Below is a behind-the-scenes look at the creation of PulpFest 2009, told through the posts that originally appeared on the convention’s home page during 2008 and 2009. They began in November, just a few weeks after Mike Chomko, Jack Cullers, Ed Hulse, Chris Kalb, and Barry Traylor joined together to create a vibrant and proactive summer pulp convention.
Here’s the first post to ever appear on the PulpFest website. Dated November 6, 2008, it announced our plans for the 2009 convention.
Announcing PulpFest 2009!
Pulpfest 2009, a new and improved version of the venerable convention catering to fans and collectors of vintage popular fiction, will be held from Friday, July 31st, through Sunday, August 2nd, at the Ramada Plaza Hotel and Convention Center in Columbus, Ohio.
Sellers of pulp magazines, all-fiction digests, dime novels, and other collectible books and periodicals are already lining up for exhibit space, and the convention will be advertised and promoted extensively to capture the attention of new hobbyists as well as veteran attendees. Preliminary flyers carrying basic information are being distributed at various collectibles shows this fall, beginning with Bouchercon, the annual gathering for collectors of mystery fiction. The Pulpfest 2009 committee has already contacted several publications to inquire about advertising the convention, and additional flyers will be designed and distributed throughout the year.
Additionally, the Pulpfest 2009 website is now operational and can be found at www.pulpfest.com. In the weeks and months to come, it will be updated regularly to provide new information on guests and programming as soon as it becomes available.
Dealers interested in helping promote Pulpfest 2009 can download and print out either of two flyers already available on the website in PDF form. These can be distributed at collectibles shows and sent with mail-order shipments.
Following an extensive search for the best available venue, the Pulpfest 2009 committee chose the Ramada Plaza for its spacious accommodations, numerous amenities, ease of access, and competitive pricing. The committee has negotiated a guest-room rate of $84 plus tax per night, significantly less than that offered by other pulp conventions.
The Convention Center’s main room boasts more than 10,000 square feet of space and will accommodate up to 80 eight-foot tables. A separate room on the same floor will be set up theater-style for our evening programming. A con suite will be open for after-hours conversation and conviviality.
Located just off Exit 116 of Interstate 71, the Ramada Plaza is only 20 minutes from Columbus International Airport and 10 minutes from downtown Columbus, making our convention site easily accessible to attendees whether they’re driving or flying.
The Ramada offers complementary transportation via shuttle to and from the airport, downtown Columbus, and various other locations (including restaurants) within a five-mile radius of the hotel.
The newly renovated hotel additionally offers all the usual amenities. High-speed wireless Internet access is now available in the main lobby, convention center, and guest rooms. Guests can avail themselves of a whirlpool, an exercise room, and both indoor and outdoor pools, as well as a full-service business center. Parking is free for hotel guests and single-day convention attendees.
The Ramada’s spacious restaurant, Justin’s Place, serves traditional American cuisine and is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner seven days a week. The hotel’s cozy lounge, Bowties, is open until two a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights.
The Ramada Plaza is an extremely popular venue for conventions of our type and size. For 15 years now it has hosted Cinevent, an annual confab of vintage-film fans and collectors of movie memorabilia. Hotel management is both committed to and experienced in providing the courteous, comprehensive service that produces satisfied conventioneers.
Pricing schedules for dealer tables and registrations will be forthcoming shortly. Information on guests and programming will be posted on the Pulpfest 2009 website as soon as it is confirmed.
Less than two weeks (11/21/08) after our initial post to the PulpFest website, the convention was in business, accepting registrations from pulp dealers located throughout North America. A year later, PulpFest 2010 still maintains the same rates and rules. Why toy with success?
Dealer Registration Open
We just uploaded a Dealers Registration Form (PDF format), so registration for PulpFest 2009 is officially OPEN!
Dealer tables rates are as follows: island tables will cost $70; wall tables will cost $80. Both rates include a ten-dollar surcharge that will be used for promotional activities. Wall tables will be sold on a first-come, first-served basis.
There will be no height restrictions on island tables. Bookcases will be allowed on these tables as long as they can stand safely. A common sense approach is urged in designing your displays. If you have any special needs-electrical outlets, requests to be positioned near certain dealers, and so on-let us know in the space below.
Please send your check or money order to David J. Cullers, 1272 Cheatham Way, Bellbrook, OH 45305. Jack will also accept non-credit card payments made through Paypal at his email address below. If you have any questions, write to Jack at his mail address. He can also be reached via email at email@example.com.
