Sunday at PulpFest

Jul 29, 2018 by

PulpFest 2018 is drawing to a close, but there is still time to get in on the action. The dealers’ room will be open from 9 AM until 2 PM today. With most of our dealers getting ready to head for home, our admission for the day is only $10, which includes a copy of our highly collectible program book, THE PULPSTER. Children who are fifteen and younger and accompanied by a parent, will be admitted free of charge. There are no programming events scheduled for Sunday.

Located in the Grand Ballroom of the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Pittsburgh – Cranberry, 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. Although our dealers’ room will be open, buying opportunities may be limited as most of our dealers will be packing up their displays, preparing for their trip home.

If you have not been able to attend PulpFest in 2018, start making your plans right now to join the 48th anniversary of “Summer’s Great Pulp Con” in 2019. Your PulpFest organizing committee is already starting to plan for next year’s convention. We’re also hoping to be joined by our FarmerCon friends following their great celebration of 100 years of Grand Master of Science Fiction Philip José Farmer. As always, expect a terrific dealers’ room and superb programming.

To keep informed about PulpFest 2019, bookmark http://www.pulpfest.com/ and visit often. News about the convention can also be found on the PulpFest Facebook site at http://www.facebook.com/PulpFest. And for those who prefer their news short and sweet, follow our Twitter feed at https://twitter.com/pulpfest. Wherever you look for PulpFest on the web, we’ll be sure to keep you informed of our plans.

Many thanks to all of you who attended this year’s convention. We hope that you enjoyed yourself and will return for PulpFest 2019. Please bring your friends!

Your PulpFest Organizing Committee — Mike Chomko, Jack Cullers, Sally Cullers, Bill Lampkin, Barry Traylor, & Chuck Welch

(This year, in addition to celebrating the century mark of Philip José Farmer, PulpFest 2018 has also honored the centennial of the armistice that ended the First World War. Our focus has been the so-called “war pulps” of the early twentieth century, and the depiction of war in popular culture.

At the start of the twentieth century, reading was a primary form of entertainment in the United States. Cheaply made magazines printed on wood pulp paper and costing a quarter or less were affordable to most. These “pulps” featured a variety of stories: westerns, romances, mysteries, science fiction, and more. Tales of war were largely relegated to the historical past and colonial Britain or France. Except for a single writer — Leonard Nason — stories about the First World War were very limited during the teens and early twenties.

As the century progressed, pulps began to specialize. There were magazines devoted to fantasy, detectives, love, sports, and other genres. In 1926, Dell Publishing introduced WAR STORIES, the first magazine devoted to tales of war. It was followed by many others: BATTLE STORIES — such as the January 1932 number with cover art by Gertrude C. Orde — WINGS, OVER THE TOP, DARE-DEVIL ACES, SKY FIGHTERS, and dozens more. Most had disappeared by 1940.

After World War II, the demand for pulp magazines waned as paperback books took hold. In the fifties, television became the favored form of escapism and the surviving pulps ceased publication. Fiction magazines continued to be published, but in new formats. The science-fiction and mystery digests and men’s “adventure” magazines are considered descendants of the pulps.

Start making your plans right now to join PulpFest 2019 when you can expect more great programming from your PulpFest team and more great collectibles in our tremendous dealers’ room. We look forward to seeing you.)

125 Years of Chris Schaare

Jul 5, 2018 by

Born on July 5, 1893, Christian Schaare was born in Cincinnati, Ohio. After moving with his family to West Hoboken, New Jersey, Schaare trained as an engraver’s assistant and a graphic designer. According to pulp scholar and art historian David Saunders, Schaare began selling freelance cover art to a variety of pulp magazines in 1925. His work was used by ACE-HIGH, AIR STORIES, AIRPLANE STORIES, ALL-AMERICAN SPORTS, COMPLETE SKY NOVEL, GUN MOLLS, LARIAT STORY, MASKED RIDER, NAVY STORIES, SKY RIDERS, WAR BIRDS, WAR STORIES, and others. He continued to work for the pulps until 1940.

Beginning in 1932, Schaare began a long series of covers for THE RING, a boxing magazine. He continued to work for the title into the 1950s. During this period, the artist also started working as a penciler and inker for comic books. His work appeared in Fawcett’s WOW COMICS, Holyoke’s BLUE BEETLE, Continental’s CAT-MAN COMICS, and other titles. From 1945 until 1960, Schaare worked as packaging design artist for The American Can Company. He produced several iconic advertising images, including the logos for Maxwell House Coffee and Sunoco.

