and good cheer and human interest throughout.”

Born in Maine, Frank Munsey traveled to New York City and founded a children’s weekly, THE GOLDEN ARGOSY, in 1882. Working largely on credit, he struggled for years, building his circulation through advertising and sheer determination. Deciding that the future lay in the adult market, he started MUNSEY’S WEEKLY in 1889, soon converting it to MUNSEY’S MAGAZINE. In 1893, convinced that a magazine could only be successful if the price was right, he slashed the price of MUNSEY’S  to a dime and marketed it directly to newsdealers, essentially cutting out the middle man.

As the circulation of MUNSEY’S  climbed to hundreds of thousands of copies, the publisher converted THE ARGOSY to an adult magazine, similarly priced and modeled after it’s brethren. Envisioning a new kind of magazine, Frank Munsey wrote, “We want stories . . . . not dialect sketches, not washed out studies of effete human nature, not weak tales of sickly sentimentality, no ‘pretty’ writing . . . . We do want fiction in which there is a story, a force, a tale that means something – in short a story. Good writing is as common as clam shells, while good stories are as rare as statesmanship.”

Argosy 1896-12In October 1896, THE ARGOSY became the first all-fiction magazine. Two months later in a cost-cutting move, it began to be printed on the wood-pulp paper he used for his daily newspaper and the rough-paper fiction magazine, or pulp, was born. Shortly thereafter, its circulation had doubled to about 80,000 copies per issue. By 1907, the year the periodical celebrated its 25th anniversary, its circulation had reached a half million copies, earning its publisher about $300,000 per year.

As its readership grew, THE ARGOSY was bound to attract some imitators. Street & Smith, the longtime publisher of dime novels and story papers, was first to meet the call, debuting THE POPULAR MAGAZINE with its November 1903 issue. As the circulation of his competitors’ magazine grew, it became apparent to Munsey that there was room on the newsstand for more than one pulp. At the end of 1904, the publisher debuted THE ALL-STORY MAGAZINE. It was soon joined by other Munsey magazines – THE SCRAP BOOK and THE RAILROAD MAN’S MAGAZINE (both 1906), THE OCEAN/THE LIVE WIRE (1907), and THE CAVALIER (1908).

Although not the most influential of pulp magazines — pulp scholar Ed Hulse has suggested that title belongs to THE ALL-STORY, a magazine that featured the first published stories of Edgar Rice Burroughs, Max Brand, and A. Merritt, plus the iconic characters John Carter, Tarzan, and Zorro — ARGOSY was widely read by a wide range of readers and enjoyed a long life. It lasted as a pulp — absorbing other titles and taking on new names — for over 1500 issues and nearly fifty years. Following its August 1943 issue, it was converted to the slick format, reducing its fiction content and eventually becoming a men’s adventure magazine. As such, it lasted into the 1970s, its final number dated November 1979.

Please join PulpFest 2016 at 8:25 PM on Saturday, July 23, as we welcome pulp collector and scholar Doug Ellis to our programming stage in the Union Rooms on the second floor of the Hyatt Regency Columbus for a discussion of “120 Years of THE ARGOSY — The World’s First Pulp Magazine.” Doug has been collecting and writing about pulp magazines for over thirty years. In 1987, he founded Tattered Pages Press, a publishing house devoted to reprinting fiction from and books about –the pulps. He’s the editor of the celebrated fanzine PULP VAULT  and co-author — joining John Locke and John Gunnison — of THE ADVENTURE HOUSE GUIDE TO THE PULPS. He’s also the author of UNCOVERED: THE HIDDEN ART OF THE GIRLIE PULPS and the co-founder of the Windy City Pulp and Paper Convention. In recognition of his service to the pulp community, Doug received a Lamont Award in 1996.

Argosy 47-07During his presentation, Doug will touch briefly on the early years of ARGOSY, prior to its conversion to a pulp magazine. He will then turn his attention to the beginnings and the evolution of the pulp, examining the long history of the magazine, including its mergers with other pulps, sale to Popular Publications, conversion to a bedsheet magazine, and later, to a men’s adventure magazine. Doug also plans to visit the many story types and great authors featured in the general fiction magazine, as well as its various series characters such as H. Bedford-Jones’ John Solomon, George F. Worts’ Peter the Brazen, and J. U. Giesy’s and Junius B. Smith’s Semi Dual.

