120 Years of Arthur J. Burks

Sep 10, 2018 by

Arthur J. Burks was born September 13, 1898. While his name may not be familiar to the more casual pulp fan, he was a prolific and successful pulp writer who authored more than 800 stories (and possibly as many as 1400 when his many pseudonyms are taken into account). Burks was one of a number of pulp writers who distinguished themselves by averaging more than one million words per year. Regardless of the precise amount of his output, he was a prodigious and highly inventive storyteller.

Born to a farming family in Washington state, Burks was a veteran of both World Wars and retired from the service at the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. While stationed in the Caribbean, he witnessed voodoo rituals which inspired his second career as a pulp writer beginning in 1920. Burks wrote countless weird menace, adventure, detective, aviation, and boxing stories for WEIRD TALES, ASTOUNDING STORIES, THRILLING WONDER STORIES, STRANGE TALES, SCIENCE FICTION QUARTERLY, MARVEL SCIENCE STORIES, and many others.

Burks’ series characters included Chinatown detective Dorus Noel and boxer Kid Friel. Burks died at age 75 in May 1974. He remained a writer to the very end. He concentrated on the paranormal and metaphysics beginning in the 1960s and became a popular fixture on the lecture circuit sharing his knowledge with the curious and skeptical alike and offering readings. Much of Burks’ fantasy fiction centers on the metaphysical. One of his best known works (and one of the few to be published in book form), THE GREAT MIRROR (1942) concerns Martian technology utilized by Tibetan monks to foster ESP and matter transmission.

Burks married at age nineteen. He and his wife raised four children. While not one of the legendary names in the pulp world, his work in so many genres and under so many pseudonyms made him a fixture during the golden age of pulp and beyond.

Keep watching our website for more on the pulp greats. Then plan to attend next year’s PulpFest. We’ll be highlighting the many ways that pulp fiction and pulp art have inspired writers, artists, film directors, software developers, game designers, and other creators over the decades. PulpFest 2019 will take place August 15 – 18 at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Pittsburgh – Cranberry.

(Arthur J. Burks penned some of WEIRD TALE’s best macabre stories during its early years, including “The Ghosts of Steamboat Coulee” and “Bells of Oceana.” His science fiction story,”The Invading Horde,” was published in the November 1927 number. The cover art for the issue was created by C. C. Senf, the artist who painted most of covers for”The Unique Magazine” from early 1927 through mid-1932.)

Debuting at PulpFest 2018

Jul 20, 2018 by

Once again, a number of authors and publishers have decided to roll out their new titles for PulpFest 2018. You’ll get to meet some of those authors at our annual New Fictioneers readings. You can learn about who is reading by clicking the programming button at the top of our home page. Our readings will take place on Friday and Saturday afternoons, beginning at 12:30 PM. Look for the “New Fictioneers Readings” banner at the convention.

Age of Aces Books is a publisher of pulp fiction treasures with a keen eye for design. At this year’s PulpFest, Chris and David Kalb will be releasing two thrilling collections from the tattered pages of the air war pulps: Donald E. Keyhoe’s CAPTAIN PHILIP STRANGE: STRANGE SQUADRONS — their seventh collection to feature the so-called “Brain-Devil” of G-2 Intelligence — and THE DEVIL FLIES HIGH — the second volume in Keyhoe’s Jailbird Flight series from Popular Publications’ BATTLE BIRDS and DARE-DEVIL ACES.

PulpFest marketing and programming director Mike Chomko will be exhibiting the latest books from Altus Press. Thanks to an arrangement with publisher Matt Moring, Mike will be selling six new volumes in Altus’ THE DIME DETECTIVE LIBRARY, the second volume of Frederick Nebel’s COMPLETE AIR ADVENTURES OF GALES & MCGILL, the eighth number from Robert Sidney Bowen’s DUSTY AYRES series, and the final volume of SECRET AGENT X. There’s also a chance that he’ll have THE COMPLETE UP AND DOWN THE EARTH, collecting over 500 pages of Talbot Mundy’s stories from ADVENTURE. Mike Chomko, Books has been one of the leading purveyors of pulp reprint books and periodicals since the early 1990s. Look for his tables in the PulpFest 2018 dealers’ room.

Christopher Paul Carey — authorized author of the recently released SWORDS AGAINST THE MOON MEN — will have copies of his new collection, THE GRANDEST ADVENTURE: WRITINGS ON PHILIP JOSÉ FARMER, available at the convention. Written over a period of more than twenty years, these pieces, many of them originally published in obscure and hard-to-find publications, offer insights into some of Farmer’s most important and popular works. Be sure to catch Christopher on Friday, July 27, as part of our New Fictioneers program.

Bob Deis and Wyatt Doyle, the editors and publishers of THE MEN’S ADVENTURE LIBRARY book series will have copies of their latest volume: CUBA: SUGAR, SEX, AND SLAUGHTER. It’s a collection of stories and full-color artwork from the men’s adventure magazines about Cuba, Fidel Castro, Che Guevara, the Cuban Revolution and its aftermath. The book’s title is taken from one of the stories included in the collection. You can read more about the book by clicking hereThey’ll have both the trade paperback and expanded hardcover edition for sale.

Jim Beard and John Bruening of Flinch Bookspublishers of “in-your-face pulp-style adventure fiction,” will be on hand with their latest prose anthology, QUEST FOR THE SPACE GODS: THE CHRONICLES OF CONRAD VON HONIG. They’ll also have copies of previous Flinch Books anthologies and some of their own work. Be sure to attend the special spotlight Flinch Books panel on Saturday afternoon, July 28, to hear John and Jim talk about their adventures in self-publishing, their creation of all things Flinch, and their great love for Pulp in general.

Be sure to welcome Allyson & Brett Brooks of Goodman Games to their first PulpFest. Best known for DUNGEON CRAWL CLASSICS, AGE OF CTHULHU, and other role-playing games, Goodman Games is based in the San Francisco Bay area. Brett and Allyson will be debuting the second issue of TALES FROM THE MAGICIAN’S SKULL, Goodman’s fantasy magazine dedicated to presenting all-new sword-and-sorcery fiction by the finest modern crafters in the genre. They’ll also be selling other Goodman products at PulpFest 2018 including several DUNGEON CRAWL CLASSICS adventure modules that have a definite old-school feel to them: THE EMERALD ENCHANTER, HOLE IN THE SKY, INTRIGUE AT THE COURT OF CHAOS, JEWELS OF THE CARNIFEX, and THE 13TH SKULL.

A highly respected old-time radio and pop culture historian, Martin Grams will have his latest book at PulpFest 2018BASS REEVES AND THE LONE RANGER: DEBUNKING THE MYTH looks into the origins of the fictional character known as The Lone Ranger. Martin will also have copies of his other award-winning books for sale.

Of course, PulpFest 2018 is very pleased to welcome author Joe R. Lansdale as our Guest of Honor. The author of over forty novels and numerous short stories, Joe has also written for comics, television, film, newspapers, and Internet sites. His work has been collected in more than two dozen short-story collections, and he has edited or co-edited over a dozen anthologies. Mr. Lansdale will have many of his works for sale, including his recent Hap and Leonard novel, JACKRABBIT SMILE. He’s also hoping to having copies of TERROR IS OUR BUSINESS: DANA ROBERTS’ CASEBOOK OF HORROR, the newly released short story collection that Joe co-authored with his daughter, Kasey Lansdale. Additionally, PulpFest‘s Mike Chomko will have copies of Joe’s outstanding collection, MIRACLES AIN’T WHAT THEY USED TO BE. Published by PM Press, it features short fiction alongside some of Lansdale’s hard-to-find TEXAS OBSERVER columns. Mike will also be selling GIRL GANGS, BIKER BOYS, AND REAL COOL CATS: PULP FICTION AND YOUTH CULTURE, 1950 TO 1980, also published by PM Press.

