Set Sail with Gordon Young

Jul 24, 2017 by

Here’s your chance to own a piece of pulp history! Over the past weekend, the granddaughter of pulp author Gordon Ray Young contacted the convention’s Facebook page. Years ago, Young’s granddaughter and her mother attended an Ohio Pulpcon. They had a wonderful experience at the convention, meeting the people who were keeping the pulps alive for posterity.

Young’s family still has the author’s travel trunk that he used while traveling to Europe with his family in 1927. The trunk is rather worn, but it still bears his name. His family would like to find a good home for this piece among the people who would appreciate it the most. Therefore, they have decided to donate the trunk to PulpFest for inclusion in this year’s Saturday Night Auction.

Gordon Ray Young was the author of some of the finest adventure fiction to grace the pages of the American pulp magazines during the first half of the twentieth century. His work appeared regularly in titles such as ADVENTUREARGOSYBLUE BOOKROMANCE, and SHORT STORIES, his fiction spanned genres as diverse as westerns, crime stories, South Seas adventure, international intrigue, historical fiction, and humor.

Young’s travel trunk has been added to our auction catalog as Auction Lot #88. Any proceeds from the sale will be donated to PulpFest. There is one stipulation: the trunk is currently in northern California. The winning bidder will be responsible for paying the costs to have the trunk shipped to its destination. These costs will be over and above the winning bid.

Below are a few photographs of the trunk. These will also be shown during the PulpFest Saturday Night Auction.

(As part of its celebration of the hardboiled dicks of the pulps, PulpFest 2017 has asked pulp scholar and historian Tom Krabacher and esteemed collector and hardboiled fiction authority Walker Martin to discuss Young’s character Don Everhard — AKA “The Most Dangerous Man in America.” They’ll examine the character’s relationship to the development and evolution of the hardboiled detective story. Young’s character was pictured twice on the cover of ADVENTURE magazine — including the May 1936 issue with cover art by Walter M. Baumhofer.)

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Auction Highlights

Jul 5, 2017 by

The Saturday Night Auction returns to PulpFest on July 29. It will begin at 10 PM with the always entertaining John P. Gunnison of Adventure House serving as auctioneer. We’ll be previewing some of the highlights from this year’s auction over the next three days. On Saturday, July 8, we hope to publish a list of our scheduled auction lots. Please note that the list is subject to change.

Although PulpFest annually invests a great deal of time and energy to develop a top-notch programming schedule, it also prides itself for the effort it puts into its annual auction. Each year, the convention’s auction director, J. Barry Traylor, endeavors to put together a range of material to make for lively bidding.

Our 2016 auction included over two hundred pulps from the collection of Woody Hagadish. A longtime collector and reader of books and pulps, Woody a Pulpcon attendee in the past. Primarily interested in western pulps — particularly WILD WEST WEEKLY — Woody was a reading enthusiast and enjoyed his collection. PulpFest will be offering more material from Woody’s collection at our 2017 auction.

We’ll have a variety of both pulps and digests from such diverse genres as air war, science fiction, western, and the detective fields. Also included will be several premiums offered to readers of Street & Smith’s DOC SAVAGE and THE SHADOW MAGAZINE. Finally, there will be a number of Gnome Press, Shasta, and Avalon first edition hardcovers offered. The estate is hoping to find good homes for all of these collectibles, getting them to the people who would best appreciate them, as Woody Hagadish had done during his lifetime.

This year’s auction will also feature a number of pulp magazines from the collection of the late Larry Latham. Larry enjoyed a varied career in animation, film, TV, theater and teaching. He was one of the founding members of the Oklahoma Alliance of Fandom, one of the earliest comics clubs in the nation. With a degree in motion picture production, Larry worked at Hanna-Barbera Studios in the storyboard department and graduated to directing and producing at Universal, Walt Disney, Scholastic, and the Berlin Film Company. He won an Emmy for TAILSPIN in 1991. Larry was also admired by the pulp community for his covers and illustrations for ECHOES, THE PULP COLLECTOR, PULP VAULT, and other fanzines. He also created the popular webcomic LOVECRAFT IS MISSING in 2009, which attracted many followers.

PulpFest will be offering a variety of pulps from Larry Latham’s collection, such as copies of THE ARGOSY and THE ALL-STORY, the first three issues of FAMOUS FANTASTIC MYSTERIES, a selection of THE WIDE WORLD, and a number of hero pulps, including the May 1934 issue of DOC SAVAGE, autographed to Latham by cover artist Walter Baumhofer.

