Children of the Pulps and Other Stories

Dec 3, 2018 by

About PulpFest!

 

So what’s PulpFest? Is it one of those things where people walk around wearing costumes? Is it a comic book convention? What’s pulp?

Do these questions sound familiar?

Because of their painted covers, people often mistake pulps for comic books. But the two are quite different.

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. Stories like Edgar Rice Burroughs’ “Tarzan and the Apes” and Max Brand’s “Destry Rides Again” really got things moving.

The pulps started to flourish following the introduction of genre magazines like DETECTIVE STORY and LOVE STORY. Publishing legends BLACK MASKWEIRD TALES and AMAZING STORIES debuted during the 1920s. The thirties introduced the hero pulps and weird horror magazines. Science fiction exploded as the world went to war in 1939.

By the early fifties, the pulps had essentially disappeared. Although a few continued as digest magazines, most vanished due to competition from paperback books, comics, radio, television, movies, and more. But the fiction and artwork that had appeared in the rough-paper periodicals kept them alive for scattered collectors.

These hearty pulp enthusiasts gradually assembled astounding collections of these rough and ragged magazines. Eventually,  they formed a convention dedicated to the premise that the pulps had a profound effect on popular culture across the globe. The fiction and art of 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, anime, and role-playing games. Today, we call this convention, PulpFest.

Programming for PulpFest 2019

PulpFest 2019 postcardPulpFest is the summertime destination for fans and collectors of vintage popular fiction and related materials. It seeks to honor the pulps by drawing attention to the many ways these throwaway magazines have inspired writers, artists, film directors, game designers, and other creators over the years.

Our 2019 convention will focus on the many ways pulp fiction and pulp art have inspired and continue to inspire creators. We’re calling this year’s theme “Children of the Pulps and Other Stories,” an examination of the pervasive influence of pulp magazines on contemporary pop culture. Our planned schedule appears below.

Please join PulpFest 2019 for our celebration of mystery, adventure, science fiction, and more. We’ll be back at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Pittsburgh – Cranberry, just north of Pennsylvania’s “Steel City” in Mars, PA. Click the button below the PulpFest banner to “Book a Room.”

If you enjoy  genre writers such as J. K. Rowling, Lee Child, Michael Connelly, John Scalzi, or Stephen King, you’ll love PulpFest!

 

PulpFest 2019 Schedule

Thursday, August 15

Dealers’ Room

3:00 PM – 10:00 PM — Dealers’ Room Set-Up

4:00 PM – 8:00 PM — Member Registration and Early-Bird Shopping

Evening Programming

8:15 – 9:00 PM — Robert H. Davis — The Man Who Made ARGOSY (Gene Christie)

9:05 – 9:50 PM — From Pulps to Comics — Pulp Influences in the Comic Book Medium (Jim Beard)

9:55 – 10:40 PM — Hollywood Pulp — From Pulp Page to the Silver Screen (Ed Hulse)

10:45 – 11:30 PM — Two Sought Adventure — Fritz Leiber’s Fafhrd & the Gray Mouser (Jason Aiken & Morgan Holmes)

11:40 – 1:00 AM — Fu Manchu Film Fest (William Patrick Maynard)

Friday, August 16

Dealers’ Room

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

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

Author Readings

12:30 – 1:05 PM — To Be Announced

1:10 – 1:45 PM —To Be Announced

1:50 – 2:25 PM — To Be Announced

2:30 – 3:05 PM — To Be Announced

3:10 – 3:50 PM —To Be Announced

Afternoon Programming

4:00 – 4:40 PM — Fu Manchu Film Fest (William Patrick Maynard)

Evening Programming

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

7:05 – 7:50 PM — ARGOSY, ADVENTURE and BLUE BOOK — Men’s Adventure Pulps (Bob Deis & Wyatt Doyle)

7:55 – 8:40 PM — The Game’s Afoot: Sherlock Holmes and the Pulps (George Vanderburgh & Garyn Roberts)

8:45 – 9:30 PM — The Secret Life of Women Pulp Artists (David Saunders)

9:35 – 10:25 PM — Dashiell Hammett and the Detective Story (John Wooley with John Gunnison)

10:30 – 12:00 AM — Charles Beaumont: The Short Life of Twilight Zone’s Magic Man (A film by Jason V. Brock)

Saturday, August 17

Dealers’ Room

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

Author Readings

1:10 – 1:45 PM —To Be Announced

1:50 – 2:50 PM —To Be Announced

Afternoon Programming

3:00 – 4:00 PMContemporary Pulp: Writing the New Pulp Fiction (featuring Will Murray, John Bruening, and Christopher Paul Carey, with William Patrick Maynard moderating)

4:00 – 4:45 PM — Auction Preview

Evening Programming

5:00 – 6:45 PM — PulpFest 2019 Group Meal

7:00 – 7:30 PM — PulpFest Annual Business Meeting (meet the convention organizers)

7:30 – 7:40 PM — Munsey Award Presentation (presented by William Lampkin)

7:45 – 8:25 PM — FarmerCon: A Philip José Farmer Presentation

8:30 – 9:30 PM — Born Writing: The Unparalleled Career of Arthur J. Burks (John Locke)

9:30 – 9:45 PM —  Last Minute Auction Viewing

9:45 – 12:00 AM — Saturday Night Auction

12:00 – 1:00 AM — Fu Manchu Film Fest Encore (William Patrick Maynard)

Sunday, August 18

Dealers’ Room

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

Please note that the schedule above is subject to change.

(Every year, PulpFest celebrates mystery, adventure, science fiction, and other forms of genre fiction. The rough paper magazines played a major role in the development of fiction categories. Pulp publisher Street & Smith pioneered the specialized fiction magazine when it introduced DETECTIVE STORY MAGAZINE in late 1915. About ten years later, Hugo Gernsback debuted AMAZING STORIES — the first science fiction magazine.

Leo Morey was AMAZING’s regular cover artist from the beginning of 1930 number until early 1938. A prime example of his work is the May 1931 issue of AMAZING STORIES. It was later featured as the cover art for the first volume in Mike Ashley’s acclaimed “The History of the Science-Fiction Magazine.” Originally published by Liverpool University Press in 2000, Ashley’s book is long out of print. Copies however, can still be located via PulpFest sponsor AbeBooks.com.

Artist Walter M. Baumhofer contributed the first painted image of Doc Savage, “The Man of Bronze.” Called the first superhero, Doc’s adventures were chronicled by Lester Dent. The character debuted in the March 1933 issue of DOC SAVAGE MAGAZINE, published by Street & Smith.

About five years later, Superman made his first appearance in the June 1938 issue of ACTION COMICS. Before long, the Man of Steel was joined by many other superheroes. This is just one example of the many ways pulp fiction and pulp art have influenced writers, artists, film directors, software developers, game designers, and other creators over the decades.

Watch for our post cards featuring Walter Baumhofer’s classic Doc Savage image at book stores, comic shops, collectible conventions, and other venues. With a Superman portrait painted by H. J. Ward on its flip side, our post card is a great collectible in itself. It was designed by PulpFest Advertising Director, William Lampkin.

And watch for more adventures of The Man of Bronze via The All-New Wild Adventures of Doc Savage. They’re written by PulpFest 2019 panelist, Will Murray.)

 

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.)

 

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.)