100 Years of “The Curse of Capistrano”

Aug 9, 2019 by

In the early 1800s, California was still under Spanish rule. The peaceful indigenous people were victimized by the corrupt military commanders. One man rose to stand against injustice and the abuse of power. One man stirred the hearts of Californians and gave them the spirit to resist tyranny. That man was the masked avenger known as Zorro!

Zorro was introduced in Johnston McCulley’s novel, “The Curse of Capistrano,” when it was serialized in the pages of ALL-STORY WEEKLY in 1919. The first segment of the five-part serial part serial was dated August 9, one-hundred years ago to this very day.

The success of the serial’s 1920 film adaptation as THE MARK OF ZORRO — starring Douglas Fairbanks — convinced the character’s creator to author further adventures. Over the next forty years, McCulley penned a total of five Zorro novels and nearly 60 short stories featuring the masked avenger. The stories appeared in ARGOSYWEST, and other magazines. In book form, “The Curse of Capistrano” was retitled THE MARK OF ZORRO and sold more than 50 million copies. McCulley’s numerous follow-ups never achieved the same level of success. Most were never collected in book form until the definitive editions published by Bold Venture Press.

In addition to the Johnston McCulley’s stories, Zorro has appeared in over forty film and television adaptations, including Walt Disney’s 1950s TV series starring Guy Williams. The character has also appeared in numerous literary pastiches as well as radio, comic books, newspaper strips, and stage plays.

Being one of the earliest examples of a fictional masked avenger with a double identity, Zorro inspired the creation of several similar characters in pulp magazines and other media. McCulley’s hero is a precursor of the superheroes of American comic books, with Batman drawing particularly close parallels to the character. As such, today’s superheroes are very much “Children of the Pulps.” Join publisher/author and 2019 Munsey Award nominee Rich Harvey of Bold Venture Press on the opening night of PulpFest for a celebration of “A Century of Zorro.”

PulpFest 2019 will begin on Thursday, August 15, and run through Sunday, August 18.  Join PulpFest at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Pittsburgh – Cranberry, just north of Pennsylvania’s “Steel City” of Pittsburgh in Mars, PA. We’ll be celebrating “Children of the Pulps and Other Stories” — focusing on the pulp influences in popular culture — at this year’s gathering.

Click our Programming button below our homepage banner to get a preview of all the great presentations at this year’s event.

To join PulpFest 2019, click the Register button below our homepage banner. And don’t forget to book a room at the DoubleTree. You can reserve a room by calling 1-800-222-8733. Please be sure to mention PulpFest when placing your reservation in order to receive any convention special deals that may still be available. There is ample free parking surrounding the hotel.

(Created by the prolific pulp writer Johnston McCulley, Zorro debuted in “The Curse of Capistrano,” a five-part serial that ran in the pages of the Munsey magazine, ALL-STORY WEEKLY during the month of August 1919. It will be the centennial of the first Zorro story during this year’s PulpFest.

The cover art featured on the August 9, 1919 issue was painted by P. J. Monahan. A native of Des Moines, Iowa, Monahan moved to Brooklyn in 1907. He became one of New York’s most prolific artists for the first three decades of the twentieth century, creating advertisements, movie posters, commissioned art, and, most of all, pulp magazine illustrations and covers.)

A Century of Zorro

Jun 5, 2019 by

In the early 1800s, California was still under Spanish rule. The peaceful indigenous people were victimized by the corrupt military commanders. One man rose to stand against injustice and the abuse of power. One man stirred the hearts of Californians and gave them the spirit to resist tyranny. That man was the masked avenger known as Zorro!

Thursday night, August 15, at PulpFest, publisher/author and 2019 Munsey Award nominee Rich Harvey of Bold Venture Press presents “A Century of Zorro,” marking not only the centennial of the legendary pulp character, but also the publication of the first matched set of every original Zorro novel and short story in six attractive volumes from Bold Venture Press.

Zorro was created by pulp writer Johnston McCulley. In the original stories, Zorro has a price on his head, but is too skilled and cunning for the authorities to capture him. Zorro is the secret identity of Don Diego de la Vega, the only son of Don Alejandro de la Vega, a wealthy landowner. He adopted his secret identity after learning California had fallen under the thrall of a ruthless dictator. Diego conceals his identity by posing as a cowardly fop.

