2016 Auction Highlights

Jul 8, 2016 by

The OutsiderThe Saturday Night Auction returns to PulpFest on July 23. It will begin at 10 PM with the always entertaining John P. Gunnison of Adventure House serving as auctioneer.

Although PulpFest annually invests a great deal of time and energy to develop a top-notch programming schedule, it also prides itself for the effort it puts into its annual auction. Each year, the convention’s auction director, J. Barry Traylor, endeavors to put together a range of material to make for lively bidding. Our 2015 auction included the original typescript for the Philip José Farmer novel DAYWORLD, with notes and corrections in the author’s hand; a number of lots from the estate of Earl Kussman who, along with Ed Kessell and Nils Hardin, organized the first Pulpcon; lots of ARGOSY, ADVENTURE, STARTLING STORIES, and other pulps; the first issue of SINISTER STORIES; original artwork by Gahan Wilson and Jon Arfstrom; signed books, photos, and ephemera; fanzines; and much more.

One of the highlights that will be part of our PulpFest 2016 auction will be a number of early Arkham House books, including a very exceptional copy of H. P. Lovecraft’s THE OUTSIDER AND OTHERS. After examining the volume, one of the leading collectors and dealers of WEIRD TALES and Arkham House books stated that it was among the top ten percent of the book’s remaining copies. THE OUTSIDER AND OTHERS was the first book published by Arkham. Printed in an edition of 1268 copies, it has never been reprinted.

Other titles in the Arkham collection that will be offered during this year’s auction will be Lovecraft’s BEYOND THE WALL OF SLEEP, Robert E. Howard’s SKULL-FACE AND OTHERS, William Hope Hodgson’s THE HOUSE ON THE BORDERLAND, and Clark Ashton Smith’s LOST WORLDS. There’s also a copy of the Wandering Star edition of Howard’s THE SAVAGE TALES OF SOLOMON KANE, originally published in 1988. This copy also has original artwork by Gary Gianni, the book’s illustrator. Most of these books are in very desirable condition.

If you can’t make it to PulpFest 2016 and would like to bid on any of these highly collectible volumes, please contact PulpFest marketing and programming director Mike Chomko by email at mike@pulpfest.com.

Doc Savage Baumhofer RevisedIn addition to the Arkhams, we’ll have over two hundred pulps from the collection of Woody Hagadish. A longtime collector and reader of books and pulps, Woody a Pulpcon attendee in the past. Primarily interested in western pulps — particularly WILD WEST WEEKLY — Woody was a reading enthusiast and enjoyed his collection. We’ll be offering a variety of magazines from such diverse genres as sports pulps, general fiction magazines, romance pulps, hero pulps, air war stories, science fiction, westerns, and detective magazines. Also included are three portraits that served as premiums for readers of DOC SAVAGE and THE SHADOW MAGAZINE. The estate is hoping to find good homes for all of these collectibles, getting them to the people who would best appreciate them, as Woody Hagadish had done during his lifetime.

If all goes well with this year’s auction, PulpFest is hoping to offer more pulp magazines from the collection of Woody Hagadish during our 2017 confab. You’ll find some examples of the pulps and other collectibles from Woody’s collection (as well as the Arkham edition of SKULL-FACE AND OTHERS) at the bottom of this post.

There will also be lots submitted to the auction by registered members of the convention. Pulp magazines and related materials, vintage paperbacks, digests, men’s adventure and true crime magazines, original art, first edition hardcovers, series books, reference books, dime novels and story papers, Big Little Books, B-Movies, serials and related paper collectibles, old-time radio shows, and Golden and Silver Age comic books as well as newspaper adventure strips will all be allowed in the auction. Modern graphic novels and comic books will be allowed only if they are related to the pulps. Sexually explicit magazines such as PLAYBOY, PENTHOUSE, and OUI and soft-core porn will not be allowed. Any member of PulpFest 2016 can submit items to the auction. Your PulpFest badge number will be used as your auction bidder and/or seller number.

Start making your plans now to attend PulpFest 2016 to see some of the great material that Barry Traylor is assembling for this year’s auction. We hope to see you from Thursday evening, July 21, through Sunday afternoon, July 24, in the Columbus, Ohio Arena district at the Hyatt Regency hotel and the city’s spacious convention center for PulpFest 2016 — “Summer’s AMAZING Pulp Con!”