Meteor House — a publisher of science fiction and fantasy that specializes in works set in the worlds created by Philip José Farmer — will have two new books at PulpFest 2018. Pick up your copies of the first hardcover publication of Farmer’s authorized Tarzan novel, TARZAN AND THE DARK HEART OF TIME, and THE PHILIP JOSÉ FARMER CENTENNIAL COLLECTION, a mammoth collection of classic science fiction, poems, articles, tributes, speeches, and more, all from Farmer’s magic pen. Both feature magnificent covers by the great Mark Wheatley. Inducted into The Overstreet Hall of Fame in July 2017, Wheatley will be offering a rare gallery showing of his original art at PulpFest 2018. The event will showcase his illustrations for the new Christopher Paul Carey novel, SWORDS AGAINST THE MOON MENAnd don’t forget about the annual Meteor House book-signing party.

Ed Hulse of Murania Press will be releasing a revised and expanded second edition of THE BLOOD ’N’ THUNDER GUIDE TO PULP FICTION at this year’s PulpFest. The new volume features more copy, more cover reproductions, updated appendices, and an index, which the 2013 edition lacked. He’ll also have copies of the recently released THE WILD WEST OF FICTION AND FILM — a 286-page, 146,000-word tome that concentrates on the nexus of American popular fiction (especially pulp) and Western movies — as well as PULPOURRI.

Unfortunately, it looks as if Will Murray’s THE DOOM LEGION — the first “Wild Adventure of The Spider will not make it to PulpFest 2018. The author will only have a display copy on hand and will be taking orders. The new novel  has The Spider teaming up with Operator #5 and America’s Flying Spy, G-8. The heroic trio battles a pair of powerful adversaries intent on harnessing and unleashing the malevolent power of a fallen meteorite. A bonus Secret 6 story will be featured in the hardbound edition. Will Murray will be sharing a table with Laurie Powers. She will be selling books written by her grandfather, pulp author Paul S. Powers.

It has been four years since John Locke’s last book. The winner of the 2004 Lamont Award, John will have THE THING’S INCREDIBLE! THE SECRET ORIGINS OF WEIRD TALES at PulpFest 2018. A revisionist history of “The Unique Magazine,” Locke’s book is “the grand story of the challenges in establishing a radical, new magazine in the early 1920s — and not just any magazine, but the immortal WEIRD TALES.” Published in June 2018 by Off-Trail Publications, John Locke’s long-awaited book will be available at PulpFest from Mike Chomko, Books in both hardcover and softcover.

Please welcome author Christopher Ryan to his first PulpFest. He’s a “new pulp” writer who pens the novella-length adventures of Alex Simmons’ Blackjack. The character — first introduced in 1996 through a comic book miniseries — is an African-American soldier of fortune globetrotting during the turbulent 1930s. Simmons won an Inkpot Award at last year’s San Diego Comic Con. In addition to his Blackjack novellas, Christopher will be selling his award-winning Mallory and Gunner series, as well as other books.

For more than a decade, Anthony Tollin has been publishing THE SHADOW and other great pulp heroes under the Sanctum Books banner. Our 2011 Munsey Award winner, Anthony will be selling the 132nd issue of his historic SHADOW reprint series. It will feature classic pulp thrillers by Walter. B. Gibson and Bruce Elliott writing as “Maxwell Grant.”

In the business of reprinting some of the best mysteries and supernatural fiction of the past 100 years, Stark House Press should have several new titles ready for PulpFest 2018. You’ll find hardboiled crime fiction by Bill Ballinger, Carter Brown, Orrie Hitt, Henry Kane, and Lionel White, as well as soaring fantasy from the pen of Algernon Blackwood. As usual, Mike Chomko, Books will be representing Stark House at this year’s PulpFest.

Lastly, Joab Stieglitz will be returning to this year’s PulpFest. He is an avid tabletop role-playing game player and game master of the horror, espionage, fantasy, and science fiction genres. Joab is the author of Cthulhu-oriented pulp adventures and writes a blog at RANTINGS OF A WANDERING MIND ~ The Writing Blog of Joab Stieglitz. He will be selling copies of his UTGARDA series— a pulp adventure set in the 1920s and 30s — at PulpFest 2018. Joab’s books were a big hit at last year’s convention.

In addition to all of these great premieres, come the evening of July 26, our dealers’ room will also be home to thousands of collectible pulp magazines and digests, vintage paperbacks, first edition hardcovers and series books, original art, B-movies and serials, collectible comic books, and more. Check out our posts from last week to see who will be selling at PulpFest 2018. We profiled all of our dealers, telling you a little bit about each of them to help you get to know them.

So what are you waiting for? Book a room for three nights and register now for “Summer’s AMAZING Pulp Con.” If you would like to book a room at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Pittsburgh – Cranberry — just north of Pennsylvania’s “Steel City,” please call 1-800-222-8733. Be sure to mention PulpFest in order to receive any convention special deals that may still be available.

(Not only will the publishers exhibiting at PulpFest 2018 be offering great writing, they’ll have some great art to share. In 2009, Chris Kalb designed the first PulpFest website. Since then, he’s helped us time and again. This year, he’s been nominated for the 2018 Munsey Award. We wish him the best of luck. Along with his brother David, Chris is the publisher of Age of Aces books. He’s also the company’s art director, the person who comes up with all the great covers featured on each of their books, including one of their latest entries, Donald E. Keyhoe’s STRANGE SQUADRONS.

The king of the pulps — Walter Baumhofer — who not only worked for the pulps, but also for the slick magazines and as a fine artist — painted the cover art for THE COMPLETE CASES OF KEN CARTER. Written by Norvell Page, the series primarily ran in A. A. Wyn’s TEN DETECTIVE ACES. Baumhofer’s art was originally used by Popular Publications as the front cover to the September 1935 issue of DIME DETECTIVE MAGAZINE.

The wild painting used as the cover for New Texture’s CUBA: SUGAR, SEX, AND SLAUGHTER was painted by Norm Eastman. It was originally created as the cover for MEN IN CONFLICT, February 1962, then reused as the cover for BATTLE CRY, May 1965. Eastman’s wild, politically-incorrect Nazi bondage and torture cover paintings are among the most famous (and infamous) ever done for the men’s adventure magazines of the 1950s, 1960s and early 1970s.

Diesel LaForce — who created the cover for the second issue of Goodman Games’ TALES FROM THE MAGICIAN’S SKULL — is best known for his fantasy illustrations and cartography skills for DUNGEONS & DRAGONS and other role playing games. Never formally trained, Diesel has had hands-on experience with some of the top names in fantasy art. He continues to work on gaming products and helps to organize the Gen Con Art Show in Indianapolis every year.

Mark Wheatley painted the cover for THE PHILIP JOSÉ FARMER CENTENNIAL COLLECTION. Meteor House is working hard to debut the volume at this year’s PulpFest and FarmerCon 100. It’s a mammoth collection of classic science fiction, poems, articles, tributes, speeches, and more, all from Farmer’s magic pen. In addition to works set in the worlds created by Philip José Farmer, Meteor House also publishes original science fiction and fantasy novels and novellas by various authors.

With THE SHADOW #132 — featuring front cover art by George Rozen (originally created for the March 1, 1933 issue of THE SHADOW MAGAZINE) — to be released in time for PulpFest 2018, Sanctum Books comes that much closer to reprinting the entire run of the original pulp magazine. Its completion will be an amazing achievement, following its earlier reprinting of the entire runs of DOC SAVAGE and THE AVENGER.

THE HUNTER IN THE SHADOWS by Joab Stieglitz — with cover art by Eugene Chugunov — is the fourth book in the author’s UTGARDA series. Available in paperback and ebook, Joab’s series is a pulp adventure with Lovecraftian influences, set in the 1920s and 1930s. He recently started to write the fifth book in the series.)