Start making your plans to attend “Summer’s AMAZING Pulp Con” as we salute the 120th anniversary of the birth of the pulp magazine from July 21 through July 24 in the Columbus, Ohio Arena district at the Hyatt Regency hotel and the city’s spacious convention center. “You’ll be in for a great adventure” at PulpFest, the pop culture center of the universe. Please remember that the Hyatt Regency Columbus is sold out of rooms for July 21 through July 23. You’ll find a list of area hotels courtesy of the Greater Columbus Convention Center at www.columbusconventions.com/thearea.phpAlternately, you can search for a room at tripadvisor or a similar website to find a hotel near the convention. Thanks so much to everyone who has reserved a room at our host hotel. By staying at the Hyatt Regency, you’ve helped to ensure the convention’s success.

(In 1882, Frank A. Munsey founded THE GOLDEN ARGOSY, a children’s weekly. Fifty years later, ARGOSY publisher William DeWart wrote “The History of the ARGOSY Magazine,” published in the December 10, 1932 number. It was illustrated with a line drawing of the magazine’s founder.

Beginning with its December 1896 issue — nearly 120 years ago — Munsey converted THE ARGOSY to the first pulp fiction magazine. For over 1500 issues and nearly fifty years, it battled on as a pulp. Following its August 1943 issue, it was converted to the slick format, reducing its fiction content and eventually becoming a men’s adventure magazine. As such, it lasted into the 1970s, its final number dated November 1979.

During its early issues as a slick, ARGOSY employed painted covers, including the July 1947 number with cover art by Charles Dye, a graduate of the American Academy of Art. Moving to New York City, Dye’s first freelance assignments were interior story illustrations for Popular Publications’ western pulp magazines. He later sold covers to Popular’s ADVENTURE, ARGOSY, and other pulps. During the 1950s, he found steady work contributing covers and interior story illustrations to men’s adventure magazines, including SAGA, OUTDOOR LIFE, and ARGOSY.)

 

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120 Years of Murray Leinster

Jun 16, 2016 by

Argosy 29-12-28Although magazines have been around since the seventeenth century, it wasn’t until the last month of 1896 that the pulp magazine was born. It was left to Frank A. Munsey – a man about whom it has been suggested, “contributed to the journalism of his day the talent of a meat packer, the morals of a money changer and the manner of an undertaker” – to deliver the first American periodical specifically intended for the common man — THE ARGOSY. In his own words, Munsey decided to create “a magazine of the people and for the people, with pictures and art and good cheer and human interest throughout.”

That same year, on June 16, a child was born who would become one of THE ARGOSY’s regular writers for nearly four decades — William Fitzgerald Jenkins. Best known and remembered under his pseudonym of Murray Leinster, Jenkins wrote and published more than 1,500 short stories and articles, fourteen movie scripts, and hundreds of radio scripts and television plays. Active as a writer for nearly seven decades, Jenkins’ writing career began in early 1916 when his work began to be featured in H. L. Mencken’s and George Jean Nathan’s THE SMART SET.

Although he wrote in a wide range of genres — western, detective, jungle adventure, horror, spicy, and even love — Jenkins is best known for his science fiction. His first story in the field, “The Runaway Skyscraper,” published in February 22, 1919 issue of ARGOSY AND RAILROAD MAN’S MAGAZINE, is considered a science fiction classic. Other greats, including “The Mad Planet” (ARGOSY for June 12, 1920) and “The Red Dust” (ARGOSY ALL-STORY WEEKLY, April 2, 1921) soon followed.

An extremely adaptable writer, Jenkins/Leinster published some remarkably inventive stories during the late twenties and early 1930s including “The Darkness on Fifth Avenue” (ARGOSY ALL-STORY WEEKLY, November 30, 1929), “The City of the Blind” (ARGOSY, December 12, 1928), “Sidewise in Time” (ASTOUNDING STORIES, June 1934) — which introduced the concept of parallel worlds — and “Proxima Centuri” (ASTOUNDING STORIES, March 1935). He would reach his prime as a science fiction writer during the decade following the Second World War. During this period, Jenkins/Leinster penned such classics as “First Contact” (ASTOUNDING SCIENCE FICTION, May 1945 and probably his most highly regarded story), “A Logic Named Joe” (ASTOUNDING SCIENCE FICTION, March 1946) — which anticipated computers and the Internet — and “Exploration Team” (ASTOUNDING SCIENCE FICTION, March 1956) — which won the 1956 Hugo Award for Best Novelette.

