What’s This PulpFest All About?

Apr 27, 2018 by

So what’s this PulpFest that has so many people talking? With almost 3,000 likes on Facebook and nearly 900 followers on Twitter, it certainly has been generating a lot of excitement. But what’s it all about?

PulpFest is named for pulp magazines — fiction periodicals named after the cheap pulp paper on which they were printed. Frank A. Munsey pioneered the format in 1896 with THE ARGOSY. A decade later, pulps began to pick up steam with titles like BLUE BOOK and ADVENTURE. They exploded in 1912 when THE ALL-STORY printed a little yarn by Edgar Rice Burroughs called “Tarzan of the Apes.” Soon thereafter, genre titles began to flourish, among them DETECTIVE STORY, WESTERN STORY, and LOVE STORY. In the twenties, publishing legends such as BLACK MASK, WEIRD TALES and AMAZING STORIES debuted. The following decade saw the advent of the so-called “hero pulps,” with magazines such as THE SHADOW, DOC SAVAGE, and THE SPIDER attracting new readers to the rough paper format. Weird-menace magazines premiered around the same time, scaring the wits out of readers in titles like DIME MYSTERY MAGAZINE, SPICY MYSTERY STORIES, and TERROR TALES. The late thirties saw an explosion of science fiction pulps — led by John W. Campbell’s ASTOUNDING STORIES — with other magazines, such as FANTASTIC ADVENTURES and PLANET STORIES, thrilling readers of all ages.

By the early fifties, the pulps had essentially disappeared. While some continued in the smaller digest format, most were killed by competition from paperback books, comics, radio, television, and movies. But the fiction and artwork that appeared in the rough-paper consumables of the early twentieth century kept them living in the hearts and minds of scattered individuals.

Haunting back-issue magazine shops, flea markets, science fiction conventions, and other venues, these hearty enthusiasts gradually assembled astounding collections of genre fiction, all published in the rough and ragged magazines known as pulps. Eventually, these collectors organized a convention dedicated to the premise that the pulps had a profound effect on American popular culture. The pulps reverberated 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. Today, we call this convention, PulpFest.

The summertime destination for fans and collectors of vintage popular fiction and related materials, PulpFest seeks to honor the pulps by drawing attention to the many ways these throwaway magazines have inspired writers, artists, film directors, software developers, and other creators over the decades.

Why not come see what it’s all about? PulpFest 2018 will honor the 100th anniversary of the armistice that ended the First World War. The convention will focus on the so-called “war pulps” of the early twentieth century and the depiction of war in popular culture. We’ll also salute the centennial of the birth of Grand Master of Science Fiction Philip José FarmerJoin PulpFest 2018 and FarmerCon 100 for panels and presentations on the celebrated author of TARZAN ALIVE: A DEFINITIVE BIOGRAPHY OF LORD GREYSTOKEDOC SAVAGE: HIS APOCALYPTIC LIFE, the Riverworld and World of Tiers series, and many other works.

The convention’s guest of honor will be award-winning author Joe LansdaleThe author of over forty novels and many short stories, Lansdale has also written for comics, television, film, Internet sites, and more. His novella “Bubba Ho-Tep” was adapted to film by Don Coscarelli, starring Bruce Campbell and Ossie Davis. The film adaptation of his novel COLD IN JULY was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival, while the Sundance Channel has adapted his Hap & Leonard novels to television. Joe will be talking with Tony Davis on Saturday evening, July 28 and be available at select times during the convention.

We’ll have all this plus a dealers’ room featuring tens of thousands of pulp magazines, vintage paperbacks, digests, genre fiction, 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.

The convention will take place from Thursday evening, July 26, through Sunday afternoon, July 29, at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Pittsburgh – Cranberry, just nineteen miles north of the exciting city of Pittsburgh. You can book your room directly through the PulpFest website. Just click one of the links on the PulpFest home page that reads “Book a Room.” Alternately, you can call 1-800-222-8733 to book a room by telephone. When calling, be sure to mention PulpFest to get the special convention rate.

Start planning now to join PulpFest 2018 at the “pop culture center of the universe.” You can do so by clicking one of the Register buttons on our home page. For a look at our planned schedule, please visit our home page and click the Programming button just below our banner.

(Published by the Frank A. Munsey Company, the October 1912 issue of THE ALL-STORY featured Edgar Rice Burroughs’ novel “Tarzan of the Apes,” published in its entirety. Clinton Pettee painted the front cover art for the magazine. Burroughs’ Tarzan is perhaps the most famous character to emerge from the pulps. Others include Zorro, Kull and Conan, Dr. Kildare, The Shadow, Buck Rogers, Sam Spade, and Cthulhu.

In addition to BUBBA HO-TEP, COLD IN JULY, and HAP AND LEONARD, our guest of honor’s story, “Incident On and Off a Mountain Road,” was adapted to film for Showtime’s MASTERS OF HORROR. Lansdale himself also adapted his short story “Christmas with the Dead” to film.)

Head North Young Pulp Fan

Apr 11, 2018 by

The Fantastic Pulps Show & Sale is celebrating its 22nd year! The show is held annually in the lower level of the Lillian H. Smith Branch of the Toronto Public Library, 239 College Street in Toronto, Ontario.

