Shopping for Collectibles at PulpFest 2017

Jun 7, 2017 by

Year after year, PulpFest is a paradise for the fan of pulp magazines, digests, vintage paperbacks, original artwork, and other collectibles. The collector will also find first edition hardcovers, men’s adventure and true crime magazines, series books, dime novels, Big Little Books, B-movies, serials and related paper collectibles, old-time-radio shows, and Golden and Silver Age comic books in our spacious dealers’ room, located at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Pittsburgh – Cranberry, just nineteen miles north of the exciting city of Pittsburgh.

For those who simply like to read pulp and genre fiction, you’ll find science-fiction hardcovers and paperbacks, mysteries, adventure fiction, and countless pulp reprints from publishers such as Adventure HouseAge of AcesAltus Press, Meteor House, Sanctum Books, and Stark House Press. Fans of new pulp will have readings by their favorite authors on both Friday and Saturday as well as a panel moderated by Ron Fortier, plus books for sale from Will Murray’s Adventures in BronzeAirship 27, and other purveyors of today’s pulp fiction.

Accommodating over 100 tables, our dealers’ room will be open to all comers from 10 AM to about 4:45 PM on July 28 and 29, and from 9 AM until 2 PM on Sunday, July 30 (although buying and selling opportunities may be limited on our final day as many of our dealers will be packing up for their return trip home). And don’t forget about our early-bird hours on Thursday evening, July 27, from 6 PM to 9 PM. For an additional $30 over your regular membership fee, you’ll be able to purchase early-bird privileges for an extra three hours of shopping. Better still, to reward loyal attendees who help to defray the convention’s substantial costs by staying at our host hotel, PulpFest is pleased to offer free early-bird privileges. That’s a very significant savings!

You can book your room at the DoubleTree by clicking one of the Book a Room buttons on our home page. To learn about registering for the convention, click the Register for 2017 button below our home page banner. Remember, if you read or collect pulps, pulp reprints, books, vintage paperbacks, original artwork, golden-age or silver-age comic books, PulpFest is the place to be.

(Perhaps you’ll find one of the early issues of Popular Publications’ DIME DETECTIVE MAGAZINE — such as the July 1932 issue, featuring cover artwork by William Reusswig — at this year’s PulpFest. Debuting with its November 1931 number, DIME DETECTIVE was one of the leaders in its fiction category and helped to turn Popular into a powerhouse of the pulp magazine industry.

We’ll be celebrating the “hardboiled dicks, dangerous dames, and a few psychos” of the pulps at this year’s convention. Start planning now to attend PulpFest 2017 and its celebration of pulp fiction and pulp art. Join us July 27 – 30, just outside of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania at the “pop culture center of the universe” in the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Pittsburgh – Cranberry for PulpFest 2017.)

LOVE STORY MAGAZINE and its Romantic Sisters

Jun 14, 2016 by

Love Story 37-05-29Although the Munsey group published the first specialized pulp magazines — beginning with THE RAILROAD MAN’S MAGAZINE in 1906, followed by THE OCEAN in 1907 — both pulps were a mixture of fact and fiction. It would be up to Street & Smith to originate the specialized pulp fiction magazine in the fall of 1915 when it introduced DETECTIVE STORY MAGAZINE to the reading public.

Originally published twice a month, DETECTIVE STORY became a weekly before the end of its second year of publication. Despite its great success, the new pulp did not immediately inspire many imitators. It would be up to Street & Smith itself to develop the trend: WESTERN STORY MAGAZINE arrived in 1919, followed by LOVE STORY in 1921, SEA STORIES in 1922, and SPORT STORY MAGAZINE in 1923. It was not until 1924 that the single-genre fiction pulp would start to take off as other publishers began to release their own specialty pulps. Many more specialty pulps would follow in the ensuing years, culminating in single-character magazines such as THE SHADOW and DOC SAVAGE MAGAZINE.

When Street & Smith’s LOVE STORY MAGAZINE was launched in 1921, the pulp fiction magazine industry was changed forever. During the Roaring TwentiesLOVE STORY’s circulation would grow until it hit 600,000 in the early 1930s, a record that would never be broken by any other pulp magazine. The romance genre, along with the western, would become the best-selling pulp fiction genres through the Depression and World War II. Almost every pulp publisher, at one point or another, would attempt to break into the “love pulp” field. Sometimes their attempts would be successful, other times their magazines would fade after a few issues. And never would they be able to topple the circulation record set by LOVE STORY MAGAZINE.

