Pittsburgh’s Convention Scene Shuts Down

Jun 5, 2020 by

Like dominoes, Pittsburgh’s pop culture conventions have shut down for the summer.

First, it was the Three Rivers Comicon, scheduled to take place May 30 – 31 at the spectacular David L. Lawrence Convention Center overlooking the Allegheny River in downtown Pittsburgh.

Founded by a couple of Pittsburgh nerds who were hoping to make comic con all about comics again, Three Rivers was postponed until May 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Next came Confluence, the region’s longest-running literary conference. Slated for the Sheraton Pittsburgh Airport Hotel in Coraopolis, Pennsylvania, the conference was postponed until July 23 – 25, 2021.

Organized by Parsec — a non-profit organization that has been promoting science fiction, fantasy, and horror in literature, media, and music for over 25 years — Confluence features award-winning authors, editors, artists and songwriters. With panel discussions, concerts, and talks that broaden and deepen appreciation of the genres, Confluence gives attendees a unique opportunity to meet and chat with the writers and artists who create the science fiction, fantasy, and horror of today, helping to shape those genres for the future.

The PulpFest organizing committee canceled this summer’s conference on Memorial Day. Postponed until July or August 2021, you can read about the cancelation of PulpFest 2020 in our post, “There Is Nothing Wrong with Your Television Set . . .

The last domino to fall was Monster BashLike PulpFest, the “International Classic Monster Movie Conference and Film Festival” was to be held at the beautiful DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Pittsburgh – Cranberry in Mars, Pennsylvania. Realizing that their attendees wouldn’t be able to enjoy the usual Bash experience, Ron and Ursula Adams decided to cancel their June show shortly after PulpFest 2020 had met a similar fate.

Monster Bash celebrates the classic horror and science fiction films of the silent era through the 1970s. It’s a film festival; a place to meet the people in the movies, behind the movies, and fellow fans of the movies; and a monster memorabilia shopping spree.

Produced by Ron Adams of Creepy Classics Collectibles and SCARY MONSTERS MAGAZINE, Monster Bash is a state of mind — a place, like Skull Island, where our imaginations ignite and burn through our everyday lives. The Bash is an appreciation of the fun movies we all love. Whether it’s THE BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN or THE KILLER SHREWS, if you have fun watching it . . . that’s what Monster Bash is all about.

The “Monster Boomers” and their Monster Kids flock to Monster Bash from all over the world. Now, instead of one or two friends in the neighborhood who love monster movies, there are thousands! At Monster Bash you’ll meet others who, like you, loved Forry Ackerman’s FAMOUS MONSTER OF FILMLAND, the local TV horror host, the Aurora monster models, and much more.

Sadly, you’ll now have to wait until October 16 – 18 when the fall Monster Bash is scheduled for the Pittsburgh Marriot North in Mars. A Bela Lugosi Film Fest is also planned for August 14 – 15 at the Palace Theater in Canton, Ohio. We’ll have more details about these and other pop culture conventions, right here at pulpfest.com.

Which is one of the many reasons why PulpFest is a Pittsburgh Smash!

Confluence convention logo

(The 2020 Monster Bash was to be a MUNSTER Bash! Green was Herman Munster’s skin tone (although his co-workers at Gateman, Goodbury and Graves never seemed to notice). Both Pat Priest — who played the “abnormal” Marilyn Munster — and Butch Patrick — Eddie — on THE MUNSTERS — were scheduled to be the convention’s special guests. Joining them were many other notables. Special events such as Mexican Monster Night — featuring free tacos and burritos — and a drive-in style showing on Saturday night were also planned.)

 

3 Rivers Comicon: Putting Comics Back in Comicon

Apr 22, 2020 by

 

During the final weekend of May, a couple of Pittsburgh nerds were hoping to make comic con all about comics again. 3 Rivers Comicon was to take place May 30 – 31 at the spectacular David L. Lawrence Convention Center overlooking the Allegheny River in downtown Pittsburgh. Due to the COVID 19 pandemic, the convention has been postponed until May 22 – 23, 2021.

