PulpFest Profile — Eighty Years of CAPTAIN FUTURE

Jan 6, 2020 by

The Wizard of Science

Captain Future is a science fiction pulp hero with a very long reach. He’s appeared in more than two dozen stories, comics, cartoon and live-action television shows, and may yet appear in a big-budget movie. His origin owes much to Doc Savage, and some of his gimmicks were re-tooled for SUPERMAN and BATMAN. He’s even been written about by one of New York’s premier humorists, S. J. Perelman.

Brilliant, red-headed Curt Newton is one of Edmond Hamilton’s most famous characters and yet Hamilton neither created him, nor wrote all the stories. Captain Future has fans all over the world and new adventures are appearing today in books and magazines.

The Birthplace of Creation

The character of Captain Future was created by Leo Margulies and Mort Weisinger allegedly in response to early science fiction fandom at the First World Science Fiction Convention in the summer of 1939. The original idea was for a character called, “Mr. Future: Wizard of Science,” a space-age Doc Savage with three alien side kicks. Mr. Future was a genetic superman who battled evil in the 21st Century. (Ironic, as Weisinger would later edit SUPERMAN.)

Margulies and Weisinger hired Edmond Hamilton to write the series. Hamilton helped refine the characters and storyline and dubbed Future’s sidekicks, “The Futuremen.” These became Grag, a hulking mechanical man of great strength and good-natured loyalty; Otho, a white-skinned, emerald-eyed android of great wit and intelligence; and Simon Wright, an elderly scientist who, at death, had his brain encased in a transparent, life-sustaining box fitted with artificial eyes and mouth. During this early design process “Mr. Future” became “Captain Future.”

Calling Captain Future

After the initial drafts, Curtis Newton was no longer a genetic superman, but remained a brilliant young scientist, superb athlete, and brave, heroic crusader. He’s the son of gifted biologist, Roger Newton, and his wife, Elaine. Both of Curtis’ parents are murdered by Victor Corvo, who tracked them to their hidden sanctuary on the Moon to steal Roger’s secrets for the creation of artificial life.

Thereafter, infant Curtis is raised by Roger’s co-worker, Simon Wright, the brain, Grag, the robot, and Otho, the android. Curtis has a remarkable upbringing. His three unhuman guardians train the boy to unparalleled scientific knowledge, incredible strength and stamina based on a system of super-exercises, and unbelievable swiftness of physical and mental reactions. Curt and Simon Wright develop a super-ship, “The Comet,” and use it to travel around the solar system and visit the various worlds. When he’s grown, Curtis is told the details of his parents’ murders. He then chooses to become Captain Future,  “. . . implacable Nemesis of all oppressors and exploiters of the System’s human and planetary races.”

Besides the Futuremen, Curt’s team includes two members of the Planet Police force — Secret Agent Joan Randall and Marshal Ezra Gurney.

The Triumph of Captain Future

The first novel,Captain Future and the Space Emperor,” debuted in the premiere issue (Winter 1940) of CAPTAIN FUTURE: WIZARD OF SCIENCE. The story was good escapist fun and prompted humorist, S. J. Perelman, to write a NEW YORKER review entitled, “Captain Future, Block That Kick!” which, although tongue-in-cheek, is still a delightful read.

CAPTAIN FUTURE continued for seventeen issues and included novels, short stories and features such as: “The Worlds of Tomorrow,” “The Futuremen,” and “The Future of Captain Future.” It got a name change for the Winter 1941 number and became CAPTAIN FUTURE: MAN OF TOMORROW. The magazine was just hitting its stride when America entered World War II. Edmond Hamilton expected to be drafted and resigned from the series. Margulies hired two pulp writers to replace him —  Manly Wade Wellman and Joseph Samachson (pen name of William Morrison). A house name of “Brett Sterling” was attached to the series even before Hamilton stopped writing it. As it turned out, Hamilton wasn’t drafted and continued writing the series under the name of Brett Sterling.

Wartime brought some unusual problems to the magazine. In one case, U. S. Customs seized one of Hamilton’s manuscripts during a border crossing from Mexico. The agents were suspicious of the maps showing an imaginary planet called “Vulcan,” inside the orbit of Mercury. This caused a production delay until Hamilton got his materials back from Washington.

An editorial snafu with an unnamed editor caused Hamilton and Samachson to produce two novels with too-similar plots. This led to Hamilton re-writing “Outlaw World” and its eventual publication several years later in STARTLING STORIES.

Wartime paper shortages were disastrous for the pulps. Magazines implored readers to reserve copies as print runs were reduced. But even subscriptions weren’t enough to keep the presses running for CAPTAIN FUTURE. The Spring 1944 issue was the last and all remaining CAPTAIN FUTURE stories were added to their sister magazine, STARTLING STORIES. The character remained in STARTLING until Captain Future retired in 1946.

But not for long. Captain Future and his team returned to STARTLING STORIES in 1950 for a series of character-driven novelettes which are considered some of the best in the run. “The Return of Captain Future” led the way in January 1950. This was followed by six other stories which highlighted different members of the team — Simon Wright in “The Harpers of Titan” (September 1950), Grag in “Pardon My Iron Nerves” (November 1950), Ezra Gurney in “Moon of the Unforgotten” (January 1951), and “Birthplace of Creation” (May 1951) in which Captain Future, himself, is tested. In that story Curt discovers that even he is not immune to the corruption of power.

The Return of Captain Future

When Captain Future wrapped in May of 1951, readers thought they’d seen the last of Curt Newton and his friends. But it wasn’t the end. Twenty-seven years later, in 1978, Toei Animation of Japan produced a fifty-three episode cartoon (anime) series based on thirteen of the original “Captain Future” stories. The series was very well-received and had a global distribution. It remains popular to this day, but not in the United States where poor English translations and editing discouraged fans.

In 2017, German director Christian Alvart, inspired by the Toei animation series, began work on a big budget, live-action Captain Future film. His plan is to have it produced out of Europe with an international cast. The trailer looks promising and comments from fans are very positive.

Captain Future had succeeded in various media, but there were no new stories until the mid-1990’s when sci-fi writer, Allen Steele, got permission from Hamilton’s estate to pen a few new Captain Future stories. He began with “The Death of Captain Future” (ASIMOV’S SCIENCE FICTION, October 1995), then followed it up with “The Exile of the Evening Star” (ASIMOV’S SCIENCE FICTION, January 1999). Both of these are “satirical homages” to the original material.