In her talk, “LOVE STORY MAGAZINE and the Romance Pulp Phenomenon,” Laurie Powers will discuss the magazine, its famous editor Daisy Bacon, and the romance pulps that followed in its footsteps. Accompanied by many rare photos and artifacts, Laurie will tell how LOVE STORY began, what made it so popular, and how Daisy Bacon influenced its success. In addition, she will discuss LOVE STORY’s competition, including the long-running ALL-STORY LOVE STORIES — a pulp that was managed by LOVE STORY’s original editor and Daisy’s rival, Amita Fairgrieve — and the longest-running pulp fiction magazine, RANCH ROMANCES, a pulp that would spearhead a brand new genre, the romance western. Laurie’s look at LOVE STORY and its romantic “sisters” will take place at 9:40 PM on Friday, July 22 in the Union Rooms on the second floor of the Hyatt Regency.

Laurie Power’s interest in pulp fiction began in 1999 when she discovered that her paternal grandfather, Paul S. Powers, (1905–1971) had been a successful writer of stories that appeared in magazines such as WEIRD TALES, WILD WEST WEEKLY, WESTERN STORY MAGAZINE, REAL DETECTIVE TALES, and many more.  During her research, she discovered her grandfather’s unpublished manuscript, PULP WRITER: TWENTY YEARS IN THE AMERICAN GRUB STREET, which was published by the University of Nebraska in 2007. Since then, Laurie has been very active in the community of pulp magazine historians and collectors. In recent years she has been writing a biography of Daisy Bacon, editor of LOVE STORY MAGAZINE. Laurie also publishes Laurie’s Wild West, an Internet blog site that has become a favorite destination for those interested in the pulps.

Join “Summer’s AMAZING Pulp Con” as we salute a century of the specialty pulp from July 21 through July 24 in the Columbus, Ohio Arena district at the Hyatt Regency hotel and the city’s spacious convention center. You’ll have a LOVEly time. Please remember that the Hyatt Regency Columbus is sold out of rooms for July 21 through July 23. At www.columbusconventions.com/thearea.php, you’ll find a list of area hotels courtesy of the Greater Columbus Convention CenterAlternately, you can search for a room at tripadvisor or a similar website to find a hotel near the convention. Thanks so much to everyone who has reserved a room at our host hotel. By staying at the Hyatt Regency, you’ve helped to ensure the convention’s success.

(Modest Stein began contributing covers to the pulp market in 1910, selling to both the Munsey and Street & Smith chains. By the twenties, he was largely employed by the latter, painting covers for ASTOUNDING SCIENCE FICTION, CLUES, CRIME BUSTERS, DOC SAVAGE, FAR WEST ILLUSTRATED, LOVE STORY MAGAZINE — including the May 29, 1937 issue — ROMANTIC RANGE, THE SHADOW, UNKNOWN, and other Street & Smith titles. Following the publisher’s 1949 exit from the pulp field, Stein worked predominantly as a portrait artist. He died in 1958.)

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Shopping for Collectibles at PulpFest 2016

May 16, 2016 by

Detective Story 1915-10-05Year after year, PulpFest is a paradise for the fan of pulp magazines, digests, vintage paperbacks, and other collectibles. The collector will also find first edition hardcovers, men’s adventure and true crime magazines, series books, dime novels, original artwork, Big Little Books, B-movies, serials and related paper collectibles, old-time-radio shows, and Golden and Silver Age comic books in our spacious dealers’ room, located in the Battelle South exhibition hall on the third floor of the Greater Columbus Convention Center.

For those who simply like to read pulp and genre fiction, you’ll find science-fiction hardcovers and paperbacks, mysteries, adventure fiction, and countless pulp reprints from publishers such as Adventure HouseAge of AcesAltus Press, Meteor House, Sanctum Books, and Stark House Press. Fans of new pulp will have readings by their favorite authors on both Friday and Saturday as well as a panel moderated by Ron Fortier, plus books for sale from Will Murray’s Adventures in BronzeAirship 27, and other purveyors of today’s pulp fiction. We’ll also have pulp-related gaming supplies.