New Dimension Comics owner Todd McDevitt and general manager Jon Engel launched 3 Rivers Comicon in 2016 after hearing complaints from customers about the increasing cost of conventions and how the shift to an array of pop culture had left comics in the shadows.

“In my 34 years in the comic business,” McDevitt said, “I’ve been fortunate enough to work with almost all of the regional talent at one time or another. I can’t wait to bring them all together for one spectacular occasion.” Check out the convention’s guests page for a look at the many creators who would have been attending this year’s 3 Rivers Comicon. Weekend events also include cosplay contests, gaming, role play experiences, and panels.

McDevitt and Engel both have years of experience under their utility belts, attending and also working at comic conventions. From that involvement, as well as feedback from customers, they have the knowledge for what will work at their own event. The show is dedicated to cultivating the comic culture and community by bringing in some of the bigger names in the industry. With over 100 artists, writers, and other creators and almost as many vendors, this show is one that you should not miss.

The 3 Rivers Comicon is very reasonably priced. Admission is $10 per day or $15 for a weekend pass. Tickets are available through the convention’s website, at any of the six New Dimension Comics locations in the Pittsburgh area, and at the door.

The convention also hosts a very popular beer release party. Every year, 3 Rivers Comicon commissions a custom beer that is created by a local Pittsburgh brewery. Tickets to the beer party are $40 and include admission to both days of the convention, entry to the beer release party, two cans of this year’s custom beer, catered food, and more!

Let’s hope that 3 Rivers will have a few bottles of their craft brew to help us celebrate PulpFest 2020 from August 6 through 9 at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Pittsburgh – Cranberry, just north of Pennsylvania’s “Steel City.”

Although PulpFest will not have its own beer, the convention will have some great programming. Add onto that a dealers’ room featuring thousands of pulp magazines, vintage paperbacks, digests, men’s adventure and true crime magazines, original art, first edition hardcovers, genre fiction, series books, reference books, dime novels and story papers, Big Little Books, B-Movies, serials and related paper collectibles, old-time radio shows, and Golden and Silver Age comic books, as well as newspaper adventure strips. We’ll also have a hospitality suite featuring wine, beer, snacks, and more.

So what are you waiting for? Start making your plans to celebrate “Mystery, Adventure, Science Fiction, and More” at PulpFest 2020.

(3 Rivers Comicon will not be the only convention in Pittsburgh that will be celebrating the graphic story in 2020. On Friday evening, August 7, PulpFest 2020 will feature a presentation by cartoonist and freelance illustrator Don Simpson. He’ll be discussing “Bradbury in the Comics” as part of our “Visions of Mars” series during PulpFest’s salute to author Ray Bradbury.

In addition to his illustration work, Don regularly reviews books for the PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE and teaches college writing and other courses in western Pennsylvania. He earned his PhD from the University of Pittsburgh in 2013.)

3 Rivers Comicon: Putting Comics Back in Comicon

Apr 17, 2019 by

During the second weekend of May, a couple of Pittsburgh nerds are hoping to make comic con all about comics again. 3 Rivers Comicon will take place May 11 – 12 in the old Macy’s under the bridge in Homestead, Pennsylvania.

New Dimension Comics owner Todd McDevitt and general manager Jon Engel launched 3 Rivers Comicon in 2016 after hearing complaints from customers about the increasing cost of conventions and how the shift to an array of pop culture had left comics in the shadows. “I felt like we were almost being challenged. No one said it, but we made it our mission to do it,” McDevitt said. “This is going to be a comic convention. If you want something else, go somewhere else.”

McDevitt and Engel both have years of experience under their utility belts, attending and also working at comic conventions. From that involvement, as well as feedback from customers, they have the knowledge for what will work at their own event. The show is dedicated to cultivating the comic culture and community by bringing in some of the bigger names in the industry. With over 100 artists, writers, and other creators and almost as many vendors, this show is one not to miss.