“The Death of Captain Future” received both the Hugo and Seiun Awards in 1996 and was also short-listed for a Nebula Award.

in 2018, Steele had a new Captain Future novel ready to go with Tor Books. This time it was a modern reboot called AVENGERS OF THE MOON. The book brings the characters and technology up-to-date and pushes the stories forward in time to the late 23rd/early 24th centuries (as opposed to the early 21st century of the original.)

Allen Steele’s “Captain Future Novel” was part of a planned trilogy. Unfortunately, after a house editorial change Tor cancelled the second and third books. As luck would have it, Steele’s friend Steve Davidson was about to revive AMAZING STORIES as a print magazine and asked Steele for a story. “Captain Future In Love” (AMAZING STORIES Fall & Winter 2018) is the result, serialized in the first two issues.

Star Trail to Glory

When I started researching this article, I thought I was pretty well-versed on the subject. I’m a big fan of Captain Future, have read all the books, and watched quite a few of the anime. I’ve also written about him before. But this time I dug deeper and discovered a lot more to the story. From the hero’s creation to the twists and turns that followed, I was surprised by all that I found.

And then there are Allen Steele’s new stories. I admit that I’m a purist and wasn’t prepared to accept a rebooted CAPTAIN FUTURE universe. But then it occurred to me that Steele is doing the world a favor by adding new stories to the original catalog. His love of the characters might already have inspired a new generation of readers. And those readers, hungry for more, might look back at the original stories and enjoy them, also.

I have no idea what Hamilton, Wellman, and Samachson would think of AVENGERS OF THE MOON or “Captain Future In Love,” and it’s not my place to guess. What I can be sure of is that every writer wants their creations to last. This month, Captain Future turns eighty years old and what writer wouldn’t be happy with that kind of longevity?

Happy Birthday, Curt Newton! Long may “The Comet” fly.

(Dated Winter 1940, the first issue of Standard Magazines CAPTAIN FUTURE featured front cover art by George Rozen. The artist is best remembered for the many covers that he painted for the popular Street & Smith hero pulp, THE SHADOW. Rozen would paint one more CAPTAIN FUTURE cover — dated Fall 1941 — and two covers for Fiction House’s PLANET STORIES. In later years, he created paperback cover paintings for Popular Library and the “Ace Doubles” series.

Sara Light-Waller is a writer, illustrator, and avid pulp fan. Science fiction pulps are her favorites, especially space opera and thought variant stories. She has published two illustrated New Pulp books with more to come. Catch up with her at Lucina Press.

If you’d like to read more about Captain Future and his Futuremen, click here for a list of references that Sara used to prepare for this post.)

It’s the Isaac Asimov Centennial

Jan 2, 2020 by

Today marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of Isaac Asimov. Best known for his science fiction, Asimov wrote or edited more than 500 books in his lifetime. It has been estimated that he also wrote more than 90,000 letters and postcards.

Beginning with the short story “Marooned Off Vesta” — published in the March 1939 issue of AMAZING STORIES — Isaac Asimov wrote hundreds of stories, novels, poems, articles, and editorials for the pulp and digest magazine markets. In 1977, the prolific author founded ISAAC ASIMOV’S SCIENCE FICTION MAGAZINE with Joel Davis. Although the author served as the editorial director of ASIMOV’S, he “insisted on hiring excellent personnel to edit the magazine.” Still published today, the magazine has won countless awards.

Although he was born and raised in Brooklyn and taught biochemistry at Boston University, PulpFest was not able to include Professor Asimov among the boatload of “B’s” that the convention will be celebrating from August 6 – 9 at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Pittsburgh – Cranberry on Mars (Pennsylvania, that is).

PulpFest 2020 will celebrate the centennial of Ray Bradbury’s birth, the 100th anniversary of BLACK MASK, and the 120th anniversary of the birth of WEIRD TALES cover artist Margaret Brundage. There will also be presentations brimming with Baum, Burroughs, Barsoom, Brackett, B-movies, and more. And don’t forget about our guest of honor, the beautiful Eva Lynd, one of the top magazine models of the fifties and sixties.

We couldn’t cram former pulpster Isaac Asimov onto our boatful of “B’s.” However, PulpFest would still like to salute this exceptional author and his many contributions to science fiction, mystery, fantasy, and many other fields on the centennial of his birth on January 2,1920.

(The cover artist for the March 1939 issue of AMAZING STORIES was Robert Fuqua. This was the pen name of Joseph Wirt Tillotson, an artist best known for his illustrations for the Chicago-based pulp magazine company, Ziff-Davis Publications. Tillotson created his pseudonym to protect his reputation in the field of advertising art.) 

An ASTOUNDING 90 Years

Dec 2, 2019 by

The Beginning of a Legacy

Happy birthday to ASTOUNDING/ANALOG magazine! It has been in continual production since late 1929. Its editors are some of the most influential in the field, and have shaped science fiction destiny for nine decades. The title may have changed, but the magazine’s original purpose — to tell stories that are scientifically accurate and vividly told — remains true to this day.

ASTOUNDING STORIES OF SUPER-SCIENCE launched as a Clayton magazine with Harry Bates as editor. Its first issue was dated January 1930. Clayton paid much better rates than AMAZING and WONDER STORIES — two cents a word upon acceptance as opposed to half a cent a word — and drew better-known writers such as Ray Cummings, Murray Leinster, Jack Williamson, and Victor Rousseau. Although the editors’ original intent was to include stories which “forecasted scientific achievements of To-morrow,” in practice the Clayton ASTOUNDING was primarily an action/adventure pulp magazine.

While the magazine was successful, poor business decisions made during the Great Depression stretched Clayton’s resources. In 1933 they went bankrupt and ASTOUNDING became part of the Street & Street line. The magazine’s new publisher was no stranger to successful pulps magazines as THE SHADOW and DOC SAVAGE were also their properties, both with big circulation numbers. The first Street & Street issue of ASTOUNDING STORIES — dated October 1933 — hit the stands with F. Orlin Tremaine as editor.

In the December 1933 number, Tremaine began a discussion forum called “Brass Tacks.” It has run continuously since then. In that first column, Tremaine wrote a statement of editorial policy. He called for “thought variant” stories to open “the way for real discussion . . . connected with social science, the present condition of the world, and the future.” The magazine published some fascinating thought variant stories — Jack Williamson’s “The Legion of Space,”  Murray Leinster’s “Sidewise in Time,” “The Bright Illusion,” by C. L. Moore, and “Twilight,” by John W. Campbell.