(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. As part of our WWI programming, David Saunders will discuss the artists of the war pulps, including Chris Schaare.

From early 1928 through late 1930, C. R. Schaare painted at least fifteen covers for Dell Publishing’s WAR STORIES and its companions, WAR BIRDS and NAVY STORIES. He also contributed at least seven covers for Dell’s aviation title, SKY RIDERS. Although his covers sometimes had a humorous bent — such as the “Sausages” cover for the July 5, 1928 WAR STORIES — they often depicted soldiers in hand-to-hand combat. Chris Schaare died in 1980, at the age of eighty-six.)

Happy 125th George Delacorte!

Jun 20, 2018 by

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. The first of these pulps — WAR STORIES — was published by today’s birthday boy, George Thomas Delacorte. Born on June 20, 1893 in Brooklyn, New York, Delacorte was the founder of the Dell Publishing Company.

Following his dismissal from William Clayton’s SNAPPY STORIES MAGAZINE in 1920, Delacorte began his publishing company. His first periodical was I, CONFESS, a confession pulp modeled after Bernarr Macfadden’s TRUE STORY MAGAZINE. Debuting in early 1922, it has been called “the most prominent of the confession pulps.” It lasted for over 200 issues.

Seeking to duplicate the success of I CONFESS, Dell continued to issue love-themed confessional titles over the next three years: CUPID’S DIARY in 1923, MARRIAGE STORIES in 1924and SWEETHEART STORIES in 1925. WESTERN ROMANCES came a few years later, debuting in late 1929. Over half of Dell’s total pulp output was in the love and confessional field.

In 1926, Dell swung to the other side of the spectrum with WAR STORIES, the first of the “war pulps.” Featuring authors such as Larry Barretto, Robert Sidney Bowen, Harold F. Cruickshank, George Fielding Eliot, Steuart Emery, Arthur Guy Empey, Robert H. Leitfred, Ralph Oppenheim, Alexis Rossoff, and Raoul Whitfield, WAR STORIES demonstrated that tales about soldiers in battle could sell magazines.

Fawcett Publications was next to the trough when it launched BATTLE STORIES in the fall of 1927. Although Fiction House’s WINGS came next, it was a general aviation fiction magazine along the lines of AIR STORIES, the pulp that had introduced the air genre. In the spring of 1931, WINGS would gain a new subtitle: “Fighting Aces of War Skies.” Only then would it follow ACES — another Fiction House title, introduced in late 1928 — into the skies over the Western Front.

Dell copied itself in early 1928 with two new titles: WAR NOVELS and WAR BIRDS, the first magazine in the “air war pulps” field. It was soon joined by A. A. Wyn’s FLYING ACES — published by Ace — and the previously mentioned ACES. Street & Smith would join the fray with OVER THE TOP, while Harold Hersey came on board with UNDER FIRE MAGAZINE. The field became a bit more specialized in the early months of 1929 when Dell introduced NAVY STORIES, while Ramer issued ZEPPELIN STORIES. Later that same year, Dell began offering SUBMARINE STORIES. In the spring 0f 1930, Delacorte would debut the last of his war pulps, WAR ACES.

The new kids on the block — Popular Publications and Standard Magazines — would enter the battlefield in the early thirties. Popular’s BATTLE ACES — the forerunner of the hero pulp, G-8 AND HIS BATTLE ACES — was launched during the fall of 1930. It was followed by DARE-DEVIL ACES in early 1932 and BATTLE BIRDS at the end of the same year. The Thrilling Group took off in mid-1932 with SKY FIGHTERS. About a year later, it beat Popular to the first air war hero pulp when it debuted THE LONE EAGLE with its September 1933 issue.

Most of Dell’s war titles shut down during the early years of the Great Depression. Only WAR BIRDS lasted beyond 1932. Although one can blame the rise of fascism in Europe and the early glimpses of the coming war, their demise was largely due to the increasing success of Delacorte’s non-pulp titles — BALLYHOO, INSIDE DETECTIVE, MODERN ROMANCES, MODERN SCREEN, and SCREEN STORIES — and his puzzle and activity books such as DELL CROSSWORD PUZZLES. Delacorte was also experimenting with the new comics medium, publishing a tabloid called THE FUNNIES in 1929. In 1938, Dell formed a very successful partnership with Western Publishing to finance and distribute their comic books. “Best known for its licensed material, most notably the animated characters from Walt Disney Productions, Warner Bros., Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, and Walter Lantz Studio,” the Dell/Western partnership controlled about one-third of the total comic book market at its peak during the 1950s.