Admission is $10 per day or $15 for a weekend pass. Tickets are available through the convention’s website or at any of the six New Dimension Comics locations. They will also be available at the door. Weekend events include panels, gaming, photo opportunities and costume contests for kids and adults. There is also the very popular beer party on Saturday evening. Check out the convention’s Guests page for a look at the many creators attending this year’s show.

3 Rivers Comicon has also commissioned a custom beer by ShuBrew of Harmony, Pennsylvania featuring original bottle label art by Josh Blaylock, creator of Mercy Sparx. Mercy Sparx Sinful Stout will be brewed exclusively for 3 Rivers Comicon and New Dimension Comics. Tickets to the convention’s beer party are $40 and include admission to both days of the convention, entry to the beer release party, two cans of this year’s custom beer, catered food, and a free graphic novel. A VIP pass costing $75 gets you even more!

Let’s hope that 3 Rivers will save a few bottles of their craft brew to help us celebrate PulpFest 2019 from August 15 through 18 at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Pittsburgh – Cranberry, just north of Pennsylvania’s “Steel City.” Although PulpFest will not have its own beer, the convention will have some great programming. Add onto that a dealers’ room featuring tens of thousands of pulp magazines, vintage paperbacks, digests, men’s adventure and true crime magazines, original art, first edition hardcovers, genre fiction, series books, reference books, dime novels and story papers, Big Little Books, B-Movies, serials and related paper collectibles, old-time radio shows, and Golden and Silver Age comic books, as well as newspaper adventure strips. We’ll also have a hospitality suite featuring great beer and snacks. So what are you waiting for? Start making your plans to celebrate “Mystery, Adventure, Science Fiction, and More” at PulpFest 2019.

(Josh Blaylock created the label for Mercy Sparx Sinful Stout, the beer being brewed exclusively for 3 Rivers Comicon and New Dimension Comics.)

3 Rivers Comicon: Putting Comics Back in Conventions

Apr 18, 2018 by

During the third weekend of May, a couple of Pittsburgh nerds are hoping to make comic con all about comics again. 3 Rivers Comicon — which runs May 19 – 20 in West Mifflin, Pennsylvania — is the latest addition to the many conventions in the Pittsburgh area.

New Dimension Comics owner Todd McDevitt and general manager Jon Engel launched 3 Rivers Comicon in 2016 after hearing complaints from customers about the increasing cost of conventions and how the shift to an array of pop culture had left comics in the shadows. “I felt like we were almost being challenged. No one said it, but we made it our mission to do it,” McDevitt said. “This is going to be a comic convention. If you want something else, go somewhere else.”

McDevitt and Engel both have years of experience under their utility belts, attending and also working at comic conventions. From that involvement, as well as feedback from customers, they have the knowledge for what will work at their own event.

One major goal is to make 3 Rivers Comicon affordable. Admission is $10 per day or $16 for a weekend pass. Tickets are available through the convention’s website or at any of the six New Dimension Comics locations. They will also be available at the door. Guests include SPIDER-MAN and THOR artist Ron Frenz; fantasy, pin-up, and comic artist Joe Jusko; NIGHTWING and DAREDEVIL artist Scott McDaniel; SPIDER-GIRL and SENSATIONAL SHE-HULK artist Patrick Ollife; writer and artist Tim Truman, known for his work on GRIMJACK, CONAN, HAWKWORLD, JONAH HEX, and other titles; and many others. Weekend events include panels, gaming, photo opportunities and costume contests for kids and adults. Sunday is Family Day at 3 Rivers Comicon, with kid-focused programming all day. There is also the very popular beer party on Saturday evening.

Tickets to the convention’s beer party are $70 and include early admission to both days of the convention, a free graphic novel, entry to the beer release party, catered food and three free bottles of beer, one from each year! “The beer party was the aspect we sold the most of last year,” McDevitt said. “We had people who didn’t care for comics and came for the beer, and people who didn’t care about beer, but came for the comics.”