If you are not from the Columbus area and have yet to book your room for this year’s PulpFest, you can try calling 1-888-421-1442 to reach the Hyatt Regency. Perhaps there are rooms still available. Alternately, you can search for a room at tripadvisor  or a similar website to find a hotel near the convention. Other sites include www.columbusconventions.com/thearea.phpcourtesy of the Greater Columbus Convention Center, and the Experience Columbus lodging page at http://www.experiencecolumbus.com/stay Thanks so much to everyone who has reserved a room at our host hotel. By staying at the Hyatt Regency, you’ve helped to ensure the convention’s success.

(Released in 1939 by Arkham House, H. P. Lovecraft’s THE OUTSIDER AND OTHERS has never been reprinted. It features dust jacket art by the great pulp and fantasy artist, Virgil Finlay. He got his start as an artist during the Great Depression when he sent unsolicited illustrations to his favorite pulp magazine, WEIRD TALES. Even today, Finlay remains one of the most highly regarded artists in the fields of science fiction and fantasy.

Walter Baumhofer’s classic portrait of Doc Savage — originally used as the cover art to the July 1935 issue of DOC SAVAGE MAGAZINE, featuring the novel “Quest of Qui”– served as a premium provided to readers of the pulp magazine. A print of Robert G. Harris’ painting for “The Sea Angel,” published in the November 1937 issue, was also used as a premium.

Over at THE SHADOW MAGAZINE, Street & Smith art director Bill Lawler — who was noted for his hawkish visage — posed for a black and white portrait dressed as Walter B. Gibson’s “Dark Avenger.” Readers would clip a number of coupons from issues of THE SHADOW or DOC SAVAGE MAGAZINE and mail them in to receive these free giveaways.

Below is a small sampling of some of the pulps and other collectibles from the Woody Hagadish collection that will be up for bid at this year’s PulpFest auction. From the top: ACTION STORIES for June and December 1940; ARGOSY for June 1, 1935; BLUE BOOK for July 1938; the first issue of EXCITING BASEBALL, dated Spring 1949; DOC SAVAGE MAGAZINE pulp premium with art by Robert G. Harris; and THE SHADOW MAGAZINE pulp premium featuring Bill Lawler as The Shadow. At the bottom is SKULL-FACE AND OTHERS by Robert E. Howard, with dust jacket art by Hannes Bok. It was published by Arkham House in 1946 in an edition of 3,004 copies.)

Action Stories 40-06  Action Stories 40-12  Argosy 35-06-01 Blue Book July 1938 Exciting Baseball Spring 1949

Shadow Premium Revised

Doc Savage Harris Revised

Skull-Face

 

 

 

Margaret Brundage at 115

Dec 7, 2015 by

Weird Tales (June 1933)Few artists are as strongly linked to a single pulp as Margaret Brundage is to WEIRD TALES. Dec. 9, 2015, marks the 115th anniversary of her birth in Chicago.

Margaret Brundage got her start in the pulp magazines with WEIRD TALES‘ sister publication, ORIENTAL STORIES (later MAGIC CARPET), with six covers from Spring 1932 through January 1934. Her first cover for “The Unique Magazine” appeared in September 1932. Her pastels graced the cover again the next month, then again in March 1933. Beginning in June 1933 — and for the next 39 covers — WEIRD TALES featured her luscious artwork exclusively. Her last cover for WEIRD TALES appeared on the January 1945 number, capping a run of 66 covers for the magazine, with Brundage receiving no more than $90 for a cover.

The artist’s cover illustration for Robert E. Howard’s “Black Colossus” (WEIRD TALES, June 1933) generated the most mail for any of the magazine’s covers, she told Robert Weinberg, as detailed in THE ALLURING ART OF MARGARET BRUNDAGE, published by Vanguard Productions in 2013.

Brundage always enjoyed illustrating Howard’s stories. It was WEIRD TALES‘ editor Farnsworth Wright who passed along news of Howard’s suicide to the artist in 1936: “When I learned of Robert Howard’s death, I was very upset . . . . (Wright and I) both just sat around and cried for most of the day. He was always my personal favorite.”