A small but terrific show featuring a wide variety of pulp and pulp-related items, you’ll find over twenty-five dealers’ tables crammed with collectible pulp magazines, pulp reprints, vintage paperbacks, posters, and other ephemera. There’s also a half-hour pulp magazine cover slide show. It’s a great time for both serious pulp collectors as well as the casually interested, with lots of great stuff to see!

Admission is only $3, with tickets available at the door. Children under ten are admitted free when accompanied by an adult.

So if you reside in the states, grab your passport, and head north to Ontario for the Fantastic Pulps Show & Sale on Saturday, May 12, beginning at 10 AM and running until 4 PM. For additional details, you can email Neil or Leigh Mechem at info@girasolcollectables.com or call 905-820-7572. Please tell them that PulpFest sent you.

(This year’s Fantastic Pulps poster — designed by Neil and Leigh Mechem — features the art of the great George Rozen. It originally appeared on the cover to the July 15, 1934 issue of THE SHADOW MAGAZINE, the Street & Smith hero pulp that started the genre.

Although The Shadow is best known for his exploits as a crimefighter, he is closely tied to the two themes of PulpFest 2018. The convention will honor the 100th anniversary of the armistice that ended the First World War and will salute the centennial of the birth of Grand Master of Science Fiction Philip José Farmer.

The Shadow was, in actuality, a man named Kent Allard. With the advent of World War I, Allard enlisted and became a flying ace. He also served as an intelligence agent for the Czar, adopting the alias of The Black Eagle to protect his true identity.

In Philip José Farmer’s THE ADVENTURE OF THE PEERLESS PEER, Allard — using the identity of Colonel Kentov — is assigned to fly Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson on a mission.)

Related Posts

Share This

Friday at PulpFest

Jul 28, 2017 by

PulpFest 2017 enters it second day, following a successful dealer set-up, early registration, early-bird shopping, and a full slate of programming. If you missed our first day, there’s still more to come.

From 9 to 10 AM today, the dealers’ room will be open only to dealers for set-up. All visitors will also be able to register for the convention this morning — beginning at 9 PM — and at any time during regular dealers’ room hours. A full-weekend advance membership to PulpFest will cost you $35 — if staying at our host hotel — and $40 if staying elsewhere. 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. The general public is welcome to attend. There is ample free parking surrounding our host hotel, the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Pittsburgh – Cranberry.

All members, dealers included, can pick up their registration packets at the entrance to our dealers’ room. To help things move smoothly, please bring along a completed registration form. If you have not yet registered, you can download a copy by clicking herePaper forms will also be available at the door.

The dealers’ room will open to all at 10 AM and will remain open until 4:45 PM. Located in the Grand Ballroom of the DoubleTree, our dealers’ room will feature exhibitors selling and trading pulp magazines and related materials, digests, vintage paperbacks, men’s adventure and true crime magazines, first-edition hardcovers, series books, dime novels, original art, Big Little Books, B-movies, serials and related paper collectibles, old-time-radio shows, and Golden and Silver Age as well as pulp-related comic books and games. That’s why PulpFest is known as the “pop culture center of the universe!”

If you’re a fan of Philip Josė Farmer, you won’t want to miss the Meteor House book launch party at the DoubleTree. Meet the team behind the MAN OF WAR novella, including author Heidi Ruby Miller, artist Mark Wheatley, and the editors at Meteor House. An assortment of light refreshments and non-alcoholic beverages will be served Friday, July 28, starting at 5 PM. Further details will be available at the PulpFest 2017 registration desk, outside of the convention’s dealers’ room.

Our afternoon programming will start at 1 PM with our New Fictioneers readings. Our evening programming will begin shortly before 7 PM as PulpFest chairman Jack Cullers officially welcomes all our attendees. Friday night’s programming will include our FarmerCon XII presentation on the “Psychos” of Grand Master of Science Fiction Philip José FarmerFarmerCon favorite Win Scott Eckert continues our salute to “the psychos of the pulps” with the first of two readings that he will be performing tonight. Mike Croteau of Meteor House rounds out our FarmerCon programming with Philip José Farmer and Robert Bloch.

PulpFest 2017 further examines pulp fiction’s psychos with 100 Years with the Author of Psycho: Robert Bloch — an illustrated survey of the life and times of Robert Bloch presented by Garyn G. Roberts, Ph.D.

This year’s celebration of hardboiled dicks gets underway at 8:40 PM with a reading from the work of SPICY DETECTIVE STORIES author Robert Leslie Bellem, the creator of Hollywood detective Dan Turner. Next, Anthony Award winner Jeffrey Marks looks at The Many Characters of Erle Stanley GardnerAltus Press publisher Matt Moring will also examine DIME DETECTIVE MAGAZINE, the pulp that truly popularized the hard-as-nails private eye. Closing out the night’s presentations will be pulp historian and fan-favorite author Will Murray. He will be discussing The Dangerous Dames of Maxwell Grant.