Zorro was introduced in McCulley’s novel, “The Curse of Capistrano,” when it was serialized in the pages of ALL-STORY WEEKLY in 1919. The success of its 1920 film adaptation as THE MARK OF ZORRO, starring Douglas Fairbanks, convinced his creator to author further adventures. Over the next forty years, McCulley penned a total of five Zorro novels and nearly 60 short stories featuring the masked avenger. The stories appeared in ARGOSY, WEST, and other magazines. In book form, “The Curse of Capistrano” was retitled THE MARK OF ZORRO and sold more than 50 million copies. McCulley’s numerous follow-ups never achieved the same level of success. Most were never collected in book form until Bold Venture Press’ definitive editions.

Zorro appeared in over 40 film and television adaptations, including Walt Disney’s 1950s TV series starring Guy Williams. The character has appeared in numerous literary pastiches as well as radio, comic books, newspaper strips, and stage plays.

Being one of the earliest examples of a fictional masked avenger with a double identity, Zorro inspired the creation of several similar characters in pulp magazines and other media. McCulley’s hero is a precursor of the superheroes of American comic books, with Batman drawing particularly close parallels to the character. As such, today’s superheroes are very much “Children of the Pulps.” Join Bold Venture Press founder Rich Harvey on the opening night of PulpFest for a celebration of “A Century of Zorro.”

PulpFest 2019 will begin on Thursday, August 15, and run through Sunday, August 18.  Join PulpFest at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Pittsburgh – Cranberry, just north of Pennsylvania’s “Steel City” of Pittsburgh in Mars, PA. We’ll be celebrating “Children of the Pulps and Other Stories” — focusing on the pulp influences in popular culture — at this year’s gathering.

Click our Programming button below our homepage banner to get a preview of all the great presentations at this year’s event.

To join PulpFest 2019, click the Register button below our homepage banner. To book a room at the DoubleTree by Hilton — our host hotel — click the Book a Room button, also found on our homepage.

(Created by the prolific pulp writer Johnston McCulley, Zorro debuted in “The Curse of Capistrano,” a five-part serial that ran in the pages of the Munsey magazine, ALL-STORY WEEKLY during the month of August 1919. It will be the centennial of the first Zorro story during this year’s PulpFest.

The cover art featured on the August 9, 1919 issue was painted by P. J. Monahan. A native of Des Moines, Iowa, Monahan moved to Brooklyn in 1907. He became one of New York’s most prolific artists for the first three decades of the twentieth century, creating advertisements, movie posters, commissioned art, and, most of all, pulp magazine illustrations and covers.

Along with Bob Fujitani, Bob Correa and Alberto Giolitti, the late pulp artist Everett Raymond Kinstler created the interior pencils and inks for the Zorro stories featured in Dell’s FOUR COLOR COMICS series. Kinstler drew issue numbers 497 — featuring “The Sword of Zorro,” with the cover painted by an unknown artist — 538, and 574. Born in 1942, Kinstler was a freelance artist for the pulp, slick, comic book, and paperback industry before turning to portraiture during the 1950s.)

Premiering at PulpFest 2015

Aug 3, 2015 by

MurrayAs they do every year, a number of publishers have chosen to roll out new titles at PulpFest 2015. Altus PressMurania Press, and Stark House Press will be premiering reprints of classics from the past, while Adventures in BronzeAirship 27, and Meteor House will debut new work inspired by the great fiction of the past. And since PulpFest will be hosting four New Fictioneer readings, expect to meet some of the creators of today’s pulp fiction at the convention. Check out our schedule page for the times of our readings.

Tarzan. Doc Savage. The Shadow. All three of these iconic characters will be at PulpFest, courtesy of Adventures in Bronze and author Will Murray. You’ll be able to get signed copies in both hardcover and softcover of the fully authorized editions of RETURN TO PAL-UL-DON and DOC SAVAGE: THE SINISTER SHADOW. They’ll be available at PulpFest 2015 where their author, pop culture historian Will Murray, will be appearing on four different panel presentations.