In an interview with R. Alain Everts in 1973, Brundage recalled her most controversial WEIRD TALES cover:

We had one issue (the September 1933 number) that sold out! It was the story of a very vicious female, getting ahold of the heroine and tying her up and beating her. Well, the public apparently thought it was flagellation, and the entire issue sold out. They could have used a couple of thousand extra (copies).

In 1938, WEIRD TALES was bought by Short Stories, Inc., and its editorial headquarters moved from Brundage’ hometown of Chicago to New York City. Wright went east with the magazine, but he was suffering from Parkinson’s Disease, and by 1940 he was dead. Brundage stayed in Chicago, but the difficulty of shipping her fragile chalk illustrations by train to New York and a reduction in WEIRD TALES‘ cover rates to $50 ended her pulp career just five years later.

Margaret Brundage died April 9, 1976, at age 75.

PulpFest seeks to draw attention to the profound effect that the pulps had on American popular culture, reverberating through a wide variety of mediums — comic books, movies, paperbacks and genre fiction, television, men’s adventure magazines, radio drama, and even video and role-playing games. Planned as the summertime destination for fans and collectors of vintage popular fiction and related materials, PulpFest honors pulp fiction and pulp art by drawing attention to the many ways the magazines and their creators — people like Margaret Brundage — have inspired writers, artists, film directors, software developers, game designers, and other creators over the decades.

Join PulpFest 2016 to be part of this great celebration of American popular culture. Start making your plans right now to join the 45th convening of “Summer’s Great Pulp Con” in 2016. It will take place July 21–24 at the Hyatt Regency Columbus and the Greater Columbus Convention Center.

(Margaret Brundage’s pastel cover for the June 1933 issue of WEIRD TALES illustrates Robert E. Howard’s tale, “Black Colossus.”)

Swords Against Cthulhu–The Horror Fiction of Jason Scott Aiken

Jul 24, 2015 by

Swords against CthulhuIt’s called new pulp – stories by modern writers who recreate the style of fiction that appeared in the pulp magazines of yore. Back then, the authors who labored for the rough paper industry liked to call themselves scribes, word-slingers, penny-a-worders, and, perhaps the most favored term of all, fictioneers. Join PulpFest as we celebrate today’s fictioneers — the authors writing the new pulp fiction.

Since 2009, we’ve annually featured readings by some of the best writers of today’s pulp fiction. Jim Beard, Christopher Paul Carey, Win Scott Eckert, Dick Eno, Ron Fortier, Will Murray, and many others have read excerpts from their work, showcasing a wide range of exciting new fiction. Afterward, they’ve talked with their audiences, answering questions, fielding comments, discussing works-in-progress, and selling their books. Both our writers and their audiences have loved these sessions. This year, PulpFest will be offering four afternoon readings — two on Friday and two on Saturday.

Leading off this year’s readings is Jason Scott Aiken, a new fantasy and horror writer who first discovered weird fiction through Del Rey’s publication of the preferred texts of Robert E. Howard’s stories. Reading these stories led him to the works of H. P. Lovecraft, soon followed by Clark Ashton Smith, Seabury Quinn, C. L. Moore, Fritz Leiber, Manly Wade Wellman, Robert Bloch, and H. Warner Munn. Needless to say, WEIRD TALES is Jason’s favorite pulp magazine, which he reads and collects in reprints. Jason has been attending PulpFest and FarmerCon since 2011.

In the last two months, Jason has had three stories published. “The Summoning,” a fantasy tale infused with dark humor, appeared in THE FALL OF CTHULHU, VOLUME II from Horrified Press. Inspired by the works of Clark Ashton Smith and Fritz Leiber, “The Summoning” features a naive young thief, Kasar, who is commissioned to procure a valuable commodity from an isle of sorcerers.