In early 1942, Dell and Western also launched a paperback line. Once again, Dell provided the financing and distribution and Western offered the paper and printing. Largely consisting of genre fiction — particularly mysteries — about 25 million Dell paperbacks were sold annually by the end of the forties. Its reprinting of PEYTON PLACE in September 1957, “put Dell on the map.” In 1963, Delacorte Press was created to assure a steady stream of material for Dell paperbacks. Robert B. Parker, Irwin Shaw, Danielle Steel, and Kurt Vonnegut were some of the authors who signed with the company.

In 1971, George Delacorte sold Dell Publishing to Doubleday and retired from publishing. He died in 1991 at the age of ninety-seven.

(George Delacorte, founder of the Dell Publishing Company, was the first to demonstrate that tales of soldiers and battle could sell magazines. His WAR STORIES — introduced in 1926 — was the first of the war pulps. The magazine used some of the pulp field’s leading writers for its fiction and some of its best artists — including Julius “Jules” Erbit, who painted the cover for the March 1, 1928 issue — for its cover art. PulpFest will explore the war pulps and the depiction of war in popular culture at this year’s convention.

Although never a major player in the pulp industry, Dell would become a leading force in publishing. Its humor, crime, and movie magazines, puzzle and activity books, and comic books and paperbacks — such as Philip Ketchum’s DEATH IN THE LIBRARY (Dell Book #1) with cover art by William Strohmer — would turn Dell into a powerhouse in publishing. In later years, it became the publisher of bestselling authors Robert B. Parker, Irwin Shaw, Danielle Steel, and Kurt Vonnegut, among others.)

 

Life and Death on the Front Lines: The Art of the War Pulps

Jun 8, 2018 by

At this year’s convention, PulpFest 2018 will honor the 100th anniversary of the armistice that ended the First World War. Our programming will focus on the so-called “war pulps” of the early twentieth century and the depiction of war in popular culture. The first of these pulps — WAR STORIES — debuted with its November 1926 number and demonstrated that tales of men in battle could sell magazines, including ones about the war in the air.

Of course, it wasn’t only the stories that sold such magazines. Although the writers and editors “made” the magazines, it was the cover and interior artists who often piqued the interest of potential readers. Artists such as Rudolph Belarski, Frederick Blakeslee, H. T. Fisk, Eugene Franzden, F. R. Glass, John Fleming Gould, George and Jerome Rozen, Frank Tinsley, and others coaxed many a coin out of a Depression era pocket. Join PulpFest on Saturday, July 28, at 8:25 PM for “Life and Death on the Front Lines: The Art of the War Pulps.”

Pulp art historian David Saunders will explore the sensational cover art of the war pulps, often painted by artist veterans of the Great War, who served as Army Doughboys, Naval Gunners, Ace Aviators, or Marine Corps Sergeants. The “blood and guts” cover art of the war genre makes it a perfect example of how Pulp Art is different from the mundane art of Slick Magazine illustration.

PulpFest 2018 will also be celebrating the 100th birthday of Philip José Farmer with FarmerCon 100. We’ll be welcoming  Joe Lansdale — the author of over forty novels, numerous short stories, and more — as our Guest of Honor and hosting a rare gallery showing of original art by acclaimed writer-illustrator Mark Wheatley. Additionally, there will be author readings, a great programming line-up, two auctions featuring unique collectibles, and a dealers’ room filled with pulps, digests, and men’s adventure magazines, collectible paintings and illustrations, rare first editions, vintage paperbacks and comic books, unique films and more. All this, plus you can get ten dollars off the daily admission to Confluence. It’s taking place the same weekend as summer’s AMAZING pulp con! All you have to do is show your PulpFest badge at the door to Pittsburgh’s long-running science fiction, fantasy and horror conference.

PulpFest 2018 begins on Thursday, July 26, and runs through Sunday, July 29 at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Pittsburgh – Cranberry. You can join both PulpFest and FarmerCon by clicking the Register for 2018 button on the PulpFest home page. And don’t forget to book a room at the DoubleTree while you’re visiting the PulpFest site. They’re going fast!

(The son of pulp artist Norman Saunders, David Saunders was awarded a special “retro” Lamont Award to recognize his substantial service to the pulp community over the years. David is, quite probably, 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 including Rudolph Belarski, who painted the cover for the April 1929 issue of Ramer Reviews’ AIRPLANE STORIES. Additionally, he has written biographical profiles of artists for ILLUSTRATION MAGAZINE and several coffee-table art books on pulp artists.)