One of our members has also mentioned that he may be offering a complete set of the second volume of AMRA — no. 1 to no. 71 — published by George Scithers from 1959 to 1982. AMRA was printed by offset lithography, with high-quality artwork, including by Roy G. Krenkel, Gray Morrow, and Jim Cawthorn. The written content was impressive too, the contributors including L. Sprague de Camp above all others, Poul Anderson, Leigh Brackett, John Boardman, Jerry Pournelle, Fritz Leiber, and Marion Zimmer Bradley.

If you can’t make it to PulpFest 2017 and would like to bid on any of these highly collectible volumes, please contact PulpFest marketing and programming director Mike Chomko by email at mike@pulpfest.com.

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

Start making your plans now to attend PulpFest 2017 to see some of the great material that Barry Traylor is assembling for this year’s auction. We hope to see you from Thursday evening, July 27, through Sunday afternoon, July 30, at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Pittsburgh – Cranberry — just north of Pennsylvania’s “Steel City.” You can join PulpFest by clicking the Register for 2017 button on our home page. And if you’re not from the Pittsburgh area, don’t forget to book a room at the DoubleTree. They’re going fast! Please call 1-800-222-8733 and be sure to mention PulpFest in order to receive any convention special deals that may still be available.

(Robert G. Harris’ painting for “The Sea Angel” — originally used as the cover art to the November 1937 issue of DOC SAVAGE MAGAZINE – served as a premium provided to readers of the pulp magazine. Over at THE SHADOW MAGAZINE, Street & Smith art director Bill Lawler — who was noted for his hawkish visage — posed for a black and white portrait dressed as Walter B. Gibson’s “Dark Avenger.” Readers would clip a number of coupons from issues of THE SHADOW or DOC SAVAGE MAGAZINE and mail them in to receive these free giveaways.

Below is a sampling of some of hero pulp collectibles from the collections that we’ll be auctioning at PulpFest 2017. Please visit our site on Thursday and Friday for more examples from the PulpFest 2017 Saturday Night Auction.)

Robert Harris Doc Savage pulp premium with envelope

Doc Savage Club Cards and envelope

The Shadow Club Cards with envelope

The Shadow Magazine Premium featuring Bill Lawler

The Shadow for March 15, 1934: The Green Box

The Shadow for November 1, 1941: The Blackmail Ring

Doc Savage Fanzines

Incredible Radio Exploits of Doc Savage: The Green Ghost

May 1934 Doc Savage, autographed by Walter Baumhofer

Doc Savage for April 1940 “The Evil Gnome”

The Spider for February 1943: The Secret City of Crime

Operator #5 for August 1934

The Pulps and The Fantastic Pulps

Complete set of Avenger paperbacks by Warner

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Hard-Boiled at 100: The Don Everhard Stories of Gordon Young

Jun 14, 2017 by

Tradition holds that the hardboiled school of detective fiction began with the publication of Carroll John Daly’s “Three Gun Terry” in the May 15, 1923 issue of THE BLACK MASK. Dashiell Hammett’s first Continental Op story followed a few months later. The magazine’s editor, Joseph T. Shaw, would later nurture the genre to maturity. BLACK MASK would become synonymous with the hard-boiled detective story.

Or so the story goes. Few if any literary genres come into being at a single time and place; rather, they draw their basic elements from earlier literary forms. The detective story is no exception. A key precursor to the hardboiled school can be found in the “Don Everhard” stories of Gordon Young. Now all but forgotten, the stories appeared in the pages of ADVENTURE and SHORT STORIESover the course of a quarter century. The first appeared in 1917, a full six years before Daley’s tale. It anticipated many of the basic elements of the hardboiled school, including character types, plot structure, narrative voice, the treatment of violence, and a skepticism toward traditional social institutions. All would become common in BLACK MASK in the decade that followed.

Over the course of his life, Gordon Ray Young was a cowboy, marine, sailor, marksman, reporter, occasional poet, sport fisherman, bibliophile, and literary critic. More importantly he was a storyteller, the author of some of the finest adventure fiction to grace the pages of the American pulp magazines during the first half of the twentieth century. Appearing regularly in titles such as ADVENTURE, BLUE BOOK, ARGOSY, ROMANCE, and SHORT STORIES, his fiction spanned genres as diverse as westerns, crime stories, South Seas adventure, international intrigue, historical fiction, and humor.  His tales also made the jump to the silver screen as Hollywood adapted five of his stories for the motion pictures. 

