Highlights from THE PULPSTER

Jul 27, 2020 by

THE PULPSTER #29While 2020 may be looking like the “Year Without Pulp Conventions,” we have something for you to look forward to — this year’s number of THE PULPSTER.

Yes, the annual magazine for PulpFest will be available soon despite PulpFest being canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

It won’t be a regular edition. Think of it as THE PULPSTER ANNUAL. While not Sears Roebuck catalog thick like an AMAZING STORIES ANNUAL, number 29 of THE PULPSTER will be almost twice as large as last year’s edition, coming in at 84 pages plus covers.

And a lot of great content will be filling those pages!

THE PULPSTER has two major themes this year: the 100th anniversary of the birth of author Ray Bradbury, and the 100th anniversary of the debut of BLACK MASK.

Garyn G. Roberts heads up the section on Ray Bradbury with three pieces: a general look at the life of the writer, an essay on Bradbury his friend, and a look at Bradbury’s contributions to the Popular Publication detective pulps. Samuel James Maronie offers a fan’s reflection on meeting Bradbury at a 1996 convention.

Next, we shift from Bradbury himself to the author’s Martian legacy. Leading off, Michael Chomko writes about the influences that led Bradbury to create his singular vision of the Red Planet in THE MARTIAN CHRONICLES. Then, Sara Light-Waller looks at the depiction of Mars through the pulp years. Henry G. Franke III writes about “Bradbury, Burroughs, and Mars,” and how Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Barsoom inspired a young Bradbury. Wrapping up, Albert Wendland discusses how the exploration of Mars by orbiters and rovers has changed the way the planet is portrayed in science fiction.

The second feature section — celebrating BLACK MASK — kicks off with an excerpt from Milton Shaw’s book, JOSEPH T. SHAW: THE MAN BEHIND “BLACK MASK.” Milton Shaw looks at the beginnings of BLACK MASK, and what his father, “Cap” Shaw, accomplished during his 10 years at the pulp magazine’s influential editor.

Will Murray looks at the BLACK MASK writers who “left too many tales untold.” Next, John Wooley looks at Kenneth White, who took over the editor’s fedora at BLACK MASK during the 1940s. Christopher Ryan tells of the surprising response from high school seniors in his lit class to reading a BLACK MASK story, William Cole’s “Waiting for Rusty.” Then Craig McDonald explores the possibility that there may have been an actual killer in the pages of BLACK MASK. And wrapping up the BLACK MASK section, Brooks E. Hefner, co-director of the Circulating American Magazine project, looks at the pulp’s circulation from 1925 – 1940.

If that weren’t enough, we have several other articles in store for readers.

Darrell Schweitzer treats us to a discussion he had with science-fiction authors and couple Leigh Brackett and Edmond Hamilton in 1977, shortly before Hamilton’s death. Stuart Hopen takes a deeper look at Philip Wylie, whose works inspired both the Man of Bronze and the Man of Steel — Doc Savage and Superman — and other fictional heroes.

Tony Davis celebrates the brief reign of Canada’s “King of the Pulp Writers,” Thomas P. Kelley. And Martin Grams Jr. traces the history of “Renfrew of the Mounties.” We also take a look at folk-rocker Bob Dylan’s use of pulp magazine images, written by yours truly.

Robert Deis writes about model and actress Eva Lynd, who was featured in numerous men’s adventure magazine covers and illustrations during the 1960s. Eva was to be the guest of honor at PulpFest 2020 and hopes to attend next year.

Rounding out the magazine is our “Final Chapters” department, celebrating the lives of those in the pulp community that we’ve recently lost.

We hope to have THE PULPSTER to the printer by mid-August, so copies should be available for purchase through Mike Chomko, Books, Bud’s Art Books, and other purveyors by September. (The price is to be determined.) If you’re interested in reserving your copy now, please contact Mike at mike@pulpfest.com.

(The cover of THE PULPSTER #29 features Frank Kelly Freas’ artwork for “Lorelei of the Red Mist,” from the Fall 1953 issue of TOPS IN SCIENCE FICTION, originally published by Fiction House.)

Happy Independence Day from PulpFest!

