ARGOSY, ADVENTURE & BLUE BOOK — The Men’s Adventure Pulps

May 15, 2019 by

ARGOSY . . . ADVENTURE . . . BLUE BOOK . . . when it comes to pulps, these three magazines were the “aristocrats.”

THE ARGOSY was the first pulp magazine, having been converted to an all-fiction magazine with its October 1896 issue. Two months later, publisher Frank Munsey began to print it on wood-pulp paper. The rough-paper fiction magazine — or pulp  — was born.

When THE ARGOSY celebrated its 25th anniversary in 1907, its circulation had reached a half million copies. Given its success, THE ARGOSY was bound to attract imitators. Street & Smith, longtime publisher of dime novels and story papers, was first to meet the call. It debuted THE POPULAR MAGAZINE in late 1903. Munsey countered in 1904 with its second pulp, THE ALL-STORY. One year later, the Story-Press Corporation introduced THE MONTHLY STORY MAGAZINE. Not long thereafter, it became THE MONTHLY STORY BLUE BOOK MAGAZINE. In late 1910, the Ridgway Company introduced the pulp known as ADVENTURE.

These five periodicals —  along with SHORT STORIES — led the pulp magazine industry for decades, publishing some of the field’s best writers: H Bedford-Jones, Max Brand, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Agatha Christie, Zane Grey, H. Rider Haggard, James B. Hendryx, Harold Lamb, A. Merritt, Clarence Mulford, Talbot Mundy, E. Phillips Oppenheim, Sax Rohmer, Rafael Sabatini, Edgar Wallace, and others. They also introduced the world to Tarzan, Zorro, Barsoom, Hopalong Cassidy, Captain Blood, and Pellucidar.

The stresses of World War II — the loss of writers and artists to the war effort, paper shortages, declining readerships, changing tastes — generated a slow but steady metamorphosis of the “aristocrats.” ARGOSY was the first to change.

In 1943, ARGOSY was converted to a bedsheet, semi-slick magazine. Although fiction stories by top pulp writers remained a mainstay of the magazine, true war stories became more common, as did other true or fact-based stories. In the early fifties, ADVENTURE and BLUE BOOK followed suit.

With the contraction of the pulp industry during the 1950’s, men’s adventure magazines began to take off. The successful transformations of ARGOSY, ADVENTURE, and BLUEBOOK (as it was renamed in 1952) brought about a significant increase of men’s adventure magazine titles. Although many were short-lived, more than 150 men’s adventure magazines were launched during the decade, thanks to the three “aristocrats.”

Join PulpFest 2019 on Friday, August 16, as we welcome Bob Deis and Wyatt Doyle for “ARGOSYADVENTURE and BLUE BOOK — Men’s Adventure Pulps,” a look at the metamorphosis of these “pulp giants” into men’s adventure magazines.

PulpFest 2019 will begin on Thursday, August 15, and run through Sunday, August 18.  Join PulpFest at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Pittsburgh – Cranberry, just north of Pennsylvania’s “Steel City” of Pittsburgh. To join PulpFest 2019, click the Register button below our homepage banner. To book a room at the DoubleTree by Hilton — our host hotel — click the Book a Room button, also found on our homepage.

(Bob Deis has worked as a teacher, an artist, a musician, a logger, a magazine writer, and a state government bureaucrat. By accident, he fell into a lengthy career as a political consultant. Now retired, Bob spends much of his time collecting, writing, and publishing books about the men’s adventure magazines, including the November 1957 issue of ADVENTURE, featuring cover art by Mort Künstler (as Emmett Kaye) and the May 1954 issue of BLUEBOOK, featuring cover art by John Walter. In 2009, Bob created the popular website about the genre, MensPulpMags.com. Several years later he became friends with another fan of the men’s adventure genre, writer and publisher Wyatt Doyle, co-founder of the New Texture imprint.

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

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.)

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

May 25, 2018 by

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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