Pulp-Pourri Theatre Presents “Return to the Sabbath”

Jun 10, 2017 by

For the last week or so, PulpFest‘s web posts have been discussing this year’s celebration of the 100th anniversary of the birth of Robert Bloch. The author of more than 200 stories, nearly thirty novels, and a large number of non-fiction articles, screenplays, and teleplays, Bloch got his start as a writing professional in the pulp magazines that are celebrated each summer at PulpFest.

Bloch discovered the pulp magazines in 1927, courtesy of his Aunt Lil. As he wrote in his autobiography, ONCE AROUND THE BLOCH: “And it was thus that I was introduced to a magazine which changed my life, my very first copy of WEIRD TALES. . . .”

It was through that magazine that Robert Bloch began a correspondence with the author H. P. Lovecraft. At the urging of “The Old Gentleman” — as Lovecraft called himself — Bloch began to write fiction. Before long, the young man was a published author: “But in July, 1934, less than a month after graduating from high school, I received a letter of acceptance for my story. . . . I had suddenly and almost miraculously become a professional writer, a contributor for the very magazine which published the work of my favorite author and present pen pal. . . .”

Robert Bloch’s early fiction was strongly influenced by Lovecraft and his “Cthulhu Mythos.” Bloch even made Lovecraft a central character in “The Shambler from the Stars,” published in the September 1935 WEIRD TALES. He also created two of the often cited texts of the Mythos, Ludwig Prinn’s DE VERMIS MYSTERIIS and Comte d’Erlette’s CULTES DES GOULES.

Following Lovecraft’s death in 1937, Bloch continued writing for WEIRD TALES. He became one of the magazine’s most popular authors, appearing in its pages nearly seventy times. Perhaps his best known tale for “The Unique Magazine” is “Yours Truly, Jack the Ripper,” published in the July 1943 number.

Whereas Lovecraft’s later fiction took on science fictional overtones, Bloch’s WEIRD TALES fiction was, by and large, ground in horror and the supernatural. For instance, from 1936 through 1938, a number of the author’s stories — “Fane of the Black Pharaoh,” “The Eyes of the Mummy,” “Beetles,” and others — were probably inspired by the 1932 Boris Karloff film, THE MUMMY. Others explored such horror motifs as voodoo, wax museums, and black magic. Robert Bloch’s “Return to the Sabbath,” originally published in WEIRD TALES for July 1938, is an example of the latter.

Originally published under Bloch’s Tarleton Fiske pseudonym, “Return to the Sabbath” was published when the author was twenty-one. 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. But the actor — who had dabbled in devil worship himself — disappears after he learns that a former colleague has been murdered in Paris by cultists. Bloch’s story was later adapted and filmed for television as “The Sign of Satan.” It aired on THE ALFRED HITCHCOCK HOUR in 1964.

On Friday, July 28, at 11 PM, PulpFest 2017 welcomes the Narada Radio Company and their PULP-POURRI THEATRE to this summer’s convention. The group will be dramatizing Robert Bloch’s “Return to the Sabbath” in the old radio-play format. 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.

According to Narada’s Pete Lutz:

My life’s dream has been to create “radio” plays and be an actor in them. I was looking at copies of pulp magazine covers and followed a link to scans of pulp stories. I started reading them and immediately began to mentally dramatize them for audio. My wife came up with the name PULP-POURRI THEATRE. I feel this hints at the wide variety of pulp genres available. The possibilities are endless. There are thousands of pulp-fiction stories available. Action becomes dialogue. Narration becomes action. Once the last voice is “in the can”, I start production. Voices get cobbled together first, and then I add music and sound effects. Then I listen to it a half-dozen times to make sure I haven’t overlooked anything.

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 100th anniversary of the birth of PSYCHO author Robert Bloch at the “pop culture center of the universe” called PulpFest 2017.

(Robert Bloch’s “Return to the Sabbath” originally ran in the July 1938 issue of WEIRD TALES, featuring front cover art by the great pulp and fantasy artist, Virgil Finlay. The artist got his start during the Great Depression when he sent unsolicited illustrations to his favorite pulp magazine, WEIRD TALES. In addition to “The Unique Magazine,” he also contributed interior illustrations and covers to AMAZING STORIES, ASTOUNDING STORIES, CAPTAIN FUTURE, FAMOUS FANTASTIC MYSTERIES FANTASTIC ADVENTURES, FANTASTIC NOVELS, GALAXY, STRANGE STORIES, SUPER SCIENCE STORIES, THRILLING WONDER STORIES, WORLDS OF TOMORROW, and other pulps and digests. Even today, Finlay remains one of the most highly regarded and collected artists in the fields of science fiction and fantasy.

Pete Lutz, the producer-director for the Narada Radio Company, used the August 1942 cover of SPICY ADVENTURE STORIES as the basis for his PULP-POURRI THEATRE advertisement. The artist is H. J. Ward, who painted many covers for the Spicy line of pulp magazines. For a great overview of this artist’s career, we suggest you track down a copy of David Saunders’ book H. J. WARD, published by The Illustrated Press in 2010.)

One Hundred Years of Robert Bloch

Apr 3, 2017 by

Born one-hundred years ago on April 5, 1917, Robert Bloch is best remembered for his novel PSYCHO,  which became the basis for Alfred Hitchcock’s classic film of the same name. The author of more than 200 stories, nearly thirty novels, and a large number of non-fiction articles, screenplays, and teleplays, Bloch got his start as a writing professional in the pulp magazines that are celebrated each summer at PulpFest.

Born in Chicago, Bloch was a precocious child who developed an early interest in vaudeville and theater, as well as storytelling and reading. According to his autobiography, ONCE AROUND THE BLOCH:

Sometime late in the summer of 1927 the family, accompanied by my father’s sister, entered Chicago’s Northwestern Railroad Station to entrain for a suburban destination. Where we were going eludes memory, and it’s not important. What matters is that we passed the huge magazine stand in the terminal.

Here literally hundreds of periodicals — including the then-popular weekly and monthly “pulp” magazines — were ranked in gaudy array. Row after row of garish covers caught the eye; comparatively respectable offerings like ARGOSY, BLUE BOOK, ALL-STORY, and ADVENTURE competed for attention with scores of titles featuring romance, mystery, detective stories, westerns, and every variety of sports. There were even pulps devoted exclusively to railroad yarns, pirates, and WWI air combat. I stared at them, fascinated by this abundance of riches.

It was then that Aunt Lil, with her usual generosity, offered to buy me a magazine to read during the train journey. Scanning titles and covers, I stood poised in delicious indecision. Here was a mustached member of the French Foreign Legion battling a bearded Arab armed with a wicked-looking scimitar . . . beside it, an Indian chief preparing to discharge a flaming arrow at an ambushed wagon train . . . directly overhead, a helpless maiden struggling in the clutches of a gigantic gorilla whose glaring red eyes indicated his zooreastic intentions. Salivating, I surveyed this feast of literature. For a dime I could devour the exploits of a master detective; fifteen cents whould satisfy my appetite for mutiny on the high seas; twenty cents might gorge me with a huge helping of Secret Service operatives foiling the hellish Huns who presumably had substituted a bomb for the torch held by the Statue of Liberty.

But in the face of these attractions, what more might be offered for an entire quarter?

That price was imprinted on the cover of a magazine featuring a cloaked, bearded, evil-looking man confronting a recumbent, half-naked girl clad in Oriental garb against a background of Egyptian hieroglyphs. The featured story was “The Bride of Osiris,” by one Otis Adelbert Kline.

Snatching the magazine from the rack, I paged through it quickly, noting such promising titles as “Satan’s Fiddle,” “Creeping Shadows,” “The Phantom Photoplay” and “The Man with a Thousand Legs.”

That did it. “This is the one I want,” I said.

And it was thus that I was introduced to a magazine which changed my life, my very first copy of WEIRD TALES. . . .

