Look Out for the PulpFest Banners!

Jul 18, 2017 by

PulpFest auction banner

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


PulpFest 2017 will be marking its different rooms with the banners pictured above. The SHOP banner will be outside our dealers’ room at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Pittsburgh – Cranberry. You’ll also be able to register at this location. Our AUCTION banner will be located at Barry Traylor’s table. This is where members — including dealers — can bring materials that they’d like to place in our Saturday Night Auction. The PANELS banner will be outside our programming area at the DoubleTree. The CON SUITE banner will be standing in — you guessed it — the PulpFest con suite. Find the banners and you’re there.

(All of our banners were designed by our talented advertising director Bill Lampkin.)

Six Writers of New Pulp

Jun 26, 2017 by

One of PulpFest‘s hallmarks has been its willingness to seek out and try new ideas. This was amply demonstrated by its decision in 2009 to present readings by “The New Fictioneers,” contemporary authors whose fiction is inspired by a love of the pulps. Since then, several other conventions have added a “New Pulp” track to their programming schedules.

PulpFest‘s dedication to new ideas and “New Pulp” continues with its annual panel moderated by Ron Fortier, a professional writer for over forty-five years. In 2007, Ron teamed up with illustrator Rob Davis and founded Airship 27 Productions. Together, they’ve built a home for new adventures featuring many of the pulp characters long remembered by our community. Ron’s own creation, the undead avenger known as Brother Bones — recently optioned as a motion picture — would certainly have been at home with Paul Ernst’s Doctor Satan in the pages of WEIRD TALES and Norvell Page’s The Spider. Ron has also penned the adventures of pulp heroes Captain Hazzard and the Domino Lady, as well as pop culture icons The Green Hornet, Popeye, and The Phantom.

On Saturday, July 28, Ron will be joined by five practitioners of contemporary pulp fiction for PulpFest‘s 2017 new pulp panel. The six authors will be discussing their writing experiences and why — of all the genres out there — they gravitated to pulp fiction.

Fred Adams, Jr. is a western Pennsylvania native who has enjoyed a lifelong love affair with horror, fantasy, and science fiction literature and films.  He holds a Ph.D. in American Literature from Duquesne University and recently retired from teaching in the English Department of Penn State University. He has published over fifty short stories in amateur and professional magazines, as well as hundreds of news features as a staff writer and sportswriter for newspapers. For Airship 27, Fred has written HITWOLF, SIX-GUN TERROR, and most recently, DEAD MAN’S MELODY.

John C. Bruening has been writing professionally for more than thirty years, first as a newspaper reporter and magazine editor and later as a marketing copywriter. As far back as he can remember, he has been a fan of comics, pulps, adventure fiction, vintage movies and serials, old-time radio, and any other form of heroic storytelling. His 2016 debut novel, THE MIDNIGHT GUARDIAN: HOUR OF DARKNESS, has been called “a Republic serial set to prose” and “the creative construct of a first-rate storyteller.” His most recent published work is “The Warrior and the Stone,” a short story appearing in RESTLESS: AN ANTHOLOGY OF MUMMY HORROR, a 2017 release from Flinch Books, where he is a publishing partner with Jim Beard. John is currently working on the next adventure of The Midnight Guardian. He lives near Cleveland, Ohio.

A life-long fan of science fiction and pulp fiction, Wayne Carey grew up reading Edgar Rice Burroughs, H. G. Wells, Isaac Asimov, H. Rider Haggard and all the grand masters. His reading guided him toward a career in science with degrees in biology and education and provided the desire to write from an early age. A love of classic and noir films also influences his writing. He is the author of THE NANON FACTOR, a young adult contemporary science fiction thriller that blends a murder mystery with cutting edge technology. His work has also appeared in a variety of anthologies such as LEGENDS OF NEW PULP FICTION. He and his wife live in the wilds of Central Pennsylvania with their three children, who provide a great deal of inspiration to the author.

Born to a father who was both a writer and a pulp enthusiast, Michael Maynard has been a fan of pulp all his life. Some of his favorites include the works of Dashiell Hammett, Sax Rohmer, John Buchan, and H. G. Wells. His favorite medium, however, is the cinema. Some of Michael’s favorite movies include such classics as THE MALTESE FALCON, DOUBLE INDEMNITY, and CASABLANCA. Michael’s first work of fiction was published in 2016: a short story that he wrote with his father. It was featured in the Airship 27 anthology, THE TOWERS OF METROPOLISHe intends to continue writing for the foreseeable future.

Charles Milhouse has been independently publishing since 1999, but really didn’t get into pulp until 2010. That was when he started to work on Captain Hawklin. He has written four books in the series and is currently outlining a fifth volume. He has published fourteen books, including the recently concluded, five-volume TALON’S EPIC. Charles is influenced by writers such as William F. Nolan and Frank Herbert. He is a professional chef, but writing is his passion. To learn more about Charles’ writing, please visit the Stormgate Press website.

Our new pulp panel will take place at 2:15 PM on Saturday, July 28 in the PulpFest programming room at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Pittsburgh – Cranberry. Watch for the PulpFest PANELS banner outside the entrance to our programming room. PulpFest 2017 —  the destination for fans and collectors of vintage popular fiction, art and related materials — will begin on Thursday, July 27, and run through Sunday, July 30.