 

John Fleming Gould, Pulp Illustrator

Jun 6, 2018 by

At this year’s convention, PulpFest 2018 will honor the 100th anniversary of the armistice that ended the First World War. Our programming will focus on the so-called “war pulps” of the early twentieth century and the depiction of war in popular culture.

The war pulps would become a substantial category in the rough-paper industry — particularly those specializing in stories about the air war. These ranged from realistic tales “about men suffering real emotions flying real planes in real situations” to humorous “howlers” and fantasy versions of The Great War. Regardless of the story type, one of the leading artists of the air war field was interior illustrator John Fleming Gould.

Working as a free-lance artist in the rough paper field, Gould created over 15,000 published illustrations for such pulp magazines as ADVENTURE, ASTOUNDING STORIES, BLUE BOOK, CLUES DETECTIVE, COWBOY STORIES, DANGER TRAILS, and 10-STORY WESTERN.  Although best remembered for his interior illustrations for THE SPIDER, OPERATOR #5, and DIME DETECTIVE, John Fleming Gould was also an accomplished aviation artist. He sold interior illustrations to Dell’s WAR BIRDS, Fiction House’s ACES, AIR STORIES, and WINGS, and to Harry Steeger’s BATTLE ACES. When Popular Publications converted the latter to G-8 AND HIS BATTLE ACES in late 1933, Gould was ready. He created every interior illustration for the magazine through 1941, when he left the pulp field.

Although John Gould destroyed most of his original art when he left New York City in 1950, he saved over 3000 magazine tear sheets and many sketches that were used in preliminary compositions. Additionally, he kept notebooks that contained story titles, their publishers, and how much he was paid for each illustration. Gould also saved correspondence that complimented the depth and clarity of his story illustrations, revealing a great deal about how the artist expressed himself in his work.

Join PulpFest on Friday, July 27, at 9:10 PM as Robert Gould — son of the artist — shares the life and legacy of his father in “John Fleming Gould, Pulp Artist.”

A retired high school and college math instructor, Robert Gould continues to be active in the promotion of his father’s art work. In growing up in the art business, Robert and his brothers were models for their father’s work and saw how the finished art work was developed. Robert and his wife, Loretta, reside in Chattanooga, Tennessee. He is an active volunteer in the American Red Cross and serves on the Board of the Eastern Tennessee American Red Cross.

PulpFest 2018 will also be celebrating the 100th birthday of Philip José Farmer with FarmerCon 100. We’ll be welcoming  Joe Lansdale — the author of over forty novels, numerous short stories, and more — as our Guest of Honor and hosting a rare gallery showing of original art by acclaimed writer-illustrator Mark Wheatley. Additionally, there will be author readings, a great programming line-up, two auctions featuring unique collectibles, and a dealers’ room filled with pulps, digests, and men’s adventure magazines, collectible paintings and illustrations, rare first editions, vintage paperbacks and comic books, unique films and more. PulpFest 2018 begins on Thursday, July 26, and runs through Sunday, July 29 at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Pittsburgh – Cranberry.

You can join both PulpFest and FarmerCon by clicking the Register for 2018 button on the PulpFest home page. And don’t forget to book a room at the DoubleTree while you’re visiting the PulpFest site. They’re going fast!

(In 1930, John Fleming Gould began a long and fruitful relationship with Popular Publications, drawing interior story illustrations for many of their pulp magazines, including this illustration of Robert J. Hogan’s “flying spy,” originally published in G-8 AND HIS BATTLE ACES.)

Countdown to PulpFest

May 28, 2018 by

It’s just sixty days to PulpFest 2018. On Thursday, July 26, be one of hundreds of pop-culture fans who will be arriving at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Pittsburgh – Cranberry, just nineteen miles north of the exciting city of Pittsburgh. Please click one of the Register buttons on our home page to learn how to join the annual summertime get-together for fans of popular fiction and art.

In the weeks ahead, we’ll be talking about our dealers, our terrific programming, our PULPSTER program book, the PulpFest auction, and much more. You can keep abreast of all these updates by bookmarking pulpfest.com or liking our Facebook page. You can also follow us on Twitter where we’ll be tweeting about our home page updates. We’ll also be posting to a variety of Yahoo newsgroups including Pulpmags.

