John Fleming Gould, Pulp Illustrator

Jun 6, 2018 by

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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