And remember, you can always find the most current registration info on our Registration page.
On November 21, 2008, the PulpFest Organizing Committee expressed its thanks to web designer Chris Kalb. At that time, the PulpFest website was operational, but still very much under construction. Thanks to Chris’ beautiful design, the PulpFest website is easy to work with and has been sited as an example of a well-constructed and organized Internet site by a variety of web design organizations.
Chris Kalb’s Best Site Yet?
We think it goes without saying that PulpFest, the summer’s leading pulp convention, is greatly indebted to Chris Kalb for putting together such a wonderful website. So thank you so much for your tremendous work from Barry, Ed, Jack, and Mike.
By early December, the PulpFest website was humming. It continues to evolve and remains a "joy to work with" to this very day. And don’t forget, you can still sign up for the PulpFest email list by using the very simple method as described below. The following post was dated December 5, 2008.
PulpFest.com Fully Operational!
If you’re here, you know that the PulpFest 2009 website is now up and running! And it’s certainly a joy to behold!
For any and all information concerning Summer’s premiere event for collectors of vintage pulp magazines and related material, simply bookmark this page or commit the address www.pulpfest.com to memory. In addition to all the basic information, you’ll find a downloadable registration form, links to sites managed by our host hotel and local Columbus institutions, a list of dealers (which is already substantial, even with the convention more than seven months away), capsule bios and contact info for PulpFest committee members, and other items of interest including links to our dealers, pulp-related publishers and other great sites.
The PulpFest website boasts an eye-catching design and is easy to navigate. Simply click the buttons along the left side of each page and you’re in business. The site will be updated regularly over the weeks and months to come—not only with additional facts about the show, but also with fun stuff that every pulp fan will enjoy. And if you’d like to make a comment, just click on the word "comment" wherever it may be and start typing.
You can also sign up for the PulpFest 2009 email list by entering your name and email address in the box on our home page. Click the "join" button and watch for your confirmation email to finalize your subscription.
Visit early and often for all the news about what promises to be 2009’s most noteworthy gathering of people who read, research and collect pulp magazines and other forms of vintage American popular fiction.
With the holiday season behind us, it was time for the PulpFest committee to get back to work. On January 17, 2009, Ed Hulse posted a message about people’s travel plans for the Summer months. 2009 turned out to be a great year for travelers, with air fares at historic lows. It’s never to early to make your plans for PulpFest.
Make Your PulpFest Plans Early!
With 2008 receding into memory and the holiday season finally over, the PulpFest committee is back at work, planning and promoting this summer’s top convention for fans and collectors of pulp magazines and other forms of vintage popular fiction.
We’ll be updating this site regularly between now and the end of July, when PulpFest finally gets underway. Make sure you check back every few weeks for information on our programming, updates to our steadily growing list of dealers, and additional tidbits relating not only to the convention but also to our hobby in general.
We realize that, for some of you, it probably seems way too early to start planning a summer excursion. If so, you might want to reconsider: our host hotel, the Ramada Plaza, has already received numerous room reservations from PulpFest attendees—and we expect that number to increase sharply in the weeks and months ahead. Mind you, we’ve had the Ramada set aside a block of rooms that should be more than adequate for our needs. But then, we didn’t expect our people to start reserving rooms before Christmas, as a few of you did.
Our advice is this: if you’re thinking about attending PulpFest—or even if you’re only thinking about thinking about attending PulpFest—reserve your room at the Ramada Plaza some time in the next month or so. Remember, if financial conditions or an emergency of some kind ultimately prevent you from joining us, you can cancel your reservation up to 24 hours before your scheduled arrival without incurring any charge. But if you wait to the last minute to make your reservation, you risk getting shut out. Like we said, that’s probably not going to happen, because the Ramada hosts bigger conventions than ours. But why take the chance when it doesn’t cost you anything but the price of a phone call to make your reservation? Just remember to make sure you mention PulpFest to get our special rate.
At this time we’d also encourage you to check into airfares. Many if not most airlines won’t let you book flights more than six months out, and as of this writing PulpFest is still slightly more than six months in the future. But we’ve noticed that airfares have come down in recent weeks and may well drop further as demand continues to soften. Why not lock in your fare this winter, rather than wait until the peak months of spring or summer, when demand goes up and prices begin to rebound? You’ve still got a couple months, but it might be a good idea to make some inquiries and perhaps monitor ticket prices regularly from the various airline websites. Besides, there’s no way of knowing how long oil prices will remain depressed.