PulpFest is known for its superb programming. The presentations that we have planned for this year’s convention will be great! 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. Also planned is a rare gallery showing of original art by acclaimed writer-illustrator Mark Wheatley.

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. Joe will be talking with Tony Davis on Saturday evening, July 28, and be available at select times during the convention. We’d like to thank our sponsor AbeBooks.com for helping to bring Mr. Lansdale and his wife to PulpFest 2018.

Our dealers’ room will feature tens of thousands of pulp magazines, vintage paperbacks, digests, men’s adventure and true crime magazines, original art, first edition hardcovers, genre fiction, 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.

So what are you waiting for? It’s time for you to register for PulpFest 2018! There’s no other way for you to be part of our convention. While you’re at it, you can reserve a room at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Pittsburgh – Cranberry. Simply 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. By staying at the DoubleTree by Hilton, you’ll help to ensure the convention’s success. Given its popularity, we urge every member to book a hotel room for PulpFest 2018 as soon as possible. The earlier you place your room reservation for this year’s PulpFest, the greater chance you will have of landing a room at this beautiful hotel.

Although the DoubleTree by Hilton is the ideal place to stay during the convention, we want everyone to be able to make it to the “pop culture center of the universe” and “Summer’s Great Pulp Con.” With our terrific programming line-up and our spacious dealer’s room, we want everyone to have a chance to attend PulpFest. Rest assured, you’ll have a FANTASTIC time! We look forward to seeing you at the DoubleTree from July 26 – 29 for PulpFest 2018.

(PulpFest 2018 will focus on the “war pulps” as part of its celebration of the centennial marking the end of World War I. The first magazine devoted to tales of war — WAR STORIES — was introduced by Dell Publishing in late 1926. About a year later, Fiction House issued the first aviation fiction magazine, AIR STORIES. The two genres were combined about half a year later when Dell’s WAR BIRDS hit the stands.

The pilots who flew and fought over Europe’s Western Front were naturals to a public starving for heroes and escape. Their exploits were told again and again in the magazines that followed the debut of WAR BIRDS: BATTLE BIRDS, DARE-DEVIL ACES, FLYING ACES, SKY FIGHTERS, WAR ACES, WINGS, and many others.

One of the more successful of the “air war” magazines was ACES. Published by Fiction House, it debuted at the end of 1928 and lasted for 74 issues. The May 1929 number featured cover art by H. C. Murphy. The artist — best remembered today for his BLACK MASK covers — painted many covers for the Fiction House line of pulps. His work can be found on ACES, ACTION STORIES, AIR STORIES, DETECTIVE BOOK MAGAZINE, FIGHT STORIES, LARIAT, WINGS, and other Fiction House titles.)

Life and Death on the Front Lines: The Men’s Adventure Magazines

May 25, 2018 by

At this year’s convention, PulpFest 2018 will honor the 100th anniversary of the armistice that ended the First World War. Our programming will focus on the so-called “war pulps” of the early twentieth century and the depiction of war in popular culture.

Although the pulps played a very important role in the evolution of American popular culture, they had essentially disappeared by the early fifties. While some continued in the smaller digest format, the rough paper magazines seemed increasingly out of step to the generation coming home from the Second World War. They needed something else.

“The heroes who beat Hitler and Hirohito came back home to a period of difficult adjustment. . . .  Men who had walked through the charred remains of Hiroshima or the gory battlefields of Europe returned to families and friends acquainted only with the sanitized version of the war that had been fed to the home front. Sex with prostitutes or starving refugees, the need to kill a sixteen-year-old kid or be killed, and suicide missions that left battalions decimated were experiences that only other vets could understand. Men’s adventure magazines spoke their language, and reassured an entire generation that they were indeed heroes.”

Some of the great old pulps became men’s adventure magazines. ADVENTURE, BLUEBOOK, and ARGOSY — the first pulp of them all — were all retooled as “sweat magazines.” But most of the approximately 160 titles in the men’s field were introduced fresh and raw, designed to appeal to the returning veterans of World War II, and later, the soldiers shipped off to fight in Korea and Vietnam.

“Almost all included war stories of various kinds: true history pieces and eyewitness accounts; serious dramatic war fiction; highly-embellished articles that mixed fact and fiction; and, wild over-the-top yarns featuring sadistic Nazis and Commies, scantily-clad babes, and battling Yanks.”

