Get Your Copy of THE PULPSTER

Sep 16, 2019 by

'The Pulpster' #28 (2019)Copies of THE PULPSTER #28 — the annual PulpFest program book — are available for purchase through Mike Chomko, Books, one of the leading purveyors of pulp-related publications in the field.

Echoing the “Children of the Pulps” portion of our PulpFest 2019 theme, THE PULPSTER takes a look at how characters and fictioneers from the pulpwood paper magazines influenced other characters, television, movies, and more that came after them.

Fronting the magazine is art by Rudolph Belarski from the cover for the September 1939 BLACK BOOK DETECTIVE magazine. It illustrates one aspect of how the pulps influenced the creation of the superhero in comics, with a decidedly Batman-looking Black Bat. That leads into the first of our cover stories.

Will Murray recalls how he and Anthony Tollin pieced together how the creators of Batman lifted elements from THE SHADOW MAGAZINE for their Dark Knight. Will also writes about Johnston McCulley, whom he calls the grandfather of the superhero. Meanwhile, D. Kepler looks at how McCulley’s most famous character — Zorro — on the 100th anniversary of his debut, has been portrayed on screens around the world.

Scott Tracy Griffin surveys how Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Tarzan begat generations of jungle men, women, and children in popular culture.

Three articles examine the pulp magazines’ influence on movies and television: Aaron H. Oliver writes about the 1960s western/spy TV series THE WILD WILD WEST; Jess Terrell looks at the original STAR WARS trilogy; and Sara Light-Waller details how Japanese anime (animated) and tokusatsu (live-action special effects film) drew from the pulps.

THE PULPSTER also celebrates the 100th anniversaries of two pulp magazines: ROMANCE and THE THRILL BOOK. Doug Ellis writes about how ROMANCE struggled for a year with its name and its place in the adventure field, while Richard Bleiler looks at the ambitious oddity that was THE THRILL BOOK.

Then editor emeritus of THE PULPSTER, Tony Davis, writes about Bertrand Sinclair and his nearly 50-year career in the pulps. And THE PULPSTER reprints a letter from fictioneer G. T. Fleming-Roberts in which he reflects on the influence of Sherlock Holmes on his career.

Of course, this issue has the regular departments: “Final Chapters,” by Davis, which notes those of the pulp community who have passed away during the last year; and columns by publisher Michael Chomko and editor Bill Lampkin. And we would be remiss without noting assistant editor Peter Chomko’s help with this issue.

If you’d like to order a copy of THE PULPSTER #28, please write to Mike Chomko at mike@pulpfest.com or 2217 W. Fairview St., Allentown, PA 18104-6542. The cost of the issue is $13, postage paid in the United States. Buyers from outside the United States should inquire about shipping charges, prior to placing an order.

Back issues of THE PULPSTER are also available through Mike Chomko, BooksA limited number of copies of THE PULPSTER #26 and 27 are available. The cost of each is $13, postage paid. Reduced postage is available on orders for multiple books. These prices are good only in the United States. Buyers from outside the United States should inquire about shipping charges, prior to placing an order. All other issues of THE PULPSTER are out of print.

Please note that all issues of THE PULPSTER — included this year’s number — are in very short supply. Order your copies before they are gone!

Mike will accept payments made via check or money order or through Paypal. Please write to him at mike@pulpfest.com or 2217 W. Fairview Street, Allentown, PA 18104-6542 for further instructions.

To learn more about THE PULPSTER, please visit thepulpster.com. For questions about submissions to THE PULPSTER, please write to Bill Lampkin at bill@pulpfest.com. For questions about advertising in THE PULPSTER, please write to Mike Chomko at mike@pulpfest.com.

(The cover art for THE PULPSTER #28 was originally painted by Rudolph Belarski  for the September 1939 BLACK BOOK DETECTIVE, published by Ned Pines’ Standard Magazines.)

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Zorro’s Centennial with Johnston McCulley Biographer D. Kepler

Aug 10, 2019 by

D. Kepler is a historian, journalist, writer and Zorro expert. After doing research in Europe for a book, he bought an 18th century hacienda in Portugal and lives a reclusive life in the sun. This year he published the first biography of Johnston McCulley, the creator of Zorro. An excerpt of the book is in THE PULPSTER this year. For PulpFest fans, Mr. Kepler offered a short interview in which he talks about Johnston McCulley and “100 Years of Zorro.”

Why did you wrote this biography in the first place?

I think it’s important to keep the legacy of pulp writers alive. Nowadays everybody knows Batman, Zorro and Doc Savage or the names of actors who played their part in the movies. Hardly anybody knows who actually created these characters and the stories back in the days. In general, producers and the people who own the rights to the characters are only interested in making money. The Gertz family, who own the rights to Zorro, are making millions with McCulley’s brainchild, but they hardly mention his name on their website, social media and so on. They should be ashamed. Interestingly enough, when I did the research for the biography in dusty newspaper archives and talked to relatives, I discovered that the life of McCulley was almost like a thrilling pulp adventure. It was fun to do!