What my parents thought of my taste remains unclear to me. Although they seemed uninterested in reading my favorite magazine they offered no objections to cover illustrations of damsels in various stages of distress and undress, and continued to supply me with quarters for monthly issues. . . . to me personally WEIRD TALES became a sort of non-theological BOOK OF REVELATION. What it revealed was that fantastic fiction was not necessarily the work of long-deceased authors like Poe, Hawthorne or de Maupassant; its prose and poetry were not entombed in pages from the past. Death was alive and well and living in Chicago.

By far the most horrifying concept, and to me the most convincing, was an account of ghouls feasting in their burrows below the cemeteries and subways of modern Boston. The story, “Pickman’s Model,” was credited to one H. P. Lovecraft, and I made a mental note to remember both the title and the name of the author. . . . By cutting down on my consumption of carbohydrates, borrowing streetcar passes and confining motion picture attendance to nights when tickets were ten or fifteen cents, I managed to keep the necessary quarter in reserve for the next issue of WEIRD TALES. . . . my addiction to the work of H. P. Lovecraft increased. . . . A Lovecraft junkie, I was hungry for more highs. What could I do?

As it has so frequently during a long lifetime, sheer stupidity came to my rescue. I sat down and . . . scrawled out a letter to Mr. Lovecraft care of the magazine. Identifying myself as an ardent fan (and a brash, presumptuous teenage idiot), I inquired if he might inform me as to where I could locate some of his stories presently out of print.

Thus began a friendship between the young Bloch and “The Old Gentleman.”

I had become a regular correspondent . . . a member of what was later styled the Lovecraft Circle — a group of friends and fans, many of whom were themselves writers or aspired to be. . . . Quite early in our correspondence HPL suggested I might be interested in trying my own hand at writing with an eye to publication. . . . And since Lovecraft’s suggestion generously included his willingness to inspect my efforts, what more did I need. . . . I trained my sights on the most obvious and visible target, WEIRD TALES. Instead of bombarding them with contributions, I took careful aim before shooting off a story in their direction. . . . Why a battle-scarred veteran of longtime literary warfare would notice the feeble dud I delivered remains a mystery to this very day. But in July, 1934, less than a month after graduating from high school, I received a letter of acceptance for my story. . . . I had suddenly and almost miraculously become a professional writer, a contributor for the very magazine which published the work of my favorite author and present pen pal. . . .

By the end of 1935, Robert Bloch began to sell on a frequent and regular basis to WEIRD TALES. Between that first 1934 sale and the demise of the publication in 1954, he sold nearly seventy stories to “The Unique Magazine.” Having started his career as a mimic of his Lovecraft, his writing gradually took on more psychological overtones and often a sense of humor. He began to branch out in 1939, selling fiction to AMAZING STORIES, STRANGE STORIES, and UNKNOWN. The forties found him contributing to DETECTIVE TALES, DIME MYSTERY MAGAZINE, FANTASTIC ADVENTURES, MAMMOTH DETECTIVE, NEW DETECTIVE, SUPER SCIENCE STORIES, THRILLING MYSTERY, and others. His best-known story of this period, “Yours Truly – Jack the Ripper” — published in the July 1943 WEIRD TALES — led to an assignment writing scripts for a radio program called STAY TUNED FOR TERROR.

It was also during the 1940s that Robert Bloch became a regular attendee of science fiction conventions. In 1948, he was invited to be the professional guest of honor for the World Science Fiction Convention, held in Toronto, the first truly international event of its kind. In 1954, at the San Francisco Worldcon, he met Samuel Peeples, a longtime pulp fan and Hollywood writer. It was this friendship that led to Bloch venturing to Hollywood, where Peeples helped him land an assignment with the television show LOCK-UP. Bloch was soon writing for other series, including ALFRED HITCHCOCK PRESENTS, THRILLER, TRUE, and WHISPERING SMITH. In later years, he would contribute to THE GIRL FROM U.N.C.L.E., I SPY, NIGHT GALLERY, STAR TREK, TALES FROM THE DARKSIDE, and others. Bloch would also write the screenplays for THE CABINET OF CALIGARI, THE NIGHT WALKER, THE SKULL, THE HOUSE THAT DRIPPED BLOOD, and other films. He died on September 23, 1994 in Los Angeles, California.

PulpFest 2017 will celebrate the 100th anniversary of Robert Bloch’s birth with several special presentations. On Thursday, July 27, author Chet Williamson will read from his novel, Robert Bloch’s PSYCHO: SANITARIUM. Mr. Williamson was the guest of honor at PulpFest 2015. Garyn Roberts — who engaged in an extensive correspondence with Robert Bloch — will discuss the author and his works on Friday, July 28. Professor Roberts — who is working on a Robert Bloch biography — will be sharing rare and landmark material from throughout the author’s life. Garyn was honored with our Munsey Award in 2013.

There will be two other Bloch presentations on Friday evening. First, Michael Croteau, creator of Philip José Farmer’s Official Home Page and one of the founders of both FarmerCon and Meteor House, will do a short presentation on Robert Bloch’s relationship with Grand Master of Science Fiction Philip José Farmer. To close the evening, the Narada Radio Company and PULP-POURRI THEATRE will present a mock radio drama of Bloch’s “Return to the Sabbath,” originally published in the July 1938 WEIRD TALES. PULP-POURRI THEATRE is an all-new 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 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 celebrate the 100th anniversary of the birth of PSYCHO author Robert Bloch at the “pop culture center of the universe” called PulpFest 2017.

(Released in 1960, Alfred Hitchcock’s PSYCHO is considered to be a masterpiece of suspense. This classic film was based on Robert Bloch’s novel of the same name, originally published in 1959 by Simon and Schuster. Hitchcock’s film was nominated for four academy awards and helped its author to achieve fame and fortune, largely through his work in television and motion pictures.

Robert Bloch — who got his start as a writing professional working for the pulps — first discovered the rough-paper magazines through the August 1927 issue of WEIRD TALES, featuring front cover art by Hugh Rankin. A newspaper illustrator, Rankin began working for WEIRD TALES in 1927, doing the vast majority of the magazine’s interior illustrations during the late twenties and all of its covers, beginning with the July 1927 number. He continued as the pulp’s sole cover artist through the February 1931 issue. Afterward, he began sharing the cover with such artists as C. C. Senf, J. Allen St. John, and Margaret Brundage. Rankin continued to paint covers for WEIRD TALES into 1936.

Bloch’s fourth published story — “The Shambler from the Stars” — was not only dedicated to his writing mentor, H. P. Lovecraft, but also featured “The Old Gentleman” as an important character. Published in the September 1935 issue of WEIRD TALES and featuring cover art by Margaret Brundage, the story concerns a would-be writer who obtains a copy of an occult volume known as DE VERMIS MYSTERIIS. He takes the forbidden volume to a Providence-based mystic who, in his excitement, calls down an invisible, vampiric monster. Bloch’s tale would lead Lovecraft to write “The Haunter of the Dark,” published in the December 1936 WEIRD TALES. It was dedicated to Robert Bloch and featured a character named “Robert Blake.”

Following a write-up in the Milwaukee papers in 1935, the new author was invited to join The Milwaukee Fictioneers. A professional writers’ group, its membership also included pulp writers Fredric Brown, Ralph Milne Farley, Lawrence Keating, Ray Palmer, and Stanley G. Weinbaum. Soon after assuming the editorship of AMAZING STORIES in 1938, Palmer would publish Robert Bloch’s first science fiction story,“Secret of the Observatory.” Bloch would author a substantial number of stories for Palmer’s AMAZING STORIES, FANTASTIC ADVENTURES, and OTHER WORLDS SCIENCE STORIES, including “It’s a Small World,” the cover story for the March 1944 AMAZING, featuring artwork by J. Allen St. John.

Although PSYCHO is certainly Robert Bloch’s most famous novel, his first book-length work, THE SCARF — originally published in 1947 by Dial Press — is considered by many critics to be his best work. According to Cullen Gallagher, “It tells the story of a writer . . . who uses real women as models for his characters. But as soon as he is done writing the story, he is compelled to murder them, and always the same way: with the maroon scarf he has had since childhood.” One of the finest editions of THE SCARF is Avon’s 1952 paperback reprint of the work, featuring a beautiful cover by Charles Binger.)