Accommodating over 100 tables, our dealers’ room will be open to all comers from 10 AM to about 4:45 PM on July 22 and 23, and until 2 PM on Sunday, July 24 (although buying and selling opportunities may be limited on our final day as many of our dealers will be packing up for their return trip home). And don’t forget about our early-bird hours on Thursday evening, July 21, from 6 PM to 9 PM. For an additional $25-30 over your regular membership fee, you’ll be able to purchase early-bird privileges for an extra three hours of shopping. Better still, to reward loyal attendees who help to defray the convention’s substantial costs by staying three nights at our host hotel, PulpFest is pleased to offer free early-bird privileges. That’s a very significant savings! Plus, if you prepay your membership and attend our annual business meeting on Saturday evening, you might win a free membership to next year’s PulpFest!

You can book your room at the Hyatt Regency Columbus by clicking one of the Book a Room buttons on our home page and learn about registering for the convention by clicking the Register for 2016 button below our home page banner. Remember, “If you read or collect pulps, pulp reprints, books, vintage paperbacks, original artwork, golden-age or silver-age comic books .  .  .  PulpFest is the place to be.”

(Perhaps you’ll find the first issue of DETECTIVE STORY MAGAZINE — dated October 5, 1915 and featuring cover artwork by John A. Coughlin — at this year’s PulpFest. You won’t find out unless you attend. We’ll be celebrating the specialty pulp magazine — DETECTIVE STORY was the first — at this year’s convention. Later specialty pulps included LOVE STORY, SPORTS STORY, and WESTERN STORY MAGAZINE. We hope to see you in beautiful, downtown Columbus, Ohio from July 21 to 24 at the pop culture center of the universe — Summer’s AMAZING Pulp Con!”)

Play Ball!

Apr 2, 2016 by

SPORT STORY 1928-06-22In twenty-four hours, the national anthem will be sung, the umpire will shout, “Play ball!” and the first pitch of the 2016 Major League Baseball season will be thrown at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The visiting St. Louis Cardinals will be playing the Pittsburgh Pirates. Francisco Liriano will be on the mound for the Pirates, while Adam Wainwright will take the ball for the Cards. May the best team win.

Speaking of winning teams, in just 110 days chairman Jack Cullers will open the doors to the Battelle South dealers’ room on the third floor of the Greater Columbus Convention Center and announce the start of PulpFest 2016. Start making your plans now to attend “Summer’s AMAZING Pulp Con!” Join hundreds of pulp fiction fans at the pop-culture center of the universe where you’ll have a FANTASTIC time, especially if you’re planning to stay at the Hyatt Regency Columbus!

You can book your room at the Hyatt Regency Columbus by clicking one of the Book a Room buttons on our home page and learn about registering for the convention by clicking the Register for 2016 button below our home page banner. Remember, “If you read or collect pulps, pulp reprints, books, vintage paperbacks, original artwork, golden-age or silver-age comic books .  .  .  PulpFest is the place to be.” We look forward to seeing you in July in beautiful, downtown Columbus.

(PulpFest will celebrate a century of the specialty pulp magazine at its 2016 convention. Street & Smith, the longtime publisher of dime novels and story papers, introduced the first successful genre pulp in September 1915 — DETECTIVE STORY MAGAZINE. Its success precipitated a proliferation of pulp magazines devoted to a single theme or genre, including SPORT STORY MAGAZINE, likewise published by Street & Smith. Pictured here is the June 22, 1928 issue, with cover art by illustrator Freeland Ackley Carter.)

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Your Last Chance to Guess Our Guest’s Identity

Jan 10, 2016 by

Amazing Stories 26-04On Thursday evening, we drew your attention to the fact that we are planning to announce our convention’s 2016 guest of honor on Monday, January 11th. The news will be released here and on our social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter. We also mentioned that we’re planning to offer a wide array of programming at PulpFest 2016, including salutes to the 150th anniversary of the birth of H. G. Wells — author of “The Time Machine,” “War of the Worlds,” and other classic science-fiction novels — and the 90th anniversary of the first science-fiction pulp, AMAZING STORIES.

As we mentioned in our post concerning THE ARGOSY  the first American periodical specifically designed for the common man — pulp magazines were named for the cheap paper on which they were printed. Nearly two decades after Frank A. Munsey pioneered the format in late 1896, the rough-paper periodicals began to specialize with the introduction of DETECTIVE STORY MAGAZINE by Street & Smith. During the 1920s more magazines geared toward specific genres were introduced: LOVE STORY, SEA STORIES, SPORT STORY MAGAZINE, GHOST STORIES, WAR STORIES, and others. The movement would culminate in single-character magazines such as THE SHADOW or DOC SAVAGE MAGAZINE.