Remaining active in the field until about 1970, Will Jenkins/Murray Leinster died on June 8, 1975. A longtime craftsman in the field of magazine fiction writing, Leinster is fondly remembered as “The Dean of Science Fiction.” He would be 120 years old on this very day.

(Although the fiction of Will Jenkins/Murray Leinster appeared in a wide range of magazines — ARGOSY — including the  December 12, 1928 issue with cover art by Howard V. Brown — BLACK BAT DETECTIVE MYSTERIES, BLACK MASK, BLUE BOOK, BREEZY STORIES, COLLIER’S, COWBOY STORIES, DANGER TRAILS, DETECTIVE FICTION WEEKLY, DETECTIVE STORY MAGAZINE, ESQUIRE, FRONTIER STORIES, JUNGLE STORIES, LOVE STORY MAGAZINE, MYSTERY STORIES, RANCH ROMANCES, THE SATURDAY EVENING POST, SHORT STORIES, THE SMART SET, SNAPPY STORIES, THE THRILL BOOK, THRILLING DETECTIVE, TRIPLE-X WESTERN, WEIRD TALES, and WEST — he is primarily remembered for his science fiction. In that genre, he published in an equally wide range of titles, including the first continuing science fiction magazine, AMAZING STORIES.

Amazing Stories 27-01The early issues of Hugo Gernsback’s magazine featured a great deal of material reprinted from other sources. Works by Jules Verne, H. G. Wells, Edgar Allan Poe, and others were regularly featured in the early numbers of the magazine. Another author featured regularly was Murray Leinster. “The Runaway Skyscraper” was reprinted in the third issue, dated June 1926, while “The Mad Planet” found its way into the eighth issue, dated November 1926. Leinster’s name was featured on the cover to the January 1927 number with cover art by Frank R. Paul. “The Red Dust” appeared inside.

PulpFest 2016 will salute both ARGOSY — the first pulp fiction magazine — and AMAZING STORIES — the first continuing science fiction magazine — at this year’s convention. Please join us in the Columbus, Ohio Arena district at the Hyatt Regency hotel and the city’s spacious convention center from July 21 through July 24 for “Summer’s AMAZING Pulp Con!”

Please remember that the Hyatt Regency Columbus is sold out of rooms for July 21 through July 23. At www.columbusconventions.com/thearea.php, you’ll find a list of area hotels courtesy of the Greater Columbus Convention CenterAlternately, you can search for a room at tripadvisor or a similar website to find a hotel near the convention. Thanks so much to everyone who has reserved a room at our host hotel. By staying at the Hyatt Regency, you’ve helped to ensure the convention’s success.)

The Artists Who Make ARGOSY — 120 Years of Sensational Pulp Art

Jun 8, 2016 by

Argosy 19-10-11On Friday, July 23, at 7:50 PM, one of PulpFest‘s most popular presenters, artist and art historian David Saunders, returns to our programming stage in the Union Rooms on the second floor of the Hyatt Regency Columbus for a look at “The Artists Who Make ARGOSY.

The first all-fiction pulp magazine, THE ARGOSY was founded as a children’s weekly by publisher Frank A. Munsey in 1882. Originally titled THE GOLDEN ARGOSY, it was converted to a general fiction pulp magazine with its December 1896 number. Within ten years, it was selling a half million copies of each issue. Through numerous title and format variations, as well as editorial and publisher changes, the magazine soldiered on for nearly a century, its final number dated November 1979. As a pulp, it lasted for over 1500 issues and nearly fifty years. Following its August 1943 number, it was converted to the slick format, reduced its fiction content, and eventually became a men’s adventure magazine.

