Ten Dollar Discounts!

May 4, 2018 by

 

Hey PulpFest members? Are you interested in genre fiction? Then you’ll be happy to know that PulpFest has worked out a discount exchange with Confluence, Pittsburgh’s longest-running literary conference, with a strong focus on science fiction, fantasy and horror.

All PulpFest members will receive $10 off the price of a daily membership to Confluence. The conference runs from 3 PM on Friday, July 27, through 3 PM on Sunday, July 29. It takes place at the Sheraton Pittsburgh Airport Hotel, located at 1160 Thorn Run Road in Coraopolis, Pennsylvania. To receive your discount, simply show your PulpFest badge when you register at the door.

Confluence members are also welcome to attend PulpFest 2018. They will receive the same $10 discount off the price of a daily PulpFest admission with proof of membership. Click one of the Register buttons on our home page for our daily rates.

About Confluence 2018

Confluence is a cooperative effort between the University of Pittsburgh science fiction club and Parsec, a non-profit organization that has been promoting science fiction, fantasy and horror in literature, media and music for over 25 years. Joe Coluccio, who has attended PulpFest for the last few years, serves as the president of Parsec.

Award-winning authors, editors, artists and song-writers gather in Pittsburgh for three full days, holding panel discussions, concerts and talks that broaden and deepen appreciation of the genres. Welcoming and personal, Confluence gives attendees a unique opportunity to meet and chat with the writers and artists who create the science fiction, fantasy, and horror of today, helping to shape those genres for the future.

This year’s Confluence will offer many activities including musical filk concerts, an exciting dealers’ room, science programming, an art show, poetry readings, workshops, art demos, a cosplay/costume contest, and Saturday night entertainment. Additionally, Hugo-winning science fiction writer David D. Levine will conduct a Writers’ Workshop. A select number of authors will have the chance to have a professional writer and several of their peers critique their work. These will be done in a round-robin, Clarion West style, allowing all the participants to read and critique everyone’s work.

NEW YORK TIMES bestselling author Catherynne M. Valente will be the Confluence 2018 Guest of HonorA writer of fantasy and science fiction novels, short stories, and poetry, Catherynne has  won or been nominated for every major award in her fields, including the Hugo, Nebula, and World Fantasy awards. She has taken home the James Tiptree, Jr. Literary Award, the Mythopoeic Award, the Lambda Literary Award, and other honors. Singer-songwriter S. J. Tucker and filk performer and interpreter Judi Miller will also be appearing at the 2018 Confluence.

About PulpFest 2018

PulpFest 2018 begins on Thursday, July 26, with early-bird shopping in our dealers’ room from 5:30 PM to 8:30 PM. We’ll also have a full slate of programming, beginning at 8:40 PM. Our dealers’ room is open on Friday and Saturday from 10 AM until 4:45 PM and on Sunday from 9 AM until 2 PM while dealers are packing up for their trip home. We’ll also have programming events on Friday and Saturday afternoons, plus evening programming on both nights from 7 PM until 10 PM. There will be no programming on Sunday.

The convention will salute the centennial of the birth of Grand Master of Science Fiction Philip José FarmerJoin PulpFest 2018 and FarmerCon 100 for panels and presentations on the celebrated author of TARZAN ALIVE: A DEFINITIVE BIOGRAPHY OF LORD GREYSTOKEDOC SAVAGE: HIS APOCALYPTIC LIFE, the Riverworld and World of Tiers series, and many other works. We’ll also honor the 100th anniversary of the armistice that ended the First World War. The convention will focus on the so-called “war pulps” of the early twentieth century and the depiction of war in popular culture. Click the Programming button under our home page banner to learn more.

Award-winning author Joe Lansdale will be the PulpFest 2018 Guest of Honor. The author of over forty novels and many short stories, Lansdale has also written for comics, television, film, Internet sites, and more. His novella “Bubba Ho-Tep” was adapted to film by Don Coscarelli, starring Bruce Campbell and Ossie Davis. The film adaptation of his novel COLD IN JULY was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival, and the Sundance Channel has adapted his Hap & Leonard novels for television.

In addition to our great programming, our dealers’ room features tens of thousands of pulp magazines, vintage paperbacks, digests, men’s adventure and true crime magazines, original art, first edition hardcovers, genre fiction, 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. It’s perfect for the reader and/or the collector!

