News and Reviews of PulpFest 2015

Sep 14, 2015 by

2015 FlyerIf you weren’t able to make it to Columbus, Ohio, for PulpFest 2015 or if you’d like to relive the many fine times of this year’s convention, there are plenty of opportunities via the Internet.

For your listening pleasure

A couple of websites offer audio recordings of PulpFest programming:

Read all about it

A number of blogs have posts where PulpFest 2015 attendees recount their experiences at the convention:

You can find updated report lists at Bill Thom’s Pulp Coming Attractions, and at Yellowed Perils.

(Most of our promotional materials for PulpFest 2015 featured Matt Fox’s cover for the November 1944 issue of WEIRD TALES, one of about a dozen covers the artist painted for “the unique magazine.” Also pictured here is a trio of thumbnails from the “Thrilling Group,” the nickname for Standard Magazines, likewise lauded during our 2015 convention. Each year, PulpFest is packed with programming highlighting a range of topics.

To see what you’ve been missing, start making your plans right now to join the 45th convening of “Summer’s Great Pulp Con” in 2016. Your PulpFest organizing committee is already starting to plan for next year’s convention. PulpFest 2016 will take place July 21 – 24 at the Hyatt Regency Columbus.)

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And the Winner of the 2015 Munsey Award Is . . .

Aug 15, 2015 by

Miller with 2015 Munsey AwardStephen T. Miller has been named the winner of the 2015 Munsey Award. Nominated by the general pulp community, Steve was selected through a vote cast by all the living Lamont, Munsey, and Rusty Award winners. The award is a fine art print created by Dan Zimmer of a David Saunders painting, presented annually to a person who has worked for the betterment of the pulp community.

A resident of New Jersey, Steve Miller has been helping to index the magazines for years. Along with Michael Cook, he compiled Garland Publishing’s MYSTERY, DETECTIVE, AND ESPIONAGE FICTION: A CHECKLIST OF FICTION IN U.S. PULP MAGAZINES, 1915-1974, an exceptional resource for collectors of not only detective pulps, but also hero and adventure magazines. With Phil Stephensen-Payne and William G. Contento, Steve revised this classic index, issued on CD-ROM by Locus Press as CRIME, MYSTERY AND GANGSTER FICTION MAGAZINE INDEX, 1915-2010. Also with Bill Contento, Steve compiled SCIENCE FICTION, FANTASY, AND WEIRD FICTION MAGAZINE INDEX, 1890-2008, a guide to more than 900 different magazines, again published on CD-ROM by Locus Press. Additionally, Steve has helped with a great deal pulp-related research, sharing his knowledge as well as his collection with researchers. Congratulations to our 2015 Munsey winner, Stephen T. Miller.

Our other nominees for this year’s Munsey Award included Ron Fortier, Joel Frieman, Chris Kalb, William Lampkin, Laurie Powers, the late Chris Steinbrunner, Mike Taylor, George Vanderburgh, and Dan Zimmer. Congratulations to all of the nominees for this prestigious award, presented annually at PulpFest.

Nominations are now being accepted for the 2016 Munsey and/or Rusty Awards. If you have someone in mind that you feel worthy of either award, please send the person’s name and a brief paragraph describing why you feel that person should be honored to Mike Chomko, 2217 W. Fairview Street, Allentown, PA 18104-6542 or to Previous winners of the Lamont, Munsey, or Rusty Award are not eligible for the award. The deadline for nominations is May 31, 2016. Please click here for additional details. Thanks for your help.

(A limited edition of thirty-six numbered and signed prints (pictured above), designed and painted by artist and pulp enthusiast David Saunders, serves as the Munsey Award.)


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2015 Munsey Award Nominees

Jul 9, 2015 by

Final Munsey AwardThe PulpFest Organizing Committee is pleased to announce that ten individuals have been nominated by their peers for the 2015 Munsey Award. Named after Frank A. Munsey, the man who published the first pulp magazine, this annual award recognizes an individual who has given of himself or herself for the betterment of the pulp community, be it through disseminating knowledge about the pulps or through publishing or other efforts to preserve and to foster interest in the pulp magazines we all love and enjoy. Congratulations to all of the nominees for this prestigious award, presented annually at PulpFest.