Margaret Brundage at 115

Dec 7, 2015 by

Weird Tales (June 1933)Few artists are as strongly linked to a single pulp as Margaret Brundage is to WEIRD TALES. Dec. 9, 2015, marks the 115th anniversary of her birth in Chicago.

Margaret Brundage got her start in the pulp magazines with WEIRD TALES‘ sister publication, ORIENTAL STORIES (later MAGIC CARPET), with six covers from Spring 1932 through January 1934. Her first cover for “The Unique Magazine” appeared in September 1932. Her pastels graced the cover again the next month, then again in March 1933. Beginning in June 1933 — and for the next 39 covers — WEIRD TALES featured her luscious artwork exclusively. Her last cover for WEIRD TALES appeared on the January 1945 number, capping a run of 66 covers for the magazine, with Brundage receiving no more than $90 for a cover.

The artist’s cover illustration for Robert E. Howard’s “Black Colossus” (WEIRD TALES, June 1933) generated the most mail for any of the magazine’s covers, she told Robert Weinberg, as detailed in THE ALLURING ART OF MARGARET BRUNDAGE, published by Vanguard Productions in 2013.

Brundage always enjoyed illustrating Howard’s stories. It was WEIRD TALES‘ editor Farnsworth Wright who passed along news of Howard’s suicide to the artist in 1936: “When I learned of Robert Howard’s death, I was very upset . . . . (Wright and I) both just sat around and cried for most of the day. He was always my personal favorite.”

In an interview with R. Alain Everts in 1973, Brundage recalled her most controversial WEIRD TALES cover:

We had one issue (the September 1933 number) that sold out! It was the story of a very vicious female, getting ahold of the heroine and tying her up and beating her. Well, the public apparently thought it was flagellation, and the entire issue sold out. They could have used a couple of thousand extra (copies).

In 1938, WEIRD TALES was bought by Short Stories, Inc., and its editorial headquarters moved from Brundage’ hometown of Chicago to New York City. Wright went east with the magazine, but he was suffering from Parkinson’s Disease, and by 1940 he was dead. Brundage stayed in Chicago, but the difficulty of shipping her fragile chalk illustrations by train to New York and a reduction in WEIRD TALES‘ cover rates to $50 ended her pulp career just five years later.

Margaret Brundage died April 9, 1976, at age 75.

PulpFest seeks to draw attention to the profound effect that the pulps had on American popular culture, reverberating 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. Planned as the summertime destination for fans and collectors of vintage popular fiction and related materials, PulpFest honors pulp fiction and pulp art by drawing attention to the many ways the magazines and their creators — people like Margaret Brundage — have inspired writers, artists, film directors, software developers, game designers, and other creators over the decades.

Join PulpFest 2016 to be part of this great celebration of American popular culture. Start making your plans right now to join the 45th convening of “Summer’s Great Pulp Con” in 2016. It will take place July 21–24 at the Hyatt Regency Columbus and the Greater Columbus Convention Center.

(Margaret Brundage’s pastel cover for the June 1933 issue of WEIRD TALES illustrates Robert E. Howard’s tale, “Black Colossus.”)

Saturday at PulpFest 2015

Aug 15, 2015 by

Weird Tales 45-07There’s still time to get in on the action. The dealers’ room at the Hyatt Regency Columbus will be open today from 10 AM until 4:30 PM. 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 will also be for sale.

Single-day memberships to PulpFest will be available for $20 for Saturday and $10 for Sunday. Children who are fifteen and younger and accompanied by a parent, will be admitted free of charge. Members will be able to register for the convention at any time during regular dealers’ room hours. To help things move smoothly, please bring along a completed registration form. You can download a copy by clicking here. You only need to bring the last page of the form. Please visit our registration page for further details.

The PulpFest dealers’ room will closing at 4:30 PM today. This should allow plenty of time for people to prepare for our Saturday Night Dinner at Buca di Beppo, a get-together arranged by registration and volunteer coordinator Sally Cullers. If you don’t plan to attend, there are plenty of other restaurants close to the hotel. You’ll find a guide to the many fine downtown restaurants by clicking here as well as a map to find them by clicking here.

Whisperer in DarknessOur Saturday afternoon programming will start at 12:30 PM when author Duane Spurlock will read from AIRSHIP HUNTERS and FIGHTING ALASKA. Afterward, Ron Fortier will moderate a New Pulp Fiction Panel on “The Heirs of WEIRD TALES.” It will be followed by a presentation on WEIRD TALES artist Lee Brown Coye and another New Fictioneer reading featuring the weird poetry and prose of Scott Urban. Saturday evening’s events will include the PulpFest 2015 Business Meeting beginning at 7:10 PM, where two lucky members who had booked a stay at the Hyatt Regency will receive full membership refunds. It will be followed by the 2015 Munsey Award Presentation. Our programming for the evening will include Weird Editing at “The Unique Magazine,” The Thrilling Adventures of Rudolph Belarski, and a showing of THE WHISPERER IN DARKNESS and PROFESSOR PEABODY’S LAST LECTURE, part of our Lovecraft at the Movies film series. Tucked in before our movies begin will be our Saturday Night Auction, featuring material consigned by our membership.

Any member of PulpFest 2015 can submit items to the auction. Your PulpFest badge number will be used as your auction bidder and/or seller number. We will begin taking consignments for the auction when our dealers’ room opens on Friday, August 14th. The sooner you submit your consignment to Mike Chomko, the more likely that it will be included in our auction. Mike’s tables will be along the wall, just inside the entrance to the PulpFest dealers’ room. All auction lots must be submitted to Mike prior to 2 PM, Saturday, August 15th. All lots submitted must have a minimum value of $20. All lots that do not receive a bid of $20 or more will be passed. If you plan to offer an auction lot with a reserve price, your reserve must be $50 or more. No lots with a reserve price of less than $50 will be accepted. PulpFest reserves the right to reject any auction material that is unlikely to meet our minimum bid or reserve price standards as well as our content standards. The convention charges sellers 10% of the selling price for anything sold in the auction. For additional information, please click on the auction link on our programming schedule or contact Barry Traylor via email at barry@pulpfest.com.

Highlights of this year’s auction include the original typescript for the Phillip José Farmer novel, DAYWORLD, with notes and corrections in the authors’ hand, along with an original 1930’s Shadow mask.  It was either a premium or sold as part of a Halloween costume. The auction will also feature a number of lots from the estate of Earl Kussman who, along with Ed Kessell and Nils Hardin, organized the first Pulpcon, held in Clayton, Missouri over a June weekend in 1972.

Cthulhu DiceFor pulp fans who like games, gaming fans who like pulps, or just people who like to have fun, PulpFest 2015 will be introducing a gaming track. Many of the themes found in the world of modern games resonate from the pulps and the stories published in those magazines. There are games based on Conan, the Cthulhu Mythos, space operas such as Doc Smith’s Lensman series, westerns, mysteries and, of course, the pulp heroes. Role-playing games, or RPGs, are especially noted for quick action, cliff-hangers, and adventure.

The PulpFest 2015 gaming track will begin at 10 AM on Saturday and last until 10 PM or thereabouts.  On Sunday, games will begin at 10 AM and continue until the end of the convention. All games will be set up in the Clark Room, located on the second floor of the Hyatt Regency. The only requirements to play games at PulpFest 2015 are a PulpFest membership, your imagination, and a desire to have a good time. So if you enjoy pulps and you enjoy games, PulpFest will be the place to be. If you have questions about our gaming track, please write to PulpFest programming director Mike Chomko at mike@pulpfest.com.

For additional details on all of our afternoon and evening programming events, please visit click the red schedule button on our home page for further details. Each entry is linked to a post that provides further information on that event. Just click on the event’s title.

