Friday at PulpFest 2015

Aug 14, 2015 by

Weird Tales 52-01PulpFest 2015 enters it second day, following a successful night of dealer set-up, early registration, early-bird shopping, and a full slate of exciting programming. If you missed our first day, there’s still plenty of action to come.

From 9 to 10 AM today, the dealers’ room will be open only to dealers for set-up. All members will also be able to register for the convention this morning, beginning at 9 PM, and at any time during regular dealers’ room hours. Those who have prepaid for their memberships, will be able to pick up their registration packets at our door. Three-day memberships will be available for $40. Single day memberships will be available for $20 for Friday or Saturday and $10 for Sunday. Children who are fifteen and younger and accompanied by a parent, will be admitted free of charge. To help things move smoothly, please bring along a completed registration form. You can download a copy by clicking here. You only need to bring the last page of the form. Please visit our registration page for further details.

Weird Tales 35-08The dealers’ room will open to all at 10 AM and remain open until 4:30 PM. Our afternoon programming will start at 1 PM with the first of two New Fictioneers readings — by Jason Scott Aiken and John Hegenberger — followed by a presentation on the Pulp Magazines Project. Our evening programming will begin at 7 PM as PulpFest chairman Jack Cullers offers an official welcome to all attendees. Friday night’s programming will include a discussion of Standard Magazines’ managing editor, Leo Margulies, featuring Philip Sherman, the nephew of the “Little Giant of the Pulps.” Our guest-of-honor, author Chet Williamson, will discuss his career and explain how “the old gentleman” of Providence influenced him in his writing as well as the writing of his peers in the world of modern horror fiction. Our special guest, Jon Arfstrom, the last of the artists who painted covers for the original run of WEIRD TALESwill also talk briefly with pulp art historian David Saunders. We’ll also have our friends from FarmerCon X on hand for a discussion of the weird tales of Philip José Farmer, while a panel of popular culture historians will discuss the development of the Cthulhu or Lovecraft Mythos. Our final panel, Thrilling Heroes of Standard’s Pulps and Comics will feature pulp and comic book scholars Matt Moring, Will Murray, Michelle Nolan, and Garyn Roberts. We’ll close the night with a showing of THE CALL OF CTHULHU and COOL AIR, part of our Lovecraft at the Movies film series.

For pulp fans who like games, gaming fans who like pulps, or just people who like to have fun, PulpFest 2015 will be introducing a gaming track. Many of the themes found in the world of modern games resonate from the pulps and the stories published in those magazines. There are games based on Conan, the Cthulhu Mythos, space operas such as Doc Smith’s Lensman series, westerns, mysteries and, of course, the pulp heroes. Role-playing games, or RPGs, are especially noted for quick action, cliff-hangers, and adventure.

Call of Cthulhu Banner

The PulpFest 2015 gaming track will begin at 10 AM on Friday and Saturday and last until 10 PM or thereabouts.  On Sunday, games will begin at 10 AM and continue until the end of the convention. All games will be set up in the Clark Room, located on the second floor of the Hyatt Regency. The only requirements to play games at PulpFest 2015 are a PulpFest membership, your imagination, and a desire to have a good time. So if you enjoy pulps and you enjoy games, PulpFest will be the place to be. If you have questions about our gaming track, please write to PulpFest
programming director Mike Chomko at mike@pulpfest.com.

For additional details on all of our afternoon and evening programming events, please visit click the red schedule button on our home page for further details. Each entry is linked to a post that provides further information on that event. Just click on the event’s title.

If you have yet to book your room for this year’s convention, please do so without delay. Remember that PulpFest will be sharing downtown Columbus with Matsuricon this week. However, there may still be a few rooms available at nearby hotels. Please visit www.pulpfest.com/2015/06/16872/  and you’ll find a link to a list of hotels to choose from. Alternately, we suggest that you search for a room at tripadvisor or a similar website as soon as you possibly can. If you are not from the Columbus area and want to attend PulpFest 2015, we urge you to book your room now and not wait until you arrive.

PulpFest 2015 will continue through Saturday and Sunday. It concludes at 2 PM on Sunday, August 16th.

(Jon Arfstrom began to submit his work to the digest market around 1950. Soon, he was selling to a number of magazines, including Dorothy McIlwraith’s WEIRD TALES. He painted three covers for “The Unique Magazine,” beginning with the January 1952 issue, featured here, and continued contributing to it until its demise in 1954.