We chose PulpFest’s host city with air travel in mind. Columbus is a “hub” for many domestic airlines and can easily be reached from anywhere in the country. To take one example: Southwest Airlines, which is noted for its highly competitive pricing and good customer service, offers regular flights to Columbus from more than 50 major metropolitan areas. It offers non-stop flights to Columbus from Philadelphia, Chicago, Baltimore, Washington DC, Nashville, Orlando, St. Louis, Phoenix, and Las Vegas, among other cities. Chances are you’ll be able to get a pretty good deal from Southwest if you don’t wait too long to book your flight. And given the economy’s current state, we wouldn’t be at all surprised to see some major price wars between the airlines over the coming weeks and months.
While you’re thinking about lodging and travel options, we’ll be hard at work coming up with convention programming and arranging for advertising. As promised, we plan on promoting PulpFest as aggressively as time and money allows, not only appealing to the known community of pulp fans but also reaching out to collector constituencies with related interests. We remain firmly committed to bringing new people into the hobby.
We’ll close by reiterating that PulpFest is your convention. We’re interested in your suggestions and will give them careful consideration. We’ve gotten many great ideas already and want to thank those of you who’ve written us. Your input has been very helpful.
Don’t forget to check back in a few weeks for more PulpFest news!
We not only live in a golden age of pulp reprints, we also live in a golden age of electronics. We can even send money to another person or organization with a few clicks of our mice and keyboards. On January 17, 2009 we posted the news that PulpFest could accept payments made through Paypal, an Internet site that allows its members to send money to each other.
PulpFest Now Accepts Paypal!
We’re now accepting PayPal payments for PulpFest table rentals and registrations. It couldn’t be easier; you’ll find all the information on our Registration page. You’re just a couple mouse-clicks away from paying your PulpFest charges. Of course, you’ll still have to fill out the registration forms, but we’re making it easier to pay without the hassle of writing out and sending checks or money orders via snail-mail. Visit our Paypal page and sign up today!
Every notable convention needs an award. For many years, the pulp community had offered a service award named The Lamont. Feeling that name was too tied to a single aspect of the pulp industry–the hero pulps–PulpFest decided to create a more encompassing award. Teaming with talented artist David Saunders, the PulpFest committee came up with an award that covered all of the pulps–the Munsey Award, named for the man who created the pulp magazine. The new award was announced on the last day of January 2009.
Remember, anyone can nominate just about anyone who is involved in the world of pulps for the Munsey Award. Please visit Munsey page for our nominating guidelines.
The Munsey Award Arrives!
David Saunders, the son of the legendary pulp artist Norman Saunders, has created a sensational, limited-edition print, one copy of which will be annually offered as the Munsey Award at PulpFest, beginning in 2009. David’s work is a refreshing homage to classic pulp art that honors the entire pulp community and their common love of the purple prose of the bloody pulps. We are sure that Norman Saunders would be proud of his son’s wonderful painting. Dan Zimmer of the Illustrated Press has produced a deluxe, limited edition of thirty-six numbered and signed prints. The PulpFest Committee is indebted to both David and Dan for their generous support of our convention.
A New York artist whose work can be found in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, The New Museum and at other museums and in public buildings throughout the United States and other countries, David Saunders has taught art at Yale, Oberlin and many other colleges worldwide, including schools in Paris, London and Tokyo. An expert on pulp art, he has been a guest speaker on the subject, including The Pulp Art Show held at the Brooklyn Museum in 2003, and has served as the guest of honor at various pulp conventions. David has written biographical articles on pulp artists J. W. Scott, Frederick Blakeslee, Rudolph Belarski, Rafael DeSoto, Ernest Chiriacka, Allen Anderson, and his father. He is also the author of Norman Saunders, a biography and appreciation of the great pulp artist that was released in January 2009 by the Illustrated Press.
The Munsey Award is named after Frank A. Munsey, the man who published the first all-fiction pulp magazine. It will be presented annually to a deserving person who has given of himself or herself for the betterment of the pulp community, be it through disseminating knowledge about the pulps, publishing or through other efforts to preserve and to foster interest in the pulp magazines we all love and enjoy.