Young was born in rural Ray County, Missouri  on September 7, 1886 and inherited from his father a sense of independence and taste for wandering.  At the age of fifteen he was working as a cowboy in eastern Colorado and in 1908 — at the age of 22 — he enlisted in the United States Marines. He saw duty both in the Philippines and on shipboard. Upon mustering out of the Corps, Young took up a career in journalism, working on newspapers in both San Francisco and Stockton, California before taking up a position with the LOS ANGELES TIMES. He served as the paper’s literary editor for more than a decade.

His freelance writing career began with  the sale of a minor short story to THE CAVALIER in 1913.  His career as a writer took off in 1917 when he began selling to A. S. Hoffman’s ADVENTURE.  By 1920, Gordon Young was an established member of that select group of writers, which included the likes of Talbot Mundy, Hugh Pendexter, W. C. Tuttle, and Arthur Friel, who regularly filled the pages of ADVENTURE during the magazine’s glory years in the teens and twenties. His novels soon began to find their way into hardcover publication. His reputation as a writer was spreading beyond the pages of the pulp magazines and coming to the notice of book reviewers.

Young showed great diversity in his writing, producing a wide variety of story types.  South Seas stories, for example, were common in the teens and  twenties, while westerns came to dominate his later career.  His longest running character however, was the hard-boiled professional gambler, Don Everhard. Young’s creation appeared in his very first sale to ADVENTURE in 1917 — “A  Royal Flush of Hearts”  — and continued to appear in more than thirty short stories and novels over the course of his career.

Gordon Young died of heart failure in his home in Los Angeles, California in 1948 at the age of 62.

On Saturday, July 29, PulpFest 2017 continues its celebration of hardboiled dicks, dangerous dames, and a few psychos. Please join us at 8:20 as Tom Krabacher and John Wooley discuss “The Most Dangerous Man in America,” Gordon Young’s Don Everhard: “Hard-Boiled at 100.”

Tom Krabacher is a professor at California State University, Sacramento and a member of the Pulp Era Amateur Press Association. He has previously presented at PulpFest, serving on and moderating panels on WEIRD TALES, the Cthulhu Mythos, and John Campbell’s classic fantasy magazine, UNKNOWN. Tom has also published articles on the pulps and their history in BLOOD ‘N’ THUNDER, THE PULPSTER, and elsewhere.

John Wooley — who will also be presenting on Dan Turner and SPICY DETECTIVE at PulpFest 2017 — has written, co-written, or edited over three dozen books. He has also authored comic books, trading cards, and thousands of magazine and newspaper stories. Winner of the Lamont Award in 2006, Wooley is co-owner, with John McMahan, of the pulp-related Reverse Karma Press. In 2015, John was inducted into the Oklahoma Historians’ Hall of Fame.

(Pictured twice on the cover of ADVENTURE magazine — including the May 1936 issue with cover art by Walter M. Baumhofer — Don Everhard was — according to Jess Nevins — a “professional gambler and amateur justice-dealer . . . .he keeps getting involved in helping others or, more often, settling accounts . . . . He’s a cold man, always calm (even when under fire), always rational, invulnerable to the wiles of women, and extremely experienced in the ways of criminals and violence. He has a reputation for being very violent, ‘the most famous gunman in the country,’ and of having ‘killed more mean than any other fellow in America — and is proud of it.’ . . . He kills in self-defense or when the target is guilty and deserving of execution.”)

Friday at PulpFest

Jul 22, 2016 by

Amazing Stories 47-09PulpFest 2016 enters it second day, following a successful night of dealer set-up, early registration, early-bird shopping, and a full slate of exciting programming. If you missed our first day, there’s still plenty of action to come.

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

For those visiting PulpFest for the day, you can also use the Chestnut Street Garage for parking. Rates vary based on time, but at this writing, $14 will get you a day’s parking. Additional parking is available at the Convention Center underground garage. Again, rates are time-based and, at this writing, $14 will get you parking for 12 hours with no in and out privileges. Click here for a more detailed look at parking near the Hyatt Regency. Alternately, if you don’t mind walking a few blocks, there are many inexpensive options. Click here for an interactive parking map of Columbus and search near 350 North High Street.