On Sunday, August 16th, the dealers’ room will be open to all members from 10 AM to 2 PM as our dealers pack up. If you are coming just for the day, please be aware that buying and selling opportunities may be limited. Admission to the convention for Sunday only will be $10, the cost of our annual program book, THE PULPSTER.

If you will be needing a hotel room for tonight, please remember that PulpFest is sharing downtown Columbus with Matsuricon. However, there may still be a few rooms available at nearby hotels. Please visit www.pulpfest.com/2015/06/16872/ and you’ll find a link to a list of hotels to choose from. Alternately, we suggest that you search for a room at tripadvisor or a similar website as soon as you possibly can. If you are not from the Columbus area and want to attend PulpFest 2015, we urge you to book your room now and not wait until you arrive.

(Not long after the appearance of the August Derleth anthology SLEEP NO MORE, the book’s illustrator, Lee Brown Coye, began a long relationship with WEIRD TALES. The first of his ten covers for the magazine appeared on its July 1945 number, featured above. He also produced many interior illustrations for the magazine. His work continued to appear in WEIRD TALES until 1952.

As part of its celebration of the 125th anniversary of H. P. Lovecraft’s birth and his relationship with WEIRD TALES, the leading supernatural fiction magazine of its time, PulpFest 2015 is very pleased to offer a fully authorized showing of THE WHISPERER IN DARKNESS. The one-sheet, pictured above, is copyright 2015 by the H. P. Lovecraft Historical Society.

One of the quick games that will be played at PulpFest is called CTHULHU DICE, from Steve Jackson Games. Players take turns rolling the big, custom-designed, twelve-sided die, embossed with tentacles, Elder Signs, and more. The objective of the game is to drive your opponents insane with the cast of your die. CTHULHU DICE plays in 5 to 10 minutes, and is great fun for two to six players.)

 

Friday at PulpFest 2015

Aug 14, 2015 by

Weird Tales 52-01PulpFest 2015 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 members will also be able to register for the convention this morning, beginning at 9 PM, and at any time during regular dealers’ room hours. Those who have prepaid for their memberships, will be able to pick up their registration packets at our door. Three-day memberships will be available 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. You only need to bring the last page of the form. Please visit our registration page for further details.

Weird Tales 35-08The dealers’ room will open to all at 10 AM and remain open until 4:30 PM. Our afternoon programming will start at 1 PM with the first of two New Fictioneers readings — by Jason Scott Aiken and John Hegenberger — followed by a presentation on the Pulp Magazines Project. Our evening programming will begin at 7 PM as PulpFest chairman Jack Cullers offers an official welcome to all attendees. Friday night’s programming will include a discussion of Standard Magazines’ managing editor, Leo Margulies, featuring Philip Sherman, the nephew of the “Little Giant of the Pulps.” Our guest-of-honor, author Chet Williamson, will discuss his career and explain how “the old gentleman” of Providence influenced him in his writing as well as the writing of his peers in the world of modern horror fiction. Our special guest, Jon Arfstrom, the last of the artists who painted covers for the original run of WEIRD TALESwill also talk briefly with pulp art historian David Saunders. We’ll also have our friends from FarmerCon X on hand for a discussion of the weird tales of Philip José Farmer, while a panel of popular culture historians will discuss the development of the Cthulhu or Lovecraft Mythos. Our final panel, Thrilling Heroes of Standard’s Pulps and Comics will feature pulp and comic book scholars Matt Moring, Will Murray, Michelle Nolan, and Garyn Roberts. We’ll close the night with a showing of THE CALL OF CTHULHU and COOL AIR, part of our Lovecraft at the Movies film series.

For pulp fans who like games, gaming fans who like pulps, or just people who like to have fun, PulpFest 2015 will be introducing a gaming track. Many of the themes found in the world of modern games resonate from the pulps and the stories published in those magazines. There are games based on Conan, the Cthulhu Mythos, space operas such as Doc Smith’s Lensman series, westerns, mysteries and, of course, the pulp heroes. Role-playing games, or RPGs, are especially noted for quick action, cliff-hangers, and adventure.

Call of Cthulhu Banner

The PulpFest 2015 gaming track will begin at 10 AM on Friday and Saturday and last until 10 PM or thereabouts.  On Sunday, games will begin at 10 AM and continue until the end of the convention. All games will be set up in the Clark Room, located on the second floor of the Hyatt Regency. The only requirements to play games at PulpFest 2015 are a PulpFest membership, your imagination, and a desire to have a good time. So if you enjoy pulps and you enjoy games, PulpFest will be the place to be. If you have questions about our gaming track, please write to PulpFest
programming director Mike Chomko at mike@pulpfest.com.

For additional details on all of our afternoon and evening programming events, please visit click the red schedule button on our home page for further details. Each entry is linked to a post that provides further information on that event. Just click on the event’s title.

If you have yet to book your room for this year’s convention, please do so without delay. Remember that PulpFest will be sharing downtown Columbus with Matsuricon this week. However, there may still be a few rooms available at nearby hotels. Please visit www.pulpfest.com/2015/06/16872/  and you’ll find a link to a list of hotels to choose from. Alternately, we suggest that you search for a room at tripadvisor or a similar website as soon as you possibly can. If you are not from the Columbus area and want to attend PulpFest 2015, we urge you to book your room now and not wait until you arrive.

PulpFest 2015 will continue through Saturday and Sunday. It concludes at 2 PM on Sunday, August 16th.

(Jon Arfstrom began to submit his work to the digest market around 1950. Soon, he was selling to a number of magazines, including Dorothy McIlwraith’s WEIRD TALES. He painted three covers for “The Unique Magazine,” beginning with the January 1952 issue, featured here, and continued contributing to it until its demise in 1954.

Our guest of honor for PulpFest 2015, Chet Williamson, has been collecting pulps ever since he was in college. The first pulp he ever bought was the August 1935 WEIRD TALES – pictured here with front cover art by the incomparable Margaret Brundage.

In 1981, a wargame and role-playing-game publisher known as Chaosium released the first edition of CALL OF CTHULHU, a game developed by Sandy Peterson. It is is now in its seventh edition and is one of the role-playing games that will be featured during PulpFest‘s new gaming track.)

 

PulpFest Primer

Aug 12, 2015 by

2015 FlyerPulpFest 2015 will begin on Thursday, August 13th, at 4 PM, as our dealers begin to erect their displays for “Summer’s Great Pulp Con!” All members will be able to register for the convention from 4 to 8 PM, right outside our dealers’ room. There will be early-bird shopping in the dealers’ room from 6 to 10 PM for loyal attendees who help to defray the convention’s costs by staying three nights at our host hotel. The cost is $30 for those who stay elsewhere. Our full programming slate for the evening will begin at 8 PM with a rapid-fire presentation on Walter Gibson’s use of real-world counterintelligence and espionage secrets in his Shadow novels. There will also be presentations on the detective and western heroes of the “Thrilling Group,” Street & Smith Comics, and sports pulps. Closing out the night will be a showing of OUT OF MIND: THE STORIES OF H. P. LOVECRAFT, one of the most admired films to be inspired by the master of the cosmic terror tale. We will also be featuring “Pickman’s Model,” a short film made for ROD SERLING’S NIGHT GALLERY and based on the Lovecraft work of the same title.

If you have yet to book your room for this year’s convention, please do so without delay. Remember that PulpFest will be sharing downtown Columbus with Matsuricon this week. However, there may still be a few rooms available at nearby hotels. Please visit www.pulpfest.com/2015/06/16872/ and you’ll find a link to a list of hotels to choose from. If you are not from the Columbus area and want to attend PulpFest 2015, we urge you to book your room now and not wait until you arrive.

As mentioned above, early registration for the general membership will take place on Thursday, beginning at 4 PM, right outside of the dealers’ room located in the Regency Ballroom on the hotel’s third floor. All members, dealers included, 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. You only need to bring the last page of the form.