PulpFest 2018 will also hold two live auctions featuring material from two estates. The convention will be offering pulps, books, and digests from such diverse genres as science fiction, adventure, sports, and the western field. Some highlights include a number of rare premiums offered to pulp readers, over twenty Gnome Press, Shasta, and Avalon first edition hardcovers, rare science fiction paperbacks including a selection of Ace Doubles, British science fiction magazines, long runs of Analog, Galaxy, Fantasy & Science Fiction, and other digests, and much more. The auctions will begin on both Friday and Saturday nights at 10 PM.

PulpFest will take place at the beautiful DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Pittsburgh – Cranberry. Nineteen miles north of Pittsburgh, the DoubleTree is conveniently located at the intersection of Interstate 79, the Pennsylvania Turnpike, and State Route 19. Our host hotel is at 910 Sheraton Drive, Mars, Pennsylvania. For driving directions, please visit http://doubletree3.hilton.com/en/hotels/pennsylvania/doubletree-by-hilton-hotel-pittsburgh-cranberry-PITMADT/maps-directions/index.html.

(Philip José Farmer was a leading contributor to the science fiction digests of the fifties and sixties. THE MAGAZINE OF FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION — which published “Open to Me, My Sister” in its May 1960 issue, featuring front cover art by Mel Hunter — was one of many magazines to which he sold.)

What’s This PulpFest All About?

Apr 27, 2018 by

So what’s this PulpFest that has so many people talking? With almost 3,000 likes on Facebook and nearly 900 followers on Twitter, it certainly has been generating a lot of excitement. But what’s it all about?

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

By the early fifties, the pulps had essentially disappeared. While some continued in the smaller digest format, most were killed by competition from paperback books, comics, radio, television, and movies. But the fiction and artwork that appeared in the rough-paper consumables of the early twentieth century kept them living in the hearts and minds of scattered individuals.

Haunting back-issue magazine shops, flea markets, science fiction conventions, and other venues, these hearty enthusiasts 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. The pulps 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 magazines have inspired writers, artists, film directors, software developers, and other creators over the decades.

Why not come see what it’s all about? PulpFest 2018 will honor the 100th anniversary of the armistice that ended the First World War. The convention will focus on the so-called “war pulps” of the early twentieth century and the depiction of war in popular culture. We’ll also salute the centennial of the birth of Grand Master of Science Fiction Philip José FarmerJoin PulpFest 2018 and FarmerCon 100 for panels and presentations on the celebrated author of TARZAN ALIVE: A DEFINITIVE BIOGRAPHY OF LORD GREYSTOKEDOC SAVAGE: HIS APOCALYPTIC LIFE, the Riverworld and World of Tiers series, and many other works.

The convention’s guest of honor will be award-winning author Joe LansdaleThe author of over forty novels and many short stories, Lansdale has also written for comics, television, film, Internet sites, and more. His novella “Bubba Ho-Tep” was adapted to film by Don Coscarelli, starring Bruce Campbell and Ossie Davis. The film adaptation of his novel COLD IN JULY was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival, while the Sundance Channel has adapted his Hap & Leonard novels to television. Joe will be talking with Tony Davis on Saturday evening, July 28 and be available at select times during the convention.

We’ll have all this plus a dealers’ room featuring tens of thousands of pulp magazines, vintage paperbacks, digests, genre fiction, 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.

The convention will take place from Thursday evening, July 26, through Sunday afternoon, July 29, 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 one of the links on the PulpFest home page that reads “Book a Room.” Alternately, you can call 1-800-222-8733 to book a room by telephone. When calling, be sure to mention PulpFest to get the special convention rate.

Start planning now to join PulpFest 2018 at the “pop culture center of the universe.” You can do so by clicking one of the Register buttons on our home page. For a look at our planned schedule, please visit our home page and click the Programming button just below our banner.

(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 painted the front cover art for the magazine. Burroughs’ Tarzan is perhaps the most famous character to emerge from the pulps. Others include Zorro, Kull and Conan, Dr. Kildare, The Shadow, Buck Rogers, Sam Spade, and Cthulhu.