You can join PulpFest by clicking the Register for 2017 button on our home page. And don’t forget to book a room at the DoubleTree. They’re going fast! Thanks so much to everyone who has reserved a room at our host hotel. By staying at the DoubleTree by Hilton, you’ve helped to ensure the convention’s success.

(In case you’re wondering about the term “fictioneer,” most dictionaries place its origin during the early twenties. However, it was relatively commonplace in magazines between 1910 and 1920 and has been spotted in works dating back to the mid-nineteenth century. H. Bedford-Jones used it in a series of articles called “The Graduate Fictioneer,” originally published by AUTHOR & JOURNALIST in the early thirties. In 1932, a group of Wisconsin writers got together and called themselves “The Milwaukee Fictioneers.” At various times, Robert Bloch, Fredric Brown, August Derleth, Ralph Milne Farley, Lawrence Keating, Ray Palmer and Stanley Weinbaum were members of this group. In the late 30s, Popular Publications started Fictioneers, Inc., a pulp line that paid its authors half the going market rate of a penny a word. E. Hoffmann Price, soldier-of-fortune, and prolific pulp author, used the term in his memoirs from the pulp years, BOOK OF THE DEAD — FRIENDS OF YESTERYEAR: FICTIONEERS & OTHERS, published by Arkham House in 2001. Pulp historian and anthologist John Locke likewise used it in his non-fiction anthology PULP FICTIONEERS: ADVENTURES IN THE STORYTELLING BUSINESS, published by Adventure House in 2004.

In 1927, German filmmaker Fritz Lang brought to the screen one of the most ground-breaking science fiction films of all time. METROPOLIS is regarded as a classic and one of the first full-length movies in the genre. THE TOWERS OF METROPOLIS — published by Airship 27 — is an anthology of  four dramatic tales which unfold in this amazing world prior to the events of the film. It features front cover art by the award-winning Michael W. Kaluta.)

Philip José Farmer’s Most Dangerous Dame: Patricia Wildman

Jun 22, 2017 by

PulpFest is very pleased to welcome its FarmerCon members back to our joint conference. Since 2011, FarmerCon has offered to help with our programming. They’re mixing things up for 2017, with a panel on “The Psychos of Philip José Farmer — The Nine” and a solo presentation on the friendship of “Philip José Farmer and Robert Bloch.”

Additionally, FarmerCon has asked Win Scott Eckert to perform a couple of short readings: THE MONSTER ON HOLD — a chapter from a planned book that Philip José Farmer offered at the 1983 World Fantasy Convention — and an excerpt from Win’s short novel, THE SCARLET JAGUAR.

During his life, Philip José Farmer maintained that his book DOC SAVAGE: HIS APOCALYPTIC LIFE was a biography of a real person named Doctor James Clarke Wildman. Pat Wildman is the daughter of Doc Wildman, “the world-renowned adventurer and crimefighter of the 1930s and 40s.”

Introduced in the Wold Newton novel, THE EVIL IN PEMBERLEY HOUSE — which Eckert coauthored with Philip José Farmer — Patricia’s adventures continue in THE SCARLET JAGUAR, written solely by Win Scott Eckert.

The winner of the 2014 New Pulp Award for best novella, Eckert’s story tells of a young girl whose father has been kidnapped by the Scarlet Jaguar. Pat, following in her father’s footsteps of righting wrongs and assisting those in need, agrees to help the girl. Now, it’s a race against time, deep in the wilds of the Central American jungle, as Pat Wildman and her crew search for the girl’s father, and confront the Scarlet Jaguar’s weird power to eliminate his enemies from afar.

“But who—or what—is the Scarlet Jaguar? A power-mad dictator determined to reclaim power? A revolutionary movement bent on taking over the country, and the rest of Central America? Or a front for something even more sinister . . . ?”

Win Scott Eckert is the editor of and contributor to MYTHS FOR THE MODERN AGE: PHILIP JOSÉ FARMER’S WOLD NEWTON UNIVERSE. He has coedited three Green Hornet anthologies for Moonstone Books. His short tales of Zorro, The Avenger, The Phantom, The Lone Ranger, The Scarlet Pimpernel, Hareton Ironcastle, Captain Midnight, The Green Ghost, Sexton Blake, The Domino Lady, Doc Ardan, and Sherlock Holmes can be found in several character-themed anthologies available from various publishers. Eckert’s critically acclaimed, encyclopedic CROSSOVERS: A SECRET CHRONOLOGY OF THE WORLD 1 & 2, was released by Black Coat Press in 2010.

A Honey West/T.H.E Cat crossover, A GIRL AND HER CAT, the first new Honey West novel in over forty years, came out in 2014. Forthcoming works include: the third Pat Wildman adventure; a new novel of one of the preeminent pulp heroes of the ’40s, The Avenger; and the unfinished fourth novel in Farmer’s “Secrets of the Nine” series. You can find Win Scott Eckert online at winscotteckert.com and @woldnewton on Twitter.

