Stan Lee, Pulp Fan

Nov 15, 2018 by

Comic book legend Stan Lee passed away on Monday, November 12. He was 95 years old.

Nearly sixty years ago, Stan Lee — along with Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko, and others — introduced the world to The Amazing Spider-Man, The Avengers, The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man, The X-Men, and other superheroes. Together, they “revolutionized entertainment and the then-dying superhero-comics industry by introducing flawed, multidimensional, and relatable human heroes — many of whom have enjoyed cultural staying power beyond anything in contemporary fiction, to rival the most enduring icons of the movies (an industry they’ve since proceeded to almost entirely remake in their own image).”

Marvel’s greatest success of the period was Peter Parker, The Amazing Spider-Man. Debuting in the August 1962 AMAZING FANTASY, Spider-Man blended a mixture of “unconventional humor and emotional agony.” In short, Spider-Man mirrored the rather unconventional pulp hero that Lee claimed as inspiration: Richard Wentworth, The Spider.

“When I was about 10 years old, I used to read a pulp magazine called THE SPIDER and sub-titled ‘Master of Men.’ Perhaps it was the Master of Men that got me, but to my impressionable, preteen way of thinking, the Spider was the most dramatic character I had ever encountered. He ranked right up there with Doc Savage and the Shadow. Even better, he wasn’t as well known as the others, which gave me the warm feeling that his fans belonged to an elite club. At any rate, in searching for a title for our newest superhero, I remembered by old pulp favorite — and the title Spider-Man instantly hit me. I didn’t mind borrowing the Spider part of his name because everything else about our new character would be completely different. I was determined to make our next production the most original, most unique comic book character ever to swoop down the pike.”

Although it’s debatable how much credit Lee actually deserves for the creation of Marvel’s now iconic characters, Stan was “The Man” who sold The Marvel Universe and, in turn, the comic book medium. “Stan, because of his personality and ability to talk in front of people, became the spokesman for all the comic books.”

So rest in peace, Stan Lee, comic book creator, promoter, and . . . pulp fan.

(Spider-Man made his debut in the final issue of AMAZING FANTASY, dated August 1962. Featuring the cover art of Jack Kirby, the fifteenth issue would be one of Marvel Comics’ best selling issues to date. Seven months later, THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN would make its debut.

Beginning on Thursday evening, August 15, and running through Sunday, August 18, PulpFest 2019 will celebrate the many ways that pulp fiction and pulp art have inspired creators such as Stan Lee, Steve Ditko, and Jack Kirby. We hope that you’ll join us for “Children of the Pulps and Other Stories,” an examination of the pervasive influence of pulps on contemporary pop culture. We’ll be back at the wonderful DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Pittsburgh – Cranberry.)

 

 

The Pulp Art of John Fleming Gould

Jun 23, 2017 by

The legacy art of illustrator John Fleming Gould is coming to PulpFest 2017 at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Pittsburgh – Cranberry — just north of Pennsylvania’s “Steel City.”

Robert Gould, son of the artist, will be coming to PulpFest with many originals and prints by his father, pulp illustrator John Fleming Gould. The artist graduated from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York in 1926. He soon moved into a studio in New York City, sharing space with Walter Baumhofer and other artists. John Fleming Gould soon began free-lancing in the pulp paper field and continued to do so until 1941. He created an estimated 15,000 illustrations. These were all pen and ink , dry brush, scratch board and coquille board drawings.

Gould began with Clayton Publishing, illustrating titles such as DANGER TRAILS and COWBOY STORIES. In 1930 he began a long and fruitful relationship with Popular Publications, drawing interior illustrations for their pulp magazines. He was the lead interior artist for many titles, including DIME DETECTIVE, G-8 AND HIS BATTLE ACES, OPERATOR #5, THE SPIDER, and 10-STORY WESTERN. The artist also contributed work to ACES, ADVENTURE, ASTOUNDING STORIES, BLUE BOOK, CLUES DETECTIVE, WAR BIRDS, WINGS, and other pulp magazines.

During the Second World War, the artist began working for the slick magazines. He became one of the top illustrators for the SATURDAY EVENING POST, COUNTRY GENTLEMAN, COLLIER’S, and REDBOOK. He expanded into advertising art in 1946, working for General Electric and other top corporations. Throughout the 1950s he worked for men’s adventure magazines, such as ARGOSY, OUTDOOR LIFE, and TRUE. In later years he turned to Fine Art. He was also a teacher and lecturer, lecturing at Pratt for 22 years.

Robert Gould has continued the traditions of his father and mother, the founders of Bethlehem Art Gallery in Cornwall, New York. Robert and his wife Loretta have strived to meet and expand the vision of his parents, working to provide images as well as the stories behind the illustrations that thrilled the original pulp readers. At PulpFest 2017, Robert will offer framed and unframed original sketches — some matched to the original publication page — magnets, and framed and unframed John Fleming Gould pulp prints.

PulpFest 2017 will take place from Thursday evening, July 27, through Sunday afternoon, July 30. You can join PulpFest by clicking the Register for 2017 button on our home page. And don’t forget to book a room at the DoubleTree. They’re going fast!

(In 1930, John Fleming Gould began a long and fruitful relationship with Popular Publications, drawing interior story illustrations for their pulp magazines, including the March 1942 issue of THE SPIDER.)

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!)

The Mystery and Mastery of John Newton Howitt

Jul 30, 2014 by

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

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

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

Born in 1954, David Saunders is a New York artist. His work has been exhibited worldwide in museums and corporate and private collections, including the Museum of Modern Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Brooklyn Museum of Art, and the Hirschhorn Museum of Art in Washington, DC. He has taught art at colleges nationwide, including Yale, Oberlin, R.I.S.D., S.C.A.D., Middlebury, Washington University, as well as art schools in France, Korea, Mexico and Japan.

David’s father was the legendary illustrator, Norman Saunders. His mother, Ellene Politis Saunders, worked at Fawcett Publications as Chief Executive Editor of Woman’s Day Magazine. In 1972, David became his father’s business and correspondence secretary, which started a long project to catalog his father’s 7,000 published illustrations. He spent the next seventeen years gathering published examples of his father’s work from used bookshops and submitting each new entry to his father’s inspection. What began as a sentimental hobby for a father and son grew into an impressive archive of 20th century American illustration. After his father’s death in 1989, he continued to complete the archive on his own. He interviewed his father’s surviving associates to record their oral histories. These transcripts helped to broaden his viewpoint of the popular culture publishing industry and also recorded vital information about the lives of other historic illustrators. Some of this material has been published as biographical profiles of classic illustrators in Illustration Magazine and a number of book-length biographies and appreciations of pulp artists.

David Saunders is the foremost scholar of American pulp illustrators. His free public website, Field Guide to Wild American Pulp Artists, has over three-hundred biographical profiles of these creators of popular culture. David continues to research, document, and promote a greater appreciation of pulp artists. To find out more, please visit pulpartists.comdavidsaunders.biznormansaunders.com, and the illustratedpress.com.

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