In addition to BUBBA HO-TEP, COLD IN JULY, and HAP AND LEONARD, our guest of honor’s story, “Incident On and Off a Mountain Road,” was adapted to film for Showtime’s MASTERS OF HORROR. Lansdale himself also adapted his short story “Christmas with the Dead” to film.)

3 Rivers Comicon: Putting Comics Back in Conventions

Apr 18, 2018 by

During the third weekend of May, a couple of Pittsburgh nerds are hoping to make comic con all about comics again. 3 Rivers Comicon — which runs May 19 – 20 in West Mifflin, Pennsylvania — is the latest addition to the many conventions in the Pittsburgh area.

New Dimension Comics owner Todd McDevitt and general manager Jon Engel launched 3 Rivers Comicon in 2016 after hearing complaints from customers about the increasing cost of conventions and how the shift to an array of pop culture had left comics in the shadows. “I felt like we were almost being challenged. No one said it, but we made it our mission to do it,” McDevitt said. “This is going to be a comic convention. If you want something else, go somewhere else.”

McDevitt and Engel both have years of experience under their utility belts, attending and also working at comic conventions. From that involvement, as well as feedback from customers, they have the knowledge for what will work at their own event.

One major goal is to make 3 Rivers Comicon affordable. Admission is $10 per day or $16 for a weekend pass. Tickets are available through the convention’s website or at any of the six New Dimension Comics locations. They will also be available at the door. Guests include SPIDER-MAN and THOR artist Ron Frenz; fantasy, pin-up, and comic artist Joe Jusko; NIGHTWING and DAREDEVIL artist Scott McDaniel; SPIDER-GIRL and SENSATIONAL SHE-HULK artist Patrick Ollife; writer and artist Tim Truman, known for his work on GRIMJACK, CONAN, HAWKWORLD, JONAH HEX, and other titles; and many others. Weekend events include panels, gaming, photo opportunities and costume contests for kids and adults. Sunday is Family Day at 3 Rivers Comicon, with kid-focused programming all day. There is also the very popular beer party on Saturday evening.

Tickets to the convention’s beer party are $70 and include early admission to both days of the convention, a free graphic novel, entry to the beer release party, catered food and three free bottles of beer, one from each year! “The beer party was the aspect we sold the most of last year,” McDevitt said. “We had people who didn’t care for comics and came for the beer, and people who didn’t care about beer, but came for the comics.”

3 Rivers Comicon has commissioned a custom beer by Helltown Brewing featuring original bottle label art by Joe Jusko. Witchblade Barrel Aged Russian Imperial Stout will be brewed with coffee added this year. This beer will only be made exclusively for 3 Rivers Comicon and New Dimension Comics.

Let’s hope that Todd and Jon save a few bottles of this year’s special brewed craft beer to help us celebrate PulpFest 2018 from July 26 through July 29 at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Pittsburgh – Cranberry, just north of Pennsylvania’s “Steel City.” Although PulpFest will not have its own beer, the convention will still have a lot of great programming. Add to that 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, genre fiction, 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. We’ll also have a con suite featuring some great beer and snacks. So what are you waiting for? Start making your plans to join us at the “pop culture center of the universe” for PulpFest 2018.

(Our illustration is the banner for the 3 Rivers Comicon home page. The convention is organized by Todd McDevitt and Jon Engel of New Dimension Comics, with six stores in the Pittsburgh region.)

Armistice Day

Nov 6, 2017 by

The day when we honor all U. S. military veterans — November 11 — originated as “Armistice Day” on November 11, 1919, the first anniversary of the end of World War I. The day became a national holiday in 1938 and was changed to Veterans Day in 1954.

One hundred years ago today, the struggle for the battered village of Passchendaele — officially called the Third Battle of Ypres — was drawing to a close. The town’s remnants would be reclaimed by British and Canadian forces on November 6, but the fighting would last four more days.

Edwin Vaughan– an officer of the 1st/8th Warwickshire Regiment of the British Expeditionary Force — wrote about the carnage in his journal:

“Up the road we staggered, shells bursting around us. A man stopped dead in front of me, and exasperated I cursed him and butted him with my knee. Very gently he said, “I’m blind, Sir” and turned to show me his eyes and nose torn away by a piece of shell. “Oh God! I’m sorry, sonny,” I said. “Keep going on the hard part,” and left him staggering back in his darkness . . . A tank had churned its way slowly behind Springfield and opened fire; a moment later I looked and nothing remained of it but a crumpled heap of iron; it had been hit by a large shell. . . .