3 Rivers Comicon has commissioned a custom beer by Helltown Brewing featuring original bottle label art by Joe Jusko. Witchblade Barrel Aged Russian Imperial Stout will be brewed with coffee added this year. This beer will only be made exclusively for 3 Rivers Comicon and New Dimension Comics.

Let’s hope that Todd and Jon save a few bottles of this year’s special brewed craft beer to help us celebrate PulpFest 2018 from July 26 through July 29 at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Pittsburgh – Cranberry, just north of Pennsylvania’s “Steel City.” Although PulpFest will not have its own beer, the convention will still have a lot of great programming. Add to that a dealers’ room featuring tens of thousands of pulp magazines, vintage paperbacks, digests, men’s adventure and true crime magazines, original art, first edition hardcovers, genre fiction, series books, reference books, dime novels and story papers, Big Little Books, B-Movies, serials and related paper collectibles, old-time radio shows, and Golden and Silver Age comic books, as well as newspaper adventure strips. We’ll also have a con suite featuring some great beer and snacks. So what are you waiting for? Start making your plans to join us at the “pop culture center of the universe” for PulpFest 2018.

(Our illustration is the banner for the 3 Rivers Comicon home page. The convention is organized by Todd McDevitt and Jon Engel of New Dimension Comics, with six stores in the Pittsburgh region.)

3 Rivers Comicon: Putting Comics Back in Conventions

May 5, 2017 by

During the third weekend of May, a couple of Pittsburgh nerds are hoping to make comic con all about comics again. 3 Rivers Comicon — which runs May 20 – 21 in West Mifflin, Pennsylvania — is the latest addition to the many conventions in the Pittsburgh area.

New Dimension Comics owner Todd McDevitt and general manager Jon Engel launched 3 Rivers Comicon in 2016 after hearing complaints from customers about the increasing cost of conventions and how the shift to an array of pop culture has left comics in the shadows. “I felt like we were almost being challenged. No one said it, but we made it our mission to do it,” McDevitt said. “This is going to be a comic convention. If you want something else, go somewhere else.”

McDevitt and Engel both have years of experience under their utility belts, attending and also working at comic conventions. From that involvement, as well as feedback from customers, they have the knowledge for what will work at their own event.

One major goal is to make 3 Rivers Comicon affordable. Admission is $13 per day or $18 for a weekend pass. Tickets are available through the convention’s website or at any of the six New Dimension Comics locations. They will also be available at the door. Guests include KINGDOM COME and DAREDEVIL writer Mark Waid, NIGHTWING artist Scott McDaniel, and SPIDER-MAN and THOR artist Ron Frenz. Weekend events include panels, gaming, photo opportunities and costume contests for kids and adults. Sunday is Family Day at 3 Rivers Comicon, with kid-focused programming all day. There is also the very popular beer party on Saturday evening.

Tickets to the beer party are $50 and include both days of the convention in addition to a bunch of take-home loot including a T-shirt, exclusive comics, graphic novels and two bottles of BEEREDEEMABLE. McDevitt once again convinced Helltown Brewing to create a beer for the convention. This year’s recipe is a Russian imperial stout, a blend of young beer and barrel-aged whiskey. The name is a nod to the comic IRREDEEMABLE, whose artist Peter Krause illustrated the beer’s label.

“I always thought it would be fun to get a comic artist to do a beer label,” McDevitt said. “And if I was going to do it, I wanted it to be for one of our events.”

Krause and IRREDEEMABLE writer Mark Waid will both attend the beer party to autograph bottles.

“The beer party was the aspect we sold the most of last year,” McDevitt said. “We had people who didn’t care for comics and came for the beer, and people who didn’t care about beer, but came for the comics.”