If you have someone in mind that you feel worthy to receive the first Munsey Award, please let us know. Send the person’s name and a brief paragraph describing why you feel that person should be honored to Mike Chomko, 2217 W. Fairview Street, Allentown, PA 18104-6542 or to firstname.lastname@example.org. PulpFest 2009 committee members are not eligible for this year’s award. The deadline for nominations is April 30, 2009. The recipient of the Munsey Award will be selected by a panel of judges consisting of recognized experts in the field of pulp literature. The award will be presented on Sunday, August 2 at a special breakfast at the Ramada Plaza in Columbus, Ohio. Tom Roberts, the 2008 winner of the Lamont Award, will be the presenter of the first Munsey Award.
What’s a convention without a Guest of Honor? In selecting its first Guest of Honor, PulpFest chose a notable publishing professional and a wonderful raconteur with a strong connection to the world of pulp fiction. PulpFest 2009 announced its Guest of Honor on February 14, 2009.
PulpFest’s 2009 Guest of Honor
We’re delighted to announce that Edgar Award-winning writer, editor, and publisher Otto Penzler has accepted our invitation to be the Guest of Honor at this year’s PulpFest. Otto, whose recent anthology The Black Lizard Big Book of Pulps has done more to renew interest in Golden Age pulp fiction than any mainstream publication in recent history, is a perfect GoH for a show like ours in that he is also a world-class collector of crime fiction, many of whose most notable authors—including Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler, Cornell Woolrich, Erle Stanley Gardner, and John D. MacDonald—toiled in the pulp vineyards before achieving mainstream success with major publishers.
Otto, who will be with us for the entire convention, can be expected to regale PulpFest attendees with stories of his adventures in the publishing business and as a lifelong collector. He’ll also be giving us a preview of his much-anticipated Black Lizard Big Book of Black Mask Stories, an upcoming anthology collecting rare yarns from the prestigious pulp magazine that was home to Hammett, Chandler, and other giants of hard-boiled detective fiction.
Still the proprietor of The Mysterious Bookshop, a New York City landmark that celebrated its 30th anniversary last year, Otto Penzler published The Armchair Detective, an Edgar-winning quarterly journal devoted to the study of mystery and suspense fiction, for seventeen years. He was the founder of The Mysterious Press, now an imprint at Grand Central Publishing, and also launched the publishing firms of Otto Penzler Books and The Armchair Detective Library. He currently has imprints at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in the United States and Quercus in the U.K. In 1977, he won an Edgar Award for the Encyclopedia of Mystery and Detection. The Mystery Writers of America gave him the prestigious Ellery Queen Award in 1994 for his exceptional contributions to the publishing field. He was also honored with MWA’s highest non-writing award, the Raven, in 2003.
Otto first endeared himself to pulp-fiction fans in the late 1970s by publishing a two-volume collection of short stories featuring Norgil, a magician-detective created by Walter B. Gibson, who also wrote more than 280 novel-length adventures of pulpdom’s legendary crime fighter, The Shadow. In 1984, Otto reprinted two of that character’s best-remembered adventures in The Shadow and the Golden Master. Subsequently his Mysterious Press issued trade-paperback anthologies of classic pulp detective stories by Carroll John Daly, Erle Stanley Gardner, Frederick Nebel, Norbert Davis, and others. First You Dream, Then You Die, a deluxe hardcover biography of veteran pulp scribe Cornell Woolrich published by The Mysterious Press in 1988, earned an Edgar for author Francis M. Nevins and became a standard reference work.
A witty raconteur with an encyclopedic knowledge of mystery fiction, Otto has done a lot for the pulp-collecting community and will make a terrific GoH. We guarantee that you’ll enjoy meeting him. So don’t wait—download a PulpFest registration form and send it in today!
Keep watching this page for further updates. PulpFest is taking shape fast!
PulpFest is certainly not the only pulp convention out there in the world. There are a fair number of shows scattered throughout North America, among them the recently held Pulp Adventurecon in Bordentown, NJ. One of the biggest and best of the pulp-related convention, The Windy City Pulp and Paper Convention is held in the springtime. Which is why, on April 19, 2009, PulpFest posted the announcement that follows.
Pulps Are in the Air!
Spring is in the air and so is the convention season. The Windy City Pulp and Paper Convention starts the ball rolling during the first weekend of May. Three members of the PulpFest Organizing Committee will be on hand–Jack Cullers, Ed Hulse and Mike Chomko. Please stop by our tables to learn more about what has become the talk of the pulp community–PulpFest 2009!
