Season’s Greetings from PulpFest

Dec 25, 2016 by

hardboiledxmasFrom July 27 – 30, 2017, PulpFest will celebrate the “Hardboiled Dicks, Dangerous Dames, and a Few of the Psychos” of the great pulp magazines. It was in such rough-paper periodicals as BLACK MASK and DIME DETECTIVE MAGAZINE that the hardboiled detective genre took shape and flourished. Still inspiring authors and readers across the globe, the hardboiled dick and dangerous dame had to be, as Raymond Chandler suggested, “the best man (or woman) in his world and a good enough man (or woman) for any world.”

The “hard-boiled detectives knew well how the world worked, that it was too often an ugly, unfair and brutal place that buried gentle virtues and kind gestures under spadefuls of smothering darkness …. They understood that they were trying to make a decent living in an often indecent business, but it was more than that. Deep down, they wanted to help humanity, wanted to restore compassion and kindness to the world — wanted, say, for themselves and others to be able to enjoy Christmas like a kid.”

Let’s hope a knight errant of the hardboiled school is around to help this poor woman enjoy her holidays. It’s not looking too good for her. The painting — by David Saunders — and the quote just above — by John Wooley and John McMahan — is from HARD-BOILED CHRISTMAS STORIES, an anthology of ten yuletide homicide tales published in 2012 by Reverse Karma Press. It’s highly recommended.

Here’s wishing everyone a healthy and happy holiday season from your PulpFest organizing committee — Jack and Sally Cullers, Mike Chomko, Bill Lampkin, Barry Traylor, and Chuck Welch

(To thank those members who will be supporting PulpFest in a very special well by staying at our host hotel — the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Pittsburgh – Cranberry — the convention is holding a “Cyber Monday” sale through January 8, 2017. We’re offering those members an opportunity to lock in our 2016 prices for PulpFest 2017. If you act before January 9, you’ll save $5 on your membership fee! Exhibitors will save ten bucks for each table they rent!! What a great deal for the holidays!!!)

New for PulpFest 2017 — Hardboiled Dicks, Dangerous Dames, and a Few Psychos II

Nov 7, 2016 by

PulpFest 2017 Post Card backBeginning with its first convention in 2009, PulpFest has drawn countless raves from pop culture enthusiasts. Planned as the summertime destination for fans and collectors of vintage popular fiction and related materials, PulpFest seeks to honor pulp fiction and pulp art by drawing attention to the many ways they have inspired writers, artists, film directors, software developers, game designers, and other creators over the decades. That’s why PulpFest is renowned for its fantastic dealers’ room and wide range of interesting and entertaining programming. So what will be happening at PulpFest 2017?

Back in October, we told you about the hardboiled dicks that transformed the traditional mystery story into the tough guy (and gal) crime fiction that remains popular to this very day. Today, we’re turning our attention to the dangerous dames of the pulps, the hardboiled ladies who helped to 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. Collectively, these authors and their characters have helped the hardboiled school of detective fiction writing evolve in new directions.

Many leading authors of contemporary female hardboiled detective fiction cite Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler, as well as the Nancy Drew and Judy Bolton series books, as major influences on their writing. Pulp collector and mystery author Bill Pronzini has also suggested that writers such as Grafton, Muller, and Paretsky “owe at least of small debt of gratitude to” pulp authors Georgiana Ann Randolph Craig, better known as Craig Rice; Leigh Brackett, whose novel NO GOOD FROM A CORPSE led to her co-writing the screenplay for Chandler’s THE BIG SLEEP; and Dorothy Dunn, who published over sixty stories in DIME DETECTIVE, DETECTIVE TALES, BLACK MASK, and other detective pulps.

sheena-queen-of-the-jungleAdditionally, female pulp characters such as Cleve Adams’s Violet McDade and Nevada Alvarado, Lester Dent’s Pat Savage, Paul Ernst’s Nellie Gray and Rosabel Newton, John Russell Fearn’s Golden Amazon, Walter Gibson’s Myra Reldon and Margo Lane, Robert E. Howard’s Bêlit, the “Queen of the Black Coast,” C. L. Moore’s Jirel of Joiry, Norvell Page’s Nita Van Sloan, Les Savage’s Senorita Scorpion, Theodore Tinsley’s Carrie Cashin, Gene Francis Webb’s Grace Culver, and the pseudonymously written Domino Lady and Sheena, Queen of the Jungle, all depicted women in roles often reserved for men. Generally, they performed equal to or better than their male counterparts. These dangerous dames helped to remove women from the drawing rooms of Carolyn Wells and Agatha Christie, the love and western romance pulps, and into the mean streets of “a world gone wrong.”