Perhaps the most exciting event of the evening will be a WEIRD Audio Play by Robert Bloch, staged by the Narada Radio Company and their PULP-POURRI THEATREReturn to the Sabbath” was originally published in WEIRD TALES under Bloch’s Tarleton Fiske pseudonym. Narrated in the first person by a Hollywood public relations man, it’s the story of a European actor brought to the United States to star in a satanic horror film. Bloch’s story was later adapted and filmed for television as “The Sign of Satan.” It aired on THE ALFRED HITCHCOCK HOUR in 1964. The play will start at 11 PM.

You can find additional details about these and all of our presentations by clicking the Programming for 2017 button found at the top of our home page. Each event on the schedule is linked to a post that provides further information on that event. Just click on the event’s title. Watch for the “panels” banner to find our programming area.

PulpFest members are also welcome to socialize together in our hospitality suite at the DoubleTree. You’ll be able to enjoy drinks and snacks with your comrades in pulpdom and talk about the things that you love and collect. If you’re new to the hobby, please join us in our con suite and learn more about pulps and pulp fiction and art.

Friday’s sponsor of the PulpFest hospitality suite is AbeBooks.com, the online marketplace for books. AbeBooks has a strong focus on rare and collectible books as well as ephemera such as maps, posters, prints and photographs. AbeBooks is a company with a passion for books, art and collectibles. PulpFest is extremely pleased to have AbeBooks as a convention sponsor and  Friday’s hospitality suite sponsor.

If you are not from the Pittsburgh area and have yet to book your room for this year’s PulpFest, you can try calling 1-800-222-8733 to reach our host hotel. Perhaps there is an opening. Please be sure to mention PulpFest in order to receive any special convention deals that may still be available.

PulpFest 2017 will continue on Saturday and Sunday. It concludes at 2 PM on Sunday, July 30. Please join us at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Pittsburgh – Cranberry — just north of Pennsylvania’s “Steel City” — for “Summer’s AMAZING Pulp Con!” You’ll have a FANTASTIC time!

(Between 1935 and 1952, Robert Bloch published nearly seventy stories in WEIRD TALES, “The Unique Magazine.” “The Cheaters” appeared in the November 1947 issue and featured cover art by Matt Fox. A cartoonist, illustrator, comic book and advertising artist, watercolorist, painter, and graphic artist, with lithographs, woodcuts, and etchings to his credit, Fox painted eleven covers for WEIRD TALES and also contributed interior illustrations to the magazine. He also worked for Marvel Comics during the 1950s.

Philip José Farmer’s THE MAD GOBLIN was originally released in 1970 by Ace Books as part of their double line of paperbacks. The other half the book featured LORD OF THE TREES. Both sides of the book featured covers created by Gray Morrow, a comic book and paperback artist who also illustrated many science-fiction magazines. He was nominated for the Hugo Award for best professional artist in 1966, 1967, and 1968.

The “psychos” of  Robert Bloch, Philip José Farmer, and THE SHADOW MAGAZINE will be profiled during PulpFest’s second night of programming, scheduled to begin at 7 PM this evening. We hope to see you in at the DoubleTree Grand Ballroom for “Summer’s AMAZING Pulp Con! You’ll find today’s schedule immediately below.)

Friday, July 28

Dealers’ Room

9:00 AM – 10:00 AM — Early Registration and Dealers’ Room Set-Up

10:00 AM – 4:45 PM — Dealers’ Room Open to All

Programming

12:45 – 4:30 PM — New Fictioneers Readings — (author readings by Jim Beard, John Bruening, Peter McGarvey, Heidi Ruby Miller, and Don Shakers)

6:55 – 7:00 PM — Welcome to PulpFest 2017 (Convention Chairman Jack Cullers)

7:00 – 7:20 PM — The Psychos of Philip José Farmer — The Nine (Win Scott Eckert, Frank Schildiner, and Art Sippo)

7:20 – 7:30 PM — The Psychos of Philip José Farmer — Win Scott Eckert Reads from THE MONSTER ON HOLD

7:30 – 7:50 PM — Philip José Farmer and Robert Bloch (Mike Croteau of Meteor House)

7:50 – 8:00 PM — Intermission

8:00 – 8:40 PM — 100 Years with the Author of Psycho: Robert Bloch (Garyn Roberts)

8:40 – 8:50 PM — Pulp-Pourri Theatre Presents Robert Leslie Bellem, a Dan Turner Reading

8:50 – 9:30 PM — Hardboiled and Dangerous: The Many Characters of Erle Stanley Gardner (Jeffrey Marks)

9:30 – 9:40 PM — Intermission

9:40 – 10:20 PM — Hardboiled Dicks: A Look at DIME DETECTIVE MAGAZINE (Matt Moring)

10:20 – 10:30 PM — Philip José Farmer’s Most Dangerous Dame — Win Scott Eckert Reads from THE SCARLET JAGUAR

10:30 – 10:55 PM — The Dangerous Dames of Maxwell Grant: Myra Reldon, Margo Lane, and Carrie Cashin (Will Murray)

11:00 – 11:30 PM — Pulp-Pourri Theatre Presents “Return to the Sabbath,” a WEIRD Audio Play by Robert Bloch

Thursday at PulpFest

Jul 27, 2017 by

PulpFest 2017 will begin this afternoon at 4 PM, as our dealers begin to erect their displays for “Summer’s AMAZING Pulp Con!” All members — dealers included — will be able to register for the convention from 4 to 8 PM, at the entrance to our dealers’ room at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Pittsburgh – Cranberry. Everyone can pick up their registration packets at this time. To help things move smoothly, please bring along a completed registration form. You can download a copy by clicking here or the link found on our registration page.