The following nominees will be forwarded to a committee made up of all the living Lamont, Munsey, and Rusty Award winners who will select the person to receive the 2015 Munsey:

RON FORTIER has been a professional writer for nearly three decades. In 2007, Ron teamed up with illustrator Rob Davis to start Airship 27 Productions and build a home for new adventures featuring long moribund pulp characters such as the Green Lama, the Masked Rider, Secret Agent X, and Fortier’s own version of Ace Periodicals’ Captain Hazzard. Ron’s books have inspired contemporary writers and artists to turn out new adventures featuring many of the characters long remembered by the pulp community. They have also served as ports of entry for new people to become involved with the world of pulps. In 2009, Ron helped develop the Pulp Factory Awards, inaugurated to support and encourage the creation of new pulp fiction and art. The first PFAs were awarded at the 2010 Windy City Pulp and Paper Convention. Recently, Ron and Jaime Ramos announced the publication of LEGENDS OF NEW PULP FICTION, an all-new anthology to benefit new pulp publisher, editor, and writer Tommy Hancock, recently hospitalized and diagnosed with congestive heart failure. All proceeds of the book will help Tommy to defray some of his medical bills.

JOEL FRIEMAN worked for many years in the publishing industry. He was the person most responsible for seeing Street & Smith’s The Avenger reprinted in paperback. In 1979, Joel purchased Popular Publications from its foreign owners, PARIS MATCH. Joel has been directly involved with every Popular Publications reprint in any format ever since. He licensed The Spider to paperback numerous times, as well as G-8, Operator 5, and numerous novels from ARGOSY for both books and movies. Joel is in poor health and rarely attends conventions outside of New York, but he is well known by pulp fans and publishers throughout the country.

CHRIS KALB is known in pulp circles for his hero pulp websites, like The 86th Floor and The Spider Returnsventures that have helped to attract people who are new to the pulps. There isn’t anyone out there making better use of all the new technology while still preserving the “oldness” of pulps and popular culture. He has become the person to go to for publishers who want a retro-design for their books or website, including Ed Hulse’s Murania Press. He is also the lead designer for Age of Aces Books, a pulp reprint house that specializes in air war fiction. In 2010, Age of Aces received two National Indie Excellence Awards for Chris’ work on the bestselling THE SPIDER VS. THE EMPIRE STATE. Chris is the designer of PulpFest‘s original website and for many years, put together the convention’s print advertisements.

WILLIAM LAMPKIN is a freelance writer/editor and publication designer who has spent much of his work life in the newspaper field, much like Rambler Murphy (but without the cool nickname and crime-solving). Like many from his generation, Bill discovered the pulps through paperback reprints of Edgar Rice Burroughs, Robert E. Howard, The Shadow, Doc Savage, and The Spider. He bought his first actual pulp in the seventies. Bill runs The Pulp.Net, which he created in 1996, and also writes the Yellowed Perils blog. A resident of Florida, he has designed THE PULPSTER since 2008, and beginning with its 22nd issue, became editor of the award-winning program book. The first twenty-one issues of the magazine were edited by Tony Davis, winner of the 1999 Lamont Award, who calls Bill: “One of the unsung heroes of contemporary pulp fandom.” In late 2013, Bill also began to design PulpFest‘s print advertisements, badges, and other materials.

STEVE MILLER has been helping to index the pulps for years. Along with Michael Cook, he compiled Garland Publishing’s MYSTERY, DETECTIVE, AND ESPIONAGE FICTION: A CHECKLIST OF FICTION IN U.S. PULP MAGAZINES, 1915-1974, an exceptional resource for collectors of not only detective pulps, but also hero and some adventure magazines. With Phil Stephensen-Payne and William G. Contento, Steve recently revised this classic index, issued on CD-ROM by Locus Press as CRIME, MYSTERY AND GANGSTER FICTION MAGAZINE INDEX, 1915-2010. Together with Bill Contento, Steve also compiled SCIENCE FICTION, FANTASY, AND WEIRD FICTION MAGAZINE INDEX, 1890-2008, a guide to more than 900 different magazines, published on CD-ROM by Locus Press and updated periodically by the publisher. Over the years, Steve has also helped many different people with pulp-related research, sharing his knowledge as well as his collection with them.