Space opera remained popular and ASTOUNDING serialized both “The Skylark of Valeron,” by E. E. “Doc.” Smith, and “The Mightiest Machine,” by John W. Campbell. By the middle of 1934, the magazine’s circulation was up to an estimated 50,000. By the end of that year, ASTOUNDING was the clear leader in the field.

John W. Campbell, Jr.

It’s fair to say that John W. Campbell, Jr. is the most influential editor in science fiction history. He succeeded Tremaine and gained full editorial control of ASTOUNDING as of the March 1938 issue. Campbell continued as editor until 1971. During those thirty-four years, he developed not only a superior stable of writers, but also changed the face of science fiction for all time. The “Golden Age of Science Fiction” began when Campbell became editor of ASTOUNDING.

Immediately, John Campbell made changes to target a more mature reading audience. He added additional non-fiction articles and demanded that his writers understand both science and people, a hard requirement for some of the established pulp writers of the 1930s.

He spearheaded a modification to the magazine’s title, changing it from ASTOUNDING STORIES to ASTOUNDING SCIENCE-FICTION. Over time, the magazine played an interesting visual trick on readers, slowly decreasing the importance of the word “Astounding” (which Campbell felt was too sensational) and bringing the words “Science Fiction” to greater prominence. This transition is completed when the hyphen in “Science-Fiction” disappears on the November 1943 number, making it ASTOUNDING SCIENCE FICTION. This is how the title remained until 1960.

Campbell also changed the direction of the cover art, seeking a less juvenile approach. Howard V. Brown, Charles Schneeman, and Hubert Rogers were his new favorites and their art graces many “Astounding” covers. This change in visual art style immediately differentiated ASTOUNDING from its rivals.

Within two years, Campbell had an extraordinary group of writers working for him — L. Ron Hubbard, Clifford Simak, Jack Williamson, L. Sprague de Camp, Henry Kuttner, C. L. Moore, Lester del Rey, Theodore Sturgeon, Isaac Asimov, A. E. van Vogt, and Robert A. Heinlein.

He held a firm editorial line, emphasizing scientific accuracy over literary style. Some of his top writers — Asimov, Heinlein, and de Camp — were trained scientists and engineers. During and after the war, several of these appeared less frequently. The writers who remained notably — van Vogt, Simak, Kuttner, Moore, and Fritz Leiber — were less technologically-oriented, leading to more psychological stories such as van Vogt’s “World of Null-A” and Kuttner and Moore’s “Galloway Gallagher” stories. More literary stories — such as Kuttner/Moore’s “Mimsy Were the Borogoves” and Fritz Leiber’s “Gather, Darkness!” — also began to appear. Both of these stories were published in 1943.

Campbell finally achieved his goal of ridding the magazine’s title of the word “Astounding”  in 1960. From then on it was ANALOG SCIENCE FACT — FICTION or some variation thereof. Campbell chose the word, “Analog” partly because he thought of each story as an “analog simulation” of a possible future. He also saw an analogy between the imagined scenes in a science fiction story and real science being done in the laboratories of the world.

AStounding Transitions to Analog

The full list of works published during Campbell’s tenure reads like a “Who’s Who of Science Fiction.” He was a man of strong opinions and although he did much for the field of science fiction, his regressive social views have lately come under fire. This has caused ANALOG SCIENCE FICTION AND FACT to drop the name of John W. Campbell from its annual prize for best new writer.

ANALOG after Campbell

Ben Bova succeeded Campbell as editor of ANALOG in 1972. Also a technophile with a scientific background, Bova immediately declared his intention to keep publishing stories with scientific foundations. Under his direction the character of the magazine changed, allowing fiction that included sexual content and profanity. Ben Bova won five consecutive Hugo Awards for his editing of ANALOG.

Bova was succeeded by Stanley Schmidt in 1978. Schmidt, an assistant professor of physics at the time of the transfer, continued the established editorial policies and a long-standing tradition of writing provocative editorials. Schmidt remained at the helm of ANALOG until 2012 when the current editor, Trevor Quachri, took over.

Says Quachri: “Real science and technology have always been important in ANALOG, not only as the foundation of its fiction, but as the subject of articles about real research with big implications for the future. . . . It’s true that we care very much about making our speculations plausible, because we think there’s something extra special about stories that are not only fantastic, but might actually happen.”

ANALOG comes out bi-monthly and issues are available in print and digital formats. With its January 2020 number, the magazine will begin a year-long celebration to honor its 90th anniversary. The ANALOG website can be found at: https://www.analogsf.com/.

When ASTOUNDING launched in the last month of 1929, Herbert Hoover was President. It was the beginning of the Great Depression, and Mickey Mouse had just made his first appearance. The dwarf planet, Pluto, wouldn’t be discovered until February 1930 and The Chrysler Building wouldn’t open until May. In India, Mohandas Gandhi was holding non-violent protest marches.

It’s hard to imagine that long-ago world when science fiction was in its infancy. It’s just as hard to image a world without ASTOUNDING/ANALOG. Science fiction would be nothing like we know it today. And that is an alternate reality I would not want to see.

Astounding 1930 and Analog 2019

(Dated January 1930, the first issue of ASTOUNDING STORIES OF SUPER-SCIENCE — published by Clayton Publishing — appeared on America’s newsstands in December 1929, ninety years ago. The pulp featured front cover art by Hans Wessolowski, a German-born artist who entered the United State illegally in 1912. After establishing himself as a commercial artist in New York City, he began to sell interior art and cover paintings to various pulp magazines in 1928. His work was generally signed “Wesso.”

Hired by Street & Smith in 1937, John W. Campbell became the editor of ASTOUNDING STORIES after F. Orlin Tremaine was promoted to editorial director at Street & Smith. Campbell’s first issue of ASTOUNDING with full editorial control was dated March 1938, when the title of the magazine became ASTOUNDING SCIENCE-FICTION. The cover art is by Hans Wessolowski.

ASTOUNDING morphed into ANALOG over a series of issues in 1960. The change began with the February 1960 number, featuring an uncredited photographic cover. Behind the “Astounding” in the title bar are the letters “nalog,” outlined in red. Gradually, the “nalog” was brought more to the forefront, as in the May 1960 issue, with cover art by H. R. Van Dongen. A commercial artist, Van Dongen sold his first pulp cover painting to Popular Publications in 1950.