In your biography and especially in the second part of the book 100 YEARS OF ZORRO, you have serious doubts if the Gertz family are the right people for owning the legacy of Zorro. Why?

Well, I’m not the only one, even judges nowadays are not convinced they are the rightful owners of Zorro. For example, a while ago a judge said the first Zorro story is in public domain and people could use the story without paying the Gertz family. John Gertz and his sister (Zorro Productions Inc.) were smart and went to the trademark office in the 1970s with the name Zorro. Zorro Productions Inc. has a trademark for uncountable products, but don’t produce these products. They just want to receive money when somebody else produces a “Zorro” product. They’re not very picky with the licenses. There is even a Zorro slot machine. I think it’s rather disgraceful to exploit a great character like that. If they actually were related to McCulley, it would be a different story. Instead, they are just strangers who shamelessly take advantage of the great ideas of a dead writer. In one of the chapters of my book, I write about how Zorro ended up in porn movies. Show some respect, please!

But didn’t Johnston McCulley sell the rights to Zorro to their father, Mitchell Gertz, in the 1940s?

That’s what they want us to believe. After doing extensive research, I have come to the conclusion that McCulley somehow might have been forced by Mitchell Gertz to sell him the rights. Who knows what happened? It doesn’t make any sense why McCulley sold the rights. Gertz was a former wrestler and Hollywood agent with a bad reputation. There isn’t even proof Gertz was actually McCulley’s agent and McCulley didn’t need the money. He was a wealthy man. After a few years, Gertz sold the rights to Disney. Years later, Disney sold the rights back to the children of Gertz. In fact, the stepdaughter of McCulley sued Gertz and Disney for conspiring to defraud. After years, the case was settled. Gertz was already dead by then, but Disney did settle for a reason with McCulley’s stepdaughter.

So in 2019, we celebrate the 100th anniversary of Zorro. Reading your book we’ve noticed you are more a fan of the old Zorro adaptions and not really a huge fan of the modern Zorro.

I’m a fan of the Zorro created by Johnston McCulley. For decades, Hollywood producers and comic book writers made up a completely different version of the original character. For example Don Diego was originally a dandy who knew he was a caballero by blood (upper class), a great character. In the fifties, Disney changed Don Diego into a more popular, manly, masculine type of guy for TV. Interesting character, but not the same. Furthermore, McCulley wrote for adults with romance and adult humor. Disney turned Zorro into a show for children. Slapstick humor and all that. That was where the money was. And still is. The Zorro movies with Banderas were still pretty childish for the same reason. They were still entertaining, but I would rather watch a rerun of the wonderful 1940 MARK OF ZORRO.

While doing your research, did you find anything that you would have preferred not to find?

I’m a writer, but also a historian and journalist. Therefore, I want to sell books, but also establish the truth. The problem with Zorro (or any other character with a fanbase) is, the fans don’t want to read bad things about their idol. So if you want to sell a lot of books, you might want to make a book for the fans and stick with the cheering. I didn’t. I write about the good Zorro stuff and the bad stuff. The latter is sometimes more entertaining by the way. I was afraid the biography could turn out boring but it didn’t. Not at all! The biography has some juicy stories and, it has to be said, some disturbing details. McCulley wasn’t exactly a saint. For example he ended up in court for molesting a 15 year old girl. Quite shocking stuff to write about, but like I said, it’s a biography and not a fan book.

At the end of the book you have added a bonus story by Johnston McCulley. Why that particular story?

It is actually the first story he wrote that got published in a magazine in 1906. It’s an interesting little story that has never before been republished. It’s unbelievable. It was written 13 years before his first Zorro story and when you read it, you immediately notice the man had talent!

Last question: PulpFest is coming up. Are you a fan of conventions?

First of all, I want to thank you guys for publishing an excerpt of the book in your program book. It’s great to be part of PulpFest 2019, especially with the 100th anniversary of Zorro. I think conventions like PulpFest are a great way to honor the godfathers of story writing. Next to that, it’s fun to meet writers, dealers, pulp collectors, and fans in person. Nowadays, everybody is chatting with each other and buying stuff on the internet. Nothing wrong with that, but conventions are more old school. You gotta love that! See you all at PulpFest!

The book JOHNSTON MCCULLEY, CREATOR OF ZORRO: THE BIOGRAPHY is available for Kindle via Amazon.

(Published in November 2018, D. Kepler’s biography of Johnston McCulley is subtitled: “100 Years Of Zorro The Exploitation Of A Cultural Icon.”