The dealers’ room will open to all at 10 AM and will remain open until 4:45 PM. Located in Battelle South exhibition hall on the third floor of the Greater Columbus Convention Center, 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!”

Western Story 1932-09-03Our 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 offers an official welcome to all attendees. Friday night’s programming will include our FarmerCon XI presentation which will feature a panel of writers who will discuss their collaborations with Grand Master of Science Fiction Philip José FarmerPulpFest favorite David Saunders starts off our celebration of the 120th anniversary of the first pulp magazine with “The Artists Who Make ARGOSY — 120 Years of Sensational Pulp Art;” our salute to the 90th anniversary of the first science fiction magazine continues when Joseph Coluccio, president of the Pittsburgh Area Fantasy and Science Fiction Club, explores the history of AMAZING STORIES during the pulp era; closing out the evening will be pulp historian Laurie Powers with a look at “LOVE STORY MAGAZINE and the Romance Pulp Phenomenon” and author and pop culture scholar Will Murray examining “WESTERN STORY MAGAZINE and the Evolution of the Pulp Western,” both part of PulpFest‘s remembrance of “A Century of the Specialty Pulp.”

You can find additional details about these and all of our presentations by clicking the 2016 Schedule 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. All of our programming events will take place in the Union Rooms on the second floor of the Hyatt Regency. Watch for the “panels” banner and you’re there.

If you are not from the Columbus area and have yet to book your room for this year’s PulpFest, you can try calling 1-888-421-1442 to reach the Hyatt Regency. Perhaps there has been a cancellation. Alternately, you can search for a room at tripadvisor  or a similar website to find a hotel near the convention. Other sites include www.columbusconventions.com/thearea.phpcourtesy of the Greater Columbus Convention Center, and the Experience Columbus lodging page at http://www.experiencecolumbus.com/stay

PulpFest 2016 will continue on Saturday and Sunday. It concludes at 2 PM on Sunday, July 24. Please join us in the Columbus, Ohio Arena district at the Hyatt Regency hotel and the city’s spacious convention center for “Summer’s AMAZING Pulp Con!” You’ll have a FANTASTIC time!

(Artist Malcolm Smith‘s cover painting for the September 1947 issue of  AMAZING STORIES illustrated Edmond Hamilton’s “The Star Kings,” one of the author’s finest space operas. Smith’s first cover for AMAZING was the January 1942 number. He also contributed covers and illustrations to FANTASTIC ADVENTURES and Ziff-Davis’s MAMMOTH line of pulp magazines.

Walter M. Baumhofer — best remembered for his classic covers that appeared on DOC SAVAGE MAGAZINE — was one of many great artists whose work — including the September 3, 1932 issue — graced the front covers to Street & Smith’s WESTERN STORY MAGAZINE.)

2016 Auction Highlights

Jul 8, 2016 by

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Shadow Premium Revised

Doc Savage Harris Revised

Skull-Face

 

 

 

WESTERN STORY MAGAZINE and the Evolution of the Pulp Western

Jun 15, 2016 by

Buffalo Bill Stories 1909-04-24The western story got its start with James Fenimore Cooper’s Leatherstocking Tales, a series of five novels that fictionally adapted the adventures of frontiersman Daniel Boone. In the years following Cooper’s Natty Bumppo stories, authors such as Bret Harte, Francis Parkman, and Mark Twain further expanded the field.

According to an essay written by pulp author John A. Saxon and published in 1945 by WRITER’S DIGEST, the western story became a genre of its own during the second half of the 19th century. In 1869, writer Edward Zane Carroll Judson convinced hunter, scout, and showman William F. Cody to lend his name and reputation to a fictionalized account of his life, “Buffalo Bill, King of the Borderman,” originally serialized in Street & Smith’s NEW YORK WEEKLY. Phenomenally received, Judson found a public hungry for further adventures of the real life hero of the American frontier. Thus started “. . . the fictionalized form of the Western story . . . based partly on fact, but mostly on imagination.”