With the October 1960 number — with a cover sometimes credited to Campbell — the change was complete. “Astounding” completely disappeared from the title. Thereafter, the magazine was called ANALOG SCIENCE FACT — FICTION, or some variation thereof. The “Fact” and “Fiction” were flip-flopped in 1965. It became ANALOG SCIENCE FICTION AND FACT with the January 1993 issue, its current title. You can find the November/December 2019 number — with cover art by Tuomas Korpi — at book stores. The magazine’s 90th birthday issue — dated January/February 2020 — will go on sale on December 18, 2019.)

Heroines of Science Fiction and Fantasy — Part Two

Jul 9, 2019 by

Yesterday, we learned about the “Heroines of Science Fiction and Fantasy” from the past. Today, we’d like to discuss two PulpFest members who are among today’s “Heroines of Science Fiction and Fantasy.”

It goes without saying that we consider Sara Light-Waller one of our “Heroines of Science Fiction and Fantasy.” Sara is one of more than thirty fiction writers who will be attending PulpFest 2019. An avid reader of pulp science fiction stories, Sara writes and illustrates her fiction in the manner of the Golden Age science fiction from the 1930’s and 40’s. She is the author of ANCHOR: A STRANGE TALE OF TIME and LANDSCAPE OF DARKNESS. Published by Sara’s Lucina Press, they are both available through Amazon.

In 2018, we asked Sara if she’d be interested in writing posts about the first issues of SCIENCE WONDER STORIES and AIR WONDER STORIESShe quickly agreed and offered to write a third post about a subject dear to her heart: the women who helped to develop the science fiction genre. This time, it was our turn to immediately accept the offer.

Sara Light-Waller will be one of our “New Fictioneers” readers on Saturday, August 17, at PulpFest 2019.

Heidi Ruby Miller is our other PulpFest member who we consider to be among the “Heroines of Science Fiction and Fantasy.”

With degrees in Anthropology, Geography, Foreign Languages, and Writing, Heidi knew early that penning fast-paced, exotic adventures would be her life. One of the founders of Dog Star Books — the science fiction adventure imprint of Raw Dog Screaming Press — Heidi is the author of the AMBASADORA series and the Meteor House bestseller, MAN OF WAR. She also teaches creative writing at Seton Hill University, where she graduated from their renowned Writing Popular Fiction Graduate Program. Between writing and teaching, Heidi travels the world with her husband, writer Jason Jack Miller.

Earlier this year, Heidi represented PulpFest in a documentary produced by WQED Pittsburgh concerning pulp artist Gloria Stoll Karn. It’s part of a documentary entitled VISIBLE that aired on WQED, the nation’s first community-supported television station.

Heidi has also penned an article called “New Pulp” for the July 2019 issue of THE WRITER. Based on a class she taught in Seton Hill University’s Writing Popular Fiction MFA program, it concerns the resurgence of this popular fiction genre. The issue is currently available through bookstores and finer newsstands.

A resident of Pittsburgh, Heidi will be part of the Dog Star Books portion of the Raw Dog Screaming Press Rapid-Fire Read and Sweet Sixteen Celebration on Saturday, August 17. She’ll also be hosting our “Popular Fiction from Seton Hill” presentation immediately prior to the Dog Star Celebration on Saturday morning.

Be sure to have the opportunity to meet these two contemporary “Heroines of Science Fiction and Fantasy” by registering for PulpFest 2019 today. You can join the convention by clicking the Register button below our home page banner. If you’d like to pay for your membership via Paypal, you’ll find our Paypal link on our registration page.

If you are not from the Pittsburgh area and have yet to book your room for this year’s PulpFest, you can book your room directly through the PulpFest website. Below our banner, you’ll find a link that reads “Book a Room.” Click on this link and you’ll be redirected to a secure site where you can book a room at the DoubleTree. You can also reserve a room by calling 1-800-222-8733. Please be sure to mention PulpFest in order to receive the special rate. Thanks so much to everyone who has reserved a room at our host hotel. By staying at the DoubleTree, you’ve helped to ensure the convention’s success.

(The daughter of a playwright and a painter, is it any wonder that Sara Light-Waller became both writer and illustrator? Pictured here is the cover art for her first “scientifiction” adventure story, LANDSCAPE OF DARKNESS, published by Lucina Press in 2017. To learn more about Sara and her work, please visit her Facebook page, Twitter feed, or her Instagram site.)

 

What’s This PulpFest All About?

Jul 5, 2019 by

So what’s this PulpFest that has so many people talking? With over 3,200 likes on Facebook, hundreds of followers on Instagram, and nearly 1,100 followers on Twitter, it certainly has been generating a lot of excitement. But what’s it all about?

PulpFest is named for pulp magazines — fiction periodicals named after the cheap pulp paper on which they were printed. Frank A. Munsey pioneered the format in 1896 with THE ARGOSY. Stories like Edgar Rice Burroughs’ “Tarzan and the Apes” and Max Brand’s “Destry Rides Again” really got things moving.

The pulps started to flourish following the introduction of specialized magazines such as DETECTIVE STORY and LOVE STORY. Publishing legends BLACK MASKWEIRD TALES and AMAZING STORIES debuted during the 1920s. The early thirties introduced the hero pulps, while science fiction exploded as the world went to war in 1939.

By the early fifties, the pulps had largely disappeared. Although displaced by paperback books, comics, radio, television, movies, and more, the rough-paper periodicals had a profound effect on popular culture across the globe. They inspired everything from STAR WARS and JURASSIC PARK to Batman and Spider-Man. The fiction and art of the pulps reverberated through comic books, movies, paperbacks, television, and even anime and role-playing games.

PulpFest 2019 will focus on the many ways pulp fiction and pulp art have inspired and continue to inspire creators. We’re calling this year’s theme, “Children of the Pulps and Other Stories,” an examination of the pervasive influence of pulp magazines on contemporary pop culture. To see what PulpFest is all about, click the Programming button below our home page banner to get a taste for the topics that we’ll explore in 2019.

Beyond our programming, the PulpFest dealers’ room will feature tens of thousands of pulp magazines, vintage paperbacks, digests, genre books, original art, first edition hardcovers, series books, reference books, men’s adventure and true crime magazines, dime novels and story papers, Big Little Books, B-Movies, serials and related paper collectibles, old-time radio shows, and collectible comic books and newspaper adventure strips.