It was hard to miss the inaugural issue of AMAZING STORIES — the first magazine to be geared toward the science-fiction reader. Larger than the typical pulp magazine with three-dimensional block letters trailing across its masthead, with a bright yellow backdrop that framed an alien landscape, a ringed planet and small moon, the magazine certainly stood out on the sales rack.

The names on the front cover of the early issues of AMAZING STORIES were also major selling points for the magazine: Edgar Rice Burroughs, A. Merritt, Edgar Allan Poe, Garrett P. Serviss, Jules Verne, H. G. Wells, and others. Using stories drawn from the Munsey magazines, BLUE BOOK, THE STRAND, and other sources, Gernsback offered reprints of science-fiction classics, eventually coupling these with new stories generated through contests. It was just as Gernsback wrote in his editorial for the pulp’s first issue: “By ‘scientifiction’ I mean the Jules Verne, H. G. Wells, and Edgar Allan Poe type story — a charming romance intermingled with scientific fact and prophetic vision.”

Amazing Stories 27-08It would be difficult to deny the importance of Herbert George Wells to the development of both science fiction and AMAZING STORIES. During his three years as editor and publisher of the first science-fiction magazine, Gernsback turned to Wells’ fictional output for nearly thirty stories, reprinting such tales as “The Country of the Blind,” “The Crystal Egg,” “The Empire of the Ants,” “The First Men in the Moon,” “The Invisible Man,” “The Island of Dr. Moreau,” “The Man Who Could Work Miracles,” “A Story of the Days to Come,” “The Time Machine,” “The Valley of the Spiders,” “The War of the Worlds,” and “When the Sleeper Wakes” in his magazine and its companion titles.

PulpFest 2016 will be celebrating both H. G. Wells and AMAZING STORIES at its convention in July. Please join us at “the pop culture center of the universe” for “Summer’s AMAZING Pulp Con,” from July 21st through July 24th in the Columbus, Ohio Arena district at the Hyatt Regency hotel and the city’s spacious convention center.

Here’s our final clue to the identity of our PulpFest 2016 guest of honor: in 1926, Hugo Gernsback introduced the reading public to the first science-fiction magazine, AMAZING STORIES. Since then, Gernsback’s magazine has inspired countless imitators. During our 2016 guest of honor’s career, he or she has also been associated with the science-fiction genre. Here’s your last chance to leave your guess to our special guest’s identity on our Facebook page. If you haven’t done so already, be sure to “like” us. We’ll provide a free membership to PulpFest 2016 to the first person who guesses the identity of this year’s honored guest. And remember to visit www.pulpfest.com on Monday, January 11th when we will reveal the identity of the PulpFest 2016 Guest of Honor.

(Frank R. Paul, the “grandfather of science-fiction art,” painted the covers to both the inaugural issue of AMAZING STORIES — dated April 1926 — and the August 1927 number of the magazine. The latter issue of the rough-paper periodical featured the first half of the classic H. G. Wells novel, “The War of the Worlds,” serialized by the magazine in two parts. Wells’ story of an alien invasion of planet Earth — originally published in PEARSON’S MAGAZINE in 1897 — is still enjoyed to this very day.)

A Third Clue to Our Guest of Honor

Jan 9, 2016 by

The Whisperer 1936-10On Thursday evening, we drew your attention to the fact that we are planning to announce our convention’s 2016 guest of honor on Monday, January 11th. The news will be released here and on our social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter. We also mentioned that we’re planning to offer a wide array of programming at PulpFest 2016, including a salute to the 80th anniversaries of THE WHISPERER and THE SKIPPER.

In 1931, Street & Smith was promoting their DETECTIVE STORY pulp by dramatizing stories from the magazine over the radio. The program’s narrator called himself “The Shadow.” When this memorable name began to eclipse the title of the magazine being promoted, the publisher decided to launch a new form of pulp magazine, the single-character or “hero” pulp. Within two years, the phenomenal success of  THE SHADOW MAGAZINE had started a rash of hero pulps including THE PHANTOM DETECTIVE, DOC SAVAGE, THE SPIDER, and G-8 AND HIS BATTLE ACES.