There will be free early-bird shopping in the dealers’ room from 6 to 9 PM for loyal attendees who help to defray the convention’s costs by staying at our host hotel. The cost is $30 for those who stay elsewhere. Our full evening programming slate will begin shortly after 9 PM with a reading by author Chet Williamson.

PulpFest will also be celebrating the dangerous dames of the pulps with presentations on The Dangerous Dames of Kenneth Robeson — featuring PulpFest Technical Director and Webmaster Chuck Welch — and Compliments of the Domino Lady — a discussion of the long-lived pulp hero by Inkpot Award winner Michelle Nolan. Sandwiched between these two presentations will be a reading from his Domino Lady story — “The Claws of the Cat” — by author Ron Fortier.

Closing out the evening will be an audio drama, staged by the Narada Radio Company and their PULP-POURRI THEATREThe Adventures of Mr. Fye” introduces a new hero inspired by classic pulp fiction and the single character hero pulps. The play will begin at 11 PM.

You can find additional details about these and all of our presentations by clicking the Programming for 2017 button found at the top of our home page. Each event on the schedule is linked to a post that provides further information on that event. Just click on the event’s title. Watch for the “panels” banner to find our programming area.

When our programming is over, PulpFest members are welcome to socialize together in our hospitality suite at the DoubleTree. You’ll be able to enjoy drinks and snacks with your comrades in pulpdom and talk about the things that you love and collect. “What’s your favorite Doc Savage adventure? Did Joan Randall have a thing for Gragg the Robot? Remember when Conan bit off that vulture’s head in ‘A Witch Shall Be Born?’ How the hell do you say Tsathoggua? Who’d win a knock-down-drag-out between Wu Fang and Shiwan Khan? Would either stand a chance against Doctor Fu Manchu? Why does the Phantom Detective wear that top hat? Who the hell is Pinky Jenkins?” These are just a few of the mysteries you might clear up with your pals — old and new — at PulpFest 2017. You sure can’t do that on your iPhone!

If you are not from the Pittsburgh area and have yet to book your room for this year’s PulpFest, you can try calling 1-800-222-8733 to reach our host hotel. Perhaps there is an opening. Please be sure to mention PulpFest in order to receive any special convention deals that may still be available. 

For those of you who have not yet registered for PulpFest 2017, Thursday evening will be an ideal time to do so. Our full weekend memberships will be available at the door, with early-bird shopping costing an additional $30 for those members not staying at the DoubleTree. Single day memberships — costing $20 for Friday or Saturday — will also be available. A Sunday single day membership will cost $10, the price of THE PULPSTERPlease click our Register for 2017 button for further details.

From 4 PM to 11 PM on Thursday, the dealers’ room will be open for exhibitors to set up their displays. At this point, we urge all of our dealers to take full advantage of our generous load-in and set-up period. Access to the dealers’ room for unloading will be through the ballroom back entrance and the nearby banquet dock. Click here for a map showing the loading area of the hotel and here for a map of the DoubleTree’s Grand Ballroom.

Remember that we’ll also be offering early-bird shopping in the dealers’ room from 6 to 9 PM on Thursday evening, an extra three hours of selling opportunities to people who are ready to buy!

Although the focus of PulpFest is pulp magazines and related materials, digests, vintage paperbacks, men’s adventure and true crime magazines, first-edition hardcovers, series books, dime novels, original art, Big Little Books, B-movies, serials and related paper collectibles, old-time-radio shows, and Golden and Silver Age as well as pulp-related comic books and games are also allowed.

(Although the first costumed pulp heroine appeared in just six stories in rare and obscure mid-1930s pulps, The Domino Lady commanded three covers for those magazines. All three were painted by Norman Saunders, one of the leading artists and illustrators of the pulp era.

The Domino Lady and other “dangerous dames” of the pulps will be profiled during PulpFest’s opening night programming, scheduled to begin at 9:10 PM this evening. We hope to see you in at the DoubleTree for “Summer’s AMAZING Pulp Con! You’ll find today’s schedule immediately below.)

Thursday, July 27

Dealers’ Room

4:00 PM – 11:00 PM — Dealers’ Room Set-Up

4:00 PM – 8:00 PM — Early Registration

6:00 PM – 9:00 PM — Dealers’ Room Open for Early-Bird Shopping (free with your stay at the Double-Tree)

Programming

9:10 – 9:40 PM — Robert Bloch’s PSYCHO: SANITARIUM — A Reading by Chet Williamson

9:40 – 10:05 PM — The Dangerous Dames of Kenneth Robeson: Pat Savage, Nellie Gray and Rosabel Newton (Chuck Welch)

10:05 – 10:15 PM— Scarlet Adventuress — The Domino Lady — A Reading by Ron Fortier

10:15 – 10:50 PM — Compliments of the Domino Lady (Michelle Nolan)

10:50 – 11:00 PM — Intermission

11:00 – 11:30 PM — Pulp-Pourri Theatre Presents “The Return of Mr. Fye”

Pulp-Pourri Theatre Presents “The Adventures of Mr. Fye”

Jun 9, 2017 by

Following numerous requests, live theatre returns to this year’s PulpFest. On Thursday evening, July 27, at 11 PM PulpFest welcomes the Narada Radio Company and their PULP-POURRI THEATRE to this summer’s convention. Based in Corpus Christi, PULP-POURRI THEATRE is an audio drama anthology series that has its origins in vintage pulp fiction, but presents its stories in the modern way. Pete Lutz is the company’s producer-director. You can sample their work online or via iTunes.