The convention will take place from Thursday evening, August 15, through Sunday afternoon, August 18, at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Pittsburgh – Cranberry, just nineteen miles north of the exciting city of Pittsburgh. You can book your room directly through the PulpFest website. Just click the button below the PulpFest banner to “Book a Room. Alternately, you can call 1-800-222-8733 to book a room by telephone. When calling, be sure to mention PulpFest to get the special convention rate.

Start planning now to join PulpFest 2019 at the “pop culture center of the universe.” You can join the convention by clicking the Register button below our home page banner. If you’d like to pay for your membership via Paypal, you’ll find our Paypal link on our registration page.

(Published by the Frank A. Munsey Company, the October 1912 issue of THE ALL-STORY featured Edgar Rice Burroughs’ novel “Tarzan of the Apes,” published in its entirety. Clinton Pettee painted the front cover art for the magazine.

Burroughs’ Tarzan is the most famous character to emerge from the pulps. Others include Zorro, Conan the Barbarian, Dr. Kildare, The Shadow, Buck Rogers, Sam Spade, Doc Savage, and Cthulhu.

Come to PulpFest 2019 and learn how the pulps continue to inspire the world’s pop culture creators.)

Confluence: Pittsburgh’s SF Convention

Jun 24, 2019 by

Confluence convention logo

 

Confluence is Pittsburgh’s longest-running literary conference. It is 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. Joe Coluccio, who has attended PulpFest for several years, serves as the president of Parsec.

Every summer, award-winning authors, editors, artists and song-writers gather in Pittsburgh for three full days, holding panel discussions, concerts and talks that broaden and deepen appreciation of the genres. Welcoming and personal, 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.

This year’s Confluence will offer many activities including an exciting dealers’ room, science programming, art show, poetry readings, workshops, art demos, a cosplay/costume contest, musical filk concerts, and Saturday night entertainment.

NEW YORK TIMES bestselling author Tobias S. Buckell will be the Confluence 2019 Guest of Honor. Buckell grew up in Grenada and spent time in the British and U. S. Virgin Islands, which influence much of his work. His novels and over seventy stories have been translated into nineteen different languages. His work has been nominated for awards like the Hugo, Nebula, Prometheus, and the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Science Fiction Author.

Nebula, World Fantasy, and Endeavour award nominee Cat Rambo will conduct two Writers’ Workshops at Confluence. A select number of authors will have the chance to have their work critiqued. There is no additional fee for the writing workshops, however, paid membership to the Confluence conference is required for all workshop participants. Participation is limited to one workshop per person.

Award-winning filk writer and performer Michael “Moonwulf” Longcor will also be appearing at the 2019 Confluence.

This year’s Confluence will begin on Friday, July 26, at 3 PM. The convention continues on Saturday, July 27, from 9 AM until 10 PM, and Sunday, July 28, from 9 AM until 3 PM. Confluence will take place at the Sheraton Pittsburgh Airport Hotel, 1160 Thorn Run Road in Coraopolis, Pennsylvania. Parking is free if you are staying at the hotel, or attending the convention.

An advance, full-weekend adult membership is $50 through June 30, 2019. Children from 6 – 12 years old are $25 through June 30. After that date, at-the-door prices apply. For additonal information about registration, please visit the Confluence website.

In her 2018 convention report, Brenda Clough writes, “You can meet everybody in attendance here and talk to nearly everybody, and converse with all the pros . . . . Confluence is a con worthy of attention!“

(While you’re awaiting PulpFest 2019 — beginning on Thursday, August 15, and running through Sunday, August 18 at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Pittsburgh – Cranberry — Confluence may just be your ticket to happiness. Tell them PulpFest sent you!)

Wonder in the Air

Jun 12, 2019 by

Imagine the delights of flying when airplanes were new. The excitement of air circuses, wing walkers, and barnstormers. Think of the brave flying aces whose tremendous feats of courage helped us win the Great War. This was the atmosphere ninety years ago when Hugo Gernsback launched AIR WONDER STORIES on June 12, 1929.

In truth, the accuracy of the stories’ science is soft, although there is real information about contemporary planes and flying in each issue. The Frank R. Paul covers show spectacular flying machines and cities, all of which seemed appropriately futuristic.

In June 1929 there were over a dozen air-oriented magazines available on the newsstands. Gernsback was riding a popular wave with AIR WONDER STORIES, a pulp that would tell “flying stories of the future, strictly along scientific-mechanical technical lines, full of adventure, exploration and achievement.”

But the magazine was short-lived, running briefly for eleven issues from July 1929 until May 1930. After this, it merged with SCIENCE WONDER STORIES to become, WONDER STORIES. During its short run Hugo Gernsback was editor-in-chief, David Lasser was listed as Literary Editor and Frank R. Paul, Art Director.

Each issue included a letters column, “News of Aviation,” an “Aviation Quiz,” and later, a column called “Aviation Forum,” which answered questions and explained general principles of powered flight.

The stories were a mix of new and old, with some reprints from Gernsback’s earlier magazines. Well-known writers such as Edmond Hamilton, Jack Williamson, Victor McClure, George Allan England, and Harl Vincent appeared in its pages.

The “News of Aviation” column speculated on the future of flight. In the first few issues we see articles about —  giant airships planned for the United States Navy, the practicality of telephone service on airplanes, and quotes from the Graf Zeppelin director about how to make plane flights profitable. We also discover that a flight from New York to Siberia will soon take a mere five days by air. Also that, the Mayflower Fire and Marine Insurance Company will soon offer insurance policies against airplane crashes in suburban areas.

The first issue covered a variety of story topics including — robot flying machines, anti-gravity, and Eugenics. The latter is the central theme of “Men with Wings” by Leslie Stone, a pseudonym for a female writer named Leslie F. Silverberg née Rubenstein (1905-1991).

The September 1929 issue includes a letter of praise for the magazine from 14-year-old Henry Kuttner, enthusing about the stories in the premiere issue, specifically — “Ark of the Covenant,” “Islands of the Air,” and “Men with Wings” which he found to be “splendid.” It is in Gernsback’s response to Kuttner’s letter where we discover that Leslie Stone, is a woman, not a man, as Kuttner had assumed.

AIR WONDER STORIES filled a niche that we can barely imagine today. Our dreams have moved on and those old stories seem almost shocking in their limited scope. But, at the time, they spurred visions for readers, and upcoming authors such as Henry Kuttner, to build upon and create their own speculative dreams of the future.

(Sara Light-Waller is one of more than thirty fiction writers who will be attending PulpFest 2019. An avid reader of pulp science fiction stories, Sara writes and illustrates her fiction in the manner of the Golden Age science fiction from the 1930’s and 40’s.  She is the author of ANCHOR: A STRANGE TALE OF TIME and LANDSCAPE OF DARKNESS.

