Why PulpFest?

Jul 19, 2017 by

Today, we’ve decided to share a short essay written by Walker Martin for Steve Lewis’ Mystery*File blog. Walker has been a reader and collector for over sixty years. In 1997, he received the Lamont Award at Pulpcon 26 in Bowling Green, Ohio. We’re proud to have him as one of our own and can think of no one better to answer the question, “Why PulpFest?” Take it away Walker . . .

PulpFest 2017, July 27-30, Pittsburgh, Pa.

The last couple days I’ve been thinking about PulpFest, which will be held July 27 through 30 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. That’s just three weeks away! I’ve been deluged by logical and sane-looking collectors and non-collectors all asking me the same question: why bother attending PulpFest? They have shown up at my house; they have called me on the telephone; they have sent me emails. Enough is enough! Here’s a list of excuses for not attending that I hear all the time, and why none of them are valid:

1 – I have no money! Sorry, but I’ve attended many a Pulpcon in the 1970’s, 1980’s, and 1990’s and I went with very little money. Are there no credit cards? Are there no credit unions? Are there no non-collecting spouses to borrow money from? Even when I had the money, I often blew it before the convention by visiting local bookstores like Bonnett’s and Dragon’s Lair in Dayton, Ohio. If not in the bookstores, then in the hotel rooms of friends who let me see what they were bringing to sell. I learned to go without much cash, but I brought a few boxes of pulps to trade and sell at my table.

2 – I’m in poor health and too sick to attend. Sorry again! I had a friend who had a terminal illness and came to Pulpcon anyway. Another friend actually collapsed at the convention and died soon after. I myself once threw my back out three days before the show and my doctor and chiropractor both told me to forget about making the long drive to the convention. I felt like I was crippled for life, but I managed to squeeze into the car and drive out. I had to stop numerous times near hotels because I thought I was not going to make it. Perhaps I could rent a room and lay there for a couple weeks until I could stand. It took me 16 hours instead of the usual 9 hours, but I made it. I spent the entire convention standing because sitting down caused back spasms.

3 – I have no space or I live in a small apartment. Collectors always make space for the things they love! When I first met Bob Lesser in the 1970’s he had an apartment full of Disney toys. This was New York City and the place was tiny. A path from the front door to the bed and another path to the bathroom. Otherwise, every inch was toys, robots, and paintings. I once ran out of space and I hunted for over a year until I found a bigger house. I went to dozens of open houses and looked at hundreds of houses. I finally found a big house. Unfortunately, I soon filled it up with books. Now I need a bigger place! The old story. . .

4 – My wife is a non-collector and forbids me to go. Tell me about it! I’ve been married over 40 years and I’ve heard it all. I still go and I still collect. Les Mayer told me in 1990 at the Wayne, New Jersey Pulpcon that his wife thought he was at a business meeting. If she knew he was at Pulpcon she might burn his pulps. Collectors have to become masters of deception and great liars to defeat the non-collector. Many a time I’ve lied and many a time I’ve smuggled books into the house in the dead of night while “she who must be obeyed” slept the innocent sleep of the non-collector. Non-collectors exist to be ignored . . .

5 – I can’t get off from work. Sorry, but this is not a valid reason. My employers always knew I was a rabid book collector who took off without exception a week for Pulpcon in the summer. I made sure that my vacation request was in as early as I knew the convention dates. Once they sorrowfully told me I couldn’t go because of some work bullshit. I went anyway and left it to them to ignore my absence without leave or put up with one pissed-off book collector. I realize the employment situation is different nowadays, but which is more important, your job or your collection? Your marriage or your collection? Right, your collection.