We’ll be back in a month with another post on our 2017 themes. Next time, we’ll explore the psychos of the pulps. Meanwhile, stay tuned to PulpFest.com for news on our “New Fictioneers” readings, Saturday Night Auction, and much more.  We’ll have a new post each and every Monday in the weeks ahead. So visit often to learn all about PulpFest 2017, “Summer’s Hardboiled Pulp Con!”

(Designed by PulpFest’s artistic director, William Lampkin, our PulpFest 2017 post card features the work of artist Norman Saunders. His painting was originally used as the cover for the May 1936 number of Fiction Magazines’ SAUCY ROMANTIC ADVENTURES. Saunders painted all three covers for the magazines that featured The Domino Lady.

The Spring 1951 issue of  STORIES OF SHEENA, QUEEN OF THE JUNGLE, a Fiction House magazine, was the only issue of this pulp. It featured front cover art by Allen Anderson. He worked for Fawcett Publications from 1929 through 1939. After moving to New York City in 1940, Anderson painted covers for pulp magazines published by Ace, Fiction House, Harry Donenfeld, and Martin Goodman.)

New for PulpFest 2017 — Hardboiled Dicks, Dangerous Dames, and a Few Psychos I

Oct 10, 2016 by

PulpFest 2017 Post CardBeginning with its first convention in 2009, PulpFest has annually drawn raves from pop culture enthusiasts. Planned as the summertime destination for fans and collectors of vintage popular fiction and related materials, PulpFest seeks to honor pulp fiction and pulp art by drawing attention to the many ways they have inspired writers, artists, film directors, software developers, game designers, and other creators over the decades. That’s why PulpFest is renowned for its wide range of interesting and entertaining programming. So what will be happening at PulpFest 2017?

Although the earliest pulps were general fiction magazines, the rough-paper rags eventually began to specialize. Pulps featuring aviation and war stories, fantasy and the supernatural, love and romance, the railroad, science fiction, sports, and other genres emerged. There were also titles devoted to prison yarns, firefighters, and even engineering stories. However, one of the longest lasting and most popular categories was the detective field. In fact, the first pulp magazine successfully dedicated to a single fiction genre was Street & Smith’s DETECTIVE STORY MAGAZINE.

Introduced in late 1915, the first pulp devoted to “stories dealing with the detection of crime” inspired dozens of similar titles: ALL DETECTIVE MAGAZINE,  CLUES, CRACK DETECTIVE, DETECTIVE-DRAGNET, DETECTIVE FICTION WEEKLY, HOLLYWOOD DETECTIVE, NEW DETECTIVE, POPULAR DETECTIVE, PRIVATE DETECTIVE STORIES, REAL DETECTIVE TALES, SPICY DETECTIVE STORIES, THRILLING DETECTIVE, and many others.

Popular Engineering Stories, 30-04Although a trailblazer as a specialty magazine, DETECTIVE STORY did little to further the development of the detective or crime story. That task would be left to its highly prized successors: BLACK MASK  — the pulp where the hard-boiled detective story began to take shape — and DIME DETECTIVE MAGAZINE — where the tough guy detective became extremely popular. Call them what you will — flatfoots, gumshoes, dime detectives, or private eyes  — it was these hardboiled dicks that transformed the traditional mystery story into the tough guy (and gal) crime fiction that remains popular to this very day.

We’ll be back in a month with another post on our 2017 themes. Next time, we’ll explore the dangerous dames of the pulps. Meanwhile, stay tuned to PulpFest.com for news on our “New Fictioneers” readings, Saturday Night Auction, and much more.  We’ll have a new post each and every Monday in the weeks ahead. So visit often to learn all about PulpFest 2017, “Summer’s Hardboiled Pulp Con!”

(Designed by PulpFest’s artistic director, William Lampkin, our PulpFest 2017 post card features the work of artist John Newton Howitt. His painting was originally used as the cover for the April 15, 1934 number of Popular Publications’ DIME DETECTIVE MAGAZINE.

The April 1930 issue of POPULAR ENGINEERING STORIES, a “Blue Circle Magazine,” was the only issue of this pulp. Published by Harold Hersey’s Magazine and Book Corporation, it featured front cover art by W. C. Brigham, Jr.)