Join Win Scott Eckert of FarmerCon on Friday, July 28, at 10:20 PM for a short reading from THE SCARLET JAGUAR. To learn more about Philip José Farmer, please visit The Official Philip José Farmer Web Page. It’s the Brobdingnagian collection of all things Farmerian! And please join us at PulpFest 2017/FarmerCon XII from Thursday evening, July 27, through Sunday afternoon, July 30, at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Pittsburgh – Cranberry — just north of Pennsylvania’s “Steel City.”

You can join PulpFest by clicking the Register for 2017 button on our home page. And don’t forget to book a room at the DoubleTree. They’re going fast!

(Win Scott Eckert’s THE SCARLET JAGUAR was released in 2016 by Meteor House, featuring cover art by Mark Sparacio. A resident of Boca Raton, Florida, Mark is a Professor of Fine Arts at Digital Media Arts College. He has also worked as a comic book illustrator for Marvel, DC, and other companies.)

The Dangerous Dames of Kenneth Robeson

Jun 20, 2017 by

Over the years, PulpFest has sought 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. Indeed, the hardboiled dicks, dangerous dames, and a few psychos of the pulps that we’ll be celebrating in 2017 have had a profound effect on popular culture.

Back in May, we set our sights on the mad scientists, crazed hunchbacks, and foul cultists who decimated American cities on a monthly basis in the rough-paper magazines. We also drew attention to the hundredth anniversary of the birth of Robert Bloch, who got his start in the pulps and wrote the suspense classic, PSYCHO.

June found us exploring DIME DETECTIVE MAGAZINE — one of the pulps where the hard-boiled detective story began to take shape. We also examined Robert Leslie Bellem’s tough-guy detective, Dan Turner; Gordon Young’s “Most Dangerous Man in America,” Don Everhard; and the many characters created by Erle Stanley Gardner.

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 detective to evolve in new directions.

Female pulp characters such as Cleve Adams’s Violet McDade and Nevada Alvarado, John Russell Fearn’s Golden Amazon, Walter Gibson’s Myra Reldon and Margo Lane, Robert E. Howard’s Bêlit, “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, Lars Anderson’s 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.

Perhaps the best known female character of the pulps is Lester Dent’s Pat Savage. As Kent Gutschke has written on THE MARTIAN DEATH RAY:

“She is only the Bronze Goddess of pulp’s Golden Age, and distant cousin to Doc Savage, the Bronze Man of Tomorrow. And she is more fun and psychologically complex than the man whose shadow she lives under. Patricia Savage is also an underdog not because she lacks intelligence and skill, but because the men that surrounded her — both heroes and villains — forever underestimate her.

“In fact the only man in Patricia Savage’s life who does not underestimate her is her creator, Lester Dent. As early as 1934’s ‘Death in Silver,’ Dent planned for Pat to run her own detective agency within the pages of DOC SAVAGE, but editors at Street & Smith rejected the idea. While Street & Smith billed Doc as the Man of Tomorrow, Doctor Clark Savage and his editors had quaint, patriarchal notions about a woman’s place in their brave new world. So Pat Savage and Lester Dent settled for a beauty salon. What trouble could she possibly get into running a beauty salon? With Dent writing, quite a bit and when trouble failed to come her way, Pat cultivated a talent for elbowing into Doc’s adventures.”

Introduced in “Brand of the Werewolf” — originally published in the January 1934 issue of DOC SAVAGE MAGAZINE — Pat Savage would appear in 37 adventures of the Man of Bronze. In “I Died Yesterday,” her final pulp appearance (published in the January 1948 number), she is the first-person narrator of the story. As Terence Towles Canote has written on A SHROUD OF THOUGHTS

“She was in many ways the perfect, female counterpart to her cousin. Pat was spectacularly beautiful, yet very much her own woman. She could fight as well as any man, deadly with her six shooter and skilled in boxing, fencing, and jujitsu. She could fly a plane, pick locks, pick pockets, speak Mayan and German (although she was not very good at the latter), knew Morse code, and was a very convincing actress. She also had an undying love of adventure, which she shared with her cousin (even if Doc would never admit it). Over the course of her adventures Pat emerges as a fully realised character, perhaps more fully realised than any female character from the pulps save Nita Van Sloan from THE SPIDER. This could very well be the reason she still has more than her fair share of fans to this day.”

Please join PulpFest 2017 on Friday, July 28, at 10:30 PM as the convention’s technical director, Chuck Welch, examines The Dangerous Dames of Kenneth Robeson. In addition to Pat Savage, Chuck will be discussing Paul Ernst’s Nellie Gray and Rosabel Newton, two strong female characters featured in Street & Smith’s THE AVENGER, a hero pulp introduced in 1939.

As one of the original Internet Fans of Bronze, Chuck Welch started attending the summer pulp convention in the late 1990s. After meeting his future wife at one of these conventions, Chuck took some time off to start a family. At the behest of Bill Mann, he returned to attend PulpFest. As was his wont, Chuck immediately started volunteering and making suggestions to the organizing committee. Having enough of his puppy-dog eyes, he was asked to join the team. Chuck is the convention’s technology director and webmaster. When the Internet began to take off, Chuck began Flearun, a Doc Savage group now at Facebook. He is also the creator of the Hidalgo Trading Company — perhaps the closest anyone has come to presenting an online Doc fanzine — and the current editor of the Doc Savage fan magazine THE BRONZE GAZETTE.