6 – Who cares about the convention? I can buy my pulps off ebay. Back in the 1920’s and 1930’s, dime novel collectors existed. But they didn’t have a convention and died off. Now I know of only a few in existence and dime novels are just about worthless. If I had a table full of dime novels priced at a buck apiece, most collectors would scurry away in disgust. We have to support the two big pulp conventions — Windy City in Chicago and PulpFest in Columbus. If we don’t, then one day we will wake up and the pulps will be dead. These shows garner a lot of attention and people keep talking about the pulps because of the efforts of Mike Chomko, Jack and Sally Cullers, Doug Ellis, John Gunnison, Bill Lampkin, Barry Traylor, Chuck Welch, and all the other people who lend a hand.

7 – It’s too late! Like hell. There are hotels with rooms available nearby. What’s the most important thing in a serious collector’s life? His collection, without a doubt. We work, we slave, we march on to the bitter end where we will eat dirt in the boneyard. We live lives of quiet desperation and worry about the afterlife. Go to PulpFest and collect some books and pulps! You only live once . . .

8 – And finally the best reason for attending! They are a hell of a lot of fun. Not only do you get to roam around a gigantic dealers’ room full of books and pulps, but you get to meet and talk to some of the greatest collectors and dealers. These will lead to future deals and contacts. Plus you can eat and drink with them! Though I seem to be one of last of the drinkers. And the panels! All day and all night, we will be discussing pulps and books. What’s cooler than that?

I’ve never met a magazine or book collector who regretted attending PulpFest. I hope to see some of you there!

(And so do we. The convention will take place from Thursday evening, July 27, through Sunday afternoon, July 30, at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Pittsburgh – Cranberry, just outside Pennsylvania’s “Steel City.” Start making your plans to join us at the “pop culture center of the universe” for PulpFest 2017. You’ll have an AMAZING time!

If you are not from the Pittsburgh area and have yet to book your room for this year’s PulpFest, you can book your room directly through the DoubleTree website. You can also reserve a room by calling 1-800-222-8733. Please be sure to mention PulpFest in order to receive the special rate. Thanks so much to everyone who has reserved a room at our host hotel. By staying at the DoubleTree, you’ve helped to ensure the convention’s success.

Walker Martin’s essay, “Why Attend PulpFest?” originally appeared — in slightly different form — on Steve Lewis’ Mystery*File blog on August 9, 2015 as the seventeenth segment of “Collecting Pulps: A Memoir.”) 

It’s Getting Windy: The Windy City Pulp & Paper Convention

Mar 20, 2017 by

The Windy City Pulp and Paper Convention returns to the Westin Lombard Yorktown Center on Friday, April 21, beginning with early-bird shopping at 9:30 AM. The dealers’ room will open to all at 11 AM. Additionally, the Windy City con suite will be open on Thursday night, April 20, from 8 PM to midnight. You can pick up your registration materials during this time. The convention runs through Sunday afternoon, April 23, with its dealers’ room closing at 4 PM.

This year’s Windy will be celebrating the 90th anniversary of the gangster pulps as well as Martin Goodman’s Red Circle pulps, the forerunner to Marvel Comics. As part of this celebration, Windy City has invited legendary comic artist Jim Steranko to be its Guest of Honor.

The Windy is noted for its substantial auctions; its art exhibition, sponsored by Illustration Magazine; and its extensive film program, organized by Ed Hulse of Murania Press. Once again, there will be “new pulp” panels and readings on Sunday, running from 10 AM until 3 PM.

Click on the link that starts our post to learn more about the Windy City Pulp and Paper Convention or visit the convention’s Facebook pagePulpFest chairman Jack Cullers, volunteer coordinator Sally Cullers, technology director Chuck Welch, and marketing and programming director Mike Chomko will all be attending Windy City. Stop by Mike’s table right next to the Adventure House booth and pick up a registration form for PulpFest 2017. Jack, Sally, Chuck, and Mike will be more than happy to answer your questions about this summer’s pulp con, beginning on Thursday evening, July 27, and running through Sunday afternoon, July 30, at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Pittsburgh – Cranberry, just nineteen miles north of the exciting city of Pittsburgh. Start making your plans to join us at the “pop culture center of the universe” for PulpFest 2017. 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. And we do hope to see you at Windy City!

