Sam Maronies Entertainment Funhouse (Maronie Creative Services, LLC)
IT'S POP-CULTURE PARTY-TIME!

EVENTS

October 19, 2013

PULPFEST 2013 COLUMBUS

Vintage pulp magazines of all varieties were available in the Dealer's Room at Pulpfest 2013.

PULPFEST 2013

Vintage pulp magazines of all varieties were available in the Dealer's Room at Pulpfest 2013.

Vintage pulp magazines of all varieties were available in the Dealer’s Room at Pulpfest 2013.

Pulpfest 2013 #22 took place July 25-28 in Columbus, Ohio. The annual fan gathering drew several hundred devoted vintage-fiction fans from across the country.

For you young ‘uns, pulps were comic-book-sized magazines published in the early part of the 20th century. They were published with rough-edged pages from cheap ‘pulpwood’ paper—hence their namesake, ‘pulps’. The magazines came in a variety of subject matters—Westerns, Fantasy, Science-Fiction and Mystery, among many others.

Pulpfest 2013 celebrated the 80th anniversary of the hero-pulp, a fiction magazine chronicling the exploits of a single heroic character. The Shadow was the first in 1931, but 1933 found the debut of iconic protagonists Doc Savage, The Spider, and six other similar he-men.

The truly devoted arrived on Thurday, the 25th . Dealers spent the morning setting up their booths, and fans spent time reconnecting with comrades who share their passion for the pulp magazine genre. A short schedule of presentations from pulp experts was offered later in the day.

Collectors patiently comb through the boxes of vintage paperbacks, looking for a treasure.

Collectors patiently comb through the boxes of vintage paperbacks, looking for a treasure.

Friday was game-on with a full schedule of programming and of course, lots of activity in the dealer’s room. Noteworthy was the impressive turnout of authors in attendance. Many of these wordsmiths are devoted to carrying on the tradition of pulp writing, offering further adventures of established pulp characters, as well as promoting the adventures of new characters executed in the pulp style of the 30’s.

Pulpfest presented a strong presence of two important authors, Philip Jose Farmer and Sax Rhomer, creator of the infamous Fu-Manchu.

Representatives from the Farmer estate were there promoting the release of the updated edition of Farmer’s Doc Savage: His Apocalyptic Life. The hardback reprint of Farmer’s original work is augmented by new material along with a gorgeous Joe DeVito cover. Many of the authors of these new features were on hand to autograph books for anxious fans.

The late Farmer was a devoted Doc Savage fan and wrote many pastiches of Doc’s exploits in a variety of formats. He even contributed a new, authorized Savage adventure several years ago, Escape from Loki.

Author William Patrick Maynard gave several presentations discussing the perennial arch-villian, Dr. Fu-Manchu. Authorized by the estate of creator, Sax Rhomer, Maynard has penned several new volumes of Fu’s exploits, among them The Terror of Fu-Manchu and The Destiny of Fu-Manchu, with more to come from Black Coat Press.

The intoxicating aroma of old pulp paper enticed buyers in the dealer’s room. Pulps and books of every variety were offered for sale, from the common to ultra-rare. Whether you were a confirmed collector of the original magazines, a completist trying to find that elusive paperback, or a devotee intent on scoring that elusive fanzine, there was definitely something for you.

Van Allen Plexico, Ron Fortier and other authors of new pulp adventures were also on hand promoting their work. Writer Tony Isabella was an unexpected guest, appearing on Saturday to support his friend Fortier and artist Rob Davis.
Artist Rob Davis, writers Tony Isabella and Ron Fortier show off their wares at Pulpfest 2013.

Artist Rob Davis, writers Tony Isabella and Ron Fortier show off their wares at Pulpfest 2013.

The prolific Will Murray was also in attenance. Will is the ultimate pulp authority, as well as being a talented author in his own right. Will is writing new, authorized, Doc Savage adventures as well as compiling pulp-related anthologies and penning factual articles about those early pulp writers and their work. Murray’s latest work, Wordslingers, is a must-read history of the Western pulp genre.

Will Murray, author and preeminent pulp scholar, displays some of his latest work.

Will Murray, author and preeminent pulp scholar, displays some of his latest work.

Graphic designer Chris Kalb presented a dynamite presentation Saturday night on pulp premiums—those little geegaws that readers received for mailing away coupons and a dime to the pulp publishers.Not only is Chris’ collection impressive, but his history of these giveaways was exhaustively complete.

Designer Chris Kalb displays his collection of rare pulp giveaways. Chris gave a spirited talk about the history of pulp premiums during the 3-day show.

Designer Chris Kalb displays his collection of rare pulp giveaways. Chris gave a spirited talk about the history of pulp premiums during the 3-day show.

 

 

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He covered everything from the Shadow’s Secret Society buttons to The Friends of the Phantom badges. The allotted half-hour flew by quickly and the convention committee promised Chris more time next year.

A special note, Chris and the fine folks at Age of Aces Books have issued The Spider vs. the Empire State. This thick volume collects a 3-part story from The Spider magazine in 1938. The prophetic narrative involves New York State devolving into an American Reichstag and incredibly anticipates the rise of Nazi Germany. A piece of Depression-Era paranoia that is not to be missed. It’s a bargain!

A display of Kalb's custom t-shirts based on pulp premiums. The Spider Ring shirt on the upper left is a favorite of this author.

A display of Kalb’s custom t-shirts based on pulp premiums. The Spider Ring shirt on the upper left is a favorite of this author.

And what is a collector’s gathering without an auction? A huge lot of items fell swiftly beneath the auction gavel Saturday night.Collectors bid fiercely on everything from boxes of old pulps to high-priced, slipcased limited-edition volumes.
Science-fiction pulps were big with collectors during Pulpfest over the weekend.

Science-fiction pulps were big with collectors during Pulpfest over the weekend.

Sunday the show wound down, with dealers making those final sales and packing up to return home. Fans made their last purchases and said their good-byes until next year.
Dealer Thomas Martin displays a rare Ray Harryhausen movie display card, among the other treasures at his table.

Dealer Thomas Martin displays a rare Ray Harryhausen movie display card, among the other treasures at his table.

Kudos to all on the convention committee for putting on a fine show. It was nice to attend a lower-energy event without kids in costumes and pop-culture celebs selling their autographs.It reminded me of what conventions used to be like.

I heartily recommend seeking out a copy of the convention book, The Pulpster #22. Not only did it spotlight guests and events, but there are some mighty good articles about pulps in general. Fine reading whether you attended the convention or not.

 

 

 

 






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