Join PulpFest 2018 at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Pittsburgh – Cranberry to learn more about the men’s adventure field. On Friday, July 27, at 7:50 PM, Bob Deis and Wyatt Doyle will explore the roots of the men’s adventure genre and its depiction of war in such magazines as BATTLE CRY, MEN IN COMBAT, REAL COMBAT STORIES, SALVO, TRUE WAR STORIES, WAR CRIMINALS, WAR STORIES, and WOMEN-IN-WAR.

You’ll get all of this, plus a ten-dollar discount off the daily admission at Confluence, Pittsburgh’s long-running science fiction, fantasy and horror conference if you choose to attend both conventions. You can join PulpFest by clicking the Register for 2018 button on our home page. And while you’re at our site, you can book a room at the DoubleTree. They’re going fast!

(Bob Deis has worked as a teacher, an artist, a musician, a logger, a magazine writer, and a state government bureaucrat. By accident, he fell into a lengthy career as a political consultant. Now retired, Bob spends much of his time collecting, writing, and publishing books about the men’s adventure men magazines such as the December 1965 issue of STAG, featuring cover art by Mort Künstler. In 2009, Bob created the popular website about the genre, MensPulpMags.com. Several years later he became friends with another fan of the men’s adventure genre, writer and publisher Wyatt Doyle, co-founder of the New Texture imprint.

Together, Bob and Wyatt co-edit and publish the Men’s Adventure Library series of books that collect classic stories and artwork from the men’s adventure magazines. Their books include WEASELS RIPPED MY FLESH!, HE-MEN, BAG MEN, & NYMPHOS, CRYPTOZOOLOGY ANTHOLOGY, A HANDFUL OF HELL, BARBARIANS ON BIKES, I WATCHED THEM EAT ME ALIVE, and POLLEN’S WOMEN: THE ART OF SAMSON POLLEN.)

 

Fighting Aces of War Skies

May 23, 2018 by

At this year’s convention, PulpFest 2018 will honor the 100th anniversary of the armistice that ended the First World War. Our programming will focus on the so-called “war pulps” of the early twentieth century and the depiction of war in popular culture. From the war pulps would sprout an even more specialized category — the air war magazine.

Prior to the introduction of the air war pulp, stories about fighter pilots appeared irregularly in the general fiction magazines. The majority of aviation stories prior to 1930 were unrelated to the Great War. Most air fiction of the period involved daredevil aces and barnstormers, airmail pilots and governments agents, or bootleggers and rum runners. Leading aviation author Thomson Burtis primarily wrote about the Army Air Service guarding America’s borders or tangling with criminals.

Although Fiction House would introduce the first air-oriented pulp magazine — AIR STORIES — it was Dell Publishing that melded the air with the war. The first issue of Dell’s WAR BIRDS hit the stands with its March 1928 number. It was joined about a year later by Fiction House’s ACES. Later came another Dell magazine called WAR ACES, Popular’s BATTLE ACES, BATTLE BIRDS, and DARE-DEVIL ACES, Standard’s SKY FIGHTERS and THE LONE EAGLE, and a variety of George Bruce magazines from Fiction House. The latter would also rebrand WINGS, adding “Fighting Aces of War Skies” to its title bar during the summer of 1931.

The stories in the air war magazines ranged from realistic tales “about men suffering real emotions flying real planes in real situations” to the humorous “howlers” of Phineas Pinkham and Elmer & Pokey to the science fiction versions of the First World War found in Robert J. Hogan’s G-8 AND HIS BATTLE ACES and Donald Keyhoe’s Philip Strange stories for FLYING ACES.

“The air pulps meant different things to different people. They filled the heads of all sorts with Arthurian type heroes. We needed those during the dark days of the Great Depression.”

Join PulpFest on Friday, July 27, at 8:30 PM as award-winning writer and author Don Hutchison moderates a panel on the air war magazines of the pulps. He’ll be joined by graphic designer, illustrator, and pulp premium enthusiast Chris Kalb. Aviation fiction expert Bill Mann will also be along for the flight. With Chris and David Kalb, Bill founded Age of Aces BooksMunsey Award winner and PulpFest marketing and programming director Mike Chomko will round out the panel. With Steve Young, Mike authored a portrait of WINGS for WINDY CITY PULP STORIES #18.