Our guest of honor for PulpFest 2015, Chet Williamson, has been collecting pulps ever since he was in college. The first pulp he ever bought was the August 1935 WEIRD TALES – pictured here with front cover art by the incomparable Margaret Brundage.

In 1981, a wargame and role-playing-game publisher known as Chaosium released the first edition of CALL OF CTHULHU, a game developed by Sandy Peterson. It is is now in its seventh edition and is one of the role-playing games that will be featured during PulpFest‘s new gaming track.)

 

Pulp Macabre — The Art of Lee Brown Coye

Jul 11, 2015 by

Weird Tales 45-07Back around the beginning of May, Feral House, a small press with a taste for the outrageous, approached PulpFest with an offer that was very difficult to refuse. Author and collector Mike Hunchback had put together a definitive survey of the later work of illustrator Lee Brown Coye and was interested in presenting a slide show of the artist’s work at this year’s PulpFest. Given that our convention was celebrating the 125th anniversary of the birth of author H. P. Lovecraft, we jumped at the chance to have Mike be part of our 2015 conference. After all, Coye, like Lovecraft, was very strongly associated with “The Unique Magazine, “ WEIRD TALES.

Born in Syracuse, New York in 1907, Lee Brown Coye became very interested in drawing as a teenager and began studying art books on his own. In the late twenties, he was introduced to the technique of scratch-board drawing by woodcut illustrator Howard McCormick. This became the artist’s favored medium.

Coye made his first pulp magazine appearance in the July 1930 issue of GOLDEN BOOK.  However, it was not until the middle forties — after illustrating August Derleth’s SLEEP NO MORE, an anthology of horror and ghost stories for Farrar & Rhinehart — that his work began to appear regularly in the rough-paper market. He was soon illustrating stories and painting covers for pulp magazines such as SHORT STORIES and WEIRD TALES. His work for the latter proved very popular and he became a prolific contributor, sometimes appearing four or five times in a single issue. His drawings for the magazine included a running series of illustrations called “Weirdisms.” Coye pragmatically believed that, “I’d rather have my stuff in pulp magazines where people can see it than in a museum where they don’t.”

Writing in THE WEIRD TALES STORY, Robert Weinberg opined, “There was never an artist who came close to capturing horror and dread like Lee Brown Coye. He was master of the weird and grotesque illustration. Coye’s sketches had the shape of nightmares.”

More Derleth anthologies featuring Coye illustrations followed in the late forties — WHO KNOCKS? and THE NIGHT SIDE. The artist’s work continued to appear in WEIRD TALES until 1952. Beginning in 1962, following a ten-year hiatus from fantasy illustrating, Coye began producing horror and fantasy dust jackets for August Derleth’s Arkham House books. During this same period, his illustrations could be found in AMAZING STORIES, FANTASTIC STORIES OF IMAGINATION, and THE MAGAZINE OF FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION. In later years, he illustrated books and periodicals from other independent publishers including several for Carcosa, a small press founded by Jim Groce, David Drake, and Karl Edward Wagner. According to the latter, Lee Brown Coye was “enormously talented and possessing the unsettling combination of a certain morbid genius with a whimsical sense of humor.” In the late seventies, Coye twice won the “World Fantasy Award for Best Artist.” He suffered a stroke, which left him partially paralyzed, in 1979 and died in September 1981, at the age of seventy-four.

Pulp MacabreNow, thanks to editors Mike Hunchback and Caleb Braaten, some of Coye’s weirdest and most passionately ghoulish artwork is once again being made available. PULP MACABRE, co-published in 2015 by Feral House and Sacred Bones Records, an alternative record company and publisher from Brooklyn, New York, showcases the art of Lee Brown Coye’s final and darkest era, a period when he was “king of the weird artists,” producing some of his strongest and most fearless work.

On Saturday afternoon, August 15th, at 2:30 PM, Mike Hunchback will discuss Coye’s life and work and share selected images from PULP MACABRE as well as fanzine covers, dust jackets, and photographs from his own collection that were not included in the book. Please be sure to visit www.pulpfest.com/pulpfest-2015-registration-information/ to learn how to register for this great convention and be part of PulpFest‘s salute to H. P. Lovecraft, WEIRD TALES, and the art of Lee Brown Coye.