Let’s hope that Todd and Jon save a few bottles of BEEREDEEMABLE to help us celebrate our first Pittsburgh PulpFest from July 27 through July 30 at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Pittsburgh – Cranberry, just north of Pennsylvania’s “Steel City.” Although PulpFest 2017 will not have its own beer, the convention will still have a lot of great programming. Add to that a dealers’ room featuring tens of thousands of pulp magazines, vintage paperbacks, digests, men’s adventure and true crime magazines, original art, first edition hardcovers, series books, reference books, dime novels and story papers, Big Little Books, B-Movies, serials and related paper collectibles, old-time radio shows, and Golden and Silver Age comic books, as well as newspaper adventure strips. We’ll also have a con suite. So what are you waiting for? Start making your plans to join us at the “pop culture center of the universe” for PulpFest 2017.

(Our illustration is the banner for the 3 Rivers Comicon home page, featuring a New Dimension Comics’ rack in the background. New Dimension Comics has six stores in the Pittsburgh region, providing the opportunity for feedback as well as year-round promotion of the convention.)

Why PulpFest?

Aug 8, 2015 by

Sasquan banner

Today, we thought that we would share a short essay written by Walker Martin based on something he had once posted on Yahoo’s Pulpmags newsgroup. Walker, who writes about pulp collecting for Steve Lewis’ Mystery*File blog, has been a reader and collector for over sixty years. In 1997, he received the Lamont Award at Pulpcon 26 in Bowling Green, Ohio. We’re proud to have him as one of our own and can think of no one better to answer the question, “Why PulpFest?” Take it away Walker . . .

Were you at the 2015 Comic-Con in San Diego? Still tired out from that recently concluded media extravaganza?

Will you be attending Sasquan, the 73rd World Science Fiction Convention with Andy Porter, Curt Phillips, and other science-fiction fans? It will be in Spokane, Washington beginning on August 19th.

I guess I better give my ten cents, though it has been over half-a-century since you could buy a fiction magazine for a dime. I hope Andy and Curt have fun in Spokane, but I’ll be heading for PulpFest on August 13th. This is a joyful trip that I’ve been making every year (with a couple of exceptions) since 1972.

During the seventies, eighties, and nineties, it was called Pulpcon and every year I would see fellow pulp collectors, most of them gone now, damn it. Magazine collectors many of you may still remember. Great guys like Rusty Hevelin, Jack Deveny, Richard Minter, Bob Sampson, Bob Weinberg (he’s still with us), Sheldon Jaffery, Harry Noble, Darrell Richardson, Frank Robinson, Mike Avallone, and such amazing guests like pulp artists Norman Saunders, Walter Baumhofer, Rafael Desoto, and so many more.

I used to attend many of the SF conventions before they started stressing costumes and bookless dealer’s rooms with only a few pulps. I’m talking about the late 1960’s and early 1970’s. I remember when Philcon and Lunacon were worth attending if you were a collector of books and magazines. I also went to several of the Worldcons, such as the events held in New York City, Toronto, Washington DC, and Boston.

But then the dealer’s rooms changed and I couldn’t find old magazines except for a couple here and there. FortunatelyPulpcon, PulpFest, and Windy City came along and enabled me to add thousands of pulps to my collection.

If you are big SF fan or writer, then I guess the Worldcon is the place to be I . But if you are a fiction magazine or a book collector, then there is no doubt about it, you have to attend PulpFest from August 13 – 16 in Columbus Ohio. You’ll find all the details at www.pulpfest.com.

I’ve never met a magazine or book collector who regretted attending PulpFest. I hope to see some of you there!

—Walker Martin

Please remember, if you have yet to book your room for this year’s convention, do so without delay. PulpFest will be sharing downtown Columbus with Matsuricon this week. However, there may still be a few rooms available at nearby hotels. Please visit www.pulpfest.com/2015/06/16872/ and you’ll find a link to a list of hotels to choose from. If you are not from the Columbus area and want to attend PulpFest 2015, we urge you to book your room now and not wait until you arrive.