Given the great success of Street & Smith’s Buffalo Bill tales, nickel weeklies and dime novels devoted to western heroes and outlaws soon followed: DEADWOOD DICK LIBRARYDIAMOND DICK LIBRARY, JAMES BOYS WEEKLY, KLONDIKE KIT LIBRARY, WILD WEST WEEKLY, and more. These as well as stories featuring detective heroes such as Nick Carter and Old Sleuth and sports heroes such as Frank Merriwell, reigned supreme for nearly forty years. Then, following the introduction of the pulp magazine by Frank A. Munsey in 1896, the story papers and dime novels began to give way to the more economical rough-paper periodicals.

Western Story 19-09-05The first all-western pulp magazine was introduced by Street & Smith when they converted their tired old story paper, NEW BUFFALO BILL WEEKLY, to WESTERN STORY MAGAZINE with its September 5, 1919 number. Within a year, the magazine reached a circulation of 300,000 copies and began to be released weekly, a status it enjoyed for the next twenty-five years. Soon thereafter, the magazine began publishing the western fantasies of poet turned pulp writer Frederick Schiller Faust – better known as Max Brand – and really took off. By the late 1920s, WESTERN STORY was competing against countless imitators – ACE-HIGH, COWBOY STORIES, FRONTIER, GOLDEN WEST, LARIAT, NORTH-WEST STORIES, RANCH ROMANCES, WEST, and others.

Following the collapse of the world economy in 1929, ten-cent western pulps began to flood the market as publishers sought reliable markets to help them keep afloat. Beginning with DIME WESTERN MAGAZINE — introduced by Popular Publications in late 1931 — many western pulps took on a more mature, often violent tone. Others, including Ned Pines’ Standard Magazines, coupled the western with the highly popular single character magazine. With managing editor Leo Margulies riding herd over “thrilling tales of the gallant West where danger lurks and cowboys are supermen,” Standard introduced Jim Hatfield in TEXAS RANGERS, Wayne Morgan in MASKED RIDER WESTERN, and other western pulp superheroes in their own magazines.

Street & Smith’s WESTERN STORY MAGAZINE would last for thirty years and nearly 1300 issues. Following its launch in 1919, it would change the pulp fiction magazine industry forever. At its peak, it was released once a week and sold 500,000 copies of each issue. Like its predecessor in the specialty pulp market — DETECTIVE STORY MAGAZINE — it inspired a host of imitators and fostered the western genre, helping the pulps to survive the Great Depression and the Second World War.

At 10:30 PM on Friday, July 22, please join noted popular culture historian Will Murray to PulpFest‘s programming stage in the Union Rooms on the second floor of the Hyatt Regency Columbus for an examination of “WESTERN STORY MAGAZINE and the Evolution of the Pulp Western,” part of our celebration of “A Century of the Specialty Pulp.”

Will Murray has been researching and writing about the pulps for nearly half a century. One of the most respected authorities on the pulp magazine, having authored countless articles and books, including WORDSLINGERS: AN EPITAPH FOR THE WESTERNMurray was the ghost-writer for about forty of the Destroyer action-adventures novels. He has also written nineteen Doc Savage novels and a fully authorized Tarzan novel, RETURN TO PAL-UL-DON. A second is forthcoming.

Western Story 31-12-12Start making your plans to attend “Summer’s AMAZING Pulp Con” as we salute 100 years 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 rip-snorting time” at the pop culture center of the universe. 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.

(THE BUFFALO BILL STORIES was the first publication devoted to fiction about frontiersman William F. Cody. A weekly publication “devoted to border history,” it debuted with its May 18, 1901 number and was published by Street & Smith. To learn more about the evolution of the pulp western, read John Dinan’s THE PULP WESTERN, Ron Goulart’s CHEAP THRILLS, and Will Murray’s WORDSLINGERS. Then come to PulpFest 2016 and hear Will Murray discuss the genre’s roots and development.

According to dime novel scholar J. Randolph Cox, most of the covers for Street & Smith periodicals published during the early 1900s were drawn by Charles L. Wrenn, Marmaduke Russell, Ed Johnson, and J. A. Cahill. The particular artist of the April 24, 1909 issue — pictured above — is not known.

The work of Stanley L. Wood — an English illustrator noted for his paintings featuring horses in action, often featured with boys’ adventure stories — was used as the cover art to the first issue of WESTERN STORY MAGAZINE, dated September 5, 1919. Later issues of the rough paper magazine — including the December 12, 1931 number — featured covers by the “King of the Pulps,” Walter M. Baumhofer. The artist is best remembered for his classic covers that appeared on DOC SAVAGE MAGAZINE.)

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!)