Today, ARGOSY is sought after for its authors and its series characters. H. Bedford-Jones, Max Brand (Frederick Faust), Edgar Rice Burroughs, Ellis Parker Butler, Borden Chase, Walt Coburn, Ray Cummings, Norbert Davis, Lester Dent, Ralph Milne Farley, C. S. Forester, Erle Stanley Gardner, Zane Grey, L. Patrick Greene, O. Henry, Robert E. Howard, L. Ron Hubbard, Otis Adelbert Kline, Harold Lamb, Murray Leinster, Gordon MacCreagh, Johnston McCulley, Fred MacIsaac, A. Merritt, Clarence E. Mulford, Hugh Pendexter, Mary Roberts Rinehart, Theodore Roscoe, Charles Alden Seltzer, Perley Poore Sheehan, Upton Sinclair, Francis Stevens, W. C. Tuttle, W. Wirt, Cornell Woolrich, George F. Worts, and countless other talented writers found a home in its rough-paper pages. Popular series characters featured in the magazine included Captain Horatio Hornblower, Carson Napier, Dr. Kildare, Gillian Hazeltine, Hopalong Cassiday, Jan of the Jungle, Jimmie Cordie, John Carter, John Solomon, Madame Storey, Montana Kid, Peter the Brazen, Semi Dual, Sheriff Henry, Singapore Sammy, Tarzan, Thibaut Corday, Zorro, and many others.

argosy 33-09-23But what about the days when ARGOSY was being read by hundreds of thousands of men, women, and children? Although a favorite writer or character was enough to convince a regular ARGOSY reader to part with his or her hard-earned money at the newsstand, it was often a pulp magazine’s artwork that reeled in the new or the casual reader. Like every great pulp magazine, ARGOSY employed some of the best artists in the business: Rudolph Belarski, Ernest Chiriacka, Rafael M. DeSoto, Charles Dye, Marshall Frantz, Robert A. Graef, P. J. Monahan, Roger B. Morrison, Stockton Mulford, John R. Neill, Clinton Pettee, Norman Rockwell, Norman Saunders, Fred W. Small, Paul Stahr, Peter Stevens, Emmett Watson, and others.

Join David Saunders at PulpFest 2016 for a survey of ARGOSY covers and story illustrations, plus rarely seen original cover paintings and drawings, as well as rare photographs of many of the “Artists Who Make ARGOSY,” part of this year’s celebration of the 120th anniversary of the first pulp magazine — THE ARGOSY.

Born in 1954, David Saunders is a New York artist. His work has been collected worldwide and can be found in the Museum of Modern Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Brooklyn Museum of Art, and the Hirschhorn Museum of Art in Washington, DC. He has taught art at Yale, Oberlin, and the Kansas City Art Institute, as well as art schools in France, Korea, Mexico and Japan.

David’s father was the legendary illustrator, Norman Saunders. His mother, Ellene Politis Saunders, worked at Fawcett Publications as Chief Executive Editor for WOMAN’S DAY. In 1972, David became his father’s business secretary, which started a long project to catalog his father’s 7,000 published illustrations. He spent the next seventeen years gathering published examples of his father’s work from used bookshops and submitting each new entry to his father’s inspection. What began as a sentimental hobby for a father and son grew into an impressive archive of 20th century American illustration. After his father’s death in 1989, he completed the archive on his own. He interviewed his father’s surviving associates to record their oral histories. These transcripts helped to broaden his viewpoint of the popular culture publishing industry and also documented vital information about the lives of other artists. Some of this material has been published as biographical profiles in ILLUSTRATION MAGAZINE and several coffee-table art books on pulp artists.

Argosy 47-03David is, quite probably, the foremost scholar of American pulp illustrators. His free public website, Field Guide to Wild American Pulp Artists, has over three-hundred biographical profiles of these creators of popular culture. David continues to research, document, and promote a greater appreciation of pulp artists. To find out more, please visit davidsaunders.biz, normansaunders.com, and theillustratedpress.com.

After checking out David’s credentials, be sure to get ready to attend “Summer’s AMAZING Pulp Con” as we salute the 120th anniversary of the birth of the pulp magazine from July 21 through July 24 in the Columbus, Ohio Arena district at the Hyatt Regency hotel and the city’s spacious convention center. “You’ll be in for a great adventure” at PulpFest, the pop culture center of the universe.

(Over its years as a pulp and later a men’s adventure magazine, ARGOSY was the full package: good authors, good stories, and good art.

Born in San Francisco, Fred W. Small moved to New York City in 1910. Within two years, he was working exclusively for the Munsey magazines, contributing covers and interior art to THE ALL-STORY, ARGOSY — including the October 11, 1919 issue — CAVALIER, and MUNSEY’S MAGAZINE. His last pulp magazine illustrations appeared in 1921.

