Introducing “PulpFest Profiles”

Aug 17, 2020 by

The pulp magazines of the early twentieth century have had a profound effect on popular culture across the globe. The fiction and art of the pulps reverberated through a wide variety of media — comic books, movies, paperbacks, television, men’s adventure magazines, radio drama, video, anime, manga, role-playing games, and more.

PulpFest seeks to honor the pulps by drawing attention to the many ways these rough-paper magazines have inspired writers, artists, film directors, software developers, and countless other creators over the years. Their influence extends to this very day.

In September, we’ll be introducing “PulpFest Profiles” to our homepage and social media sites. Appearing around the middle of each month, this exciting, new series will focus on contemporary creators who have been inspired by the throwaway fiction magazines called pulps. Our digest capsules about today’s pop culture creators will be orchestrated by a team of crack writers:

Sara Light-Waller has been a professional journalist and illustrator for over thirty years. She is also an accomplished new pulp fiction author/illustrator with two books out and more on the way. Sara is the winner of the 2020 Cosmos Prize for her illustrated short story, “Battle at Neptune.” A huge pulp fan, Sara is especially fond of science fiction pulps. The extent of her pulp fandom can best be measured by the oversized rendition of Frank R. Paul’s AMAZING STORIES cover that she painted on her garage. Sara is proud to be helping out with PulpFest to keep the stories and art alive and available to new readers who, as Sara puts it, “really need some whiz-bang in the face of the dystopian mess we’re living through.”

William Patrick Maynard is the licensed continuation author for the Sax Rohmer Literary Estate. His short fiction has been published in anthologies by Titan Books, Black Coat Press, Edge Publishing, Bold Venture Press, Riviere Blanche, Airship 27, and MX Books. He has authored over 250 articles for numerous magazines and websites. He has contributed Blu-ray commentary tracks and produced bonus features for releases by MGM, Shout Factory, Kino Lorber, and The Serial Squadron. Bill is on the editorial board of The Battered Silicon Dispatch Box and is a member of the PulpFest Organizing Committee where he serves as Assistant Director of Marketing and Afternoon Programming Director. He resides in Northeast Ohio.

Laurie Powers is the granddaughter of pulp author Paul S. Powers, Laurie Powers was introduced to the pulp community in 2007 through the publication of PULP WRITER: TWENTY YEARS IN THE AMERICAN GRUB STREET, her grandfather’s memoir of writing for the pulps, especially WILD WEST WEEKLY. She has also edited several collections of her grandfather’s work in various genres, releasing a number of previously unpublished stories. In 2013, she helped to arrange the donation of her grandfather’s personal papers as well as more than 400 pulp magazines featuring his work to the Rare Books and Manuscripts Library at Ohio State University in Columbus. She is the author of QUEEN OF THE PULPS: THE REIGN OF DAISY BACON AND LOVE STORY MAGAZINE, which was published by McFarland Books in 2019. At PulpFest 2016, Laurie presented “100 Years of the Specialty Pulp — LOVE STORY MAGAZINE and the Romance Pulp Phenomenon,” and was awarded the Munsey Award the same year. Laurie resides in Virginia.

Christopher Ryan has worn many creative hats in his life. An award-winning journalist and columnist in the Bronx and Manhattan, he also earned honors for playwriting, screenwriting, and acting. Active in community service, Chris has also taught high school, co-founded (as writer and performer) an urban comedy troupe, co-wrote a one-man show, and performed stand-up comedy. For over three decades, Chris has been a close collaborator of author Alex Simmons. The two discuss all things creative on their TELL THE DAMN STORY podcast.  An accomplished independent author and publisher with over a dozen books to his name. Most of Chris’ work is focused on detectives Mallory and Gunner in a modern urban interpretation of Dante’s “The Divine Comedy.” Chris teaches at Hackensack High School in northern New Jersey where he lives with his wife and their twin sons.

For our initial “PulpFest Profile,” Sara Light-Waller will be joined by David & Daniel Ritter of First Fandom Experience. Father and son, the Ritters are working to recreate the sense of wonder that was experienced by the early fans of science fiction. Their recent books include THE EARLIEST BRADBURY and THE VISUAL HISTORY OF SCIENCE FICTION FANDOM, VOLUME 1.

Watch for the first “PulpFest Profile” on Monday, September 14. Later profiles will include Win Scott Eckert, Joe Lansdale, Will Murray, Alex Simmons, Nicky Wheeler-Nicholson, and other contemporary creators.

(One of the major themes of PulpFest 2021 will be a celebration of the 90th anniversary of THE SHADOW, A DETECTIVE MAGAZINE. The Street & Smith pulp magazine debuted with its April 1931 number. Pictured here is its December 1, 1932 number, featuring a profile of The Shadow painted by George Rozen.

The first single character or hero pulp, THE SHADOW revived a fiction format that had disappeared with the demise of the dime novels and story papers. Author Walter B. Gibson refashioned The Shadow — the sinister narrator of CBS Radio’s THE DETECTIVE STORY HOUR — into the first pulp hero. Gibson’s character was a dark and mysterious crime-busting super-sleuth who embodied the iconic power of classic villains like Dracula. The Shadow served as the template for other hero pulps and, later, scores of comic book superheroes. Gibson and his occasional fill-in, Theodore Tinsley, also introduced the concept of super-crooks and super-crime. Lasting 325 issues and spanning eighteen years, THE SHADOW pulp was canceled in 1949.

We hope you’ll join us next year in Mars, Pennsylvania for “Love in the Shadows,” a celebration of ninety glorious years of The Dark Avenger, 100 years of LOVE STORY MAGAZINE, and much more. You’ll find us at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Pittsburgh – Cranberry from August 18 – 21 for PulpFest 2021.)