(Not long after the appearance of the August Derleth anthology SLEEP NO MORE, the book’s illustrator, Lee Brown Coye, began a long relationship with WEIRD TALES. The first of his ten covers for the magazine appeared on its July 1945 number. He also produced many interior illustrations for the magazine, including a series of pen-and-ink drawings that the artist “called “Weirdisms.” His work continued to appear in WEIRD TALES until 1952.

After growing up on a steady diet of horror and fantasy fiction from Arkham House Publishers and old pulp magazines, people such as Jim Groce, David Drake, and Karl Edward Wagner started their own small presses during the 1970s. Another was Stuart David Schiff who, in 1973, began to publish WHISPERS, a magazine that “embraced classic horror pulp fiction as well as then-current Horror Culture. Under Schiff’s editorship, the poetry, short stories, essays, and various forms of artwork featured in the zine often reveled in the type of weird extremes found only in the grisliest pulps. Within just a few issues, WHISPERS elevated the quality of fiction found in fanzines, and other publishers would have to follow suit.

The third issue of Schiff’s magazine was dedicated entirely to Lee Brown Coye. In Schiff’s featured essay from the issue, he wrote: “Lee’s pen conjures up spheres beyond normal perception and brings them to you with both subtlety and gut-wrenching directness.” Lee Brown Coye’s cover art for the issue — dated March 1974 — also serves as the cover art for Mike Hunchback’s and Caleb Braaten’s PULP MACABRE compilation.”)

Jon Arfstrom — Last of the WEIRD TALES Artists

Jun 29, 2015 by

Weird Tales 52-01By the mid-1950s, pulp magazines had largely disappeared from America’s newsstands. Hence, even those creators who were first getting started when the rough-paper magazines of the early twentieth century were in their last days, have either departed this mortal coil or have a difficult time traveling in our day and age. For these reasons, PulpFest is extremely proud to welcome artist and illustrator Jon Arfstrom as its special guest to this year’s convention. We all owe Greg Ketter, proprietor of DreamHaven Books, our sincerest gratitude for helping to arrange Mr. Arfstrom’s appearance at PulpFest 2015.

Born in 1928, Jon Arfstrom has lived in Minnesota for most of his life. Largely self-taught, the artist also studied with the Famous Artist School, founded by members of the New York Society of Illustrators, and at the Minneapolis School of Art. Always interested in fantasy art, Arfstrom began to contribute to fanzines in the late 1940s, including THE FANSCIENT, FANTASY ADVERTISER, SCIENTIFANTASY, and SPACE TRAILS.

Working in a factory to make ends meet, Arfstom began to submit his work to the digest market around 1950, selling interior drawings to Ray Palmer’s MYSTIC MAGAZINE and OTHER WORLDS SCIENCE STORIES, William Crawford’s SPACEWAY, and Dorothy McIlwraith’s WEIRD TALES. For the latter, he also painted three covers, beginning with the January 1952 issue. He continued working for “The Unique Magazine” until its demise in 1954.

Following the collapse of the pulp market, Arfstrom turned to commercial art, producing illustrations for a large retail store chain and art for a religious publisher. He also worked as a staff artist for a calendar company. Gradually, he became a major midwestern artist, holding more than thirty one-man shows, winning numerous awards, producing work for many institutions and private collections, and serving as the President of the Northstar Watercolor Society.

During the mid-nineties, Jon Arfstrom returned to the fantasy art field, creating dust-jacket art for Fedogan & Bremer, Haffner Press, and PS Publishing. Robert Bloch’s THE EARLY FEARS, published by Fedogan & Bremer and featuring both jacket and interior art by Arfstrom, won a Stoker Award in 1994 for “Superior Achievement in a Fiction Collection.”

Beginning at 8:45 PM, on Friday, August 14th, and following our guest-of-honor presentation by author Chet Williamson, please join pulp art historian David Saunders for a short interview with fantasy artist Jon Arfstrom, perhaps the last surviving artist to paint covers for the original run of “The Unique Magazine,” WEIRD TALES. Mr. Arfstrom will also have a table at the convention where he will be displaying some of his original art. He will have a sampling of paintings and drawings, mostly from the 1970’s on, that he will be selling at the convention. His table will be next to the DreamHaven Books display in the PulpFest 2015 dealers’ room.