Robert A. Graef studied art at the Pratt Institute of Brooklyn. Soon after graduation, he began illustrating for a variety of magazines and newspapers. During the First World War, he contributed patriotic recruitment posters to the war effort. He added pulp magazines to his markets during the mid-twenties, most notably ARGOSY — including the September 23, 1933 number. Over the years, he contributed a great deal of art to the Munsey magazine and other pulps.

During its early years as a slick, ARGOSY employed painted covers, including the March 1947 number with cover art by Charles Dye. The artist contributed many interior story illustrations and covers to Popular Publications’ western pulp magazines as well as ADVENTURE and ARGOSY. He later contributed the same to the men’s adventure market.

Good authors, good stories, and good art made ARGOSY a great magazine. Witness the nearly forty years of covers illustrated above.)

Please Pass the Orange Juice

Apr 4, 2016 by

So what’s this PulpFest that has so many people talking? With almost 3,000 likes on Facebook and more than 500 followers on Twitter, it certainly has been generating a lot of excitement. But what’s it all about?

All-Story 12-10PulpFest is named for pulp magazines, fiction periodicals named after the cheap 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, then 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 with DIME MYSTERY MAGAZINE, SPICY MYSTERY STORIES, and TERROR TALES scaring the wits out of readers. The late thirties saw an explosion of science fiction pulps — led by John W. Campbell’s ASTOUNDING STORIES — with other titles such as FANTASTIC ADVENTURES and PLANET STORIES thrilling readers of all ages.

By the early fifties, the pulps were gone, killed by competition from paperback books, comic books, radio, television, and movies. But the fiction and artwork that appeared in the rough-paper consumables of the early twentieth century kept them alive in the hearts and minds of countless individuals. Haunting back-issue magazine shops, flea markets, science fiction conventions, and other venues, these hearty souls 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 that 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 articles have inspired writers, artists, film directors, software developers, and other creators over the decades.

The Skipper 1936-12Why not come see what it’s all about? PulpFest 2016 will be paying tribute to the history of the pulps by saluting the 150th anniversary of the birth of H. G. Wells; the 120th anniversary of the debut of the first pulp magazine, THE ARGOSY; the 100th anniversary of the genre pulps such as DETECTIVE STORY and LOVE STORY; the ninetieth anniversary of the creation of the first science fiction magazine, AMAZING STORIES; the 80th anniversaries of the premieres of two exciting hero pulpsTHE SKIPPER and THE WHISPERER; and the tenth anniversary of Sanctum Books, well known for their reprints of THE SHADOW, DOC SAVAGETHE SPIDER, and other hero pulps. Our Guest of Honor will be author, editor, and pulp fan Ted White, the man who ushered in the Golden Age of AMAZING STORIES and FANTASTIC during the 1970s and wrote the Captain America novel THE GREAT GOLD STEAL and many other books. We’ll have all this plus a dealers’ room featuring tens of thousands of pulp magazines, vintage paperbacks, digests, men’s adventure and true crime magazines, original art, first edition hardcovers, series books, reference books, dime novels and story papers, Big Little Books, B-Movies, serials and related paper collectibles, old-time radio shows, and Golden and Silver Age comic books, as well as newspaper adventure strips. For a look at our planned schedule, please visit http://www.pulpfest.com/2016/01/coming-soon-to-columbus-pulpfest-2016/.

The convention will take place from Thursday evening, July 21st, through Sunday afternoon, July 24th, in the Columbus, Ohio Arena district at the Hyatt Regency hotel and the city’s spacious convention center. Start making your plans to join us at the “pop culture center of the universe” for PulpFest 2016.

(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 — who illustrated many of the Munsey magazines as well as the pulp, SHORT STORIES — painted the front cover art for the magazine. THE SKIPPER, including the first issue dated December 1936, featured cover art by Lawrence Donner Toney, a graduate of the Art Institute of Chicago.)

ARGOSY at PulpFest — An Abundance of Riches

Jan 25, 2016 by

Blackwood's Magazine 1818-10 to 1819-03Although magazines have been around since the seventeenth century — the first regular periodical was ERBAULICHE MONATHS UNTERREDUNGEN, a literary and philosophy magazine, launched in Germany in 1663 — it was only with the arrival of increased literacy and lower costs in the early nineteenth century that magazines of mass appeal began to be produced.