Our featured image of Johnston McCulley comes from the article, “Chillicothe’s Master Storyteller,” published in May 2013 by PEORIA MAGAZINE.)

Highlights from THE PULPSTER

Aug 7, 2019 by

'The Pulpster' #28 (2019)The 28th edition of THE PULPSTER will be in your hands at PulpFest 2019 in just a week, and, once again, it lands with a Pow! Smash!

Echoing the “Children of the Pulps” portion of this year’s PulpFest theme, THE PULPSTER takes a look at how characters and fictioneers from the pulpwood paper magazines influenced other characters, television, movies, and more that came after them.

Fronting the magazine is art by Rudolph Belarski from the cover for the September 1939 BLACK BOOK DETECTIVE magazine. It illustrates one aspect of how the pulps influenced the creation of the superhero in comics, with a decidedly Batman-looking Black Bat. That leads into the first of our cover stories.

Will Murray recalls how he and Anthony Tollin pieced together how the creators of Batman lifted elements from THE SHADOW MAGAZINE for their Dark Knight. Will also writes about Johnston McCulley, whom he calls the grandfather of the superhero. Meanwhile, D. Kepler looks at how McCulley’s most famous character — Zorro — on the 100th anniversary of his debut, has been portrayed on screens around the world.

Scott Tracy Griffin surveys how Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Tarzan begat generations of jungle men, women, and children in popular culture.

Three articles examine the pulp magazines’ influence on movies and television: Aaron H. Oliver writes about the 1960s western/spy TV series THE WILD WILD WEST; Jess Terrell looks at the original STAR WARS trilogy; and Sara Light-Waller details how Japanese anime (animated) and tokusatsu (live-action special effects film) drew from the pulps.

THE PULPSTER also celebrates the 100th anniversaries of two pulp magazines: THE THRILL BOOK and ROMANCE. Richard Bleiler looks at the ambitious oddity that was THE THRILL BOOK, while Doug Ellis writes about how ROMANCE struggled for a year with its name and its place in the adventure field.

Then editor emeritus of THE PULPSTER, Tony Davis, writes about Bertrand Sinclair and his nearly 50-year career in the pulps. And THE PULPSTER reprints a letter from fictioneer G. T. Fleming-Roberts in which he reflects on the influence of Sherlock Holmes on his career.

Of course, this issue has the regular departments: “Final Chapters,” by Davis, which notes those of the pulp community who have passed away during the last year; and columns by publisher Michael Chomko and editor Bill Lampkin. And we would be remiss without noting assistant editor Peter Chomko’s help with this issue.

A longstanding tradition cherished by attendees of the summer pulp con, THE PULPSTER will be released at PulpFest 2019. Every member of PulpFest — including supporting members — will receive a complimentary copy of THE PULPSTER.

(The cover art for THE PULPSTER #28 was originally painted by Rudolph Belarski  for September 1939 BLACK BOOK DETECTIVE, published by Better Publications Inc.

Following the convention, a limited number of copies of our program book will be available for purchase through Mike Chomko, Books. Please write to Mike — who also serves as the marketing and programming director for PulpFest — at mike@pulpfest.com or 2217 W. Fairview St., Allentown, PA 18104-6542 to reserve your copy. Mike also has selected back issues of THE PULPSTER. Please write to him to learn about availability.

For questions about submissions to THE PULPSTER or comments about the issue, please write to Bill Lampkin at bill@pulpfest.com. For any questions about advertising in future issues of THE PULPSTER, back issues, or ordering issue #28 of THE PULPSTER, please write to Mike Chomko at mike@pulpfest.com.)

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Advertise in THE PULPSTER

Feb 11, 2019 by

THE PULPSTER #27As we learned last week, Bill Lampkin is hard at work on the next issue of THE PULPSTER. You can expect another great issue from the esteemed editor and designer of our award-winning program book. Every member of PulpFest will receive a complimentary copy of THE PULPSTER.

Why not be part of the 2019 PULPSTER by placing an advertisement in the magazine? You have until June 15 to do so. All advertising is sold on a first-come, first-served basis, with payment expected upon reserving a space. Our cover spaces sell almost immediately.

Advertising rates for THE PULPSTER are very reasonable: color back cover – $250; inside front color cover – $150; inside back color cover – $125; inside color full page – $100; inside black-and-white full page – $80; color half-page – $80; black-and-white half-page – $50; black-and-white quarter page – $30. Please write to PulpFest marketing director Mike Chomko at mike@pulpfest.com to reserve your space in the magazine. THE PULPSTER has a circulation of 450+ copies.