(Doc Savage and his assistants travel to British Columbia to visit his uncle, Alex Savage, and cousin, Patricia Savage, in “The Brand of the Werewolf,” originally published in DOC SAVAGE MAGAZINE for January 1934, with cover art by Walter M. Baumhofer. When they reach the cabin of Doc’s relatives, they discover that Alex Savage has been murdered. From the start, Pat is ready for adventure, hoping to find the killers of her father. She would be “ready for adventure” in nearly forty tales of Lester Dent’s Man of Bronze.)

The Domino Lady — Scarlet Adventuress

Jun 19, 2017 by

This year, PulpFest is trying an experiment. We’ll be offering readings between our presentations as our technical staff gets ready. One of these readings will take place on Friday, July 28, at 8:40 PM. Please join PulpFest 2017 as we welcome author, editor, and publisher Ron Fortier as he reads from “The Claws of the Cat,” a short story featuring one of the world’s first female masked crime fighters — The Domino Lady.

Following the murder of her father — an honest and tireless district attorney — debutante Ellen Patrick decides to fight evil in society. Wearing a small, dark mask and a tight and revealing evening gown, she becomes The Domino Lady. Armed with an automatic pistol and a knockout drug, she robs her victims, donating the bulk of the loot to charity and leaving her calling card: “The Domino Lady’s Compliments.”

Ron’s story originally appeared in DOMINO LADY: SEX AS A WEAPON, published in 2009 by Moonstone Books. Edited by Lori Gentile, the anthology featured nine new stories by some of the best writers of new pulp fiction.

Ron Fortier has been a professional writer for over four decades. In 2007, Ron teamed up with illustrator Rob Davis to found Airship 27 Productions and build a home for new adventures featuring long moribund pulp characters such as the Green Lama, the Masked Rider, Secret Agent X, and Fortier’s own version of Ace Periodicals’ Captain Hazzard. Airship’s books have inspired contemporary writers and artists to turn out new adventures featuring many of the characters long remembered by the pulp community. They have also served as ports of entry for new people to become involved with the world of pulps. In 2009, Ron helped develop the Pulp Factory Awards, inaugurated to support and encourage the creation of new pulp fiction and art. Ron’s own prose creation, Brother Bones, was recently optioned as a motion picture by Franklin-Husser Entertainment, an independent film production company based in Seattle.

(Published in several different editions by Moonstone Books, DOMINO LADY: SEX AS A WEAPON, features cover art by Jeff Butler, an American illustrator and comic book artist. With Mike Baron, Butler created The Badger for Capital Comics. Later, he worked for TSR, the publisher of DUNGEONS AND DRAGONS. He left the firm to help Ron Fortier bring The Green Hornet back to comics. Butler has also worked in the video game industry.)

Compliments of The Domino Lady

Jun 16, 2017 by

In the violence-riddled cities of the pulp era, the police were either unable or unwilling to deal with the criminal element. It was left to strong-willed and often well-to-do citizens to take matters into their own hands. Over time, these characters became known as the pulp heroes. The Shadow, Doc Savage, The Spider, The Green Lama, The Avenger, The Black Bat, and others. Helping these heroic vigilantes were their hand-picked agents, including a number of female assistants.

The Shadow had his Myra Reldon and Margo LaneNita Van Sloan worked next to The Spider; although disgruntled, Doc Savage accepted the assistance of his cousin Pat, while The Avenger was capably helped by Nellie Grey and Rosabel Newton. And then there’s The Domino Lady . . . .

The only female pulp hero to be featured in her own series, The Domino Lady appeared in six stories credited to Lars Anderson. Published in 1936, five of her tales ran in SAUCY ROMANTIC ADVENTURES. The character’s final tale appeared in MYSTERY ADVENTURE MAGAZINE.

The Domino Lady is really debutante Ellen Patrick. Following the murder of her father — an honest and tireless district attorney — Ellen decides to fight evil in society. Wearing a small, dark mask and a tight and revealing evening gown, she becomes The Domino Lady. Armed with an automatic pistol and a knockout drug, she robs her victims, donating the bulk of the loot to charity and leaving her calling card.

In his introduction to Vanguard Publications’ DOMINO LADY: THE COMPLETE COLLECTION, Bernard Drew writes:

“You’re in for a treat as you read these half-dozen Domino Lady escapades, for that’s the best way to describe them. Escapades. They involve no investigation, no probing, no crime solving. Ellen has already zeroed in on the bad guy by story’s start. The main plot element, in fact, is the shapely heroine wrangling her way into a social situation, making light conversation, swiping something or other of value from someone who deserves to lose it and dropping a calling card which reads ‘The Domino Lady’s Compliments.'”

Over the last few decades, new adventures of The Domino Lady have been published by various small and independent presses. Moonstone Books has released a number of books and comics featuring the character. Airship 27 has issued a pair of anthologies collecting new Domino Lady stories. Perhaps the strangest versions are the erotic comic book tales written and drawn by the late Ron Wilber.