(As pulp historian John Locke has written elsewhere, “In 1929, a new kind of magazine appeared on newsstands: the gang pulps! And nothing that came before gave the pulps a worse reputation. Month after month, the stories luridly recounted the exploits of the most sadistic killers, the most craven squealers, the most coldblooded gun molls, the most corrupt cops, the most ruthless gang bosses, the most brutal mob wars, that ever escaped the realm of the imagination — a genre of extremes. There had been outlaw heroes in crime fiction before, but none like this new breed, who toasted with bootleg liquor while their bloody victims lay dying on the floor. Almost immediately, the gang pulps came under attack from the censors. America’s morals lay dying on the pulpwood pages, they claimed.

Centered in the crosshairs was famed pulp editor Harold Hersey, creator of GANGSTER STORIES, RACKETEER STORIES, SPEAKEASY STORIES and a raft of other gang magazines.” Another Hersey title was GANGLAND STORIES — its January – February 1932 issue pictured here — which often featured cover art by Walter Baumhofer.)

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Why PulpFest?

Jul 13, 2016 by

Today, we’ve decided to share a short essay written by Walker Martin for Steve Lewis’ Mystery*File blog. Walker has been a reader and collector for over sixty years. In 1997, he received the Lamont Award at Pulpcon 26 in Bowling Green, Ohio. We’re proud to have him as one of our own and can think of no one better to answer the question, “Why PulpFest?” Take it away Walker . . .

PulpFest 2016 — Summer's AMAZING Pulp Con!

The last couple days I’ve been thinking about PulpFest, which will be held July 21 through 24 in Columbus Ohio. That’s just a week from tomorrow! I’ve been deluged by logical and sane-looking collectors and non-collectors all asking me the same question: why bother attending PulpFest? They have shown up at my house; they have called me on the telephone; they have sent me emails. Enough is enough! Here’s a list of excuses for not attending that I hear all the time, and why none of them are valid:

1 – I have no money! Sorry, but I’ve attended many a Pulpcon in the 1970’s, 1980’s, and 1990’s and I went with very little money. Are there no credit cards? Are there no credit unions? Are there no non-collecting spouses to borrow money from? Even when I had the money, I often blew it before the convention by visiting local bookstores like Bonnett’s and Dragon’s Lair in Dayton, Ohio. If not in the bookstores, then in the hotel rooms of friends who let me see what they were bringing to sell. I learned to go without much cash, but I brought a few boxes of pulps to trade and sell at my table.

2 – I’m in poor health and too sick to attend. Sorry again! I had a friend who had a terminal illness and came to Pulpcon anyway. Another friend actually collapsed at the convention and died soon after. I myself once threw my back out three days before the show and my doctor and chiropractor both told me to forget about making the long drive to the convention. I felt like I was crippled for life, but I managed to squeeze into the car and drive out. I had to stop numerous times near hotels because I thought I was not going to make it. Perhaps I could rent a room and lay there for a couple weeks until I could stand. It took me 16 hours instead of the usual 9 hours, but I made it. I spent the entire convention standing because sitting down caused back spasms.

3 – I have no space or I live in a small apartment. Collectors always make space for the things they love! When I first met Bob Lesser in the 1970’s he had an apartment full of Disney toys. This was New York City and the place was tiny. A path from the front door to the bed and another path to the bathroom. Otherwise, every inch was toys, robots, and paintings. I once ran out of space and I hunted for over a year until I found a bigger house. I went to dozens of open houses and looked at hundreds of houses. I finally found a big house. Unfortunately, I soon filled it up with books. Now I need a bigger place! The old story. . .

4 – My wife is a non-collector and forbids me to go. Tell me about it! I’ve been married over 40 years and I’ve heard it all. I still go and I still collect. Les Mayer told me in 1990 at the Wayne, New Jersey Pulpcon that his wife thought he was at a business meeting. If she knew he was at Pulpcon she might burn his pulps. Collectors have to become masters of deception and great liars to defeat the non-collector. Many a time I’ve lied and many a time I’ve smuggled books into the house in the dead of night while “she who must be obeyed” slept the innocent sleep of the non-collector. Non-collectors exist to be ignored . . .