As Europe and North America became increasingly industrialized, magazines began to reach a much wider, sometimes national, audience. BLACKWOOD’S MAGAZINE, NOUVEAU MAGAZINE DES ENFANTSHARPER’S NEW MONTHLY MAGAZINE, ATLANTIC MONTHLY, SCRIBNER’S MONTHLYand others emerged, publishing the fiction of Charles Dickens, Fitz-James O’Brien, Walter Scott, Mark Twain, Jules Verne, and others. The dime novels, penny-dreadfuls, and story papers were also introduced during these years, offering tales of derring-do to a growing juvenile audience. It was in such periodicals that the “American Jules Verne,” Luis Senarens, developed the Frank Reade, Jr. series of adventure yarns.

The last quarter of the nineteenth century has become known as “The Age of the Storytellers.” Beginning around 1880, when Robert Louis Stevenson started to publish his first works of fiction, the world would witness the birth of the popular fiction magazine as well as the pulp magazine. Stevenson’s “Treasure Island,” first serialized in 1881 – 82, helped provide the spark for other authors to try their hand at similar fiction. Works such as H. Rider Haggard’s King Solomon’s Mines (1885), “She” (1886), and “Allan Quatermain” (1887), as well as Arthur Conan Doyle’s “A Study in Scarlet” (1887), demonstrated the need for an inexpensive, popular fiction magazine to be published on a regular basis. Shortly after Christmas in 1890, the first of these — THE STRAND MAGAZINE — was launched in Great Britain by George Newnes. Filled with illustrations, the periodical really took off during the summer of 1891 with the start of Conan Doyle’s “The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes,” featuring one of the most successful continuing character series of all time.

With the success of THE STRAND MAGAZINE came a host of imitators, among them PEARSON’S MAGAZINE, another popular British fiction magazine. It debuted in late 1895 and soon became one of the leading publishers of magazine science fiction, featuring the future war stories of George Griffith and the scientific romances of Herbert George Wells. “The War of the Worlds” and “The Invisible Man,” both originally published in PEARSON’S in 1897, are still enjoyed today, over a century after their initial appearances. Educated in the sciences as well as a literary genius, Wells’ mastery of both science and fiction was readily apparent. His later science fiction, including “The First Men in the Moon” (1900-1901) and “The Country of the Blind “1904), would run in THE STRAND.

War of the Worlds

The British popular fiction magazines were modeled after the illustrated periodicals of America. However, unlike their British counterparts, the leading American magazines of the late nineteenth century – HARPER’S, CENTURY MAGAZINE, and  SCRIBNER’S – were beyond the financial and intellectual reach of the average U. S. citizen. It was left to Frank A. Munsey – a man about whom it has been suggested, “contributed to the journalism of his day the talent of a meat packer, the morals of a money changer and the manner of an undertaker” – to deliver the first American periodical specifically intended for the common man. In his own words, Munsey decided to create “a magazine of the people and for the people, with pictures and art and good cheer and human interest throughout.”

Frank Munsey was born in Maine where he became interested in publishing. With minimal funds, he traveled to New York City and founded THE GOLDEN ARGOSY, a children’s weekly, in late 1882. Working largely on credit, he struggled for years, building his circulation through advertising and sheer determination. Deciding that the future lay in the adult market, he founded MUNSEY’S WEEKLY in 1889, soon converting it to MUNSEY’S MAGAZINE. In 1893, convinced that a magazine could only be successful if the price was right, he slashed the price of MUNSEY’S to a dime and marketed it directly to newsdealers, essentially cutting out the middle man.

Argosy 1896-12As the circulation of MUNSEY’S climbed to hundreds of thousands of copies, the publisher converted THE ARGOSY to an adult magazine, similarly priced and modeled after it’s brethren. Envisioning a new kind of magazine, Frank Munsey wrote, “We want stories . . . . not dialect sketches, not washed out studies of effete human nature, not weak tales of sickly sentimentality, no ‘pretty’ writing . . . . We do want fiction in which there is a story, a force, a tale that means something – in short a story. Good writing is as common as clam shells, while good stories are as rare as statesmanship.”