Jul 3, 2020 by

In a normal year, PulpFest would take the time today to say thanks for all of the donations received. Over the years, Chaosium Inc.Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc., THE MAGAZINE OF FANTASY & SCIENCE FICTION, Radio Archives, and other generous organizations have donated their products as free giveaways to PulpFest attendees.

We’ve also used this day to thank the many bookstores and comic shops from the Pittsburgh metropolitan region where PulpFest is based, as well as book fairs and conventions throughout the United States that have helped to promote “Summer’s Pulp Con.” Although our promotional efforts were drastically reduced earlier this year, we’d still like to thank Books from the Crypt, Martin Grams, Jeff Harper, New Dimension Comics, Mike Chomko, Books, and Curt Phillips for helping to promote PulpFest during the last year.

Unfortunately, the COVID-19 virus threw a monkey wrench into all of our plans. Given the substantial risks involved and our desire to maintain the health and well-being of our many supporters, the PulpFest organizing committee voted unanimously to postpone this year’s convention until August 18 – 21, 2021.

Although there will be no PulpFest in 2020 and no items donated to give away to our attendees free of charge, we’d still like to celebrate freedom by offering our PulpFest 2020 postcards free to anyone interested as long as supplies last. Designed by the convention’s advertising director, William Lampkin, our postcards have become collector’s items in and of themselves. Bill has been creating these cards each and every year since 2011.

If you’d like a few copies of our PulpFest 2020 postcard, please send a business-size, self-addressed, stamped envelope to Michael Chomko, 2217 W Fairview Street, Allentown, PA 18104-6542. Requests from outside the United States will be honored, but it’s up to the sender to provide the correct United States postage.

(Our PulpFest 2020 postcard features Margaret Brundage’s cover painting for the October 1933 issue of WEIRD TALES. Brundage’s work — one of the most iconic images ever created for “The Unique Magazine” — illustrates the first segment of Edmond Hamilton’s four-part serial, “The Vampire Master.” The back of the postcard highlights the work of Norm Eastman. His painting — featuring models Eva Lynd and Steve Holland — was used for the cover of BLUEBOOK for October 1966.)


Highlights from THE PULPSTER

Aug 7, 2019 by

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Help Choose the 2019 Munsey Award

Dec 10, 2018 by

Every year, PulpFest recognizes those who work to keep the pulps alive for this and future generations with the Munsey Award. A service award, it honors Frank A. Munsey, the publisher of the first pulp magazine. William Lampkin won our 2018 Munsey Award. You can read about Bill by clicking here.

We are now accepting nominations for the 2019 Munsey Award. Previous winners of the Lamont, Munsey, or Rusty Award are not eligible for the award. Click here to see our previous winners.

To nominate someone for this prestigious award, please provide a brief statement of your reasons. Send it to PulpFest marketing and programming director Mike Chomko at mike@pulpfest.com. You can also reach Mike at 2217 W. Fairview Street, Allentown, PA 18104-6542.

The deadline for nominations is April 30, 2019. The living Lamont, Munsey, and Rusty Award winners will select the receipient. The award will be presented on Saturday evening, August 17, at PulpFest 2019.

The convention will take place at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Pittsburgh – Cranberry. It will begin on Thursday, August 15, and run through Sunday, August 18.

(Pictured above, the Munsey Award was created in 2009 by artist David Saunders, the son of legendary illustrator Norman Saunders. Dan Zimmer of The Illustrated Press and publisher of ILLUSTRATION MAGAZINE produced a limited signed and numbered edition of the award. The PulpFest Committee is indebted to both David and Dan for their generous support of our community.)

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Our 2018 Munsey Winner

Jul 28, 2018 by

William Lampkin has been named the winner of the 2018 Munsey Award. Nominated by the general pulp community, Bill 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 David Saunders and published by Dan Zimmer of The Illustrated Press. It is presented annually to an individual or institution that has bettered the pulp community. David Saunders — winner of a special “retro” Lamont Award in 2016 — presented this year’s award. As Bill was unable to attend PulpFest 2018 due to family obligations, the award was accepted by Mike Chomko.