“The Adventures of Mr. Fye” introduces a new hero inspired by classic pulp fiction and the single character hero pulps.

In her final moments of life, an ancient Chinese mystic passes on her powers to an unsuspecting police detective named “Jinx” Duncan. After a series of strange events, Jinx realizes that his life has been forever altered. He works to control his new powers and use them to help the innocent and battle crime. To do so, he becomes Mister Fye (say it with a New York accent and you’ll get the meaning).

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

The PulpFest 2017 cast of Narada Radio Company’s PULP-POURRI THEATRE will be Austin and Barbi Beach, Ross Bernhardt, Randy Coull, Derek, Keane, and Pete Lutz, and Greg and Rhiannon McAfee. Please join them at PulpFest 2017 from Thursday evening, July 27, through Sunday afternoon, July 30, at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Pittsburgh – Cranberry, just nineteen miles north of the exciting city of Pittsburgh. You can book your room directly through the PulpFest website. Just click the “Book a Room for 2017” link on our home page or call 1-800-222-8733. Be sure to mention PulpFest in order to receive the convention rate.

Start making your plans now to celebrate the “hardboiled dicks, dangerous dames, and a few psychos” at PulpFest 2017. Don’t miss out on the chance to meet “Mr. Fye” at the “pop culture center of the universe.”

(The Narada Radio Company and their PULP-POURRI THEATRE will perform Pete Lutz’s original audioplay, “The Adventures of Mr. Fye,” at PulpFest 2017. The initial performance will be on Thursday evening, July 27, at 11 PM. There will be a special repeat performance on Saturday afternoon, July 29, at 3:30 PM. The company will also be performing a Dan Turner SPICY DETECTIVE reading and a Pat Savage reading at the convention. Watch for details in our upcoming posts. A new one appears every Monday through Friday here at pulpfest.com.

The Mr. Fye poster was created by Pete Lutz, based on a Robert O. Reid cover for the March 23, 1940 issue of COLLIER’S. The magazine was probably the number two general-interest magazine in America during the thirties, forties, and fifties, behind the SATURDAY EVENING POST. COLLIER’S ceased publication in 1957.)

The Dangerous Dames of Maxwell Grant

May 10, 2017 by

Maxwell Grant was a pen name used by the authors of The Shadow pulp magazine stories. Street & Smith, the publishers of THE SHADOW MAGAZINE, asked Walter B. Gibson, the writer they originally hired to chronicle the Shadow’s adventures, to create a pen name so that numerous authors could be used to write the stories without confusing the readers. Gibson, who was also a nonfiction writer, adopted the pen name Maxwell Grant, taking the name from two magic dealers he knew, Maxwell Holden and U. F. Grant.

Four authors besides Gibson have used the Maxwell Grant pseudonym over the years: Theodore Tinsley, who wrote 27 Shadow stories between 1936 and 1943; Lester Dent, who wrote one story, “The Golden Vulture,” in 1938; Bruce Elliott, who wrote fifteen Shadow stories between 1946 and 1948; and Dennis Lynds, who wrote nine Shadow paperback novels between 1964 and 1967.

Although most hardboiled pulp fiction in the pulps featured male protagonists, some very dangerous dames also found their way into the rough paper magazines. These hardboiled ladies helped to pave the way for such modern day gumshoes as Sue Grafton‘s Kinsey Millhone, Marcia Muller‘s Sharon McCone, and Sara Paretsky‘s V. I. Warshawski. As part of our celebration of the “hardboiled dicks, dangerous dames, and a few psychos,” of the pulps, please join PulpFest 2017 on Thursday evening, July 27, at 10:30 PM as Anthony Tollin explores “The Dangerous Dames of Maxwell Grant: Myra Reldon, Margo Lane, and Carrie Cashin.”

Although Margo Lane is, by and large, the best known of these three characters, she is probably the least dangerous of Grant’s dames. Writing in DEADLY EXCITEMENTS, the late Robert Sampson remarked, “. . . she was a feather-headed nitwit, a flighty pest who lacked any sense of personal danger. . . . The Shadow treated her rather humorously, as if she were a kitten full of catnip. She caused more trouble than she was worth.”

The character was originally created for the Mutual radio broadcasts networks and debuted in 1937. A friend and companion to Lamont Cranston, Margo Lane spies for his alter ego, The Shadow. She would later make her first print appearance in the The Shadow newspaper strips. In 1941, Walter B. Gibson included her in her first pulp novel, “The Thunder King.”