Sara will be one of our “New Fictioneers” readers on Saturday, August 17, at PulpFest 2019.

The official release date of the July 1929 AIR WONDER STORIES — featuring cover art by Frank R. Paul — is thanks to Mike Ashley and Robert A. W. Lowndes, writing in THE GERNSBACK DAYS (2004).

The final issue of AIR WONDER STORIES was dated May 1930. There were a total of eleven issues. After AIR WONDER STORIES and SCIENCE WONDER STORIES were combined to form WONDER STORIES, the magazine had a run of seventy-eight issues. The final issue of WONDER STORIES was dated April 1936. The title was then sold to Standard Magazines. It returned to the stands as THRILLING WONDER STORIES during the summer of 1936.

For a brief look at the history of this classic pulp magazine and its various incarnations, please see our post, “The Sense of Wonder (Stories),” published on our website on May 5, 2014.)

 

A Story of WONDER

May 3, 2019 by

The first issue of SCIENCE WONDER STORIES hit the newsstands ninety years ago, on May 3, 1929. Behind the dramatic Frank R. Paul cover were included five short stories, the beginning of a serialized novel — “The Reign of the Ray” by Fletcher Pratt and Irvin Lester — a science quiz (with the answers in the issue’s stories), an essay contest, and “Science News of the Month.” SCIENCE WONDER STORIES ran for twelve issues dated June 1929 through May 1930. David Lasser was managing editor and Hugo Gernsback was publisher and editor-in-chief.  Each issue had a fantastic Frank R. Paul cover.

In the magazine’s first issue, Gernsback stated — “We live and breathe day by day in a Science saturated atmosphere. The wonders of science no longer amaze us — we accept each new discovery as a matter of course . . . SCIENCE WONDER STORIES supplies the need for scientific fiction and supplies it better than any other magazine . . . . who are readers of SCIENCE WONDER STORIES? Everybody. Bankers, ministers, students, housewives, bricklayers, postal clerks, farmers, mechanics, dentists — every class you can think of — but only those with imagination. And as a rule, only those with intelligence and curiosity . . . . It augers well for the future of science fiction in America.

Gernsback claimed that science fiction was educational and stated that, “Teachers encourage the reading of this fiction because they know that it gives the pupil a fundamental knowledge of science and aviation.

The first issue of the magazine included an essay contest on the topic of “What Science Means To Me.” Jack Williamson won First Honorable Mention for “Tremendous Contribution to Civilization” and E. E. Doc Smith snagged Second Honorable Mention with  “A Scientist-Author Speaks.” The winning entry (gaining the author fifty dollars) by B. S. Moore was entitled — “The Door to the World of Explanation.”

In “Science News of the Month” we learned that Peyote was legal in Paris, although this was controversial. The General Electric Company had produced electric eyes to turn on lights when a room darkened below a certain threshold or by arrangement with a time clock. Also, that television images of persons and objects were broadcast by Station W2XBS in New York City from 7 to 9 P. M. Eastern Standard Time on the radio channel from 2,000 to 2,100 kilocycles. Twenty complete pictures were broadcast every second. Science and wonder indeed!

In subsequent issues, Gernsback introduced us to “The Wonders of Gravitation” and “The Problems of Space Flying.” “Science News of the Month” included a machine that set type by voice, and a robot money-changer that rejected spurious coins while scolding: “Please use good coins only.”

All of this was padding for the stories, of course. Raymond Z. Gallun made his debut here. Other authors included Miles J. Breuer, Stanton A. Coblentz, David H. Keller, Laurence Manning, Fletcher Pratt, Harl Vincent, and Jack Williamson.

In 1930, Gernsback merged SCIENCE WONDER STORIES with its companion magazine, AIR WONDER STORIES, to create WONDER STORIES. Reports vary as to why this merger occurred — weak sales, Gernsback’s poor relationships with his writers, or needed space in the publishing schedule for AVIATION MECHANICS. Perhaps the SCIENCE WONDER STORIES concept was just not working. In an editorial a few months before the last issue, Gernsback commented that the word “Science” in the magazine’s title “. . . has tended to retard the progress of the magazine, because many people had the impression that it is a sort of scientific periodical rather than a fiction magazine.” Whatever the truth, the last issue of SCIENCE WONDER STORIES went on sale in April of 1930.

The magazine is fondly remembered, despite its short run. Gernsback’s idea of selling science to the masses might have been a gimmick, or he might have been serious in his belief that our imaginations are enriched by super science. Either way, the goal of stimulating the imagination through science remains a good one, no matter what Gernsback’s true motivations.

Looking for your own copy of SCIENCE WONDER STORIES? Fans of genre fiction, original artwork, and vintage pulp magazines will find treasures galore at PulpFest 2019. The convention runs from Thursday, August 15, through Sunday, August 18, and is held at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Pittsburgh – Cranberry, nineteen miles north of Pittsburgh, PA. This year’s theme is “Children of the Pulps and Other Stories.” Find out more about PulpFest’s great programming, register for the convention, and book a room at the DoubleTree from the convention’s home page. Then join us in August for a WONDERful immersion into the world of the pulps.

(Sara Light-Waller is one of more than thirty fiction writers who will be attending PulpFest 2019. An avid reader of pulp science fiction stories, Sara writes and illustrates her fiction in the manner of the Golden Age science fiction from the 1930’s and 40’s.  She is the author of ANCHOR: A STRANGE TALE OF TIME and LANDSCAPE OF DARKNESS.

Sara will be one of our “New Fictioneers” readers on Saturday, August 17, at PulpFest 2019.

The official release date of the June 1929 SCIENCE WONDER STORIES — featuring cover art by Frank R. Paul — is thanks to Mike Ashley and Robert A. W. Lowndes, writing in THE GERNSBACK DAYS (2004).

Between the twelve issues of SCIENCE WONDER STORIES and the combined WONDER STORIES, the magazine had a run of seventy-eight issues. The final issue of WONDER STORIES was dated April 1936. The title was then sold to Standard Magazines. It returned to the stands as THRILLING WONDER STORIES during the summer of 1936.

For a brief look at the history of this classic pulp magazine and its various incarnations, please see our post, “The Sense of Wonder (Stories),” published on our website on May 5, 2014.)