For those of you who have not yet registered for PulpFest 2015, Thursday evening will be an ideal time to do so. Four-day memberships will be available for $40. There will be no single-day memberships available for Thursday only. Children who are fifteen and younger and accompanied by a parent, will be admitted free of charge. Please visit our registration page for further details. Members will also be able to register for the convention on Friday morning, beginning at 9 PM, and at any time during regular dealers’ room hours. Single day memberships will be available for $20 for Friday or Saturday and $10 for Sunday.

Please note that advance registrations are no longer available. Our Paypal page was shut down around 10 PM on Monday night.

Startling Comics 48-01From 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. While unloading and transporting your goods should be very easy – there’s a back entrance to the hotel for loading and we have been granted exclusive use of a freight elevator – there is bound to be a certain amount of disorientation as folks negotiate their way around the Hyatt. Remember that we’ll also be offering early-bird shopping in the dealers’ room from 6 to 10 PM on Thursday evening, an extra four 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. Please remember that PulpFest is not a comic book convention. Sexually explicit material, including Playboy, Penthouse and Oui, is not allowed.

Call of Cthulhu One-SheetFrom 9 to 10 AM on Friday, August 14th, the dealers’ room will be open only to dealers for set-up. It will open to all at 10 AM and remain open until 4:30 PM. Our afternoon programming will start at 1 PM with the first of two New Fictioneers readings — by Jason Scott Aiken and John Hegenberger — followed by a presentation on the Pulp Magazines Project. Our evening programming will begin at 7 PM as PulpFest chairman Jack Cullers offers an official welcome to all attendees. Friday night’s programming will include a discussion of Standard Magazines’ managing editor, Leo Margulies, featuring Philip Sherman, the nephew of the “Little Giant of the Pulps.” Our guest-of-honor, author Chet Williamson, will discuss his career and explain how “the old gentleman” of Providence influenced him in his writing as well as the writing of his peers in the world of modern horror fiction. Our special guest from the world of art, Jon Arfstrom, the last of the artists who painted covers for the original run of WEIRD TALESwill also talk briefly with pulp art historian David Saunders. We’ll also have our friends from FarmerCon X on hand for a discussion of the weird tales of Philip José Farmer, while a panel of popular culture historians will discuss the development of the Cthulhu or Lovecraft Mythos. Our final panel, Thrilling Heroes of Standard’s Pulps and Comics will feature pulp and comic book scholars Matt Moring, Will Murray, Michelle Nolan, and Garyn Roberts. We’ll close the night with a showing of THE CALL OF CTHULHU and COOL AIR, part of our Lovecraft at the Movies film series.

On Saturday, August 15th, the PulpFest dealers’ room will be open from 9 AM to 4:30 PM. This should allow plenty of time for people to prepare for our Saturday Night Dinner at Buca di Beppo, a get-together arranged by registration and volunteer coordinator Sally Cullers. If you don’t plan to attend, there are plenty of other restaurants close to the hotel. You’ll find a guide to the many fine downtown restaurants by clicking here as well as a map to find them by clicking here.

Air War 1944-SummerOur Saturday afternoon programming will start at 12:30 PM when author Duane Spurlock will read from AIRSHIP HUNTERS and FIGHTING ALASKA. Afterward, Ron Fortier will moderate a New Pulp Fiction Panel on “The Heirs of WEIRD TALES.” It will be followed by a presentation on WEIRD TALES artist Lee Brown Coye and another New Fictioneer reading featuring the weird poetry and prose of Scott Urban. Saturday evening’s events will include the PulpFest 2015 Business Meeting beginning at 7:10 PM, where two lucky members who had booked a stay at the Hyatt Regency will receive full membership refunds. It will be followed by the 2015 Munsey Award Presentation. Our programming for the evening will include Weird Editing at “The Unique Magazine,” The Thrilling Adventures of Rudolph Belarski, and a showing of THE WHISPERER IN DARKNESS and PROFESSOR PEABODY’S LAST LECTURE, part of our Lovecraft at the Movies film series. Tucked in before our movies start will be our Saturday Night Auction, featuring material consigned by our membership.

Any member of PulpFest 2015 can submit items to the auction. Your PulpFest badge number will be used as your auction bidder and/or seller number. We will begin taking consignments for the auction when our dealers’ room opens on Friday, August 14th. The sooner you submit your consignment to Mike Chomko, the more likely that it will be included in our auction. Mike’s tables will be along the wall, just inside the entrance to the PulpFest dealers’ room. All auction lots must be submitted to Mike prior to 2 PM, Saturday, August 15th. All lots submitted must have a minimum value of $20. All lots that do not receive a bid of $20 or more will be passed. If you plan to offer an auction lot with a reserve price, your reserve must be $50 or more. No lots with a reserve price of less than $50 will be accepted. PulpFest reserves the right to reject any auction material that is unlikely to meet our minimum bid or reserve price standards as well as our content standards. The convention charges sellers 10% of the selling price for anything sold in the auction. For additional information, please click on the auction link on our programming schedule or contact Barry Traylor via email at barry@pulpfest.com.

For pulp fans who like games, gaming fans who like pulps, or just people who like to have fun, PulpFest 2015 will be introducing a gaming track. Many of the themes found in the world of modern games resonate from the pulps and the stories published in those magazines. There are games based on Conan, the Cthulhu Mythos, space operas such as Doc Smith’s Lensman series, westerns, mysteries and, of course, the pulp heroes. Role-playing games, or RPGs, are especially noted for quick action, cliff-hangers, and adventure.

Arkham Horror

The PulpFest 2015 gaming track will begin at 10 AM on Friday and Saturday and last until 10 PM or thereabouts.  On Sunday, games will begin at 10 AM and continue until the end of the convention. All games will be set up in the Clark Room, located on the second floor of the Hyatt Regency. The only requirements to play games at PulpFest 2015 are a PulpFest membership, your imagination, and a desire to have a good time. So if you enjoy pulps and you enjoy games, PulpFest will be the place to be. If you have questions about our gaming track, please write to PulpFest programming director Mike Chomko at mike@pulpfest.com.

For additional details on all of our afternoon and evening programming events, please visit click the red schedule button on our home page for further details. Each entry is linked to a post that provides further information on that event. Just click on the event’s title.

On Sunday, August 16th, the dealers’ room will be open to all members from 10 AM to 2 PM as our dealers pack up. If you are coming just for the day, please be aware that buying and selling opportunities may be limited. Admission to the convention for Sunday only will be $10, the cost of our annual program book, THE PULPSTER.

Thrilling Sports 36-09We are hoping that this year’s con will be our biggest and best yet. For some time, we’ve been receiving registrations every day, many from people who have never attended PulpFest before. If you’ve been thinking about attending, but have yet to pull the trigger, please book a room without delay. Click here and you’ll find a link to a list of hotels to choose from. There may still be some rooms available at nearby hotels. Alternately, we suggest that you search for a room at tripadvisor and similar websites as soon as you possibly can.

The Hyatt Regency is located at 350 North High Street in downtown Columbus, Ohio. The hotel is south of I-670, just 15-20 minutes from Columbus International Airport. In the heart of the active Arena District, the Hyatt Regency is just a few minutes’ walk from the trendy Short North Arts District. There are shops and restaurants galore right outside the hotel’s entrance. Click here for map & directions.

For those who will be staying at the Hyatt Regency during the convention, parking is free at the Chestnut Street Garage, one block south of the hotel. The garage is connected to the hotel via an enclosed and covered walkway. For those visiting PulpFest for the day, you can also use the Chestnut Street Garage. Rates vary based on time, but $16 will get you a day’s parking with in and out privileges. Additional parking is available at the Convention Center underground garage or the Center’s east lot. Again, rates are time-based and $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.

For those attendees who would like to ship their purchases to their homes, PulpFest 2015 has arranged for a local UPS provider to be available at the hotel on Sunday, August 16th. He will be arriving between 11 AM and noon and will stay as long as his services are needed. Further information is available on our FAQ page.