5 – I can’t get off from work. Sorry, but this is not a valid reason. My employers always knew I was a rabid book collector who took off without exception a week for Pulpcon in the summer. I made sure that my vacation request was in as early as I knew the convention dates. Once they sorrowfully told me I couldn’t go because of some work bullshit. I went anyway and left it to them to ignore my absence without leave or put up with one pissed-off book collector. I realize the employment situation is different nowadays, but which is more important, your job or your collection? Your marriage or your collection? Right, your collection.

6 – Who cares about the convention? I can buy my pulps off ebay. Back in the 1920’s and 1930’s, dime novel collectors existed. But they didn’t have a convention and died off. Now I know of only a few in existence and dime novels are just about worthless. If I had a table full of dime novels priced at a buck apiece, most collectors would scurry away in disgust. We have to support the two big pulp conventions — Windy City in Chicago and PulpFest in Columbus. If we don’t, then one day we will wake up and the pulps will be dead. These shows garner a lot of attention and people keep talking about the pulps because of the efforts of Mike Chomko, Jack and Sally Cullers, Doug Ellis, John Gunnison, Bill Lampkin, Barry Traylor, Chuck Welch, and all the other people who lend a hand.

7 – It’s too late! Like hell. There are hotels with rooms available nearby. What’s the most important thing in a serious collector’s life? His collection, without a doubt. We work, we slave, we march on to the bitter end where we will eat dirt in the boneyard. We live lives of quiet desperation and worry about the afterlife. Go to PulpFest and collect some books and pulps! You only live once . . .

8 – And finally the best reason for attending! They are a hell of a lot of fun. Not only do you get to roam around a gigantic dealers’ room full of books and pulps, but you get to meet and talk to some of the greatest collectors and dealers. These will lead to future deals and contacts. Plus you can eat and drink with them! Though I seem to be one of last of the drinkers. And the panels! All day and all night, we will be discussing pulps and books. What’s cooler than that?

I’ve never met a magazine or book collector who regretted attending PulpFest. I hope to see some of you there!

(And so do we. The convention will take place from Thursday evening, July 21, through Sunday afternoon, July 24, in the Columbus, Ohio Arena district at the Hyatt Regency hotel and the city’s spacious convention center. Start making your plans to join us at the “pop culture center of the universe” for PulpFest 2016. You’ll have an AMAZING time!

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

Walker Martin’s essay, “Why Attend PulpFest?” originally appeared — in slightly different form — on Steve Lewis’ Mystery*File blog on August 9, 2015 as the seventeenth segment of “Collecting Pulps: A Memoir.) 

 

It’s Getting Windy! The Windy City Pulp & Paper Convention

Mar 28, 2016 by

Amazing Stories 26-04The Windy City Pulp and Paper Convention returns to the Westin Lombard Yorktown Center on Friday, April 22nd, beginning with early-bird shopping at 9:30 AM. The dealers’ room will open to all at 11 AM. The convention runs through Sunday afternoon, April 24th, with its dealers’ room closing at 4 PM. Like PulpFest, this year’s Windy will be celebrating the 90th anniversary of the first science-fiction magazine, AMAZING STORIES.

The Windy City con suite will also be open on Thursday night, April 21st, from 8 PM to midnight. You can pick up your registration materials during this period of time.

The Windy is noted for its substantial auctions; its art exhibition, sponsored by Illustration Magazine; and its extensive film program, organized by Ed Hulse of Murania Press. Once again, there will be “new pulp” panels and readings on Sunday, running from 10 AM until 3 PM. There will also be one panel each on Friday and Saturday evenings.