One short week after the Chicago convention, the pulp community heads to Toronto. Although none of PulpFest’s guiding hands will be in attendance, the 13th Annual Fantastic Pulps Show & Sale is sure to be a blast. For more information, please write to Girasol Collectables.
The month of May closes with the Edgar Rice Burroughs Chain of Friendship gathering in California.
With the arrival of June comes the Spring edition of Classicon. This Michigan convention offers a wide variety of collectibles from pulps and paperbacks to calendars and pin-up magazines. For more information, write to the Curious Book Shop.
Cross Plains, Texas celebrates Robert E. Howard Days on June 12-13. This year, the festival will be saluting the poetry of the popular pulp author.
Although PulpFest 2009 has been generating a lot of positive buzz in the collectibles community, it has not been resting on its laurels. In addition to offering advertising flyers at pulp-related events such as Windy City and Classicon, we’ll be promoting our show at science-fiction and fantasy conventions such as Ravencon, Marcon and Farmercon. Mystery fans will see our hardboiled side at shows like Malice Domestic and Deadly Ink. The Shadow will greet the comics crowd at Steel City Con, Motor City Comic Con and other conventions. And book and paper collectors will get a taste of pulp at the Greater Boston Book and Ephemera Fair, Ann Arbor Antiquarian Book Fair and Chicago’s Printers Row Lit Fest as will movie fans who attend Cinevent.
We’ll also be running print advertisements in The Paper and Advertising Collector’s Marketplace (our first print ad appears in their May issue), Firsts, Alter Ego, Book Source Magazine, Illustration and other publications.
The PulpFest 2009 Organizing Committee is working very hard to get the word out about our convention. Please do your part by sending in your registration for what is shaping up to be the pulp event of 2009!
The last day of each April is the deadline for members of the pulp community to nominate their fellows for the Munsey Award. So on the 18th of May 2009, the following message was posted to the PulpFest website. You can read more about the nominees by visiting the 2009 Munsey Nominees page.
2009 Munsey Award Nominees
The PulpFest Organizing Committee is proud to announce that art designer and illustrator Chris Kalb, researcher and indexer Steve Miller, researcher and editor Garyn Roberts, Coming Attractions’ Bill Thom, Anthony Tollin, publisher of Doc Savage and The Shadow, Battered Silicon Dispath Box publisher George Vanderburgh, and Dan Zimmer, editor and publisher of Illustration Magazine are the candidates for the 2009 Munsey Award. Additional details concerning each nominee can be found in the Munsey Award section of the PulpFest website.
The seven nominees were selected by the general pulp community over a period of several months. PulpFest Organizing Committee members as well as winners of the Lamont Award--a service award that had been presented by Pulpcon–were not eligible for the 2009 Munsey Award. The nominees’ names have been forwarded to a committee made up of the 25 living Lamont Award winners who will decide upon this year’s award winner.
The recipient of the 2009 Munsey Award, a limited edition print designed by artist and pulp enthusiast David Saunders, will be revealed at a special breakfast open to all PulpFest 2009 registrants. It will be held on Sunday, August 2 from 8-10 AM at the Ramada Plaza Hotel and Convention Center in Columbus, Ohio. Additional details concerning this event are forthcoming.
On May 28, 2009, the first PulpFest was fast approaching. It was time to begin our programming announcements. We started things off with a bang, announcing a presentation by Ohio State’s "Professor of Pulp." Columbus is the home to OSU, one of the nation’s leading universities.
Ohio State at PulpFest
With just nine weeks left before convention time, PulpFest 2009 is finalizing its programming schedule. In the days and weeks ahead, we’ll be announcing our day and evening features. Stay tuned by subscribing to our email list located along the right side of our homepage.
Let’s begin our programming announcements with a look at our “Professor of Pulp” presentation. These days, American universities are actively pursuing and preserving artifacts of our nation’s popular culture. In recent years Ohio State University, located right in Columbus, has been very aggressive in beefing up its holdings of vintage pop-culture treasures, including collections of pulp magazines and manuscripts. It’s our hope that attendees of future PulpFests will be able to visit OSU’s new library for special viewings. To that end Eric Johnson, Associate Curator of Rare Books and Manuscripts and an Assistant Professor at the University, has prepared a brief overview describing OSU’s pulp and pop-culture materials. He’s prepared to discuss the process of assembling and preserving such collections, and he’ll take questions from PulpFest attendees.