The entire PulpFest 2015 organizing committee – Mike Chomko, Jack and Sally Cullers, Barry Traylor, and Chuck Welch – is looking forward to seeing all of you. Have a safe trip to Columbus for “Summer’s Great Pulp Con.”

(Most of our promotional materials for PulpFest 2015 featured Matt Fox’s cover for the November 1944 issue of WEIRD TALES, one of about a dozen covers he painted for “the unique magazine.”

Alex Schomburg contributed substantially to Ned Pines’ Standard Magazines and Comics, including the January 1948 issue of STARTLING COMICS.

American painter, illustrator, graphic designer, web designer, poster artist and painter of book jackets, comic books, games and pin-ups Lee Moyer has created many Lovecraftian works of art, including the film poster for THE CALL OF CTHULHU, produced by the H. P. Lovecraft Historical Society in 2005.

Rudolph Belarski’s cover to the Summer 1944 issue of AIR WAR is one of many covers that the talented artist painted for Ned Pines’ “Thrilling Group” of pulp magazines.

Besides RPGs, there will be a number of board and card games that will be demonstrated and played at the convention. These games can last from twenty minutes to several hours. One board game that will be featured during PulpFest‘s new gaming track will be Fantasy Flight’s ARKHAM HORROR.

The first issue of THRILLING SPORTS was dated September 1936 and featured “The Hurdling Hurricane,” credited to Arthur William Rickard, as its cover story. The cover art for the issue was by Earle K. Bergey, who, along with Rudolph Belarski, created many cover paintings for Standard’s sports pulps.)

PulpFest 2015 Gaming Event Schedule

Aug 10, 2015 by

Arkham Horror

New at this year’s PulpFest will be a gaming track. Many of the themes found in the world of modern games resonate from the pulps and the stories published in those magazines. There are games based on Conan, the Cthulhu Mythos, space operas, westerns, mysteries and, of course, the pulp heroes. So if you enjoy gaming, PulpFest is a fantastic opportunity to learn more about the roots of some of the great stories that permeate the hobby.

PulpFest will have a room set up with eight tables where a variety of board games, card games, and role-playing games, or RPGs, will be presented. Thanks to longtime pulp and gaming fan Rick Thomas and several Columbus-based gaming groups, PulpFest 2015 is shaping up to be one of the most fun and exciting conventions in years.

For a look at the many games that will be played at this year’s PulpFest, please click here. You’ll find when each game will be played, descriptions of each game, who will be running the games, and much more.

The Columbus chapter of the Ohio Pathfinder Society will run RPGs dealing with weird tales, ancient ruins, and murder mysteries set in a fantasy world based on the Pathfinder RPG. Another Ohio group, Rogue Cthulhu, will be running role-playing adventures based on H. P. Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos and other weird tales set in the 1920s. Besides RPGs, there will be a number of board and card games that will be demonstrated and played at the convention. These games can last from twenty minutes to several hours. They will be set up for people looking to find some new and interesting entertainment at PulpFest 2015.  We’ll be offering Cthulhu Dice, Elder Sign, Arkham Horror, and more.

The PulpFest 2015 gaming track will begin at 10 AM on Friday and Saturday and last until 10 PM or thereabouts.  On Sunday, games will begin at 10 AM and continue until the end of the convention. All games will be set up in the Clark Room, located on the second floor of the Hyatt Regency.

The only requirements to play games at PulpFest 2015 are a PulpFest membership, your imagination, and a desire to have a good time. So if you enjoy pulps and you enjoy games, PulpFest will be the place to be. You can join us at the beautiful Hyatt Regency in Columbus, Ohio, beginning on Thursday evening, August 13th and running through Sunday afternoon, August 16th. Click here to learn how to register for “Summer’s Great Pulp Con,” and now, “Summer’s Great Pulp Gaming Con.” Although advance registrations end at 10 PM on Monday, August 10th, you’ll still be able to register at the door.

Cthulhu is Growing Impatient for Your Arrival!

Aug 7, 2015 by

“Our tangible world is only an atom in a fabric vast and ominous, and that
unknown demesnes press on and permeate the sphere of the known at every point . . .”

Lovecraft

If you’re at PulpFest 2015 on Friday evening, August 14th, you’ll probably be in our programming area, listening to author Chet Williamson, the convention’s guest of honor, explaining how “the old gentleman” of Providence influenced him in his writing. Later, Jon Arfstrom, perhaps the last living artist who contributed covers to the original run of WEIRD TALES, will talk about his career. Closing out the evening will be a pair of panels — a FarmerCon presentation examining “The Weird Tales of Philip José Farmer” and PulpFest‘s main panel of the evening, “The Call of Cthulhu: The Development of Lovecraft’s Mythos.” The evening ends with a showing of THE CALL OF CTHULHUIt will be followed by COOL AIR, a short film made for ROD SERLING’S NIGHT GALLERY and based on the Lovecraft work of the same title. It originally aired in 1971.

On Saturday, our celebration of the 125th anniversary of the birth of H. P. Lovecraft continues at PulpFest 2015. We’ll be turning our attention to WEIRD TALES, the pulp magazine where the bulk of the horror master’s work was originally published.

During our afternoon programming, we welcome a talented group of today’s fictioneers — the scribes and word-slingers who are creating the new pulp fiction — to discuss the writers and stories published by “The Unique Magazine,” the genres it helped to generate, and how WEIRD TALES has influenced contemporary writers. It’s called “The Heirs of WEIRD TALES” and promises to be the most fantastic “new pulp” panel we’ve ever assembled.

Back around the beginning of May, Feral House, a small press with a taste for the outrageous, approached PulpFest with an offer that was very difficult to refuse. Author and collector Mike Hunchback had put together a definitive survey of the later work of illustrator Lee Brown Coye and was interested in presenting a slide show of the artist’s work at this year’s PulpFest. Given that our convention was celebrating the 125th anniversary of the birth of author H. P. Lovecraft, we jumped at the chance to have Mike be part of our 2015 conference. After all, Coye, like Lovecraft, was very strongly associated with “The Unique Magazine, “ WEIRD TALES. Join Mike Hunchback at 2:30 PM for “Pulp Macabre — The Art of Lee Brown Coye” in the PulpFest programming room on the second floor of the Hyatt Regency Columbus.

Our afternoon programming concludes with “Weird Prose and Poetry from Scott H. Urban,” readings of poems and fiction, both old and new. Scott promises to leave the bubbling chaos at home; however, he cannot guarantee that there will not be writhing tentacles and the ensuing loss of sanity.

PulpFest‘s WEIRD TALES programming continues at 7:55 PM with “Weird Editing at ‘The Unique Magazine,’” a panel presentation featuring Lovecraftian and pulp scholars discussing the editorial policies of WEIRD TALES, concentrating particularly on the era of its best-known editor, Farnsworth Wright.

Closing out the evening at 11:30 PM, will be an authorized showing of THE WHISPERER IN DARKNESSa film produced by the H. P. Lovecraft Historical Society. It will be paired with PROFESSOR PEABODY’S LAST LECTUREan episode from ROD SERLING’S NIGHT GALLERY that originally aired in 1971.

And don’t forget PulpFest now has a gaming track. This year, it will be centered around CALL OF CTHULHU and other games inspired by the work of H. P. Lovecraft.

There’s still time to join the celebration! There may even be some rooms available at nearby hotels. Please visit www.pulpfest.com/2015/06/16872/  and you’ll find a link to a list of hotels to choose from. The Hyatt Regency where the convention is taking place is totally booked. So what are you waiting for? Book a room and register now for “Summer’s Great Pulp Con.”

(The quotation that begins our post is from “The Descendant,” written by H. P. Lovecraft. It is a story fragment believed to have been written in 1927. It was first published in 1938 in the journal LEAVES, following Lovecraft’s death.

The photograph above, dated 1915 and taken by an unknown photographer, is from Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository.)