Myra Reldon was the first female agent to work for The Shadow. Born in Shanghai, she had spent many years in Asia learning the languages and the customs of the Chinese. This led her to become an undercover agent for the U. S. Department of Justice, where she disguised herself as “Ming Dwan,” and investigated Chinese matters. The Shadow came in contact with her while working on a case in San Francisco’s Chinatown. He was impressed with her talents and brought her into his organization. Her first appearance was in the 1937 story, “The Teeth of the Dragon.”

Although he used his real name for the Carrie Cashin stories, Theodore Tinsley was the writer who most often — after Walter Gibson — hid behind the Maxwell Grant house name. Attractive as sin, hard-boiled as hell, and one of the very first of the hardboiled lady dicks of the pulps, Carrie Cashin appeared in over three dozen action-packed, fast-paced stories, starting in the November 1937 issue of Street & Smith’s CRIME BUSTERS. This dangerous dame continued in that magazine through a name change — to MYSTERY MAGAZINE in 1939 — right up to her final appearance in November 1942, one of the last issues of the pulp.

Anthony Tollin, publisher, writer, and researcher, is best known for his reprints of Doc Savage, The Shadow, The Spider, and other pulp heroes, issued through the Sanctum Books imprint. These books serve as a source of entertainment and knowledge for veteran pulp fans as well as a major gateway for new people to enter the pulp-collecting hobby. Additionally, Tony was the co-author — with Walter Gibson — of THE SHADOW SCRAPBOOK, and helped to put together and introduce numerous recorded collections of pulp-related radio programs during his association with Radio Spirits. He was also involved with several comic book interpretations of the great pulp heroes and worked as a colorist for many years, primarily for DC Comics. In 2011, Anthony received the Munsey Award for his many contributions to the pulp community.

(Myra Reldon, one of the dangerous dames created by the authors who hid behind the pseudonym of Maxwell Grant, first appeared in the November 15, 1937 issue of THE SHADOW, published by Street & Smith and featuring front cover art by George Rozen.

Although he used his own name for the Carrie Cashin stories, Theodore Tinsley also used the Grant pseudonym, writing 27 of The Shadow’s pulp adventures. His most dangerous dame, Ms. Cashin, was featured in 39 issues of CRIME BUSTERS and MYSTERY MAGAZINE. From time to time, she garnered top cover billing on the magazine — including the November 1938 issue, featuring work by an unknown artist — that also ran the adventures of Lester Dent’s Click Rush, Walter B. Gibson’s Norgil the Magician, Frank Gruber’s Jim Strong, Norvell Page’s The Death Angel, and others.)

 

What’s This PulpFest All About?

Mar 27, 2017 by

So what’s this PulpFest that has so many people talking? With almost 3,000 likes on Facebook and more than 700 followers on Twitter, it certainly has been generating a lot of excitement. But what’s it all about?

All-Story 12-10PulpFest is named for pulp magazines — fiction periodicals named after the cheap paper on which they were printed. Frank A. Munsey pioneered the format in 1896 with THE ARGOSY. A decade later, pulps began to pick up steam with titles like BLUE BOOK and ADVENTURE, then exploded in 1912 when THE ALL-STORY printed a little yarn by Edgar Rice Burroughs called “Tarzan of the Apes.” Soon thereafter, genre titles began to flourish, among them DETECTIVE STORY, WESTERN STORY, and LOVE STORY. In the twenties, publishing legends such as BLACK MASK, WEIRD TALES and AMAZING STORIES debuted. The following decade saw the advent of the so-called “hero pulps” with magazines such as THE SHADOW, DOC SAVAGE, and THE SPIDER attracting new readers to the rough-paper format. Weird-menace magazines premiered around the same time with DIME MYSTERY MAGAZINE, SPICY MYSTERY STORIES, and TERROR TALES scaring the wits out of readers. The late thirties saw an explosion of science fiction pulps — led by John W. Campbell’s ASTOUNDING STORIES — with other titles such as FANTASTIC ADVENTURES and PLANET STORIES thrilling readers of all ages.

By the early fifties, the pulps were gone, killed by competition from paperback books, comic books, radio, television, and movies. But the fiction and artwork that appeared in the rough-paper consumables of the early twentieth century kept them alive in the hearts and minds of countless individuals. Haunting back-issue magazine shops, flea markets, science fiction conventions, and other venues, these hearty souls gradually assembled astounding collections of genre fiction, all published in the rough and ragged magazines known as pulps. Eventually, these collectors organized a convention dedicated to the premise that the pulps had a profound effect on American popular culture that reverberated 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. Today, we call this convention, PulpFest.

The summertime destination for fans and collectors of vintage popular fiction and related materials, PulpFest seeks to honor the pulps by drawing attention to the many ways these throwaway articles have inspired writers, artists, film directors, software developers, and other creators over the decades.