Eric’s presentation on Ohio State’s popular culture holdings will be held Saturday, Aug. 1 at 7:30 PM, immediately after the close of the PulpFest business meeting.
Please visit the PulpFest programming page for more details on our schedule.
One day after beginning our programming announcements, PulpFest was pleased to announce that a variety of publishers would be offering free items to our attendees. When July rolled around, members of PulpFest were overjoyed by our table covered with books and periodicals all donated by organizations such as those listed below.
Donations to PulpFest
We would like to thank the following organizations for their generous contributions to PulpFest:
Random House Publishing has contributed several hundred advance reading copies of books being prepared for marketing.
Small Beer Press has donated ten cartons of books to be made available to attendees of PulpFest.
Galaxy Press has sent several hundred copies of The Golden Gazette for our freebie table.
Engle Publishing will be sending copies of The Paper & Advertising Collectors’ Marketplace for distribution to PulpFest attendees.
Book Source Magazine will also be sending copies of their publication for distribution at PulpFest.
Two Columbus bookstores have demonstrated their support for PulpFest by displaying our flyers and answering convention-related questions. We wish to thank Acorn Bookshop and Karen Wickliff Books for their help in promoting our show, and we invite PulpFest attendees to visit them while in town. We will have maps and directions to these stores available at the convention.
With the convention fast approaching, PulpFest announced on the first of June 2009 that the Ramada Plaza was offering a special deal via their Internet booking site. More than likely, similar deals will be offered by the hotel in 2010 and beyond. And remember, whether you book by phone or online, be sure to mention PulpFest. By doing so, you’ll help our convention to grow and prosper.
With PulpFest less than two months away, it’s time to place your reservation. The preferred way is to call the Ramada Plaza at 614-846-0300 to book your room. Please be sure to mention PulpFest to get the special convention rate of $79 per night. In order to receive the convention rate, you must get your reservation in by July 18.
You can also book a room online. Just click our link to the Ramada Plaza at the top or along the right side of our homepage or even the one right here in this post. For a limited time, if you book online and prepay your hotel bill, the Ramada Plaza is offering 20% off their regular $84 per night room rate for a three-night stay or 15% off their regular room rate for a two-night stay. However, if you take advantage of the prepay rate, you cannot cancel your reservation or get a refund.
If you book your room online, please note in the comments box of the reservation form that you will be attending PulpFest. By doing so, you will help to ensure the success of PulpFest 2009.
Whether you book by phone or online, please be sure to do so by July 18 and to mention PulpFest. Thanks.
One of the top publishers in the world of pulp reprints is Sanctum Books, publishers of two of the best-loved characters from the world of pulps–Doc Savage and The Shadow. PulpFest 2009 made a major score when it landed a presentation by the two men responsible for acquiring the rights to republish the adventures of these two great heroes from the pulps. This announcement was originally posted on June 6, 2009.
The Avenger: Then and Now
Late in the summer of 1939, Street & Smith released the first issue of The Avenger, a new single-character pulp featuring book-length novels written by Paul Ernst under the Kenneth Robeson house name. Richard Henry Benson, the frozen-faced crime fighter who headed Justice, Incorporated, never quite enjoyed the success of fellow Street & Smith pulp heroes Doc Savage and The Shadow, but his 24 novel-length adventures were fondly remembered. In the 1970s, the Avenger was introduced to a new generation via a paperback series published by Warner.
Long out of print, the Avenger’s amazing exploits are now back on the rack, courtesy of Sanctum Books. Celebrating the 70th birthday of The Avenger, Anthony Tollin and Will Murray, the pulp experts handling the Sanctum line, will discuss the character and try to explain his still-potent appeal. Expect them to also discuss Sanctum’s other new series reprinting Street & Smith’s Whisperer yarns.
Join PulpFest’s celebration of the Avenger on Friday, July 31.
Haffner Press has for the last ten years been reprinting some of most entertaining science fiction from the world of the pulps. Its nearly completed series of The Collected Stories of Jack Williamson have set a very high standard among pulp reprints. On June 16, 2009, PulpFest announced that publisher Stephen Haffner would be presenting a very special talk on one of the first and foremost creators of science fiction, Edmond Hamilton.