At 11:35 PM on Thursday, July 27, please join Michelle Nolan in the PulpFest 2017 programming room for “Compliments of The Domino Lady,” a brief discussion of what The Domino Lady means in pulp history and how the character paved the way for dozens of costumed heroines in the comics of the Golden Age and beyond. It’s all part of the convention’s celebration of 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 detective fiction to evolve in new directions.

A mainstream journalist for more than fifty years, Michelle Nolan has also covered the history of genre fiction in pulps, comics, books and films in more than 1,000 magazine, newspaper and book articles. She is the author of the definitive “LOVE ON THE RACKS: A HISTORY OF AMERICAN ROMANCE COMICS and BALL TALES: A STUDY IN AMERICAN SPORTS FICTION. In 2014, Michelle received an Inkpot Award from Comic-Con International: San Diego.

(Although the first costumed pulp heroine appeared in just six stories in rare and obscure mid-1930s pulps, The Domino Lady commanded three covers for those magazines. All three were painted by Norman Saunders, one of the leading artists and illustrators of the pulp era. During a career that spanned five decades, Saunders completed over 2500 commercial art assignments, including more than one thousand covers featured on 85 different pulp titles.

In addition to his work for the pulp industry, Norman Saunders illustrated for national advertisers, slick magazines, paperbacks, men’s adventure magazines, calendars, comic books, trading cards, and more. He died in 1989 at the age of 82.)

Hardboiled and Dangerous: The Characters of Erle Stanley Gardner

Jun 15, 2017 by

When the magazine BLACK MASK is discussed, author Dashiell Hammett generally comes into play. But the creator of Sam Spade and The Continental Op was far from the most prolific contributor to the greatest of the hard-boiled detective magazines. That honor would go to Erle Stanley Gardner, best known for creating Perry Mason. Gardner would appear in THE BLACK MASK over one hundred times.

A practicing lawyer interested in a better income, Erle Stanley Gardner forced “himself to churn out four thousand words a night. It took two years, but he made his first sale to the pulps. It wouldn’t be the last.” During his fifty-year writing career, Gardner would publish close to twenty million words of fiction and create “no less than 49 unique detectives and adventurers who made two or more appearances in book or magazine form . . .”

According to Bill Pronzini’s introduction to THE DANGER ZONE AND OTHER STORIES published by Crippen & Landru in 2004 — Gardner published 128 novels between 1933 and 1970. Eighty-two of these feature Perry Mason, while Bertha Cool and Donald Lam appear in 29 book-length adventures. Crusading district attorney Doug Selby appears in nine novels, while the remaining eight feature other characters.

“All of Gardner’s other series characters . . . were created for the magazine markets, both pulp-paper and slick-paper, and appear only in novelettes and short stories. Several hundred of these yarns saw print from the 1920s into the 1950s, the preponderance in a ten-year-span from 1926 to 1936 when Gardner lived up to his billing as “King of the Woodpulps” by producing and selling an average of one million words of fiction annually. ARGOSY, BLACK MASK, and DETECTIVE FICTION WEEKLY were his favorite pulp markets, printing nearly 200 stories among them. Series tales and one-shots also ran regularly in DIME DETECTIVE, CLUES, STREET & SMITH’S DETECTIVE STORY, TOP-NOTCH, BLACK ACES, ALL DETECTIVE, SHORT STORIES, and a host of others . . . .

“Foremost among his amazing array of short-fiction creations are Ed Jenkins, the Phantom Crook, an outlaw and ‘famous lone wolf’ who lives by his wits and solves crimes unjustly pinned on him by the police, many of which have San Francisco Chinatown settings; and Lester Leith, debonair man-about-town, whose ‘chain lightning mind’ allows him to both outfox criminals and outmaneuver his butler, Scuttle, an undercover police spy. Jenkins appears in 72 novelettes published in BLACK MASK between 1925 and 1943 . . . Leith can be found in 65 novelettes in DETECTIVE FICTION WEEKLY from 1929 to 1943 . . .”

Other oft-published series characters created by Erle Stanley Gardner include Bob Zane of the “Whispering Sands” tales; Sidney Zoom, master of disguises; Señor Lobo, Mexican soldier of fortune; the Patent Leather Kid; Paul Pry, who steals from crooks; Bob Larkin, an adventurer armed with a billiard cue; attorney Ken Corning; gunslinger Black Barr; and Speed Dash, the Human Fly.

At 8:50 PM on Friday, July 28, PulpFest 2017 welcomes Jeffrey Marks for a discussion of Gardner’s four types of pulp characters: the western miner, the non-Perry lawyers, the traditional pulp loners, and the author’s happy-go-lucky criminals. Marks is a long-time mystery fan and freelance writer. His works include WHO WAS THAT LADY, a biography of mystery writer Craig Rice; ATOMIC RENAISSANCE: WOMEN MYSTERY WRITERS OF THE 1940S/1950S; and PULP ICONS: ERLE STANLEY GARDNER AND HIS PULP MAGAZINE CHARACTERS. His latest work is a biography of mystery author and critic Anthony Boucher entitled ANTHONY BOUCHER. It has been nominated for an Agatha and fittingly, won an Anthony Award.