GunnisonAlthough it originally appeared in 2007, THRILLING DETECTIVE HEROES certainly deserves a mention here. Edited by John Locke and John Wooley, it was published by Adventure House, one of the leading publishers of pulp reprints and reference works in the country. On Thursday, August 13th, at 8:40 PM, John Wooley and Adventure House publisher John Gunnison will pay a visit to some of the continuing characters that were featured in the Thrilling line of detective pulps. Join them for a discussion of “Thrilling Detectives” during our Thursday evening presentations in PulpFest‘s second-floor programming area at the Hyatt Regency. Their discussion will center around many of the characters featured in THRILLING DETECTIVE HEROES, a book that also includes the most complete history of the Thrilling Group of pulp magazines ever to be published. You’ll be able to pick up a copy at the Adventure House tables during the convention and have one of its editors and its publisher sign it for you. That won’t happen on ebay!

Airship 27New pulp fans will see a number of books for the very first time at PulpFest 2015, courtesy of Ron Fortier and Rob Davis of Airship 27 Productions. Frederick C. Davis’ occult detective, Ravenwood, the Stepson of Mystery, will appear in his first, full-length novel. Author Micah Harris links the classic pulp hero with one of the most notorious crimes in Hollywood history in RETURN OF THE DUGPA. Also debuting is the second volume of SIX-GUN TERRORS in which the Wild West meet WEIRD TALES. Fred Adams, Jr. weaves a weird western novel concerning warriors able to transform themselves into beasts!

AltusAs he does every year, Mike Chomko will be premiering the latest books from America’s leading pulp reprint house Altus Press. Thanks to an arrangement with Altus publisher Matt Moring, Mike will be offering both hardcover and softcover editions of THE COMPLETE ADVENTURES OF THE MOON MAN, VOLUME ONE; THE MASKED RIDER ARCHIVES, VOLUME TWO; THE BLACK BAT OMNIBUS, VOLUME THREE; and five books written by H. Bedford-Jones, including THE DEVIL’S BOSUN, GHOST HILLS, and WILL O’ THE WISP. Mike will also have the first ten volumes of the recently released ARGOSY LIBRARY, including Lester Dent’s GENIUS JONES, Victor Rousseau’s DRAFT OF ETERNITY, Otis Adelbert Kline’s THE SWORDSMAN OF MARS and W. Wirt’s WHEN TIGERS ARE HUNTING. Mike Chomko, Books has been one of the leading purveyors of pulp reprint books and periodicals since the early nineties. Look for his tables just inside the entrance to the PulpFest 2015 dealers’ room and say hi to the convention’s marketing and programming director.

Bold VentureWe’re very happy to have Rich Harvey and Audrey Parente of Bold Venture Press as one of this year’s fifty exhibitors. Since 1992, Bold Venture has been publishing quality reprints of classic pulp fiction. At this year’s convention, Rich and Audrey will be premiering John Wooley’s and Robert Leslie Bellem’s HOMICIDE HIGHBALL: THE LOST DAN TURNER MOVIE SCRIPT, Richard Lupoff’s DREAMER’S DOZEN, PULP JAZZ: THE CHARLES BOECKMAN STORY, the latest issue of PULP ADVENTURES featuring stories by Bellem, Lupoff, Stewart Sterling, and others, and Audrey’s own PULP NOIR: A CLUTTERED ROMANCE, in which two avowed hoarders of paper memorabilia try to make room in their lives for each other. It’s a funhouse mirror image of the world of collecting pulps and comics. Bold Venture Press brings you vintage pulp fiction and exciting new stories. Learn for yourself at PulpFest 2015.

EnosDick and Norma Enos of Fantasy Publishing will have a new adventure of Rick Steele at PulpFest 2015. Watch for DEATH ON THIN ICE, the latest yarn featuring the ace trouble buster from the fifties. A former test pilot with a trio of “ace” assistants, Rick will go anywhere in search of adventure. It’s part one of THE MONSTER OF CHINATOWN and you’ll see it at PulpFest.

Derleth MythosJohn D. Haefele, who will be part of our panel on the development of Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos, will be offering copies of his landmark study, A LOOK BEHIND THE DERLETH MYTHOS: ORIGINS OF THE CTHULHU MYTHOS. Published by The Cimmerian Press, Haefele’s book answers numerous questions about the Lovecraft/Derleth controversy with fresh evidence and thunderous revelations, covering in unprecedented detail everything from the notorious “Black Magic Quote” to Derleth’s infamous “posthumous collaborations” with Lovecraft. Signed copies will be available at Mike Chomko, Books.