LAURIE POWERS is the granddaughter of pulp author Paul S. Powers, Laurie was introduced to the pulp community in 2007 through the publication of PULP WRITER: TWENTY YEARS IN THE AMERICAN GRUB STREET, an autobiography and appreciation of her grandfather. 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 more than 400 pulp magazines featuring his work to the Rare Books and Manuscripts Library at Ohio State University in Columbus. Laurie also publishes Laurie’s Wild West, an Internet blog site that has become a favorite destination for those interested in the pulps. She has published articles on “Who Read the Pulps?,” female pulp writers, a series of articles put together by various pulp fans entitled “My Favorite Pulps,” and many other topics. Although relatively new to the world of pulps, Laurie has shown tremendous support for the community by spreading the word about pulp fiction and publicizing the conventions that salute our wonderful hobby. She is currently working on a biography of pulp editor Daisy Bacon, editor of LOVE STORY MAGAZINE.

CHRIS STEINBRUNNER, who passed away in 1993, received a posthumous nomination. An American author, broadcaster, and historian who specialized in detective film and fiction, Mr. Steinbrunner was a long-time member of the Mystery Writers of America, receiving its Edgar Award for co-authoring the ENCYCLOPEDIA OF MYSTERY AND DETECTION. Steinbrunner also wrote a monthly column for ELLERY QUEEN’S MYSTERY MAGAZINE and was a silent partner in Centaur Press, a small publisher that brought back into print Robert E. Howard’s Solomon Kane stories as well as works by J. Allan Dunn, Arthur O. Friel, William Hope Hodgson, Talbot Mundy, H. Warner Munn, Arthur D. Howden Smith, E. Charles Vivian, and other fantasy and pulp greats.

MIKE TAYLOR has been a Burroughs and science-fiction fan and intermittent pulp collector since the 1950s. He has been puttering around with writing in the late seventies. He sold his first mystery short story in 1978 and wrote various pieces in that genre, including ghosting for the Mike Shayne series and for several pulp-related novelettes set in the 1930s. Mike returned to writing about the pulps in the late 1990s when he began reviewing a variety of pulp magazines for Camille Cazedessus’ fanzine, PULPDOM. Since then, he has described selections from nearly every pre-1930 general fiction pulp line published, including ARGOSY, ALL-STORY, CAVALIER, POPULAR, and other titles. His many articles have appeared in the PULPDOM, which celebrated its fiftieth anniversary in May 2010.

GEORGE VANDERBURGH has published over 600 books through his Battered Silicon Dispatch Box, many of them directly related to the pulps. He was largely responsible for finally getting all of Fred Davis’ classic Moon Man stories back into print. And what about his Peter the Brazen series, his five volumes featuring the work of Seabury Quinn, THE COMPLEAT ADVENTURES OF THE PARK AVENUE HUNT CLUB, his Green Ghost set, THE COMPLEAT SAGA OF JOHN SOLOMON, THE COMPLETE ADVENTURES OF THE GOLDEN AMAZON, and THE COMPLEAT ADVENTURES OF THE SUICIDE SQUAD? He has also given us numerous collections of detective fiction, including volumes featuring the Thinking Machine, Dr. Thorndyke, and Martin Hewitt. Looking at his website, his future plans include several books reprinting pulp authors who have been unjustly forgotten. Along with Robert Weinberg, George served as the co-editor of Arkham House Publishers until the death of April Derleth. A regular attendee of pulp conventions, George has helped both longtime and new fans to collect the tales of some of the most fantastic heroes from the pulps.

DAN ZIMMER has been working to promote greater awareness of pulp artists by producing and distributing ILLUSTRATION MAGAZINE since 2001. He has tirelessly contributed his time, expertise and his personal wealth to promote a more respectful awareness of the artistic accomplishments of pulp artists through the deluxe publication of the many biographical articles on such artists that have appeared in his magazine, distributed around the globe. He has done this despite the overwhelming fact that his creative vision is far beyond receiving any reasonable economic return for his efforts. Dan’s devotion to classic American illustrators is manifest in the elegant presentation of his magazine and has helped to turn the tide in our culture’s growing appreciation of pulp art. Dan has also published illustrated biographies of pulp artists Walter Baumhofer, H. J. Ward, and Norman Saunders through his book-publishing arm, The Illustrated Press. Additionally, he has supported the pulp community by drawing his readers’ attention to various pulp conventions, including the Windy City Pulp and Paper Convention, Pulpcon, and PulpFest. Dan has also served as the sponsor of Windy City’s annual pulp art exhibit and created the limited edition print of David Saunder’s Munsey Award painting without cost to the PulpFest organizing committee.