Click on the link above to learn more about the Windy City Pulp and Paper Convention or visit the convention’s Facebook page at http://windycitypulpandpaper.com/home/PulpFest chairman Jack Cullers, volunteer coordinator Sally Cullers, and marketing and programming director Mike Chomko will all be attending Windy City. Stop by their tables right next to the Adventure House booth and pick up a registration form for this year’s PulpFest. Technology director Chuck Welch may also be present. Jack, Sally, Chuck, and Mike will be more than happy to answer your questions about “Summer’s AMAZING Pulp Con,” taking place from Thursday evening, July 21st and running through Sunday afternoon, July 24th in the Columbus, Ohio Arena district at the Hyatt Regency hotel and the city’s spacious convention center. Start making your plans to join us at the “pop culture center of the universe” for PulpFest 2016. And we do hope to see you at Windy City!

(The first issue of the first science-fiction pulp — AMAZING STORIES — was cover-dated April 1926. Hugo Gernsback both edited and published the magazine. His most favored artist was Frank R. Paul — now known as the “grandfather of science-fiction art” — who painted both the first and the last covers of the Gernsback AMAZING. The final issue of Gernsback’s AMAZING was dated April 1929.)

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Soon It’s Getting Windy!

Mar 19, 2015 by

Astounding Stories 36-02We hope everyone who will be attending the Los Angeles Vintage Paperback Collectors Show over the coming weekend will have a great time. With over fifty authors and artists scheduled to attend, you’re bound to enjoy yourselves. Back east, we’re expecting snow. But in less than a month, it will be getting Windy.

The Windy City Pulp and Paper Convention returns to the Westin Lombard Yorktown Center on Friday, April 17th, beginning with early-bird shopping at 9:30 AM. The convention runs through Sunday afternoon, April 19th, with its dealers’ room closing at 4 PM. Like PulpFest, this year’s Windy will be celebrating the 125th anniversary of H. P. Lovecraft’s birth.

The Windy is noted for its substantial auctions; its art exhibition, sponsored by Illustration Magazine; and its extensive film program, organized by Ed Hulse of Murania Press.

Click on the link above to learn more about the Windy City Pulp and Paper Convention or visit the convention’s Facebook page by clicking herePulpFest chairman Jack Cullers, volunteer coordinator Sally Cullers, and marketing and programming director Mike Chomko will all be attending Windy City. Stop by their tables right next to John and Maureen Gunnison’s Adventure House tables and pick up a registration form for this year’s PulpFest. Jack, Sally, and Mike will be more than happy to answer your questions about “Summer’s Great Pulp Con,” taking place from Thursday evening, August 13th and running through Sunday afternoon, August 16th at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Columbus, Ohio. Click here to book your room.

(Howard V. Brown painted the front cover art for the February 1936 issue of ASTOUNDING STORIES, published by Street & Smith. The issue featured the beginning of H. P. Lovecraft’s novel, “At the Mountains of Madness,” serialized in three monthly segments.)

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Fishing for Pulps

Feb 25, 2014 by

its-got-to-be-old-wally by HowittHere in the Northeast, the only fishing that we’ve been doing for the last few months has been through a hole cut in the ice. Thankfully, there’s a thaw in our future and soon we’ll be digging out our tackle boxes and our rods and heading for the “old fishing hole,” hoping to catch us a big ‘un.  But that’s not the only place to catch fish. You’ll find some of our favorite spots below.

Check out the fishing at the 35th annual Los Angeles Vintage Paperback Show. This one-day show on Sunday, March 6th, will feature appearances by over forty-five writers and illustrators including James Blaylock, Christa Faust, Gary Gianni, Tim Kirk, Richard Lupoff, Larry Niven, Tim Powers, and many others. It will be held in the Glendale Civic Auditorium in Glendale, California.

Unfortunately, the creek ran dry for the South’s leading pulp convention, Pulp Ark. This Arkansas-based event was noted for gathering together writers, artists, and fans of “new pulp” fiction. As such, it was home to the movement’s annual award ceremony. But all is not lost, thanks to MidSouthCon. Based in Memphis, Tennessee for over two decades, the convention will be handing out the New Pulp Awards on Sunday, March 23rd.