In October 1896, THE ARGOSY became the first all-fiction magazine. Two months later in a cost-cutting move, it began to be printed on the wood-pulp paper Munsey used for his daily newspaper and the rough-paper fiction magazine, or pulp, was born. Within a short while, its circulation had doubled to about 80,000 copies per issue. By 1907, the year the periodical celebrated its 25th anniversary, its circulation had reached a half million copies, earning its publisher about $300,000 per year.

As its readership grew, THE ARGOSY was bound to attract some imitators. Street & Smith, the longtime publisher of dime novels and story papers, was first to meet the call, debuting THE POPULAR MAGAZINE with its November 1903 issue. As the circulation of the new magazine grew, it became apparent to Frank Munsey that there was room on the newsstand for more than one pulp. At the end of 1904, the publisher debuted THE ALL-STORY MAGAZINE.

More than any other periodical prior to the introduction of the specialized science-fiction and fantasy pulps, THE ALL-STORY became the major repository for the “different” tale or the pseudo-scientific yarn. It was soon joined by other Munsey magazines – THE SCRAP BOOK and THE RAILROAD MAN’S MAGAZINE (both 1906), THE OCEAN/LIVE WIRE (1907), and THE CAVALIER (1908). All of these, THE CAVALIER in particular, published fantastic fiction. However, it was all but a prelude to the serial novel that would begin in the February 1912 issue of THE ALL-STORY — “Under the Moons of Mars” – credited to Norman Bean.

All-Story 12-10Bean’s novel — the first published fiction of Edgar Rice Burroughs — would introduce John Carter of Mars to readers. It would soon be followed by the author’s “Tarzan of the Apes,” published in its entirety in the October 1912 issue of THE ALL-STORY. These two novels, along with the pseudo-scientific works of H. G. Wells and his American disciple, George Allan England, would serve as templates for much of the science fiction written over the next twenty-five years, generating a type of fiction best known as “the scientific romance.” The Munsey chain in particular worked to develop this school of fiction, creating a stable of writers – Ray Cummings, J. U. Geisy, Victor Rousseau, Francis Stevens, Charles B. Stilson, and the best of all, Abraham Merritt – able to contribute such stories.

Although the fiction of Burroughs and Wells and those “inspired” by their work would remain popular for some time to come, its share of the pulp market would diminish as new magazines began to arrive on the scene. Beginning with ADVENTURE MAGAZINE, introduced by the Ridgway Company in 1910, these specialized pulps lessened the attraction of the general fiction magazines for those who enjoyed a certain type of story – mystery, romance, western, or straight adventure. In not too many years, the fantasy and science-fiction fan would likewise be served.

The word “argosy” is defined as a large merchant ship, especially one with a rich cargo. With the terrific programming we’re lining up for PulpFest 2016, you’re promised “an abundance of riches” We’ll be saluting a wide range of anniversaries at this summer’s pulp con: the tenth anniversary of Sanctum Books; the eightieth anniversary of THE WHISPERER and THE SKIPPER; the ninetieth anniversary of AMAZING STORIES, the first science-fiction pulp; the hundredth anniversary of the specialty pulp; the 120th anniversary of THE ARGOSY, the original pulp magazine; and the 150th anniversary of the birth of H. G. Wells!

Check out our post of January 4, 2016 — “Coming Soon to Columbus — PulpFest 2016” — for a look at our planned. We’ll be featuring a pair of presentations on THE ARGOSY. “120 Years of THE ARGOSY — The World’s First Pulp Magazine,” will be offered by Doug Ellis, one of the world’s leading collectors and authorities on the magazine and a founder of the fabulous Windy City Pulp and Paper ConventionArt and pulp historian David Saunders will be discussing “The Artists of THE ARGOSY —  120 Years of Sensational Pulp Artists.” Both presentations are planned for Saturday evening, July 23rd, immediately preceding our exciting auction.

“Summer’s AMAZING Pulp Con” will take place from July 21st through July 24th in the Columbus, Ohio Arena district at the Hyatt Regency hotel and the city’s spacious convention center. Start making your plans to join us at the “pop culture center of the universe” for PulpFest 2016.