Although most of the hero-pulp titles that were introduced during 1933 experienced long runs, two of the magazines — Street & Smith’s own NICK CARTER DETECTIVE MAGAZINE and PETE RICE WESTERN ADVENTURES — were cancelled during the summer of 1936. Their spots in the publisher’s line-up were not long left vacant. THE WHISPERER was introduced to readers with its October 1936 issue, while THE SKIPPER debuted two months later.

THE WHISPERER related the adventures of Police Commissioner Wildcat Gordon, “a new character,” as the magazine’s first number proclaimed, who was “vigorous” and “fascinating.” The new pulp hero was meant to be a more adult version of Walter Gibson’s Shadow character, battling organized crime, racketeers, political corruption, and the like. Disguised in gray and wearing special dental plates that caused him to speak in a spooky whisper, Wildcat carried a pair of silenced automatics and was prone to kill those who ignored the law. The novels of the magazine’s first run were all written by Laurence Donovan, using the house name of Clifford Goodrich.

Hoping to duplicate the success of their globe-trotting super-hero, Doc Savage, Street & Smith released THE SKIPPER. Likewise intended to be a grown-up version of the popular Lester Dent adventure hero, the publisher again turned to Laurence Donovan to create the character and his adventures. The Skipper was Captain John Fury, master of the freighter Whirlwind. Following the death of his brother — killed by ocean-faring evildoers — Cap Fury promises to rid the seas of pirates and criminals. Commanding a tramp steamer that has been outfitted for war, The Skipper battles a number of fantastic foes who control death rays, a meteorite that removes oxygen from the air, voodoo practitioners, plague-bearing rats, and other nefarious evil-doers.

The Skipper 1936-12Here’s another clue to the identity of our PulpFest 2016 guest of honor: as mentioned in our post of  January 8th, the 1930s was the era of the hero pulp, inspired by the phenomenal success of Street & Smith’s THE SHADOW MAGAZINE. During our 2016 guest of honor’s career, he or she has also been associated with super heroes. Drop by our site tomorrow for our final hint. You can leave your guess to our special guest’s identity on our Facebook page. If you haven’t done so already, be sure to “like” us. We’ll provide a free membership to PulpFest 2016 to the first person who guesses the identity of this year’s honored guest. And remember to visit www.pulpfest.com on Monday, January 11th, when we will reveal the identity of the PulpFest 2016 Guest of Honor.

(THE WHISPERER was introduced to readers with its October 1936 number, featuring front cover art by the talented John Newton Howitt, a devoted landscape painter whose work was sold at fine art galleries in New York City. With the advent of the Great Depression, the artist turned to the pulps for income. An excellent painter, Howitt found a ready market in the rough-paper periodicals, selling freelance pulp covers to ADVENTURE, DIME DETECTIVE, HORROR STORIES, THE SPIDER, TERROR TALES, THE WHISPERER, WESTERN STORY MAGAZINE, and other pulp magazine titles.

THE SKIPPER debuted two months after the introduction of THE WHISPERER, its first issue dated December 1936. Lawrence Donner Toney, a graduate of the Art Institute of Chicago, was the cover artist. During the 1930s and 1940s, Toney painted covers for pulp magazines, such as CLUES, COMPLETE STORIES,WESTERN STORY MAGAZINE, and WILD WEST WEEKLY, all published by Street & Smith. Most of his work for pulp magazines was signed only with his initials.

To learn more about these talented artists, 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.)

Who Will Be Our Guest of Honor?

Jan 7, 2016 by

Western Story 1932-09-03If you’ve been following our recent posts, you’ll know we released our draft schedule for PulpFest 2016 on January 4th, just a few days into the new year. If you happened to study that schedule, you’ve learned that we are planning to announce our convention’s 2016 guest of honor on Monday, January 11th. The news will be released here and on our social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter. If you’ve been tracking our progress, you’ll also know that we’re planning to offer a wide array of programming at PulpFest 2016, including a salute to the 100th anniversary of the genre pulp magazine.

Although the Munsey group published the first specialized pulp magazines — beginning with THE RAILROAD MAN’S MAGAZINE in 1906, followed by THE OCEAN in 1907 — both pulps were a mixture of fact and fiction. It would be up to Street & Smith to originate the specialized pulp-fiction magazine in the fall of 1915, when it introduced DETECTIVE STORY MAGAZINE to the reading public.