From other shell holes from the darkness on all sides came the groans and wails of wounded men; faint, long, sobbing moans of agony, and despairing shrieks. It was too horribly obvious that dozens of men with serious wounds must have crawled for safety into new shell holes, and now the water was rising about them and, powerless to move, they were slowly drowning. Horrible visions came to me with those cries, (of men) lying maimed out there trusting that their pals would find them, and now dying terribly, alone amongst the dead in the inky darkness. And we could do nothing to help them; Dunham was crying quietly beside me, and all the men were affected by the piteous cries.”

On August 25, when he awoke to take muster, Vaughan’s worst fears were realized: “Out of our happy little band of 90 men, only 15 remained.”

Such were the horrors of Passchendaele and the “War to End All Wars.” In 1914 as war was declared, there were street celebrations across Europe. No one envisaged the stalemate of the trenchs nor the appalling casualties of four years of fighting. About 8.5 million soldiers on both sides of the conflict died of wounds and disease. According to the ENCYCLOPEDIA BRITANNICA“It has been estimated that the number of civilian deaths attributable to the war was higher than the military casualties, or around 13,000,000. These civilian deaths were largely caused by starvation, exposure, disease, military encounters, and massacres.”

Except for a single writer — Leonard Nason — stories about the First World War were very limited in the general fiction pulps. But as the rough paper magazines began to specialize in the teens and twenties, the first pulp devoted to tales of war would appear. Introduced by Dell Publishing in 1926, WAR STORIES would be followed by many others: BATTLE STORIES, WINGS, OVER THE TOP, DARE-DEVIL ACES, SKY FIGHTERS, and dozens more. Most disappeared by 1940 as another “Great War” was unfolding.

Beginning on Thursday evening, July 26, and running through Sunday, July 29, PulpFest 2018 will honor the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War. The convention’s focus will be the so-called “war pulps” of the early twentieth century as well as the depiction of war in popular culture. Please join us at the beautiful DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Pittsburgh – Cranberry, just outside Pennsylvania’s Steel City. We’ll also be celebrating the century mark of Grand Master of Science Fiction Philip José Farmer. PulpFest and its associated convention — FarmerCon — will be saluting the acclaimed author of such works as ESCAPE FROM LOKITHE DARK HEART OF TIME, the classic Riverworld series, and more. Award-winning author Joe Lansdale will be PulpFest‘s guest of honor.

A soldier running along a corduroy track through Chateau Wood (photograph from the collection of the Imperial War Museum).

(H. C. Murphy painted the front cover art for the February 20, 1924 issue of ADVENTURE. Leonard H. Nason was featured on the cover for his short story, “Three Lights from a Match,” appearing in the issue.)

Happy Labor Day from PulpFest

Sep 4, 2017 by

On this day when we honor America’s laborers, PulpFest is pleased to announce that the organizing committee has worked out a deal to return to the beautiful DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Pittsburgh – Cranberry in 2018.

In his PulpFest 2017 report, Murania Press publisher Ed Hulse wrote: “And what a venue. I’ve been attending conventions of various kinds for exactly 50 years now but have rarely set foot in a hotel more perfectly suited than the DoubleTree for the event it hosted.” Walker Martin echoed Ed’s sentiments in the report he wrote for Steve Lewis’ Mystery*File: “In my opinion, after attending almost all the pulp conventions since 1972, this is the best hotel that we have ever had for our shows.”

Conveniently located where three major roadways intersect, the DoubleTree offers ample free parking, free wifi for its guests, and provides two free breakfast coupons per day to PulpFest members who stay at the host hotel during the convention. Its ember & vine open-air restaurant is also very popular. The room rate will be $129 per night.

PulpFest 2018 will take place over the last weekend in July, beginning on Thursday evening, July 26 and running through Sunday, July 29. We’ll keep you posted about developments here on our home page. So please stay tuned by visiting www.pulpfest.com at least once a week. We’ll be offering a new post every Monday morning around 9 AM, eastern time. Alternately, you can read our posts via our facebook site or catch our tweets by following us via our Twitter page.