Why not come see what it’s all about? PulpFest 2017 will be paying tribute to the hardboiled dicks, dangerous dames, and a few psychos of the pulps. We’ll be exploring DIME DETECTIVE MAGAZINE — where the hard-boiled detective story developed into an important fiction genre — and Robert Leslie Bellem’s tough-guy detective, Dan Turner; Pat Savage, The Domino Lady, and other dangerous dames of the pulps, the hardboiled ladies who helped pave the way for such modern day gumshoes as Sue Grafton‘s Kinsey Millhone, Marcia Muller‘s Sharon McCone, and Sara Paretsky‘s V. I. Warshawski; and some of the mad scientists, crazed hunchbacks, and foul cultists who decimated American cities on a monthly basis in rough-paper magazines like THE SHADOW. We’ll also be saluting the hundredth anniversary of the birth of Robert Bloch, the author of PSYCHO — later adapted to film by Alfred Hitchcock. Bloch got his start as a writing professional in the pulps.

The convention’s guest of honor will be Pittsburgh artist Gloria Stoll Karn. In a field dominated by men, it was highly unusual for a woman to be painting covers for pulp magazines. But at age seventeen, Gloria Stoll began contributing black and white interior illustrations to pulp magazines. In a few years, the young artist was painting covers. How’s that for a dangerous dame? One of the few surviving contributors to the pulp magazine industry, Ms. Stoll Karn will be joined by pulp art historian David Saunders — winner of our 2016 Lamont Award — to discuss her freelance career in the pulps and much more on Saturday evening, July 29.

We’ll have all this plus a dealers’ room featuring tens of thousands of pulp magazines, 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. For a look at our planned schedule, please visit our home page and click the Programming for 2017 button just below our banner.

The convention will take place from Thursday evening, July 27, through Sunday afternoon, July 30, at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Pittsburgh – Cranberry, just nineteen miles north of the exciting city of Pittsburgh. You can book your room directly through the PulpFest website. Just click the “Book a Room for 2017” link on our home page or call 1-800-222-8733. Be sure to mention PulpFest in order to receive the convention rate.

Start making your plans now to join in our exploration of “Hardboiled Dicks, Dangerous Dames, and a Few Psychos” at the “pop culture center of the universe” called PulpFest 2017.

(Published by the Frank A. Munsey Company, the October 1912 issue of THE ALL-STORY featured Edgar Rice Burroughs’ novel “Tarzan of the Apes,” published in its entirety. Clinton Pettee — who illustrated many of the Munsey magazines as well as the pulp, SHORT STORIES — painted the front cover art for the magazine. Burroughs’ Tarzan is perhaps the most famous character to emerge from the pulps.

Over thirty years after the publication of “Tarzan of the Apes,” a young Gloria Stoll Karn contributed the cover art for the November 1943 issue of Popular Publications’ DIME MYSTERY MAGAZINE. The artist would paint more than 100 covers for the pulps of the 1940s.)

Hardboiled Dicks, Dangerous Dames, and a Few Psychos III

Dec 5, 2016 by

doctor-death-35-02Beginning with its first convention in 2009, PulpFest has drawn countless raves from pop culture enthusiasts. Planned as the summertime destination for fans and collectors of vintage popular fiction and related materials, PulpFest seeks to honor pulp fiction and pulp art by drawing attention to the many ways they have inspired writers, artists, film directors, software developers, game designers, and other creators over the decades. That’s why PulpFest is renowned for its fantastic dealers’ room and wide range of interesting and entertaining programming. So what will be happening at PulpFest 2017?

Back in October, we told you about the hardboiled dicks that transformed the traditional mystery story into the tough guy (and gal) crime fiction that remains popular to this very day. In November, we focused on the dangerous dames of the pulps, the hardboiled ladies who helped to pave the way for such modern day gumshoes as Sue Grafton‘s Kinsey Millhone, Marcia Muller‘s Sharon McCone, and Sara Paretsky‘s V. I. Warshawski. This month we turn our attention to the psychos of the pulps.

Perhaps the most famous fictional “psycho” of them all is Norman Bates, the insane killer portrayed by Anthony Perkins in PSYCHOThis classic film — directed by Alfred Hitchcock — was based on a 1959 novel written by Robert Bloch. The author, born on April 5, 1917, got his start as a writing professional in the pulps. His first sale was made to his favorite pulp magazine, WEIRD TALES. Over the years, Bloch’s and Hitchcock’s “psycho” has served to inspire similar characters in popular culture.

terror-tales-40-03Like Bloch’s PSYCHO, the pulps were a breeding ground for madness. On a monthly basis, mad scientists, crazed hunchbacks, and foul cultists would threaten beautiful women with bodily injury and “fates worse than death” in the pages of weird menace magazines such as TERROR TALES and HORROR STORIES. Over in the hero pulps, New York City’s population would be decimated by one madman after another in the pages of THE SPIDERAmerica’s Secret Service Ace, Jimmy Christopher, would save America from tyrant after tyrant in OPERATOR #5. The Shadow would battle Shiwan Khan and Benedict Stark, while Doc Savage had his hands full with John Sunlight.

Eventually, the pulp publishers tested their marketing skills as they introduced “villain” pulps: DOCTOR DEATH, DR. YEN SIN, THE OCTOPUS, THE SCORPION, and THE MYSTERIOUS WU FANG. Although these series were all short-lived, they helped to popularize the concept of the diabolic madman. PulpFest will be celebrating both the hundredth anniversary of Robert Bloch’s birth and some of the psychos of the pulps at our next convention.