MaynardOn Saturday, August 15th, co-authors William Patrick Maynard and Alexandra Martukovich will be on hand to sign copies of FURTHER ENCOUNTERS OF SHERLOCK HOLMES, released by Titan Books in 2014. Their story, “The Adventure of the Coin of the Realm,” was one of twelve stories selected by George Mann for this new collection of Sherlock Holmes stories from a variety of exciting voices in modern horror and steampunk. Visit Bill’s tables in the PulpFest dealers’ room to meet the authors.

Meteor HouseMeteor House, a publisher of science fiction and fantasy that specializes in works set in the worlds created by Philip José Farmer and and original science fiction and fantasy novels and novellas, hopes to offer four new books at PulpFest 2015. Jim Beard’s and Duane Spurlock’s AIRSHIP HUNTERS delves into the mystery of 19th-century UFOs as the skies are haunted by mysterious airships and unfathomable secrets. Can two agents of a newly formed secret government agency discover the truth behind the greatest mystery of them all? HADON, KING OF OPAR, written by Christopher Paul Carey, picks up fourteen years after the novel THE SONG OF KWASIN, co-authored by Farmer and Carey. FLIGHT TO OPAR features nearly 4,000 words cut from Farmer’s original manuscript when it was originally published in 1976. Lastly, EXILES OF KHO is a new hardcover edition of the out-of-print prequel to Philip José Farmer’s beloved Khokarsa adventure series.

Murania Press PreviewEd Hulse and Murania Press will be offering a new issue of the award-winning “Journal of Adventure, Mystery and Melodrama in American Popular Culture” BLOOD ‘N’ THUNDER at this year’s PulpFest. The Summer 2015 issue takes a detailed look at the classic Munsey and Popular Publications pulp FAMOUS FANTASTIC MYSTERIES. Also appearing will be a Wold Newton article on “The Secret Son of Bran Mak Morn,” a piece entitled “32 from ’32: A Banner Year for Fantastic Cinema,” the story behind the all-but-forgotten radio dramatization of KING KONG, and much more.

Ed will also have several new titles from the MURANIA PRESS book line at the convention — William Corcoran’s THE PURPLE EYE,  a 60,000-word novel that could very well have served as the template for Popular’s hero pulps, and three volumes of crime and mystery yarns written by Johnston McCulley, the creator of Zorro — ALIAS THE THUNDERBOLT, THE RETURN OF BLACK STAR, and THE SPIDER SPINS HIS WEB.

Stark HouseIn the business of reprinting some of the best mysteries and supernatural fiction of the past 100 years, Stark House Press hopes to have several new titles ready for PulpFest 2015. Douglas Sanderson wrote a series of white hot thrillers in the 1950s which were published under his two pseudonyms, Martin Brett and Malcolm Douglas. But he also published a good many novels under his own name, and Stark House is proud to reprint two of them: NIGHT OF THE HORNS & CRY WOLFRAM. Peter Rabe was a psychology professor turned hardboiled crime writer back when Gold Medal ruled the original paperback racks of the fifties and sixties. The second volume of Rabe’s fictional study of the use and abuse of power features the final three stories of the Daniel Port gangster series. Other titles that Stark House hope to have ready for PulpFest include Robert W. Chambers’ THE KING IN YELLOW & THE MYSTERY OF CHOICE,  two collections of decadent horror fiction that will feature an introduction by noted critic, Stefan Dziemianowicz; Bruno Fischer’s THE BLEEDING SCISSORS & THE EVIL DAYS, two hard-boiled classics from one of Cap Shaws’ BLACK MASK  boys; and Ed Gorman’s GRAVE’S RETREAT & NIGHT OF SHADOWS, two classic western mysteries. Mike Chomko, Books will be representing Stark House at the convention.

These are just a few of the great publications that you’ll find in the PulpFest 2015 dealers’ room. So what are you waiting for? Book a room for three nights and register now for “Summer’s Great Pulp Con.” To book a room for this year’s convention, please visit www.pulpfest.com/2015/06/16872/.