PulpFest 2018 will also be celebrating the 100th birthday of Philip José Farmer with FarmerCon 100. We’ll be welcoming  Joe Lansdale — the author of over forty novels, numerous short stories, and more — as our Guest of Honor and hosting a rare gallery showing of original art by acclaimed writer-illustrator Mark Wheatley. Additionally, there will be author readings, a great programming line-up, two auctions featuring unique collectibles, and a dealers’ room filled with pulps, digests, and men’s adventure magazines, collectible paintings and illustrations, rare first editions, vintage paperbacks and comic books, unique films and more. PulpFest 2018 begins on Thursday, July 26, and runs through Sunday, July 29 at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Pittsburgh – Cranberry.

You can join both PulpFest and FarmerCon by clicking the Register for 2018 button on the PulpFest home page. And don’t forget to book a room at the DoubleTree while you’re visiting the PulpFest site. They’re going fast!

(Fiction House was one of the leading publishers of both aviation pulps and air war magazines. The first of their titles to specialize in stories about the war in the air was ACES. Its first issue was dated January 1929. It ran for fifty-five issues, including the February 1929 number with cover art by F. R. Glass. The Spring 1940 issue was the final number of ACES.

One of the more successful air war magazines was WINGS, also published by Fiction House. Debuting with its January 1928 number, it was originally subtitled “The Magazine of Air-Adventure Stories.” It became an air war title during the summer of 1931. WINGS would run for 133 issues. Its pilots fought in both World Wars as well as the Korean War and in a variety of settings during the early days of the Cold War. The final number of WINGS was dated Summer 1953.)

Leonard H. Nason — Soldier and Writer

May 7, 2018 by

At this year’s convention, PulpFest 2018 will honor the 100th anniversary of the armistice that ended the First World War. Our programming will focus on the so-called “war pulps” of the early twentieth century and the depiction of war in popular culture. The first of these pulps — WAR STORIES — debuted with its November 1926 number. Featuring authors such as Larry Barretto, Robert Sidney Bowen, Harold F. Cruickshank, George Fielding Eliot, Steuart Emery, Arthur Guy Empey, Robert H. Leitfred, Ralph Oppenheim, Alexis Rossoff, and Raoul Whitfield, WAR STORIES demonstrated that tales about soldiers in battle could sell magazines.

The war pulps would become a substantial category in the rough-paper industry — particularly with stories about the air war. However, until Dell Publishing launched WAR STORIES, the so-called Great War was rarely explored in the pulps. As Tom Roberts writes in THE ART OF THE PULPS: “Following World War I, the reading public had grown weary from the news of battlefield atrocities. They wished to escape, to forget the realities of the recent conflict; fiction of the European front became taboo, as did war stories in general.”

One author who bucked this trend was Leonard H. Nason. After enlisting in the United States Army in 1917, he was sent to France, serving under General Pershing. He fought in the Meuse-Argonne offensive and was wounded in action. Following the war, Nason found work as an insurance claims adjuster. After marrying in 1920, he turned to writing to earn extra income:

“The only thing I knew well enough to write about was the war. True, millions had been to the war, but many more millions hadn’t, and those who had been in the big fight liked to talk about it, and to hear others talk about it. I had noticed that wherever two or three overseas men got together they invariably began yarning about the war. I had heard some good stories from some of these men, and I had told a few myself that seemed to go over pretty well.”

Nason sent his first tale, “The Patrol,” to ADVENTURE in early 1922. In THE LURE OF ADVENTURE, Robert Kenneth Jones writes, “All the editors in the office . . . enthusiastically embraced it — all, that is, but Arthur Sullivant Hoffmann (the magazine’s editor-in-chief) who questioned its point of view and method of telling.”

Thankfully, Hoffmann relented and accepted the story, sending its author a check for fifty dollars. Included with the payment was a note suggesting that ADVENTURE was not in the market for additional stories about The Great War. After unsuccessfully trying his hand at stories about “pirates and buried treasure and cowboys and Chicago gunmen,” Nason returned to the trenches of Europe.

ADVENTURE had said they wanted no more war stories. That was all right, but I had to write war stories, so I sat down and wrote an account of my first battle. . . . I decided to set it down just as it had happened, and then it sounded all right. In other words, it was sincere. The incidents fell naturally into place and the story rang true. . . . I had to write about the war as I knew it, or not at all. I couldn’t doctor my stories, color them, fix ’em up to read the way I might have wished they had happened. I had to write them just as they were, maybe adding a little here and taking out a little there, but leaving the essential truth and incidents just as they had come to me.”

It wasn’t long before Nason’s stories were being noticed by readers. One letter-writer to ADVENTURE remarked, “You have certainly made a find in young Nason, as his stories are so natural as to be classed almost as facts.” Even today, the author’s work rings true. According to pulp fan and historian, Walker Martin, “His work is just not about World War I, but about men and how they deal with the horrors of war.”