Grab your flashlight, catch some nightcrawlers, and head for Chicago’s Windy City Pulp and Paper Convention. Now in its 14th year, the Windy will be celebrating the 85th anniversary of Dashiell Hammett’s Sam Spade, one of the best-known detective characters to emerge from the pulps. Noted for its excellent auctions and pulp art exhibition, this Second City convention will be held at the Westin Lombard Yorktown Center from April 25th – 27th.

Fantastic PulpsLatch on to your oars and start rowing for Canada’s 18th annual Fantastic Pulps Show & Sale at the Lillian H. Smith branch of the Toronto Public Library in Ontario. A small show featuring twenty-five dealers’ tables crammed with vintage pulps and paperbacks, pulp reprints, posters, and more, it is set for Saturday, May 10th. You can learn more about this entertaining event by visiting the Girasol Collectables website.

If you’d rather fish than cut bait, then Cinevent 46, scheduled for May 22nd -25th, is for you. In addition to 170 tables of movie-related collectibles such as posters, lobby cards, presskits, DVDs, and 16 mm films, Cinevent features an extensive schedule of classic sound and silent films and one of the country’s largest live auctions of vintage posters. It will be held at the Ramada Plaza Hotel and Conference Center in Columbus, Ohio.

Cast your line at Adventure Fest, the latest edition of the Edgar Rice Burroughs Chain of Friendship Convention. It will be held June 19th – 21st at the Doublewood Inn in Fargo, New Dakota and feature guest appearances by several of the creators of the Burroughs comic strips published by ERB, Inc.

Reel ’em in later this spring at Classicon 45, one of the oldest pulp and paperback shows. Featuring 35 tables and thousands of collectible pulp magazines, paperbacks, vintage comic books, original artwork, and more, it is held twice a year in Lansing, Michigan. For further information, write to the Curious Book Shop at 304 East Grand River Avenue, East Lansing, Michigan 48823 or by email at cbsmail@curiousbooks.com.

See how the fish are biting on June 13th and 14th in Cross Plains, Texas at Robert E. Howard Days. This annual gathering of Two-Gun Bob’s fans is presented by Project Pride of Cross Plains and sponsored by the Robert E. Howard Foundation, with help from the members of the Robert E. Howard United Press Association. Patrice Louinet, one of the premier scholars in Howard studies, will be guest of honor.

What, you still haven’t caught your limit? Less than a week before summer’s great pulp con, the 2014 Burroughs Dum-Dum will be held at the LaSalle Hotel in Bryan, Texas from July 31st to August 2nd. Guests will be announced at a later date. For additional details, please write to Brad Vinson at bvinson@ag.tamu.edu.

FlyerDon’t let the big one get away! Bring it in, hook, line, and sinker, by attending the destination for fans and collectors of vintage popular fiction and related materials, PulpFest 2014. Join us from August 7th – 10th at the Hyatt Regency Columbus for summer’s great pulp con, celebrating science fiction’s golden year of 1939 and 75 years of fantastic fiction, as well as the shudder pulps of 1934!

At the same time he was churning out covers for Popular Publications’ Horror Stories, Operator #5, The Spider, Terror Tales, and other pulps, John Newton Howitt, the subject of David Saunders‘ 2014 presentation, was also contributing cover paintings to slick magazines such as The Country Gentleman, Liberty, and The Saturday Evening Post. He also created covers  for outdoor sporting magazines such as the  painting that leads off our post, entitled “It’s Got to Be Old Wally,” used on the July 1937 issue of National Sportsman.

Robert Harris painted the cover for the October 1937 issue of Doc Savage Magazine, illustrating Lester Dent’s “Repel,” while Graves Gladney contributed the artwork for the July 1939 issue of Astounding Science Fiction, illustrating A. E. Van Vogt’s “Black Destroyer.”