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.)

Stan Lee, Pulp Fan

Nov 15, 2018 by

Comic book legend Stan Lee passed away on Monday, November 12. He was 95 years old.

Nearly sixty years ago, Stan Lee — along with Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko, and others — introduced the world to The Amazing Spider-Man, The Avengers, The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man, The X-Men, and other superheroes. Together, they “revolutionized entertainment and the then-dying superhero-comics industry by introducing flawed, multidimensional, and relatable human heroes — many of whom have enjoyed cultural staying power beyond anything in contemporary fiction, to rival the most enduring icons of the movies (an industry they’ve since proceeded to almost entirely remake in their own image).”

Marvel’s greatest success of the period was Peter Parker, The Amazing Spider-Man. Debuting in the August 1962 AMAZING FANTASY, Spider-Man blended a mixture of “unconventional humor and emotional agony.” In short, Spider-Man mirrored the rather unconventional pulp hero that Lee claimed as inspiration: Richard Wentworth, The Spider.

“When I was about 10 years old, I used to read a pulp magazine called THE SPIDER and sub-titled ‘Master of Men.’ Perhaps it was the Master of Men that got me, but to my impressionable, preteen way of thinking, the Spider was the most dramatic character I had ever encountered. He ranked right up there with Doc Savage and the Shadow. Even better, he wasn’t as well known as the others, which gave me the warm feeling that his fans belonged to an elite club. At any rate, in searching for a title for our newest superhero, I remembered by old pulp favorite — and the title Spider-Man instantly hit me. I didn’t mind borrowing the Spider part of his name because everything else about our new character would be completely different. I was determined to make our next production the most original, most unique comic book character ever to swoop down the pike.”

Although it’s debatable how much credit Lee actually deserves for the creation of Marvel’s now iconic characters, Stan was “The Man” who sold The Marvel Universe and, in turn, the comic book medium. “Stan, because of his personality and ability to talk in front of people, became the spokesman for all the comic books.”

So rest in peace, Stan Lee, comic book creator, promoter, and . . . pulp fan.

(Spider-Man made his debut in the final issue of AMAZING FANTASY, dated August 1962. Featuring the cover art of Jack Kirby, the fifteenth issue would be one of Marvel Comics’ best selling issues to date. Seven months later, THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN would make its debut.

Beginning on Thursday evening, August 15, and running through Sunday, August 18, PulpFest 2019 will celebrate the many ways that pulp fiction and pulp art have inspired creators such as Stan Lee, Steve Ditko, and Jack Kirby. We hope that you’ll join us for “Children of the Pulps and Other Stories,” an examination of the pervasive influence of pulps on contemporary pop culture. We’ll be back at the wonderful DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Pittsburgh – Cranberry.)