“The Sword of Lomar,” which Jason will be reading, is available in SWORDS AGAINST CTHULHU, published by Rogue Planet Press. A prequel to Lovecraft’s “Polaris,” it concerns a red-haired swordwoman, Nuja of Lomar, who attempts to halt a horde approaching the land of Lomar’s capital, Olathoë. Nuja is heavily inspired by the scarlet-haired warrior women created by Robert E. Howard and C. L. Moore. Nuja also appears in “The Other at the Threshold,” a story featured in BARBARIAN CROWNS,  a sword & sorcery anthology that is a tribute to Robert E. Howard. It is a Barbwire Butterfly book, an imprint of Horrified Press.

In addition to these three short stories, Jason has a Doc Arden story in the forthcoming TALES OF THE SHADOWMEN #12: CARTE BLANCHE, which should be released later this year by Black Coat Press. He is also the host and producer of Pulp Crazy, a video blog and podcast dedicated to classic popular literature, characters, and themes. He often devotes episodes to classic weird fiction from the pulps.

Jason Scott Aiken will be reading in PulpFest‘s second-floor programming area at the Hyatt Regency on Friday afternoon, August 14th, at 1 PM. Please visit http://jasonscottaiken.com to learn more about Jason and his work or @jasonscottaiken on Twitter. And don’t forget to join PulpFest 2015 at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Columbus, Ohio, beginning on Thursday, August 13th and running through Sunday, August 16th. We’ll be paying tribute to H. P. Lovecraft and WEIRD TALES, just a few short days before the author’s 125th birthday. We’ll also be exploring Standard Magazines, also known as the “Thrilling Group,” a long-standing publisher of pulp magazines, comics, and paperback books.

Although our host hotel is completely booked, there are still some rooms available at nearby hotels. Please click here to find a link to a list of hotels to choose from. If you are not from the Columbus area and want to attend PulpFest 2015, we urge you to book your room now and not later. Rooms that are relatively close to PulpFest are disappearing fast during the time frame of our convention.

(SWORDS AGAINST CTHULHU is an anthology of sword & sorcery and Cthulhu Mythos crossovers, edited by Gavin Chappell. Although the “synthetic folklore” that grew from H. P. Lovecraft’s Cthulhu-related fiction is generally associated with the horror genre, its influence extended to the work of seminal sword & sorcery writers Robert E. Howard and Clark Ashton Smith, and its pessimistic tone has continued to dominate the genre to this day. However mighty the hero, the forces of chaos, the blasphemous powers of an insouciant universe, are stronger – or are they? All a doomed swordsman can do is face the outer darkness, blade in hand, a song of defiance on his lips, and hope to die fighting. Pictured above is Stephen Cooney’s cover to SWORDS AGAINST CTHULHU from Rogue Planet Press, an imprint of Horrified Press. It features “The Sword of Lomar,” a story by New Fictioneer Jason Scott Aiken.)

 

The Heirs of WEIRD TALES

Jun 27, 2015 by

Weird Tales 35-08As part of its celebration of the 125th anniversary of the birth of H. P. LovecraftPulpFest 2015 will be paying tribute to WEIRD TALES, the rough-paper magazine where many of the author’s most influential works were published. The first periodical to be largely devoted to the fantasy genre, WEIRD TALES also introduced readers to the sword-and-sorcery genre through Robert E. Howard’s stories of Kull, Solomon Kane, Bran Mak Morn, and Conan, and shared Clark Ashton Smith’s wonderfully evocative stories of Hyperboria, Averoigne, and Zothique. It gave us C. L. Moore’s “Schambleau” and Jirel stories, Henry S. Whitehead’s voodoo masterpiece, “Jumbee,” and many other classics of fantasy and horror.

Robert Weinberg has stated, “It was in WEIRD TALES . . . that traditions were broken . . . that unusual writing and poetry was featured . . . . It was a magazine where anything might find a home . . . . Most important, it was the policy and nature of the magazine that influenced the entire spectrum of fantasy and SF publishing.”

Even in today’s fast-moving society, WEIRD TALES is still inspiring authors, artists, and publishers. Join PulpFest on Saturday, August 15th, at 1:30 PM as we welcome a talented group of today’s fictioneers — the scribes and word-slingers who are creating the new pulp fiction — to discuss the writers and stories published by “The Unique Magazine,” the genres it helped to generate, and how WEIRD TALES has influenced contemporary writers. It’s called “The Heirs of WEIRD TALES” and promises to be the most fantastic “new pulp” panel we’ve ever assembled.