Jeffrey’s work has won a number of awards including the Barnes and Noble Prize. It has also been nominated for an Edgar Award, three Agathas, two Macavity Awards, and three Anthony Awards. Today, he writes from his home in Cincinnati, which he shares with his partner and two dogs.

Please join us from July 27 through July 30 at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Pittsburgh – Cranberry — just north of Pennsylvania’s “Steel City” — for PulpFest 2017 as we celebrate the hardboiled dicks, dangerous dames, and a few psychos of the pulps. You can join PulpFest by clicking the Register for 2017 button on our home page. And don’t forget to book a room at the DoubleTree. They’re going fast!

(First introduced to BLACK MASK readers with the story, “The Shrieking Skeleton,” published in the December 15, 1923 number under the pseudonym Charles Green, Erle Stanley Gardner quickly established himself as a readers’ favorite. Soon thereafter, he introduced his first series character, Bob Larkin. But it was with the January 1925 number that Gardner truly hit paydirt, introducing Ed Jenkins in “Beyond the Law.” By the end of 1926, Jenkins was garnering the cover spot of the magazine, including the March 1933 issue featuring artwork by J. W. Schlaikjer. Erle Stanley Gardner’s Phantom Crook would appear in 72 novelettes published in BLACK MASK between 1925 and 1943.)

Somewhere a Roscoe: Dan Turner and SPICY DETECTIVE

Jun 13, 2017 by

“From the window that opened onto the roof-top sun deck a roscoe sneezed: Ka-Chow! Chowpf! and a red-hot hornet creased its stinger across my dome; bashed me to dreamland.”

That’s Robert Leslie Bellem communicating through Hollywood gumshoe Dan Turner. The story is “Lake of the Left-Hand Moon,” originally published in the December 1943 issue of HOLLYWOOD DETECTIVE.

Born in Philadelphia and trained as a newspaper reporter, Bellem began writing for the pulps in 1928. “I was thumbing through a magazine one day. I stumbled on an illustration to a story . . . It depicted two or three native South Seas island gals — clad in no more than the law allowed — surrounding one rather embarrassed-looking beachcomber. I squinted at the daub and got a definite inward reaction. I sat down at my typewriter and batted off ‘Eden Island,’ a sex yarn. It was the first sex farce I’d ever written. I sent it to PEP. They bought it and yelled for more of the same. That’s four years ago — now I sell about five or six sex farces a month, and hardly get time to write anything else!”

In 1934, Harry Donenfeld’s Culture Publications introduced SPICY DETECTIVE STORIES. Edited by Frank Armer, the former publisher of PEP, Bellem would be on board from day one, penning the adventures of Dan Turner, “six feet plus and one hundred ninety pounds of wisecracking, .38 toting, whisky-swilling, womanizing private eye.” The character would go on to fight, shoot, and kiss his way through a “good two hundred tales,” published in SPICY and SPEED DETECTIVE STORIES, as well as HOLLYWOOD DETECTIVE STORIES.

A prolific writer, Robert Leslie Bellem “knocked out hundreds of other stories, at one stretch selling about a million words of fiction per year.”

He wrote a variety of fiction including adventure, detective, western, mystery, weird and of course the sex farces. During the 1930s Bellem regularly appeared in the Trojan/Culture pulps SPICY DETECTIVE, SPICY MYSTERY, SPICY-ADVENTURE and PRIVATE DETECTIVE (and their later incarnations as the SPEED titles) both under his own name and a stable of pennames. On more than one occasion an entire issue of a pulp was comprised of works by Bellem under several names. Bellem also published fiction in REAL DETECTIVE STORIES, DETECTIVE FICTION WEEKLY, THRILLING DETECTIVE, MAMMOTH DETECTIVE, THE GHOST, THRILLING SPY STORIES, SUPER DETECTIVE, and POPULAR DETECTIVE, to name a few.

As the pulp market contracted and died, Bellem turned to the television industry, scripting for DICK TRACY, PERRY MASON, THE ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN, VOYAGE TO THE BOTTOM OF THE SEA, 77 SUNSET STRIP, CAPTAIN MIDNIGHT, THE F.B.I., BROKEN ARROW, WANTED: DEAD OR ALIVE, DEATH VALLEY DAYS, THE MILLIONAIRE, and others.

Join PulpFest 2017 on Thursday, July 27, at 9:40 PM as we welcome author, editor, and publisher John Wooley for a look at Robert Leslie Bellem and Dan Turner. Immediately following John’s talk, members of the Pulp-Pourri Theatre will perform a reading from one of Bellem’s entertaining tales of “Hollywood, U.S.A.’s number one gumshoe.”