(In honor of the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War, PulpFest 2018 will focus on the so-called “war pulps” of the early twentieth century. One of the leading magazines of the genre was Fawcett Publications’ BATTLE STORIES. Its leading cover artist was George Rozen who painted about thirty covers — including the April 1931 number — for the magazine. Both George and his twin brother, Jerome, were pulp artists.

Next year just so happens to be the century mark of a certain Grand Master of Science Fiction named Philip José Farmer. PulpFest and its associated convention — FarmerCon — will also be saluting the acclaimed author of such works as ESCAPE FROM LOKI , THE DARK HEART OF TIME, the classic Riverworld series, and more.)

Get Nostalgic at the Mid-Atlantic Nostalgia Convention

Aug 14, 2017 by

While you’re waiting impatiently for the 47th annual Summertime Pulp Con, we’ll try to keep you posted about other conventions taking place around North America. They just might keep your hunger at bay while you await the main course – PulpFest 2018. We’ll be celebrating the 100th anniversary of Philip José Farmer’s birth and the end of the First World War at next year’s convention. We look forward to seeing you at the “pop culture center of the universe.”

The Mid-Atlantic Nostalgia Convention is an annual pop culture event recognizing the by-gone era of classic movies, retro television, old-time radio, pulp magazines and comic books. Hollywood celebrities sign autographs and pose for photos with fans. The movie room features rare films 24 hours a day. Slide show seminars offer insight from museum curators, authors, historians, magazine editors and other authorities on their respective subjects. Over 200 vendor tables offer loads of merchandise. The event is held every September in Hunt Valley, Maryland.

The 2017 Mid-Atlantic Nostalgia Convention will take place September 14 to 16 at the Hunt Valley Delta Hotel. For more information call 443-286-6821 or visit www.MidAtlanticNostalgiaConvention.comIt’s a great show!

3 Rivers Comicon: Putting Comics Back in Conventions

May 5, 2017 by

During the third weekend of May, a couple of Pittsburgh nerds are hoping to make comic con all about comics again. 3 Rivers Comicon — which runs May 20 – 21 in West Mifflin, Pennsylvania — is the latest addition to the many conventions in the Pittsburgh area.

New Dimension Comics owner Todd McDevitt and general manager Jon Engel launched 3 Rivers Comicon in 2016 after hearing complaints from customers about the increasing cost of conventions and how the shift to an array of pop culture has left comics in the shadows. “I felt like we were almost being challenged. No one said it, but we made it our mission to do it,” McDevitt said. “This is going to be a comic convention. If you want something else, go somewhere else.”

McDevitt and Engel both have years of experience under their utility belts, attending and also working at comic conventions. From that involvement, as well as feedback from customers, they have the knowledge for what will work at their own event.

One major goal is to make 3 Rivers Comicon affordable. Admission is $13 per day or $18 for a weekend pass. Tickets are available through the convention’s website or at any of the six New Dimension Comics locations. They will also be available at the door. Guests include KINGDOM COME and DAREDEVIL writer Mark Waid, NIGHTWING artist Scott McDaniel, and SPIDER-MAN and THOR artist Ron Frenz. Weekend events include panels, gaming, photo opportunities and costume contests for kids and adults. Sunday is Family Day at 3 Rivers Comicon, with kid-focused programming all day. There is also the very popular beer party on Saturday evening.

Tickets to the beer party are $50 and include both days of the convention in addition to a bunch of take-home loot including a T-shirt, exclusive comics, graphic novels and two bottles of BEEREDEEMABLE. McDevitt once again convinced Helltown Brewing to create a beer for the convention. This year’s recipe is a Russian imperial stout, a blend of young beer and barrel-aged whiskey. The name is a nod to the comic IRREDEEMABLE, whose artist Peter Krause illustrated the beer’s label.

“I always thought it would be fun to get a comic artist to do a beer label,” McDevitt said. “And if I was going to do it, I wanted it to be for one of our events.”

Krause and IRREDEEMABLE writer Mark Waid will both attend the beer party to autograph bottles.

“The beer party was the aspect we sold the most of last year,” McDevitt said. “We had people who didn’t care for comics and came for the beer, and people who didn’t care about beer, but came for the comics.”