The recipient of the 2015 Munsey Award will be announced on August 15th as part of the Saturday evening programming, open to all PulpFest 2015 registrants. A limited edition of thirty-six numbered and signed prints (pictured above), designed by artist and pulp enthusiast David Saunders, serves as the Munsey Award.


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Jon Arfstrom — Last of the WEIRD TALES Artists

Jun 29, 2015 by

Weird Tales 52-01By the mid-1950s, pulp magazines had largely disappeared from America’s newsstands. Hence, even those creators who were first getting started when the rough-paper magazines of the early twentieth century were in their last days, have either departed this mortal coil or have a difficult time traveling in our day and age. For these reasons, PulpFest is extremely proud to welcome artist and illustrator Jon Arfstrom as its special guest to this year’s convention. We all owe Greg Ketter, proprietor of DreamHaven Books, our sincerest gratitude for helping to arrange Mr. Arfstrom’s appearance at PulpFest 2015.

Born in 1928, Jon Arfstrom has lived in Minnesota for most of his life. Largely self-taught, the artist also studied with the Famous Artist School, founded by members of the New York Society of Illustrators, and at the Minneapolis School of Art. Always interested in fantasy art, Arfstrom began to contribute to fanzines in the late 1940s, including THE FANSCIENT, FANTASY ADVERTISER, SCIENTIFANTASY, and SPACE TRAILS.

Working in a factory to make ends meet, Arfstom began to submit his work to the digest market around 1950, selling interior drawings to Ray Palmer’s MYSTIC MAGAZINE and OTHER WORLDS SCIENCE STORIES, William Crawford’s SPACEWAY, and Dorothy McIlwraith’s WEIRD TALES. For the latter, he also painted three covers, beginning with the January 1952 issue. He continued working for “The Unique Magazine” until its demise in 1954.

Following the collapse of the pulp market, Arfstrom turned to commercial art, producing illustrations for a large retail store chain and art for a religious publisher. He also worked as a staff artist for a calendar company. Gradually, he became a major midwestern artist, holding more than thirty one-man shows, winning numerous awards, producing work for many institutions and private collections, and serving as the President of the Northstar Watercolor Society.

During the mid-nineties, Jon Arfstrom returned to the fantasy art field, creating dust-jacket art for Fedogan & Bremer, Haffner Press, and PS Publishing. Robert Bloch’s THE EARLY FEARS, published by Fedogan & Bremer and featuring both jacket and interior art by Arfstrom, won a Stoker Award in 1994 for “Superior Achievement in a Fiction Collection.”

Beginning at 8:45 PM, on Friday, August 14th, and following our guest-of-honor presentation by author Chet Williamson, please join pulp art historian David Saunders for a short interview with fantasy artist Jon Arfstrom, perhaps the last surviving artist to paint covers for the original run of “The Unique Magazine,” WEIRD TALES. Mr. Arfstrom will also have a table at the convention where he will be displaying some of his original art. He will have a sampling of paintings and drawings, mostly from the 1970’s on, that he will be selling at the convention. His table will be next to the DreamHaven Books display in the PulpFest 2015 dealers’ room.

Please register as soon as you can for “Summer’s Great Pulp Con” to be to be part of this exciting event. A prepaid, three-day membership to PulpFest 2015 will cost $30 for those members who will be staying at the Hyatt Regency Columbus and $35 for those staying elsewhere. The price at the door will be $40. Although are host hotel is completely booked, there are still some rooms available through several hotels that that are close to the convention. Remember that PulpFest will be sharing downtown Columbus with Matsuricon in August. Please click here and you’ll find a link to a list of hotels to choose from. Afterward, click the red “register” button on our home page to be assured that you won’t miss this opportunity to meet one of the terrific artists who labored for the long-gone pulp market, Jon Arfstom, the last of the WEIRD TALES artists.

(Jon Arfstrom passed away on December 2, 2015. PulpFest was honored to have Mr. Arfstrom as its guest during our 2015 convention. Our many condolences to the artist’s family.

The January 1952 issue not only featured Jon Arfstrom’s first cover for “The Unique Magazine,” but also August Derleth’s cover story, “The Black Island.” This was the final tale of a series of five connected stories that would later form THE TRAIL OF CTHULHU, published by Arkham House in 1962. Also appearing in the issue is a reprint of Anthony M. Rud’s “Ooze,” the story of a giant amoeba that originally ran in the first issue of WEIRD TALES, dated March 1923.”)

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