One of the first books John Wooley sold — to Bowling Green State University Popular Press — was a collection of Dan Turner stories. He has since written, co-written, or edited over three dozen books, including the current HOMICIDE HIGHBALL: THE LOST DAN TURNER MOVIE SCRIPT (Bold Venture Press), which spotlights the alternative screenplay for the Dan Turner made-for-TV movie. John has also written comic books, trading cards, and thousands of magazine and newspaper stories, most of them in conjunction with his work as the music and horror-movie writer for the TULSA WORLD, a position he held from 1983 through 2006. Winner of the Lamont Award in 2006, Wooley is co-owner, with John McMahan, of the pulp-related Reverse Karma Press. In 2015, John was inducted into the Oklahoma Historians’ Hall of Fame.

(Beside the outrageous writing of Robert Leslie Bellem and his peers who wrote for Culture Publications, the Spicy line of pulp magazines is collected for the pulp art of the talented H. J. Ward and others. Ward contributed the cover illustration for the December 1937 number of SPICY DETECTIVE STORIESThe artist began working in the pulp industry in 1931, selling freelance pulp covers to many different publishers, including Munsey, Dell, Popular. However, the majority of his work was published by Culture/Trojan. Ward became the publisher’s top artist.

Many thanks to Tom Roberts of Black Dog Books for his highly informative afterword to CORPSE ON ICE, quoted in this article.)

 

Hardboiled Dicks: A Look at DIME DETECTIVE MAGAZINE

Jun 12, 2017 by

Matt Moring — the publisher of Altus Press and its fine line of pulp reprint and history volumes — turns an eye toward DIME DETECTIVE MAGAZINE on Saturday, July 29, at 9 PM. It’s all part of the celebration of hardboiled dicks, dangerous dames, and a few psychos 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.

Although 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 hardboiled 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.

Most critics site BLACK MASK MAGAZINE as the fertile ground where hardboiled detective fiction gathered its form. From 1923 through 1931, it reigned supreme as the home of the genre. Then, in 1931, Henry Steeger and Harold Goldsmith of Popular Publications introduced DIME DETECTIVE MAGAZINE. Costing a nickel less than BLACK MASK, its appeal to the cash-strapped consumers of the Great Depression was hard to dispute. As Stefan Dziemianowicz wrote in his introduction to HARD-BOILED DETECTIVES (1992):

As added inducement, it was able to lure BLACK MASK regulars like Gardner, Nebel, Chandler, Norbert Davis, and Frederick C. Davis into its pages by paying them the princely sum of four cents per word — one cent more than BLACK MASK and quadruple the going pulp fiction rate. DIME DETECTIVE made only two stipulations to its authors: there were to be no novel serializations and the characters they created could not appear in competing magazines. The result was a looser and more varied magazine than BLACK MASK.

Before long, DIME DETECTIVE would become the best-selling title of the mystery-detective genre and the most popular magazine of its publishers’ line of pulp magazines. By the summer of 1933, it was appearing twice monthly, a schedule it maintained through June of 1935. It would be one of Popular’s longest lived titles, running for 274 issues — largely on a monthly basis — through its August 1953 number.

Running for twenty years, Popular Publications’ DIME DETECTIVE MAGAZINE published thousands of high-quality hard-boiled stories by hundreds of authors, eventually becoming the most respected detective pulp magazine behind BLACK MASK. However, DIME DETECTIVE excelled at introducing long-running series characters, something BLACK MASK normally didn’t do. These series characters run the gamut of quirky detectives, completely unique and offbeat: the types of investigators which had never been seen before (and rarely repeated with such skill since).

Matt Moring — who wrote the words above — is the publisher at Altus Press. Reprinting pulp fiction from a wide variety of pulp genres, including hero, detective, jungle, the French Foreign Legion, and more, Matt has quickly become one of the leading publishers in the pulp world. He has also published numerous historical works on the pulps including biographies, indices, and examinations of single-character magazines. Together with Will Murray, Matt revived the Doc Savage series, publishing brand new stories after a long absence. The Altus Press website is also an excellent reference source, featuring links to The Pulp Superhero Index and The ECHOES Index. Matt was our Munsey Award winner in 2012.

(In addition to employing some of the pulp industry’s leading authors, DIME DETECTIVE MAGAZINE also employed its leading artists, including the “king of the pulp artists,” Walter Baumhofer. The skilled brushes of artists such as Baumhofer — his work graces the cover of the January 1936 issue shown here — along with the experienced writers, low price, and continuing characters such as Vee Brown and Jack Cardigan helped DIME DETECTIVE to become the leading magazine of its field.)

Pulp-Pourri Theatre Presents “Return to the Sabbath”

Jun 10, 2017 by

For the last week or so, PulpFest‘s web posts have been discussing this year’s celebration of the 100th anniversary of the birth of Robert Bloch. The author of more than 200 stories, nearly thirty novels, and a large number of non-fiction articles, screenplays, and teleplays, Bloch got his start as a writing professional in the pulp magazines that are celebrated each summer at PulpFest.

Bloch discovered the pulp magazines in 1927, courtesy of his Aunt Lil. As he wrote in his autobiography, ONCE AROUND THE BLOCH: “And it was thus that I was introduced to a magazine which changed my life, my very first copy of WEIRD TALES. . . .”