Let’s hope that Todd and Jon save a few bottles of BEEREDEEMABLE to help us celebrate our first Pittsburgh PulpFest from July 27 through July 30 at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Pittsburgh – Cranberry, just north of Pennsylvania’s “Steel City.” Although PulpFest 2017 will not have its own beer, the convention will still have a lot of great programming. Add to that 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. We’ll also have a con suite. So what are you waiting for? Start making your plans to join us at the “pop culture center of the universe” for PulpFest 2017.

(Our illustration is the banner for the 3 Rivers Comicon home page, featuring a New Dimension Comics’ rack in the background. New Dimension Comics has six stores in the Pittsburgh region, providing the opportunity for feedback as well as year-round promotion of the convention.)

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.)

Why PulpFest?

Jul 13, 2016 by

Today, we’ve decided to share a short essay written by Walker Martin for Steve Lewis’ Mystery*File blog. Walker has been a reader and collector for over sixty years. In 1997, he received the Lamont Award at Pulpcon 26 in Bowling Green, Ohio. We’re proud to have him as one of our own and can think of no one better to answer the question, “Why PulpFest?” Take it away Walker . . .

PulpFest 2016 — Summer's AMAZING Pulp Con!

The last couple days I’ve been thinking about PulpFest, which will be held July 21 through 24 in Columbus Ohio. That’s just a week from tomorrow! I’ve been deluged by logical and sane-looking collectors and non-collectors all asking me the same question: why bother attending PulpFest? They have shown up at my house; they have called me on the telephone; they have sent me emails. Enough is enough! Here’s a list of excuses for not attending that I hear all the time, and why none of them are valid:

1 – I have no money! Sorry, but I’ve attended many a Pulpcon in the 1970’s, 1980’s, and 1990’s and I went with very little money. Are there no credit cards? Are there no credit unions? Are there no non-collecting spouses to borrow money from? Even when I had the money, I often blew it before the convention by visiting local bookstores like Bonnett’s and Dragon’s Lair in Dayton, Ohio. If not in the bookstores, then in the hotel rooms of friends who let me see what they were bringing to sell. I learned to go without much cash, but I brought a few boxes of pulps to trade and sell at my table.

2 – I’m in poor health and too sick to attend. Sorry again! I had a friend who had a terminal illness and came to Pulpcon anyway. Another friend actually collapsed at the convention and died soon after. I myself once threw my back out three days before the show and my doctor and chiropractor both told me to forget about making the long drive to the convention. I felt like I was crippled for life, but I managed to squeeze into the car and drive out. I had to stop numerous times near hotels because I thought I was not going to make it. Perhaps I could rent a room and lay there for a couple weeks until I could stand. It took me 16 hours instead of the usual 9 hours, but I made it. I spent the entire convention standing because sitting down caused back spasms.

3 – I have no space or I live in a small apartment. Collectors always make space for the things they love! When I first met Bob Lesser in the 1970’s he had an apartment full of Disney toys. This was New York City and the place was tiny. A path from the front door to the bed and another path to the bathroom. Otherwise, every inch was toys, robots, and paintings. I once ran out of space and I hunted for over a year until I found a bigger house. I went to dozens of open houses and looked at hundreds of houses. I finally found a big house. Unfortunately, I soon filled it up with books. Now I need a bigger place! The old story. . .

4 – My wife is a non-collector and forbids me to go. Tell me about it! I’ve been married over 40 years and I’ve heard it all. I still go and I still collect. Les Mayer told me in 1990 at the Wayne, New Jersey Pulpcon that his wife thought he was at a business meeting. If she knew he was at Pulpcon she might burn his pulps. Collectors have to become masters of deception and great liars to defeat the non-collector. Many a time I’ve lied and many a time I’ve smuggled books into the house in the dead of night while “she who must be obeyed” slept the innocent sleep of the non-collector. Non-collectors exist to be ignored . . .

5 – I can’t get off from work. Sorry, but this is not a valid reason. My employers always knew I was a rabid book collector who took off without exception a week for Pulpcon in the summer. I made sure that my vacation request was in as early as I knew the convention dates. Once they sorrowfully told me I couldn’t go because of some work bullshit. I went anyway and left it to them to ignore my absence without leave or put up with one pissed-off book collector. I realize the employment situation is different nowadays, but which is more important, your job or your collection? Your marriage or your collection? Right, your collection.