One Hundred Years of THE THRILL BOOK

Feb 25, 2019 by

A century ago, Edgar Rice Burroughs, George Allan England, A. Merritt, and others were spinning scientific romances and fantasies for the general fiction magazines. THE ALL-STORY editor Robert H. Davis called such tales, “different.”  “Off Trail” was how Arthur Sullivant Hoffman of ADVENTURE described the story type.

In 1919, Street & Smith circulation manager Henry Ralston, decided to launch “a magazine wholly devoted to different stories.” Unfortunately, he also selected the inexperienced and inept Harold Brainerd Hersey to helm his new magazine.

In a 1955 autobiographical essay, Hersey suggested that, “No one, anywhere, had come up with the notion that this kind of story was leading in a definite direction, except Bill Ralston . . . . others like myself were keenly interested in futuristic stories, but none of us visualized a magazine given over to it entirely.” So began the legend that Street & Smith’s THE THRILL BOOK was the world’s first science fiction and fantasy magazine.

Inpatient to get things underway, Hersey mailed a two-page letter to potential writers for THE THRILL BOOK:

“We are strongly desirous of securing strange, bizarre, occult, mysterious tales . . . We are also in the market for clean, swiftly moving adventure serials, novelettes, and short stories . . . In this magazine accent is laid on the curious twist; the strange angles of human nature; the coming into contact with an unseen world; miraculous but logical happenings; thrilling occult stories with any background either here or in foreign lands; adventures of extraordinary speed and absorbing interest; mysterious occurrences; spiritual and ghostly narratives; romantically woven novelettes and serials, and whimsical things. If you have an idea which you have considered too bizarre to write, too weird or strange, let us see it.”

Hersey’s notice left THE THRILL BOOK open to any kind of story — adventure, mystery, fantasy, romance, or whatever — as long as it was unusual. With a limited budget and imagination, the new editor relied on his friends, former dime novelists, untried authors, and his own poetry to fill out the magazine.

The first issue of THE THRILL BOOK carried the date March 1, 1919. Published as a semi-monthly in the dime novel format, it featured “Wolf of the Steppes” as its cover story, It was probably the high point of Hersey’s editorship. Credited to Greye La Spina, this werewolf story was the first published work of Fanny Greye Bragg. The author would later become an important contributor to WEIRD TALES.

After eight issues, THE THRILL BOOK became a pulp. It also had a new editor — Ronald Oliphant — after Hersey was canned. Although he turned toward Hoffman’s ADVENTURE for inspiration, Oliphant would also publish some of the magazine’s best science fiction. He serialized Gertrude M. Barrows’ dystopian “The Heads of Cerberus” over five issues. Published under the author’s Francis Stevens pseudonym, it was probably the best story to appear in THE THRILL BOOK. Oliphant also ran two early Murray Leinster science fiction novellas.

The sixteenth and final issue of THE THRILL BOOK was dated October 15, 1919. Interestingly, it included two science fiction tales, both by female writers: the concluding segment of Francis Stevens’ “The Heads of Cerberus” and Greye La Spina’s “The Ultimate Ingredient.”

If only THE THRILL BOOK had employed an experienced editor from its start and adhered to the Hersey-described visions of Henry Ralston, perhaps its story would have been very much “different.”

(The final issue of THE THRILL BOOK — dated October 15, 1919 — featured cover art by James Reynolds. The cover story — Murray Leinster’s “Juju” — is an adventure tale.

To learn more about THE THRILL BOOK, see Richard Bleiler’s THE ANNOTATED INDEX TO THE THRILL BOOK, published by Borgo Press in 1991; Sam Moskowitz’s description of the magazine in UNDER THE MOONS OF MARS: A HISTORY AND ANTHOLOGY OF “THE SCIENTIFIC ROMANCE” IN THE MUNSEY MAGAZINES, 1920-1920, published by Holt, Rinehart and Winston in 1970; and Will Murray’s “The THRILL BOOK Story,” featured in PULP VAULT #14, still in print from Black Dog Books and available via Amazon.)

Children of the Pulps and Other Stories

Dec 3, 2018 by

Programming for PulpFest 2019

 

PulpFest 2019 postcardPulpFest is the summertime destination for fans and collectors of of popular culture both old and new. It seeks to honor the pulps by drawing attention to the many ways these throwaway magazines have inspired writers, artists, film directors, game designers, and other creators over the years.

Our 2019 convention will focus on the many ways pulp fiction and pulp art have inspired and continue to inspire creators. We’re calling this year’s theme “Children of the Pulps and Other Stories,” an examination of the pervasive influence of pulp magazines on contemporary pop culture. Our planned schedule appears below.

Of course, we’ll also have a spacious dealers’ room. It will feature tens of thousands of pulp magazines, vintage paperbacks, digests, genre books, original art, first edition hardcovers, series books, reference books, men’s adventure and true crime magazines, dime novels and story papers, Big Little Books, B-Movies, serials and related paper collectibles, old-time radio shows, and collectible comic books and newspaper adventure strips.

Please join PulpFest 2019 for our celebration of mystery, adventure, science fiction, and more. We’ll be back at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Pittsburgh – Cranberry, just north of Pennsylvania’s “Steel City” in Mars, PA. Click the button below the PulpFest banner to “Book a Room.”

If you enjoy  genre writers such as J. K. Rowling, Lee Child, Michael Connelly, John Scalzi, or Stephen King, you’ll love PulpFest!

 

PulpFest 2019 Schedule

Thursday, August 15

Dealers’ Room

3:00 PM – 10:00 PM — Dealers’ Room Set-Up

4:00 PM – 8:00 PM — Member Registration and Early-Bird Shopping

Evening Programming

8:15 – 9:00 PM — Bob Davis — Grandfather of Science Fiction (Gene Christie)

9:05 – 9:50 PM — A Century of Zorro — (Rich Harvey)

9:55 – 10:40 PM — Hollywood Pulp — From Pulp Page to the Silver Screen (Ed Hulse)

10:45 – 11:30 PM — Two Sought Adventure — Eighty Years of Fritz Leiber’s Fafhrd & the Gray Mouser (Jason Aiken & Morgan Holmes)

11:40 – 1:00 AM — Fu Manchu Film Festival (William Patrick Maynard)

Friday, August 16

Dealers’ Room

9:00 AM – 10:00 AM — Early Registration and Dealers’ Room Set-Up

10:00 AM – 4:45 PM — Dealers’ Room Open to All

Author Readings — Today’s Fictioneers

11:00 – 12:20 AMRaw Dog Screaming Press Rapid-Fire Read & Sweet Sixteen Celebration (Publisher Jennifer Barnes)