It was through that magazine that Robert Bloch began a correspondence with the author H. P. Lovecraft. At the urging of “The Old Gentleman” — as Lovecraft called himself — Bloch began to write fiction. Before long, the young man was a published author: “But in July, 1934, less than a month after graduating from high school, I received a letter of acceptance for my story. . . . I had suddenly and almost miraculously become a professional writer, a contributor for the very magazine which published the work of my favorite author and present pen pal. . . .”

Robert Bloch’s early fiction was strongly influenced by Lovecraft and his “Cthulhu Mythos.” Bloch even made Lovecraft a central character in “The Shambler from the Stars,” published in the September 1935 WEIRD TALES. He also created two of the often cited texts of the Mythos, Ludwig Prinn’s DE VERMIS MYSTERIIS and Comte d’Erlette’s CULTES DES GOULES.

Following Lovecraft’s death in 1937, Bloch continued writing for WEIRD TALES. He became one of the magazine’s most popular authors, appearing in its pages nearly seventy times. Perhaps his best known tale for “The Unique Magazine” is “Yours Truly, Jack the Ripper,” published in the July 1943 number.

Whereas Lovecraft’s later fiction took on science fictional overtones, Bloch’s WEIRD TALES fiction was, by and large, ground in horror and the supernatural. For instance, from 1936 through 1938, a number of the author’s stories — “Fane of the Black Pharaoh,” “The Eyes of the Mummy,” “Beetles,” and others — were probably inspired by the 1932 Boris Karloff film, THE MUMMY. Others explored such horror motifs as voodoo, wax museums, and black magic. Robert Bloch’s “Return to the Sabbath,” originally published in WEIRD TALES for July 1938, is an example of the latter.

Originally published under Bloch’s Tarleton Fiske pseudonym, “Return to the Sabbath” was published when the author was twenty-one. Narrated in the first person by a Hollywood public relations man, it’s the story of a European actor brought to the United States to star in a satanic horror film. But the actor — who had dabbled in devil worship himself — disappears after he learns that a former colleague has been murdered in Paris by cultists. Bloch’s story was later adapted and filmed for television as “The Sign of Satan.” It aired on THE ALFRED HITCHCOCK HOUR in 1964.

On Friday, July 28, at 11 PM, PulpFest 2017 welcomes the Narada Radio Company and their PULP-POURRI THEATRE to this summer’s convention. The group will be dramatizing Robert Bloch’s “Return to the Sabbath” in the old radio-play format. Based in Corpus Christi, PULP-POURRI THEATRE is an audio drama anthology series that has its origins in vintage pulp fiction, but presents its stories in the modern way. Pete Lutz is the company’s producer-director. You can sample their work online or via iTunes.

According to Narada’s Pete Lutz:

My life’s dream has been to create “radio” plays and be an actor in them. I was looking at copies of pulp magazine covers and followed a link to scans of pulp stories. I started reading them and immediately began to mentally dramatize them for audio. My wife came up with the name PULP-POURRI THEATRE. I feel this hints at the wide variety of pulp genres available. The possibilities are endless. There are thousands of pulp-fiction stories available. Action becomes dialogue. Narration becomes action. Once the last voice is “in the can”, I start production. Voices get cobbled together first, and then I add music and sound effects. Then I listen to it a half-dozen times to make sure I haven’t overlooked anything.

PULP-POURRI THEATRE embraces the thrilling world of pulp fiction from the last century. We present audio dramas with a few modern touches, such as full sound design. We bring you the most exciting stories from the finest pulp writers. We also throw in an occasional new story from a guest playwright.

The PulpFest 2017 cast of Narada Radio Company’s PULP-POURRI THEATRE will be Austin and Barbi Beach, Ross Bernhardt, Randy Coull, Derek, Keane, and Pete Lutz, and Greg and Rhiannon McAfee. Please join them at PulpFest 2017 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 celebrate the 100th anniversary of the birth of PSYCHO author Robert Bloch at the “pop culture center of the universe” called PulpFest 2017.

(Robert Bloch’s “Return to the Sabbath” originally ran in the July 1938 issue of WEIRD TALES, featuring front cover art by the great pulp and fantasy artist, Virgil Finlay. The artist got his start during the Great Depression when he sent unsolicited illustrations to his favorite pulp magazine, WEIRD TALES. In addition to “The Unique Magazine,” he also contributed interior illustrations and covers to AMAZING STORIES, ASTOUNDING STORIES, CAPTAIN FUTURE, FAMOUS FANTASTIC MYSTERIES FANTASTIC ADVENTURES, FANTASTIC NOVELS, GALAXY, STRANGE STORIES, SUPER SCIENCE STORIES, THRILLING WONDER STORIES, WORLDS OF TOMORROW, and other pulps and digests. Even today, Finlay remains one of the most highly regarded and collected artists in the fields of science fiction and fantasy.

Pete Lutz, the producer-director for the Narada Radio Company, used the August 1942 cover of SPICY ADVENTURE STORIES as the basis for his PULP-POURRI THEATRE advertisement. The artist is H. J. Ward, who painted many covers for the Spicy line of pulp magazines. For a great overview of this artist’s career, we suggest you track down a copy of David Saunders’ book H. J. WARD, published by The Illustrated Press in 2010.)