Join PulpFest 2018 on Thursday, July 26, at 8:40 PM as Sai Shankar looks at this substantial but largely forgotten author at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Pittsburgh – Cranberry. You can join PulpFest by clicking the Register for 2018 button on our home page. And don’t forget to book a room at the DoubleTree. They’re going fast!

(Sai Shankar is a resident of Washington state, where he works in the computer industry. He explores pulp magazines, authors and their stories on Pulp Flakes. You’ll also find photographs from the pulp conventions that he attends on the same site.

Between 1922 and 1928, Leonard H. Nason published over seventy articles and stories in ADVENTURE. Beginning in 1926, he found another steady market for his work in THE SATURDAY EVENING POST. His stories also appeared in THE AMERICAN LEGION MONTHLY, BLUE BOOK MAGAZINE, COLLIER’S, THE COUNTRY GENTLEMAN, FAWCETT’S BATTLE STORIES, LIBERTY, and other magazines. His novella, “Three Lights from a Match,” appeared in the February 20, 1924 issue of ADVENTURE. The issue featured front cover art by H. C. Murphy. It was one of very few ADVENTURE covers depicting The First World War.

For a look at our entire programming schedule, please click the Programming button below the PulpFest banner on our home page.)

125 Years of Eugene Frandzen

Apr 13, 2018 by

Beginning on Thursday evening, July 26, and running through Sunday, July 29, PulpFest 2018 will honor the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War. On November 11, 1918, an armistice was signed that brought more than four years of hostilities to a close. The convention’s focus will be the so-called “war pulps” of the early twentieth century. It will also explore the depiction of war in popular fiction and art.

One of the leading artists who brought The Great War alive for pulp readers was Eugene M. Frandzen. Born on April 13, 1893, today marks the 125th anniversary of his birth.

Orphaned in his early teens, Frandzen used his inheritance money to study at the Art Institute of Chicago. According to pulp art historian David Saunders, the artist moved to New York City in 1921 and opened an “illustration studio.” Not long after, “his pen and ink story illustrations began to appear regularly in THE NEW YORK TIMES.” While he continued his studies under Dean Cornwell and others, Frandzen found more work as a magazine illustrator. “From 1929 to 1939 his work regularly appeared as interior story illustrations and covers for many aviation pulp magazines, such as AIRPLANE STORIES, FLYING ACES, THE LONE EAGLE, SKY BIRDS, SKY FIGHTERS, WAR ACES, and WAR BIRDS.

During the 1930s, Eugene Frandzen became a mainstay for Ned Pines’ Standard Magazines. The artist painted all of the covers for the Thrilling Group’s SKY FIGHTERS beginning with its first issue — dated July 1932 — until he left the pulp field in 1939. Likewise, starting with the first issue of THE LONE EAGLE — dated September 1933 — Frandzen’s cover art appeared on all but two issues of the magazine through its April 1939 number.

The artist returned to his native California in 1937 and turned to landscape art. He also taught a printmaking class at his home and regularly exhibited in both local and national art shows. Eugene M. Frandzen passed away on July 5, 1972.

Make your plans to celebrate “The Armistice that Ended The Great War” and “125 Years of Eugene Frandzen.” We’ll also be celebrating the 100th anniversary of the birth of science fiction Grand Master Philip Jose Farmer and welcoming award-winning author Joe Lansdale as our guest of honor.

Please join us July 26 – 29 for PulpFest 2018 at the beautiful DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Pittsburgh – Cranberry, just outside Pennsylvania’s Steel City. We hope to see you there.

(THE LONE EAGLE debuted with its September 1933 issue. It ran for 66 issues through its June 1941 number. The title was then changed to THE AMERICAN EAGLE for eight more issues. It finished its run as AMERICAN EAGLES with its Spring 1943 number. Telling the heroic adventures of Air Intelligence Agent John Masters, “the world’s greatest Sky Fighter,” the pulp debuted in the late summer of 1933.

Published by Standard Publications, many of the adventures of The Lone Eagle are believed to have been written by F. E. Rechnitzer. The “Lt. Scott Morgan” house name masked the author’s true name. Robert Sidney Bowen probably contributed most of the later novels. In all, 75 tales of “the world’s greatest Sky Fighter” would appear in the variously titled pulp, published for ten years by the Thrilling Group of magazines.)