Another way to advertise at PulpFest is to donate material for our members or to serve as door prizes. Over the years Chaosium, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc., THE MAGAZINE OF FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION, Radio Archives, Stark House Press, and other organizations have donated a variety of materials that have been given away free of charge to PulpFest attendees. Your donation will be acknowledged on our website and at the convention. If you’d like to offer something for our giveaway table or a door prize, please contact Mike Chomko at mike@pulpfest.com.

Sponsorships are also available. You can sponsor our 2019 “Welcome to PulpFest” banner for $150. For a contribution of $50 or more, you can be a hospitality suite sponsor. The annual cost of a website sponsorship is $150 per year. That’s just $12.50 per month. Your link will appear in the bar along the right side of our home page. To learn more about sponsorship opportunities at PulpFest, please contact PulpFest marketing and programming director Mike Chomko at mike@pulpfest.com.

(The cover art for our 2018 PULPSTER was originally painted by Rudolph Belarski  for the April 1940 THRILLING ADVENTURES, published by Ned Pines’ Standard Magazines.

Copies of THE PULPSTER #26 and 27 are available for purchase through Mike Chomko, Books, one of the leading purveyors of pulp-related publications in the field. The cost of each issue is $13 or $24 for both, postage paid in the United States. Buyers from outside the United States should inquire about shipping charges, prior to placing an order. For additional information, please write to Mike at mike@pulpfest.com.)

Last Call to Contribute to THE PULPSTER

Feb 4, 2019 by

THE PULPSTER with cover art by Walter BaumhoferDeadline for contributing articles to this year’s issue of THE PULPSTER is the end of April.

There is already an outstanding lineup of articles planned from Will Murray, Doug Ellis, Richard Bleiler, Scott Tracy Griffin, and others. But editor Bill Lampkin is always open to pitches for additional features. Please drop him an email at bill@pulpfest.com.

In addition to the magazine’s general focus on the pulp magazines, this year’s edition will also reflect the theme of PulpFest: The Children of the Pulps and Other Stories. We will examine how the pulp magazines influenced popular culture from the pulp era through today.

THE PULPSTER will also include the usual departments: Lampkin’s Editorial, “From the Publisher” by Mike Chomko, and the annual tributes by Tony Davis to those who have gone on to browse the great pulp rack in the sky.

Lampkin would like to hear your idea for an article. If you have one that you’d like to write — or if you have a topic you’d like to see covered in THE PULPSTER — please email him at bill@pulpfest.com. Deadline for submissions is April 30.

If you’re interested in promoting your work or organization by advertising in THE PULPSTER, please write to Mike Chomko at mike@pulpfest.com.

Meanwhile, stay tuned for another exciting issue of THE PULPSTER coming to PulpFest in August.

(The art used for this proposed cover of THE PULPSTER was originally painted by Walter Baumhofer. It depicts the original superman and was created for the March 1933 DOC SAVAGE MAGAZINE, published by Street & Smith Publications.

Copies of THE PULPSTER #26 and 27 are available for purchase through Mike Chomko, Books, one of the leading purveyors of pulp-related publications in the field. The cost of each issue is $13 or $24 for both, postage paid in the United States. Buyers from outside the United States should inquire about shipping charges, prior to placing an order. For additional information, please write to Mike at mike@pulpfest.com.)

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THE PULPSTER: Call for Contributions

Nov 5, 2018 by

Like PulpFest, planning for next year’s issue of THE PULPSTER begins well in advance of the annual convention.

The Pulpster logoWe always start with a clean slate, other than the usual departments, and that means we need your help with articles.

The theme for the 2019 PulpFest is “Children of the Pulps and Other Stories,” an exploration of how the pulp magazines influenced today’s genre fiction and popular culture.

Although we like to echo the convention’s theme in THE PULPSTER, we also include other articles pertaining to the pulps, to the men and women who wrote, illustrated, edited, and published the pulps, and to the pulp collecting hobby itself.

Do you have an idea for an article that you would like to write for THE PULPSTER? Please let us know.

THE PULPSTER #27Do you have an idea for an article that you would like to read in THE PULPSTER (but not necessarily write)? Let us know that, too, and we will see what we can do about finding someone to write it.

You can drop Editor Bill Lampkin an email at bill@pulpfest.com. The sooner he hears from you, the better. He has to plan space for articles and start collecting artwork and illustrations.

If you’re interested in advertising in THE PULPSTER, please write to PulpFest marketing and programming director Mike Chomko at mike@pulpfest.com. Mike can provide pricing and print specifications.

Copies of THE PULPSTER #27, the latest issue, are available from Mike Chomko, Books. He also has limited copies of issues #23 and #26.

(THE PULPSTER #27 marked the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I and how the Great War influenced the pulps. The cover, depicting a charge by French soldiers across “No Man’s Land,” was by Rudolph Belarski for the April 1940 THRILLING ADVENTURES.)

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