Please register as soon as you can for “Summer’s Great Pulp Con” to be to be part of this exciting event. A prepaid, three-day membership to PulpFest 2015 will cost $30 for those members who will be staying at the Hyatt Regency Columbus and $35 for those staying elsewhere. The price at the door will be $40. Although are host hotel is completely booked, there are still some rooms available through several hotels that that are close to the convention. Remember that PulpFest will be sharing downtown Columbus with Matsuricon in August. Please click here and you’ll find a link to a list of hotels to choose from. Afterward, click the red “register” button on our home page to be assured that you won’t miss this opportunity to meet one of the terrific artists who labored for the long-gone pulp market, Jon Arfstom, the last of the WEIRD TALES artists.

(Jon Arfstrom passed away on December 2, 2015. PulpFest was honored to have Mr. Arfstrom as its guest during our 2015 convention. Our many condolences to the artist’s family.

The January 1952 issue not only featured Jon Arfstrom’s first cover for “The Unique Magazine,” but also August Derleth’s cover story, “The Black Island.” This was the final tale of a series of five connected stories that would later form THE TRAIL OF CTHULHU, published by Arkham House in 1962. Also appearing in the issue is a reprint of Anthony M. Rud’s “Ooze,” the story of a giant amoeba that originally ran in the first issue of WEIRD TALES, dated March 1923.”)

The Thrilling Adventures of Rudolph Belarski

Jun 14, 2015 by

Air War 1944-SummerRudolph Belarski grew up in the hardscrabble world of coal mines in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania. He finished the sixth grade and then entered the work force with his classmates at the Pittston Mines, where he labored for ten years, while he subscribed to a correspondence art school to follow his dream to become a celebrated illustrator.

In 1922 he moved to New York City to study at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, where his classmates included Walter Baumhofer, Frederick Blakeslee, and John Fleming Gould. In 1928, he entered the pulp industry through Dell Publications, doing interiors and covers for adventure pulps about World War I, such as WAR ACES, WAR BIRDS, WAR NOVELS, and WAR STORIES. In later years, he worked for Fiction House and the Munsey chain of pulp magazines, painting covers for ACES, AIR STORIES, ALL-AMERICAN FICTION, ARGOSY, DETECTIVE FICTION WEEKLY, DOUBLE DETECTIVE, RED STAR ADVENTURES, SILVER BUCK WESTERN, WINGS, and other rough-paper titles.

By 1935 Rudolph  Belarski was one of Ned Pines’ top artists at Standard Publications, where he painted covers for AIR WAR, THE AMERICAN EAGLE, ARMY NAVY FLYING STORIES, BLACK BOOK DETECTIVE, CAPTAIN FUTURE, DETECTIVE NOVEL MAGAZINE, EXCITING FOOTBALL, EXCITING SPORTS, GIANT DETECTIVE, G-MEN DETECTIVE, THE LONE EAGLE, MYSTERY BOOK MAGAZINE, THE PHANTOM DETECTIVE, POPULAR DETECTIVE, POPULAR WESTERN, RAF ACES, SKY FIGHTERS, STARTLING STORIES, THRILLING ADVENTURES, THRILLING DETECTIVE, THRILLING MYSTERY, THRILLING WONDER STORIES, WEST, and other pulps from the Thrilling Group.

Following the Second World War, Rudolph Belarski became one of Ned Pines’ top paperback cover artists at Popular Library as well as a leading illustrator for the men’s adventure magazines. He finished his career as a teacher at the world’s foremost correspondence art school, the Famous Artists School of Westport, Connecticut. On Saturday, August 15th, at 8:45 PM, please join pulp art historian David Saunders for an exploration of the life and work of pulp artist Rudolph Belarski at PulpFest 2015.

Born in 1954, David Saunders is a New York artist. His work has been collected worldwide in museums, including 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 such colleges as, 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.

David 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.

(Rudolph Belarski’s cover to the Summer 1944 issue of AIR WAR is one of many covers that the talented artist painted for Ned Pines’ “Thrilling Group” of pulp magazines. To learn more about the artist, be sure to visit David Saunders’ Field Guide to Wild American Pulp Artists where you will find more than 300 biographical profiles of American pulp artists. For a wider sampling of the artist’s work, pick up a copy of John Gunnison’s BELARSKI: PULP ART MASTER, available through Adventure House.)Belarski

Ninety Years of “Emsh”

Feb 16, 2015 by

Thrilling Wonder 1955-WNinety years ago today, Edmund Alexander Emshwiller was born in Lansing, Michigan. Although known primarily for his work composed for the digest and paperback markets, “Emsh” created a few covers for pulp magazines such as the Winter 1955 issue of THRILLING WONDER STORIES, pictured here. The bulk of his work for the pulp market consisted of interior illustrations for AMAZING STORIES, ASTOUNDING SCIENCE-FICTION, FANTASTIC STORY MAGAZINE, FUTURE SCIENCE FICTION, SPACE STORIES, STARTLING STORIES, and the aforementioned THRILLING WONDER.