Readings by Mike Arnzen, Carrie Gessner, John Edward Lawson, Jason Jack Miller, and Stephanie Wytovich, plus coffee, tea, and sweets, compliments of the publisher

12:30 – 1:05 PM — Wayne Carey, author of Quatermain: The New Adventures

1:10 – 1:45 PM — Craig McDonald, author of The Hector Lassiter Series

1:50 – 2:25 PM — Joab Stieglitz, author of The Utgarda Series

2:30 – 3:05 PM — Christopher Paul Carey, The Wild Adventures of Edgar Rice Burroughs Series and The Khokarsa Series author, will be moderating our “Enter the Edgar Rice Burroughs Universe” at this time

3:10 – 3:50 PM — William Patrick Maynard, authorized author of Fu Manchu

Afternoon Programming

1:30 – 2:30 PM — Author SigningsJohn Locke, Will Murray, and Chet Williamson will be available for signings at our main entrance

2:30 – 3:05 PM — Enter the Edgar Rice Burroughs Universe (featuring Matt Betts, Win Scott Eckert, and Heidi Ruby Miller, with Christopher Paul Carey moderating)

2:30 – 4:30 PM — The Art of Edgar Rice Burroughs (sponsored by The Burroughs Bibliophiles)

4:00 – 4:40 PM — Fu Manchu Film Festival Encore (William Patrick Maynard)

Evening Programming

6:55 – 7:00 PM — Welcome to PulpFest (Convention Chairman Jack Cullers)

7:05 – 7:50 PM — ARGOSY, ADVENTURE and BLUE BOOK — The Men’s Adventure Pulps (Bob Deis & Wyatt Doyle)

7:55 – 8:40 PM — The Game’s Afoot: Sherlock Holmes and the Pulps (George Vanderburgh & Garyn Roberts)

8:45 – 9:30 PM — The Secret Life of Women Pulp Artists (David Saunders)

9:35 – 10:25 PM — Dashiell Hammett and the Detective Story (John Wooley with John Gunnison)

10:25 – 11:10 PM — The Key of Imagination: THE TWILIGHT ZONE and the Pulps (Nicholas Parisi)

11:15 – 12:45 AM — Charles Beaumont: The Short Life of Twilight Zone’s Magic Man (A film by Jason V. Brock)

Saturday, August 17

Dealers’ Room

10:00 AM – 4:45 PM — Dealers’ Room Open to All

Author Readings — Today’s Fictioneers

10:00 – 10:50 AMPopular Fiction from Seton Hill (introduced by Heidi Ruby Miller)

Readings by Jeremiah Dylan Cook, E. C. Skowronski, and Sara Tantlinger

11:00 – 12:20 AMDog Star Books Rapid-Fire Read & Sweet Sixteen Celebration (Publisher John Edward Lawson)

Readings by Matt Betts, J. L. Gribble, Heidi Ruby Miller, K. W. Taylor, Albert Wendland, and K. Ceres Wright, plus coffee, tea, and sweets, compliments of the publisher

12:30 – 1:05 PMFlinch Fest, featuring John Bruening, author of The Midnight Guardian Series

1:10 – 1:45 PM — Roger Alford, author of The Black Spectre Series

1:50 – 2:25 PM — Sara Light-Waller, author of ANCHOR and LANDSCAPE OF DARKNESS 

2:30 – 3:05 PM — Win Scott Eckert, author of HUNT THE AVENGER and many other works

Afternoon Programming

1:30 – 2:30 PM — Author SigningsWin Scott Eckert, Nicholas Parisi, and John Wooley will be available for signings at our main entrance

2:30 – 4:30 PM — The Art of Edgar Rice Burroughs (sponsored by The Burroughs Bibliophiles)

3:15 – 4:30 PMContemporary Pulp: Writing Genre Fiction (featuring John Bruening, Christopher Paul Carey, Win Scott Eckert, Craig McDonald, and Will Murray, with William Patrick Maynard moderating)

4:15 – 4:45 PM — Auction Preview

Evening Programming

5:00 – 6:45 PM — PulpFest 2019 Group Meal

7:00 – 7:30 PM — PulpFest Annual Business Meeting (meet the convention organizers)

7:30 – 7:40 PM — Munsey Award Presentation (presented by William Lampkin)

7:45 – 8:25 PM — FarmerCon XIV: Farmer of the Pulps: A Harvest of Influences (featuring Jason Aiken, Christopher Paul Carey, Win Scott Eckert, and Garyn G. Roberts, with Paul Spiteri moderating)

8:30 – 9:30 PM — Born Writing: The Unparalleled Career of Arthur J. Burks (John Locke)

9:30 – 9:45 PM —  Last Minute Auction Viewing

9:45 – 12:00 AM — Saturday Night Auction

12:00 – 1:00 AM — Fu Manchu Film Festival Encore (William Patrick Maynard)

Sunday, August 18

Dealers’ Room

9:00 AM – 2:00 PM — Dealers’ Room Open to All (many dealers will be packing up; buying opportunities may be limited)

To learn more about each presentations, click on the available links.

Click here to link to our 2019 mobile schedule.

Please note that the schedule above is subject to change.

(Every year, PulpFest celebrates mystery, adventure, science fiction, and other forms of genre fiction. The rough paper magazines played a major role in the development of fiction categories. Pulp publisher Street & Smith pioneered the specialized fiction magazine when it introduced DETECTIVE STORY MAGAZINE in late 1915. Eighteen years later, the same publisher introduced the first superhero: Lester Dent’s Doc Savage. The character debuted in the March 1933 issue of DOC SAVAGE MAGAZINE, featuring cover art by Walter M. Baumhofer.

About five years later, Superman made his first appearance in the June 1938 issue of ACTION COMICS. Before long, the Man of Steel was joined by many other superheroes. This is just one example of the many ways pulp fiction and pulp art have influenced writers, artists, film directors, software developers, game designers, and other creators over the decades.

Watch for our post cards featuring Walter Baumhofer’s classic Doc Savage image at book stores, comic shops, collectible conventions, and other venues. With a Superman portrait painted by H. J. Ward on its flip side, our post card is a great collectible in itself. It was designed by PulpFest Advertising Director, William Lampkin.

And watch for more adventures of The Man of Bronze via The All-New Wild Adventures of Doc Savage. They’re written by PulpFest 2019 panelist, Will Murray.)