6 – Who cares about the convention? I can buy my pulps off ebay. Back in the 1920’s and 1930’s, dime novel collectors existed. But they didn’t have a convention and died off. Now I know of only a few in existence and dime novels are just about worthless. If I had a table full of dime novels priced at a buck apiece, most collectors would scurry away in disgust. We have to support the two big pulp conventions — Windy City in Chicago and PulpFest in Columbus. If we don’t, then one day we will wake up and the pulps will be dead. These shows garner a lot of attention and people keep talking about the pulps because of the efforts of Mike Chomko, Jack and Sally Cullers, Doug Ellis, John Gunnison, Bill Lampkin, Barry Traylor, Chuck Welch, and all the other people who lend a hand.

7 – It’s too late! Like hell. There are hotels with rooms available nearby. What’s the most important thing in a serious collector’s life? His collection, without a doubt. We work, we slave, we march on to the bitter end where we will eat dirt in the boneyard. We live lives of quiet desperation and worry about the afterlife. Go to PulpFest and collect some books and pulps! You only live once . . .

8 – And finally the best reason for attending! They are a hell of a lot of fun. Not only do you get to roam around a gigantic dealers’ room full of books and pulps, but you get to meet and talk to some of the greatest collectors and dealers. These will lead to future deals and contacts. Plus you can eat and drink with them! Though I seem to be one of last of the drinkers. And the panels! All day and all night, we will be discussing pulps and books. What’s cooler than that?

I’ve never met a magazine or book collector who regretted attending PulpFest. I hope to see some of you there!

(And so do we. The convention will take place from Thursday evening, July 21, through Sunday afternoon, July 24, 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. You’ll have an AMAZING time!

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 are rooms still available. Alternately, you can search for a room at tripadvisor  or a similar website to find a hotel. Other sites include www.columbusconventions.com/thearea.php, courtesy of the Greater Columbus Convention Center, and the Experience Columbus lodging page at http://www.experiencecolumbus.com/stay.  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.

Walker Martin’s essay, “Why Attend PulpFest?” originally appeared — in slightly different form — on Steve Lewis’ Mystery*File blog on August 9, 2015 as the seventeenth segment of “Collecting Pulps: A Memoir.) 

 

Pulps in the Pub

May 25, 2016 by

Western Story 31-12-26 2Why do we attend PulpFest? We’re able to find pulps and other collectibles across the Internet. So perhaps it seems foolish to travel hundreds or even thousands of miles to attend a convention dedicated to magazines that most people know nothing about.

But PulpFest is more than 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. PulpFest is people — readers and collectors with a common interest in pulp fiction and pulp art. People who realize that the pulps had a profound effect on American popular culture.

Why do we attend PulpFest? According to collector Walker Martin: “They are a hell of a lot of fun! Not only do you get to roam around a gigantic dealer’s room full of books and pulps, but you get to meet and talk to some of the greatest collectors and dealers. These will lead to future deals and contacts. Plus you can eat and drink with these guys!”

After the end of our evening programming on Thursday, July 21, join PulpFest for a round or three in the bar at the Hyatt Regency Columbus. Buy a round for your table and talk about the magazines we love and collect. “What’s your favorite Doc Savage adventure? How many people died in ‘Death Reign of the Vampire King?’ Did Joan Randall have a thing for Gragg the Robot? Remember when Conan bit off that vulture’s head in ‘A Witch Shall Be Born?’ How the hell do you say Cthulhu? And what about Tsathoggua? Do you pronounce that with a lisp? Why does the Phantom Detective wear a top hat? Who the hell is Pinky Jenkins?”

These are just some of the mysteries you might clear up with your pals — old and new — at PulpFest 2016. You sure can’t do that on your iPhone!

(Come celebrate “Christmas in July” over the weekend of July 21 – 24 in the Columbus, Ohio Arena district at the Hyatt Regency hotel and the city’s spacious convention center. Pick up a few pulps to put under your holiday tree during PulpFest 2016. And don’t forget to join us for “Pulps in the Pub.” Perhaps you’ll have as much fun as these three songsters, painted by John Falter for the December 26, 1931 issue of Street & Smith’s WESTERN STORY MAGAZINE.)

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