Originally published twice a month, DETECTIVE STORY became a weekly before the end of its second year of publication. Despite its great success, the new pulp did not immediately inspire many imitators. It would be up to Street & Smith itself to develop the trend: WESTERN STORY MAGAZINE arrived in 1919, followed by LOVE STORY in 1921, SEA STORIES in 1922, and SPORT STORY MAGAZINE in 1923. It was not until 1924 that the single-genre fiction pulp would start to take off as other publishers began to release their own specialty pulps.

Here’s a clue to the identity of our PulpFest 2016 guest of honor: at one time in our 2016 guest of honor’s career, he or she worked for the specialty or genre-fiction magazines. Drop by our site over the next few days for more hints. You can leave your guess to our special guest’s identity on our Facebook page. If you haven’t done so already, be sure to “like” us. We’ll provide a free membership to PulpFest 2016 to the first person who guesses the identity of this year’s honored guest. And remember to visit www.pulpfest.com on Monday, January 11th when we will reveal the identity of the PulpFest 2016 Guest of Honor.

(Walter M. Baumhofer — often referred to as the “king of the pulp artists” — contributed the front cover art for the September 3, 1932 issue of WESTERN STORY MAGAZINE, one of the string of specialized pulp-fiction magazines first introduced by the Street & Smith publishing group in the fall of 1915. PulpFest 2016 will be celebrating the 100th anniversary of the genre magazine at its convention at the Hyatt Regency Columbus and the Greater Columbus Convention Center in beautiful downtown of Columbus, Ohio from July 21 – 24, 2016. Bring your friends! They’ll have a very SPECIAL time!)

Happy New Year from PulpFest

Jan 1, 2016 by

Love Story 38-12-31

Ring in the new year by planning to join PulpFest 2016! You’ll be as content as the two lovebirds featured on Modest Stein’s cover to the December 31, 1938 issue of Street & Smith’s LOVE STORY MAGAZINE.

Although the Munsey group published the first specialized pulp magazines — beginning with THE RAILROAD MAN’S MAGAZINE in 1906, followed by THE OCEAN in 1907 — both pulps were a mixture of fact and fiction. It would be up to Street & Smith to originate the specialized pulp-fiction magazine in the fall of 1915 when it introduced DETECTIVE STORY MAGAZINE to the reading public.

Originally published twice a month, DETECTIVE STORY became a weekly before the end of its second year of publication. Despite its great success, the new pulp did not immediately inspire many imitators. It would be up to Street & Smith itself to develop the trend: WESTERN STORY MAGAZINE arrived in 1919, followed by LOVE STORY in 1921, SEA STORIES in 1922, and SPORT STORY MAGAZINE in 1923. It was not until 1924 that the single-genre fiction pulp would start to take off as other publishers began to release their own specialty pulps.

In 2016, PulpFest will be saluting one-hundred years of the specialty pulp with presentations on the development of the pulp western and the romance pulps. Join us at the Hyatt Regency Columbus from  July 21 – 24, 2016 for a look at these fascinating magazines. It should be a very special convention! Stay tuned to www.pulpfest.com to learn more about “Summer’s AMAZING Pulp Con.” We’ll be offering an argosy of special announcements in the weeks to come.

(Modest Stein began contributing covers to the pulp market in 1910, selling to both the Munsey and Street & Smith chains. By the twenties, he was largely employed by the latter, painting covers for ASTOUNDING SCIENCE FICTION, CLUES, CRIME BUSTERS, DOC SAVAGE, FAR WEST ILLUSTRATED, LOVE STORY MAGAZINE, ROMANTIC RANGE, THE SHADOW, UNKNOWN, and other Street & Smith titles. Following the publisher’s 1949 exit from the pulp field, Stein worked predominantly as a portrait artist. He died in 1958.)

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Merry Christmas from PulpFest

Dec 21, 2015 by

Detective Story 27-12-24One-hundred years ago, Street & Smith launched the first successful specialty fiction pulp — DETECTIVE STORY MAGAZINE. Its popularity would lead to a proliferation of pulp magazines devoted to a single theme or genre — western, love, air, science fiction, supernatural, and, of course, detective.  Many more specialty pulps would follow in the ensuing years, culminating in single-character magazines such as THE SHADOW and DOC SAVAGE MAGAZINE.

Even though John A. Coughlin’s Santa Claus is stopping traffic, it doesn’t look like he’s going to get very far with that huge bag of toys. So why not treat yourself to a gift of your own by signing up for a registration to PulpFest 2016? It will take place at the Hyatt Regency Columbus from  July 21 – 24, 2016 and should be a very special convention! Stay tuned to our website to learn more about “Summer’s AMAZING Pulp Con.”