Ron Fortier, a professional writer for nearly three decades, will be moderating our “Heirs” panel. In 2007, Ron teamed up with illustrator Rob Davis to start Airship 27 Productions and build 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, would certainly have been at home with Paul Ernst’s Doctor Satan in the pages of “The Unique Magazine.”

Joining Ron will be “new pulp” authors Jim Beard, a Toledoan whose Sgt. Janus, Spirit-Breaker could certainly have matched wits with Seabury Quinn’s occult detective, Jules de GrandinJeff Fournier, author of new and exotic tales of Sinbad;  John Hegenberger, author of the Lovecraft-inspired short story, “Howard’s Toe,” and the forthcoming Stan Wade private eye series; Rick Lai, whose character, The Revenant, was trained by Erik, the enigmatic Phantom of the Opera; Michael Panush, author of the Stein and Candle Detective Agency series concerning a pair of private detectives specializing in the paranormal, the supernatural, and the just plain weird (who certainly could have taken on Edmond Hamilton’s “Vampire Master“); and Frank Schildiner, whose latest novel, THE QUEST OF FRANKENSTEIN, has Frankenstein’s monster meet H. P. Lovecraft’s Herbert West: Reanimator.

Given the make-up of this seven-writer panel presentation, expect a very fast-moving hour for your Saturday afternoon listening pleasure! Learn how you can register for “Summer’s Great Pulp Con” to be sure not to miss this powerhouse panel by clicking the red register button found on our home page at www.pulpfest.comAnd be sure to book a room! They’re going fast. Visit our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/PulpFest and click on the post pinned to the top of the page. You’ll be directed to a list of hotels to choose from. If you are not from the Columbus area and want to attend PulpFest 2015, please book your room now and not later. Rooms that are relatively close to the Hyatt Regency are rapidly disappearing. When booking through our Facebook link, please be sure to request the Matsuricon group rate.

(Readers first saw Paul Ernst’s Doctor Satan courtesy of WEIRD TALES premier cover artist Margaret Brundage. The character was introduced in the August 1935 issue. “Doctor Satan. A man who took pride in his fiendishness! A man who robbed and killed, and broke the laws of man and God, not for gain, because he already had more than any one person could spend, but solely for thrills! A being jaded with the standard pleasures of the world, and turning to monstrous, sadistic acts to justify his existence and give him the sense of power he craved!” It’s regrettable that he never faced off against Ron Fortier’s Brother Bones, whose “face, hidden forever behind an ivory white skull mask, is the entrance to madness for those unfortunate enough to behold it.”)

Weird Editing at “The Unique Magazine”

Jun 24, 2015 by

Weird Tales 23-03Almost one-hundred and twenty-five years ago, on August 20, 1880, Howard Phillips Lovecraft was born in Providence, Rhode Island. According to the late Robert Bloch, author of PSYCHO, Lovecraft was, “A precocious child, he learned to read when he was four and soon experimented with writing. Poor health kept him from college and economic necessity eventually caused him to neglect amateur journalism in favor of ghostwriting or revising the work of others for professional publication. Gradually he began to produce poetry and fiction of his own.” His “career as a professional writer was largely compressed into a span of about sixteen years. He remained virtually unknown except to the limited readership of pulp magazines such as WEIRD TALES in which his work appeared. It earned only a pitiful pittance to supplement the income from a meager inheritance, and he continued his anonymous chores for other writers.”

Bloch continues: “Today Lovecraft is established as a major American fantasy writer, frequently ranked as the equal of Poe. His work is in print here and abroad and the mild-mannered, old-fashioned, conservative New England gentleman has become an acknowledged master of horror fiction.” What then should be made of this magazine that earned “The Copernicus of the horror story,” as author Fritz Leiber described Lovecraft, “a pitiful pittance to supplement the income from a meager inheritance?”