Start planning to attend PulpFest 2017 and its celebration of pulp fiction and pulp art. Join us next July outside of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania as we explore “Hardboiled Dicks, Dangerous Dames, and a Few Psychos.” Meanwhile, stay tuned to PulpFest.com for news on our “New Fictioneers” readings, Saturday Night Auction, and much more.  We’ll have a new post each and every Monday in the weeks ahead. So visit often to learn all about PulpFest 2017, one of the largest and most popular pulp cons of the year!

(Doctor Death was first introduced in a series of stories credited to Edward P. Norris that appeared in Dell Publications’ ALL DETECTIVE. When that title was cancelled in 1935, it was replaced by a new pulp focusing on an arch villain. Entitled DOCTOR DEATH, the magazine lasted for a total of three issues. It’s first number — dated February 1935 — featured front cover art by Rudolph Zirm, a freelance artist who contributed a few dozen pulp covers to various publishers over a period of six years.

In the three Doctor Death pulp novels — all written by Harold Ward — Doctor Death is Rance Mandarin, “a master of the occult with an insane hatred of scientific progress and industrialization. He believes it is his mission to return the world to a blissful primitive state, which he attempts to do with the aid of zombies, elementals, dissolution rays and communist heavies.”

More wild pulp villainy could be found in such weird menace magazines as TERROR TALES, SPICY MYSTERY STORIES, and HORROR STORIES. Such titles often featured beautiful women threatened by terrors unimaginable — including the March 1940 TERROR TALES — also painted by Rudolph Zirm.)

Ten Years in The Shadow’s Sanctum — Anthony Tollin’s Sanctum Books

Jun 23, 2016 by

Shadow 1One of PulpFest‘s longtime supporters has been Anthony Tollin, the publisher of Sanctum Books. On Saturday, July 23, at 3 PM, PulpFest 2016 will salute the tenth anniversary of Sanctum Books. Our celebration of the occasion will take place in our programming area, located in the Union Rooms on the second floor of the Hyatt Regency Columbus.

Anthony Tollin launched his Sanctum double novel pulp reprints in July 2006. During the past decade, Sanctum Books has reprinted all 182 DOC SAVAGE pulp novels, all 24 of Paul Ernst’s AVENGER novels, the 14 WHISPERER novels from the original pulp series and more than 220 SHADOW novels — all in non-flaking editions with the classic color covers and original interior illustrations, plus comprehensive historical articles and features. Some of these features have included rare radio scripts as well as reprints of Street & Smith comic book stories such as the Iron Munro yarns of Theodore Sturgeon. Additionally, Sanctum Books has reprinted selected NICK CARTER, PHANTOM DETECTIVE, and THE SKIPPER adventures in the double novel format. The publisher has also added THE SPIDER and THE BLACK BAT to its publishing schedule. It goes without saying that Sanctum Books has been one of the leading pulp reprint houses for the last ten years.

Please join Anthony Tollin and his contributing editor Will Murray as they recall Sanctum’s first decade, preview its new anniversary special and annuals, and showcase some of its upcoming projects —  including a hardcover collection of the complete 1940 – 1942 SHADOW newspaper strips.

The only way that you can join this celebration of “Ten Years in The Shadow’s Sanctum” is to attend PulpFest 2016, “Summer’s AMAZING Pulp Con.” Find out “Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men?” only at PulpFest. Taking place in the Columbus, Ohio Arena district at the Hyatt Regency hotel and the city’s spacious convention center, it begins on Thursday, July 21 and runs through Sunday, July 24. As of June 21, the Hyatt Regency Columbus has a small number of rooms available for July 21 through July 23. Please see our post “There Are Rooms at the Hyatt!

At www.columbusconventions.com/thearea.php, you’ll find a list of area hotels courtesy of the Greater Columbus Convention Center. Alternately, 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.

As of June 1, 2016, the Hyatt Regency is sold out on Friday, July 22. Please read our post “Friday Night Sell-Out” for alternatives. Thank you.

(Back in 2006, the advertising copy for the first of Sanctum Books’ double novel reprints read: “The Shadow returns in two of his greatest pulp adventures: “Crime, Insured” (acclaimed as Walter Gibson’s greatest thriller) and “The Golden Vulture” (revised by Gibson from Lester Dent’s 1932 tryout novel that won him the Doc Savage contract), featuring writers Walter B. Gibson and Lester Dent (writing as “Maxwell Grant”), and artists George Rozen and Edd Cartier. The first volume of this new series reproduces both original covers by George Rozen, plus all of the original interior illustrations by Edd Cartier. This book also includes new historical background articles by popular culture historians Anthony Tollin and Will Murray (who collaborated posthumously with Dent on Seven new Doc Savage novels previously published by Bantam).”

Over the past ten years, Sanctum’s format has not changed: two or three novels per book, the original covers and interior illustrations, and some sort of historical articles or materials are featured in each volume of the series. The only thing that has changed is the price: the early volumes cost $12.95, while today’s Sanctum reprints can be had for $14.95. They’re a tremendous value at both prices!)

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.)