Our 2018 Munsey Award winner, 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). After freelancing for a number of years, he’s now the public information officer for a professional licensing board. 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 ThePulp.Net, which he created in 1996, and also writes the Yellowed Perils blog. He founded the Facebook group Southern Pulpsters in 2015. 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. Tony 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. He is a member of the PulpFest organizing committee, serving as the convention’s advertising director and webmaster.

Congratulations to Bill for this most deserved award.

Nominations are now being accepted for the 2019 Munsey Awards. If you’d like to make a nomination for this prestigious award, please send a short explanation concerning your reasons for the nomination to PulpFest marketing and programming director Mike Chomko at mike@pulpfest.com. You can also reach Mike at 2217 W. Fairview Street, Allentown, PA 18104-6542. Previous winners of the Lamont, Munsey, or Rusty Award are not eligible for the award. Click here for a list of our previous winners.

The deadline for nominations is April 30, 2019. Please click here for additional details. Thanks for your help.

Free to Our Members: THE PULPSTER #24

Jul 16, 2015 by

The-Pulpster-24-coverEditor and designer Bill Lampkin and his assistant-editor Peter Chomko are hard at work on the next issue of THE PULPSTER, the award-winning PulpFest program book. He’ll be featuring articles on Major Malcolm Wheeler-Nicholson, the author who founded DC Comics; the Thrilling Group of pulps and comics; DETECTIVE FICTION WEEKLY; Erle Stanley Gardner, and other topics. The highlight of the issue will be a round-robin article on H. P. Lovecraft and WEIRD TALES. It will feature contributions from filmmaker Sean Branney; Marvin Kaye, the current editor of WEIRD TALES W. Paul Ganley, founder of WEIRDBOOKand Derrick Hussey, the publisher at Hippocampus Press; authors Jason Brock, Ramsey Campbell, Cody Goodfellow, Nick Mamatas, Tim Powers, Wilum Pugmire, Jessica Amanda Salmonson, Darrell Schweitzer, and Chet Williamson; poet Fred Phillips; pulp scholars and collectors John Haefele, Don Herron, Morgan Holmes, S. T. Joshi, Tom Krabacher, Rick Lai, Will Murray, and J. Barry Traylor. So expect a slam-bang issue from the esteemed editor of our highly popular program book.

A longstanding tradition cherished by attendees of summer pulp cons, THE PULPSTER #24 will be released at PulpFest 2015. Every member – including supporting members – of PulpFest will receive a complimentary copy of THE PULPSTER. Following the convention, a limited number of copies of the program book will be available for purchase through Mike Chomko, Books. Please write to Mike – who also serves as the marketing and programming director for PulpFest – at mike@pulpfest.com or 2217 W. Fairview Street, Allentown, PA 18104-6542 to reserve your copy. Given its roster of authors, the issue will probably disappear before you know it.

You can also order back issues of THE PULPSTER through Mike Chomko, Books. Copies of THE PULPSTER #5, 6, 17, 20, 22, and 23 are available for $13 each, postage paid. Copies of THE PULPSTER #9 are available for $18, postage paid. Copies of THE PULPSTER #4, 15, and 21 are available for $23 each, postage paid. Copies of THE PULPSTER Mini-Edition, published in 2005 and featuring a history of the Lamont Award, are available for $8, postage paid. All other issues of THE PULPSTER are out of print. Reduced postage is available on orders of multiple books. Please note that quantities of most issues are limited as reflected by the various prices. These prices are good only in the United States. Buyers outside the United States, please inquire about rates as postage costs are quite substantial. Mike will accept payments made via check or money order or through Paypal. Please write to him at mike@pulpfest.com or 2217 W. Fairview Street, Allentown, PA 18104-6542 for further instructions.

For questions about submissions to THE PULPSTER, please write to Bill Lampkin at bill@pulpfest.com. For any questions about advertising in THE PULPSTER, back issues, or ordering issue #24 of THE PULPSTER, please write to Mike Chomko at mike@pulpfest.com.

For information on how to register for PulpFest 2015, please click the red “register” button on our home page. To book a room for this year’s convention, please visit www.pulpfest.com/2015/06/16872/.