WEIRD TALES was the first periodical to be largely devoted to the fantasy genre. Premiering in early 1923, its publishers envisioned “The Unique Magazine” as a place for a writer to be given “free rein to express his innermost feelings in a manner befitting great literature.” It began to come into its own in late 1924 after Farnsworth Wright was named the magazine’s editor. In the years ahead, the pulp would become known for its fantasy and supernatural fiction, publishing the work of Lovecraft, Robert E. Howard, and Clark Ashton Smith. Other substantial writers included Bloch, E. Hoffmann Price, Carl Jacobi, Henry Kuttner, Frank Belknap Long, C. L. Moore, Seabury Quinn, Manly Wade Wellman, Henry S. Whitehead, and others. WEIRD TALES would also become noted for its artists: Hannes Bok, Margaret Brundage, J. Allen St. John, and Virgil Finlay all contributed tremendously to the fantasy art field through their work for “The Unique Magazine.”

In addition to publishing some of the best fantasy and supernatural fiction of the twentieth century, WEIRD TALES, like the Munsey magazines, featured science fiction in its pages, offering tales of interplanetary expeditions, brain transference, death rays, lost races, parallel worlds, and more. Edmond Hamilton was its leading contributor of science fiction. With stories about alien invasions, space police, and evolution gone wild, the author became known as “world-wrecker” Hamilton. Other notable science fiction authors to appear in WEIRD TALES were Ray Cummings, Austin Hall, Otis Adelbert Kline, Moore, Donald Wandrei, and Jack Williamson. In his later years, H. P. Lovecraft spun his own style of science fiction in his tales of cosmic horror.

Weird Tales 42-03The original run of WEIRD TALES began with its March 1923 number, with Edwin Baird as the editor, and ran through its September 1954 issue, for a total of 279 issues. During this period, it was perhaps the most important and influential of all fantasy magazines, providing an outlet for stories that probably would not have been published elsewhere. This was especially true during the Wright years when it published many of Lovecraft’s most influential works; introduced the sword-and-sorcery genre through Robert E. Howard’s stories of Kull, Solomon Kane, Bran Mak Morn, and Conan; shared Clark Ashton Smith’s wonderfully evocative stories of Hyperboria, Averoigne, and Zothique; and featured the early work of artists Hannes Bok, Margaret Brundage, and Virgil Finlay. As pulp scholar Robert Weinberg has written, “It was in WEIRD TALES . . . that traditions were broken . . . . that unusual writing and poetry was featured. The outrageous and the ordinary mingled side by side in the magazine . . . It was a magazine where anything might find a home.”

Although Wright did indeed publish some rather substantial stories during his editorship — including Lovecraft’s “The Call of Cthulhu,” “The Whisperer in Darkness,” and “The Haunter of the Dark;” Howard’s “The Tower of the Elephant,” “A Witch Shall Be Born,” “Pigeons from Hell,” and “Red Nails;” C. L. Moore’s “Schambleau” and Jirel stories; Clark Ashton Smith’s “A Rendezvous in Averoigne,” “The Vaults of Yoh-Vombis,” and “Genius Loci;” Henry S. Whitehead’s “Jumbee,” and many others — he was, at the same time, rejecting a great deal of fine work. H. P. Lovecraft was told that “At the Mountains of Madness,” was “too long,” “not easily divisible into parts,” and “not convincing.” “The Shadow over Innsmouth” was rejected for similar reasons. Both have since become recognized as classics. In a letter addressed to Lee Alexander Stone in 1930, Lovecraft wrote: “Henry S. Whitehead . . . says that Wright uniformly rejects his best stories. Very like Wright — whose bland dumbness transcends my utmost limits of comprehension.” In a letter to Richard Searight, written in 1935, Lovecraft summarized his feelings about Wright by stating, “His capricious editorial policy does give me a large-sized cervical pain! He has consistently turned down my best work . . . on the ground of length, while at the same time taking far longer things (for the most part utter tripe) from others. It is clear to me that he does not like my work, no matter what he says to the contrary.”

Howard, Smith, and others experienced similar rejections. In a letter mailed to Wright about a year before his tragic suicide, Robert E. Howard stated, “WEIRD TALES owes me over eight hundred dollars for stories already published and supposed to be paid for on publication — enough to pay all my debts and get back on my feet again.” Some scholars have suggested that Wright’s sometimes difficult stance taken with his best writers may have contributed to the early deaths of Howard and Lovecraft and the premature end of Smith’s writing career.