In the meantime, your PulpFest organizing committee — Jack and Sally Cullers, Mike Chomko, Bill Lampkin, Barry Traylor, and Chuck Welch — would like to wish everybody a healthy and happy holiday season.

(John A. Coughlin’s Santa Claus graced the front cover to the December 24, 1927 issue of Street & Smith’s DETECTIVE STORY MAGAZINE.)

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100 Years of the Specialty Pulp

Oct 8, 2015 by

Detective Story 1915-10-05Although it’s not as widely collected as its successors — magazines such as BLACK MASK and DIME DETECTIVE — Street & Smith’s DETECTIVE STORY MAGAZINE was a trailblazer. Its debut issue, dated October 5, 1915, was the first pulp magazine successfully dedicated to one fiction genre. Its first editor, Frank E. Blackwell, explained in an early issue, “I feel that stories dealing with the detection of crime are of more interest to the reading public than any others.” Many more specialty pulps would follow in the ensuing years, culminating in single-character magazines such as THE SHADOW or DOC SAVAGE MAGAZINE.

DETECTIVE STORY MAGAZINE was a continuation of the nickel weekly, NICK CARTER STORIES, in which the first part of the lead story of the new pulp — “The Yellow Label” — had appeared. According to dime novel and story paper expert, J. Randolph Cox, “The intent was to transfer the reading public of Nick Carter’s adventures over to a more adult and sophisticated fiction magazine.” Judging from its long life — DETECTIVE STORY would run for thirty-four years, from October 5, 1915 through the Summer of 1949, a total of 1,057 issues — Street & Smith’s intent was very ably achieved.

Unlike its highly prized successors — particularly BLACK MASK, the magazine where the hard-boiled detective story first took shape — DETECTIVE STORY emphasized the more traditional or “clued” detective story. Carolyn Wells, Ernest M. Poate, Arthur B. Reeve, Agatha Christie, Dorothy L. Sayers, Ellery Queen, and others all wrote stories along the traditional line, while Edgar Wallace, J. S. Fletcher, Johnston McCulley, Christopher Booth, Herman Landon, and more offered tales of rogue or “bent” heroes. Sax Rohmer was also a contributor to the magazine, introducing the “yellow peril” theme to the magazine’s mix. In later years, the fiction took on a more realistic tone, resembling the stories found in ELLERY QUEEN’S MYSTERY MAGAZINE, the mystery digest that had debuted during the second half of 1941.

Although DETECTIVE STORY MAGAZINE did little to further the development of the detective or crime story, its success would lead to a proliferation of pulp magazines devoted to a single theme or genre. According to the late pulp and science-fiction scholar Sam Moskowitz, “While not the first of the specialized fiction magazines, being preceded by THE OCEAN and THE RAILROAD MAN’S MAGAZINE, it accomplished what they had not by creating a trend that would result in the proliferation of the pulps into western, love, air, science fiction, and supernatural, as well as detective.” Likewise in 1931, the CBS radio series inspired by the magazine’s fiction, DETECTIVE STORY HOUR, would introduce the public to The Shadow, the announcer for each episode. Soon thereafter, Street & Smith would launch THE SHADOW DETECTIVE MAGAZINE, and the single-character pulp would be born.

In 2016, PulpFest intends to salute one-hundred years of the specialty pulp, first popularized during the fall of 1915, when DETECTIVE STORY MAGAZINE premiered. Join us at the Hyatt Regency Columbus from  July 21 – 24, 2016. It should be a very special convention!

(The first issue of DETECTIVE STORY MAGAZINE featured front cover art by John A. Coughlin, a Chicago-born artist who got his start in his home town’s advertising business. Coughlin moved to New York City in 1912 and painted his first pulp cover a year later — for Street & Smith’s THE POPULAR MAGAZINE. Other pulp clients included ARGOSY, DETECTIVE FICTION WEEKLY, SHORT STORIES, TOP-NOTCH, and WILD WEST WEEKLY. He also contributed cover art for HARPER’S WEEKLY, FARM AND FIRESIDE MAGAZINE, and THE SATURDAY EVENING POST. According to pulp art scholar David Saunders, Coughlin’s cover for the March 7, 1931 issue of DETECTIVE STORY MAGAZINE marks the first painted appearance of The Shadow on a pulp magazine.)