(BLACKWOOD’S EDINBURGH MAGAZINE — which first appeared in April 1817 — was one of the first magazines to reach a national audience. It’s introduction helped pave the way for the popular fiction periodicals of the late nineteenth century. Pictured here is volume 4 of the magazine, dated October 1818 – March 1819. The image on the cover is an engraving of the 16th century Scottish historian George Buchanan. BLACKWOOD’S continued publication until 1980.

PEARSON’S MAGAZINE was one of the popular British fiction magazines that emerged during the late 1800s. Its first issue was dated January 1896. The magazine’s publisher, C. Arthur Pearson, was “fascinated with stories of the future and what science might bring. Hence, it comes as no surprise that H. G. Wells’ “War of the Worlds” was originally serialized in eight parts in PEARSON’S, running from April the December in 1897. It was illustrated by Warwick Goble. PEARSON’S ran for over 500 issues. Its last issue was date November 1939.

The December 1896 issue of THE ARGOSY, published by Frank A. Munsey, was the world’s first pulp fiction magazine. It would continue for nearly eighty years, ending as a “men’s adventure magazine.” It’s final issue was dated November 1978.

One of the most popular authors to appear in the Munsey magazines was undoubtedly Edgar Rice Burroughs. His adventure romance, “Tarzan of the Apes,” was published in its entirety in the October 1912 issue of THE ALL-STORY. The issue featured front cover art by Clinton Pettee who drew interior story illustrations for MUNSEY’S MAGAZINE and painted covers for such pulp magazines as THE ARGOSY,THE ALL-STORYTHE CAVALIER, and SHORT STORIES.)

 

Another Clue to Our Guest of Honor

Jan 8, 2016 by

Argosy 1896-12Last night, we drew your attention to the fact that we are planning to announce our convention’s 2016 guest of honor on Monday, January 11th. The news will be released here and on our social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter. We also mentioned that we’re planning to offer a wide array of programming at PulpFest 2016, including a salute to the 120th anniversary of the first pulp magazine, THE ARGOSY.

Pulp magazines were named for the cheap paper on which they were printed. Frank A. Munsey pioneered the format in late 1896 with THE ARGOSYcreating the first American periodical specifically designed for the common man. A decade later, pulps began to pick up steam with titles like BLUE BOOK (1906) and ADVENTURE (1910), then exploded in 1912 when THE ALL-STORY printed a yarn written by Edgar Rice Burroughs and called “Tarzan of the Apes.” Soon after, genre titles began to flourish, among them DETECTIVE STORY, WESTERN STORY and LOVE STORY.

In the 1920s, pulps continued to flourish with publishing legends such as BLACK MASK (1920), WEIRD TALES (1923) and AMAZING STORIES (1926) taking hold. The thirties was the era of the “hero” or single-character pulp magazine, inspired by the phenomenal success of Street & Smith’s THE SHADOW MAGAZINE. The late thirties saw the blossoming of the science-fiction pulps as the genre’s “Golden Age” arrived in the pages of ASTOUNDING SCIENCE-FICTION.

Following World War II, the demand for pulp magazines waned as a more convenient form of cheap entertainment took hold – paperbacks. These were often just as “pulpy,” since they were generally written by many of the same authors and featured covers by pulp artists. In the fifties, television became the favored form of escapism and the surviving pulps ceased publication. Fiction magazines continued to be published, but in new formats. The science-fiction and mystery digests and “men’s adventure magazines” are considered descendants of the pulps. It was as one of the latter that the final issue of ARGOSY from its original run appeared.

Although ARGOSY was the first pulp magazine, it “shifted to a slick magazine with mixed content” in the fall of 1943. Still later, it was converted to the men’s adventure magazine format. Here’s our second clue to the identity of our PulpFest 2016 guest of honor: during our 2016 guest of honor’s career, he or she worked for both the rough-paper and slick magazines. Drop by our site over the next few days for more hints. You can leave your guess to our special guest’s identity on our Facebook page. If you haven’t done so already, be sure to “like” us. We’ll provide a free membership to PulpFest 2016 to the first person who guesses the identity of this year’s honored guest. And remember to visit www.pulpfest.com on Monday, January 11th when we’ll reveal the identity of the PulpFest 2016 Guest of Honor.

(The December 1896 issue of THE ARGOSY, published by Frank A. Munsey, was the world’s first pulp fiction magazine. It would continue for nearly eighty years, ending as a “men’s adventure magazine.” It’s final issue was dated November 1978.)