As part of its celebration of the 125th anniversary of the birth of H. P. Lovecraft, PulpFest 2015 is proud to welcome Don Herron, editor of the scholarly landmark, THE DARK BARBARIAN, and winner of the 2006 Black Circle Award for lifetime achievement in Robert E. Howard studies; Morgan Holmes, longtime member of  the Robert E. Howard United Press Association and a book review editor for THE DARK MAN; Professor Tom Krabacher of California State University, Sacramento and a member of the Pulp Era Amateur Press Association; 1979 Lamont Award winner and author of “The Wild Adventures of Doc Savage and Tarzan” Will Murray; and popular culture Professor Garyn G. Roberts, who was awarded the Munsey in 2013, for a presentation entitled “Weird Editing at ‘The Unique Magazine’.” Scheduled for Saturday evening, August 15th, at 7:55 PM, our panelists will discuss the editorial policies of WEIRD TALES, concentrating particularly on the reign of Farnsworth Wright.

Join PulpFest 2015 at the beautiful Hyatt Regency in downtown Columbus, Ohio, beginning on Thursday, August 13th and running through Sunday, August 16th, for a salute to H. P. Lovecraft and WEIRD TALES, just a few short days before the author’s 125th birthday. Although our host hotel is completely booked, there are still some rooms available at nearby hotels. Please visit our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/PulpFest and click on the post pinned to the top of the page. You’ll be directed to a list of hotels to choose from. If you are not from the Columbus area and want to attend PulpFest 2015, we urge to book your room now and not later. Rooms that are relatively close to PulpFest are disappearing fast during the time frame of our convention.

(The first issue of WEIRD TALES, dated March 1923 with a cover illustration by R. R. Epperly, is best remembered for publishing Anthony M. Rud’s “Ooze,” a story concerning a giant amoeba. Also featured in the issue were tales by Otis Adelbert Kline, Joel Townsley Rogers, R. T. M. Scott, and Harold Ward. The issue was put together by Edwin Baird, the editor of the magazine until the November 1924 issue, when Wright took the helm.

Hannes Bok created seven covers for WEIRD TALES. The last appeared on the issue dated March 1942. It was edited by Dorothy McIlwraith, who succeeded Farnsworth Wright following the March 1940 number. McIlwraith would publish Ray Bradbury’s first professional solo story, “The Candle,” in the November 1942 issue. She also helped to launch the careers of author Fritz Leiber and fantasy artist Lee Brown Coye.

Weird Tales 73-FAlmost two decades after its original demise, WEIRD TALES was revived in 1973-1974 for four issues, edited by Sam Moskowitz. The second issue, from the fall of 1973, featured cover art by Gary van der Steur after Hannes Bok’s cover from March 1940. A paperback series lasting four more issues, edited by Lin Carter, appeared from 1981-1983. The magazine was revived in 1988 by George H. Scithers, Darrell Schweitzer and John Gregory Betancourt and has, more or less, been published on a continuous basis since that time. in 2014, the 362nd  issue was released. It is currently published by John Harlacher with Marvin Kaye serving as editor. For more details, visit the magazine’s website at http://weirdtalesmagazine.com/.)

Go Nuts at PulpFest’s New Gaming Track

Jun 5, 2015 by

Cthulhu DiceNew at this year’s PulpFest will be 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, westerns, mysteries, pulp heroes, and more.

PulpFest 2015 will have demonstrations of role-playing games and various board, card, and dice games. We’ll have a room featuring eight tables for new or experienced players. A number of local gaming groups will be running RPGs dealing with weird tales, ancient ruins, and murder mysteries. As part of our celebration of the 125th anniversary of the birth of H. P. Lovecraft, there will be role-playing adventures based on the Cthulhu Mythos. Additionally, we’ll have a number of board and card games that can be played in less than a hour. So if you need a break from the dealers’ room, you won’t be kept away too long.

One of the quick games that will be played at PulpFest is called Cthulhu Dice. Players take turns rolling the big, custom-designed, twelve-sided die, embossed with tentacles, Elder Signs, and more. The objective of the game is to drive your opponents insane with the cast of your die. Want to destroy your friend’s sanity, or better yet, steal it? Stop at the PulpFest 2015 game room and play a round or two of Cthulhu Dice. But watch out for Cthulhu! When the Great Old One shows up, he drives everyone insane! The last sane cultist wins . . . unless everyone goes mad together. Then Cthulhu wins! Cthulhu Dice plays in 5 to 10 minutes, and is great fun for two to six players.