PulpFest will be saluting Standard Magazines–publisher of FANTASTIC STORY, SPACE STORIES, STARTLING, and THRILLING WONDER–at its 2015 convention. Be sure to join the celebration beginning on Thursday, August 13th and running through Sunday, August 16th at the beautiful Hyatt Regency hotel in downtown Columbus, Ohio. Start planning now to attend PulpFest 2015 and join hundreds of pulp fiction fans at the pop-culture center of the universe! You can book a room by clicking here or call 1-888-421-1442. We hope to see you in August.

(Thanks to David Saunders of The Field Guide to Wild American Pulp Artists for helping us to keep our facts straight and for the THRILLING WONDER image. If you’ve never been to David’s site, you owe yourself a visit.)

Welcome Lisa Scott to PulpFest 2014

Aug 2, 2014 by

WWW 34-01-27PulpFest is very pleased to announce that Lisa Scott, the granddaughter of pulp artist Harold Winfield Scott, will be attending our 2014 convention. We’ve asked pulp art historian David Saunders to create a short presentation on Lisa’s grandfather to welcome Ms. Scott to “Summer’s Great Pulp Con!”

Join PulpFest on Thursday evening, August 7th at 9:15, for a brief profile on the life and work of H. W. Scott. Afterward, Lisa will join David Saunders onstage for a short question-and-answer session.

Harold Winfield Scott studied art with Dean Cornwell at the Pratt Institute. By 1930, he was regularly selling freelance cover paintings to such pulps as Danger Trail, Top-Notch, Complete Stories, Wild West Weekly, Star Sports, The Avenger, Doc Savage, Two-Gun Western, Quick-Trigger Western, and others. He later sold freelance work to slick magazines, such as Liberty, Colliers and Red Book. In the 1950s, his work appeared on paperback books from Dell as well as comic books.

To learn more about the image used in this post, click on the illustration.

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The Mystery and Mastery of John Newton Howitt

Jul 30, 2014 by

Terror Tales 34-11John Newton Howitt studied at the Art Students League with George Bridgman and Walter Clark. A devoted landscape painter, his work was sold at fine art galleries in New York City. In 1905 he began to freelance for The New York Herald Tribune, This Week, and other publications. His later markets included Red Book, Woman’s Home Companion, Maclean’s, and Scribner’s. Following the First World War, Howitt’s work could be found in Country Gentleman, Farm Life, Liberty, and The Saturday Evening Post.

The Great Depression vastly diminished the markets to which Howitt had been selling. Needing an income, he turned to the pulps. An excellent painter, Howitt found a ready market in the rough-paper periodicals, selling freelance pulp covers to Adventure, Dime Detective, Dime Mystery, Horror Stories, Love StorySecret Service Operator #5, The Spider, Terror Tales, Top-Notch, The Whisperer, and Western Story. Although he signed his covers for the western, adventure, and romance pulps with his professional signature, his work for the hero and weird-menace pulps was signed with only his initial, “H.”

Although John Newton Howitt’s iconic cover images for Terror Tales, Horror Stories, The Spider, and Operator #5 are among the most disturbing in the history of pulp art, his painting technique is among the most dignified of all the pulp artists. On Saturday, August 9th, at 8:30 PM, please join art historian David Saunders for an exploration of “The Mystery and Mastery of John Newton Howitt” at PulpFest 2014.

Born in 1954, David Saunders is a New York artist. His work has been exhibited worldwide in museums and corporate and private collections, including 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 colleges nationwide, including Yale, Oberlin, R.I.S.D., S.C.A.D., Middlebury, Washington University, 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 of Woman’s Day Magazine. In 1972, David became his father’s business and correspondence 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 continued to complete 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 recorded vital information about the lives of other historic illustrators. Some of this material has been published as biographical profiles of classic illustrators in Illustration Magazine and a number of book-length biographies and appreciations of pulp artists.

David Saunders is 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 pulpartists.comdavidsaunders.biznormansaunders.com, and the illustratedpress.com.

To learn more about the image used in this post, click on the illustration.