Another fun game is Munchkin Conan, a card game with 168 cards and a unique six-sided die. Based on the adventures of Robert E. Howard’s Conan, introduced to readers in the December 1932 issue of Weird Tales, players can battle wizards, slay monsters, defeat vast armies, and laugh in the face of death. Be a Cimmerian Warrior or a Stygian wizard! Wield the Sword of the Phoenix and poison your foes with the Black Lotus! Slay Thoth-Amon’s minions, abominable monsters, and Pict raiders. Hear the lamentations of their women! Fast-playing and silly, Munchkin Conan can reduce any role-playing group to hysteria. And, while they’re laughing, you can steal their stuff!

The PulpFest 2015 gaming track will begin at 10 AM on both 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. You can join us at the beautiful Hyatt Regency in Columbus, Ohio, beginning on Thursday evening, August 13th and running through Sunday afternoon, August 16th. Click here to learn how to register for “Summer’s Great Pulp Con,” and now, “Summer’s Great Pulp Gaming Con.”

The Unique Magazine

Apr 19, 2014 by

Weird Tales March 1923Weird Tales was the first periodical specifically devoted to the fantasy genre. Premiering in early 1923, its publishers envisioned “The Unique Magazine” as a place for a writer to be given “free rein to express his innermost feelings in a manner befitting great literature.” In reality, the early issues of the pulp were filled with ghost stories, the choice of the magazine’s editor, Edwin Baird. Far more interested in Rural’s Real Detective and Mystery Stories, Baird had little interest in fantasy.

Weird Tales came into its own in late 1924 when Farnsworth Wright was named the magazine’s editor. In the years ahead, the pulp would become known for its fantasy and supernatural fiction, publishing the work of Robert E. Howard, H. P. Lovecraft, and Clark Ashton Smith. Later issues would feature substantial efforts by Robert Bloch, Ray Bradbury, Carl Jacobi, Henry Kuttner, C. L. Moore, Seabury Quinn, Manly Wade Wellman, and others. Weird Tales would likewise become noted for its artists. Hannes Bok, Margaret Brundage, Lee Brown Coye, and Virgil Finlay all contributed greatly to the fantasy art field through their work for “The Unique Magazine.”

In addition to publishing some of the best fantasy and supernatural fiction of the twentieth century, Weird Tales, like the Munsey magazines, featured science fiction in its pages, offering tales of interplanetary expeditions, brain transference, death rays, lost races, parallel worlds, and more. Edmond Hamilton was its leading contributor of science fiction. With stories about alien invasions, space police, and evolution gone wild, the author became known as “world-wrecker” Hamilton. Other notable science fiction in Weird Tales included work by Austin Hall, Otis Adelbert Kline, Frank Belknap Long, C. L. Moore, Donald Wandrei, and Jack Williamson. In his later years, H. P. Lovecraft spun his own style of science fiction in his tales of cosmic horror.

Although science fiction was frequently found in its pages—particularly during its early years—Weird Tales was not the first science-fiction pulp. That was left for Hugo Gernsback, an immigrant from Luxembourg, to develop.

Weird Tales 42-03The original run of Weird Tales began with its March 1923 number and ran through its September 1954 issue, for a total of 279 issues. Edwin Baird, Farnsworth Wright, and Dorothy McIlwraith (beginning in May 1940) were its editors. It was revived in 1973-74 for four issues, edited by Sam Moskowitz. A paperback series lasting four more issues, edited by Lin Carter, appeared from 1981-1983. The magazine was revived in 1988 by George H. Scithers, Darrell Schweitzer and John Gregory Betancourt and has, more or less, been published on a continuous basis since that time. At this writing, the 361st issue had been released. It is currently published by John Harlacher with Marvin Kaye serving as editor. For more details, visit the magazine’s website at http://weirdtalesmagazine.com/.

To learn more about the images used in this post, click on the illustrations. Click here for references consulted for this article.