Crashing Suns: Edmond Hamilton
Best known to many fans as the creator of Captain Future, Edmond Hamilton was actually one of the first full-time writers of science fiction for the pulps. He pioneered and popularized many themes that later became staples of modern SF. This summer Haffner Press launches its ambitious reprint series, The Collected Edmond Hamilton. Editor and publisher Stephen Haffner has offered to host, exclusively for PulpFest, a presentation that will feature commentary on this popular author’s early work for such avidly collected pulps as Weird Tales, Amazing Stories, Astounding Stories and Wonder Stories. Haffner’s talk will also include several vintage, previously unexhibited photographs of Hamilton and his contemporaries.
Join Stephen Haffner on Friday, July 31 at 9 PM for Crashing Suns: The Early Hamilton.
One of PulpFest’s hallmarks was and continues to be its desire to seek out and try new ideas. This was amply demonstrated by its decision to present "The New Fictioneers," contemporary authors whose fiction is inspired by a love of the pulps. This ambitious new program was announced on June 20, 2009. By the way, many thanks to John Locke for his help delving into the origins of the term, "fictioneer."
Meet the New Fictioneers!
They were called scribes, word slingers, hacks and penny-a-worders. But perhaps the most favored term, especially among the men and women who labored for the bloody pulps, was fictioneer—a fiction writer, especially a prolific creator of commercial or pulp fiction.
Join PulpFest as we celebrate today’s fictioneers—the authors writing the new pulp fiction. Listen to Ron Fortier, Bill Maynard, Shelby Rhodes and G. Warlock Vance as they read excerpts from The Terror of Fu Manchu, The Missing Narrative of Neptune and other exciting pulp yarns. They’ll also be available for questions, critiques and good, old-fashioned schmoozing.
PulpFest’s New Fictioneers readings will take place on Friday, 7/31 and Saturday, 8/1. Please visit our programming page for further details.
In case you’re wondering about the term “fictioneer,” most dictionaries place its origin during the early twenties. However, it was relatively commonplace in magazines between 1910 and 1920 and has been spotted in works dating back to the mid-nineteenth century. H. Bedford-Jones used it in a series of articles called “The Graduate Fictioneer,” originally published by Author & Journalist in the early thirties. In 1932, a group of Wisconsin writers got together and called themselves “The Milwaukee Fictioneers.” At various times, Robert Bloch, Fredric Brown, August Derleth, Ralph Milne Farley, Lawrence Keating, Ray Palmer and Stanley Weinbaum were members of this group. In the late 30s, Popular Publications started Fictioneers, Inc., a pulp line that paid its authors half the going market rate of a penny a word. E. Hoffmann Price, soldier-of-fortune and prolific pulp author, used the term in his memoirs from the pulp years, Book of the Dead—Friends of Yesteryear: Fictioneers & Others (Arkham House, 2001). Probably the most recent use of the word was in John Locke’s non-fiction anthology Pulp Fictioneers: Adventures in the Storytelling Business (Adventure House, 2004).
In 2008, the hero pulp (which helped serve as the impetus for the first Pulpcon) turned 75 years old. The Windy City Pulp and Paper Convention celebrated the event during its festivities that year. Unfortunately, there was no PulpFest in 2008. But way back in 1934, the "Hero Pulp Explosion" continued with the introduction of such character pulps as Bill Barnes, Air Adventurer and Secret Agent X. So why not continue the celebration of this great event in the world of pulps with a look at another great hero pulp, Popular Publication’s Secret Service Operator #5. The following announcement was posted on June 28, 2009.
I Spy! - Fred Davis and Operator #5
PulpFest continues the celebration of the 75th anniversary of the "Hero Pulp Explosion" that began last year. In 1934, the great pulp houses followed the introduction of Doc Savage, G-8 and His Battle Aces, The Phantom Detective, The Spider and other single-character pulps with a half-dozen new titles. Street & Smith and Ace got the ball rolling with the debuts of Bill Barnes, Air Adventurer and Secret Agent X. Ranger and Popular followed in April with The Masked Rider and Operator #5. Bringing up the rear were two Popular titles, Dusty Ayres and His Battle Birds and The Secret Six, both of them relatively short-lived pulps. Of these six new heroes, perhaps the most fondly remembered is Popular’s Jimmy Christopher, "America’s Secret Service Ace" who is best known as Operator #5.
Don Hutchison, author of The Great Pulp Heroes, will lead a panel discussion exploring the adventures of Christopher and his supporting cast, and of the author who penned the first twenty adventures of the pulp series, Frederick C. Davis. Joining Don will be Garyn G. Roberts, Chair of the Communications/English Discipline at Northwestern Michigan College, author of a short biography of Davis, and co-editor of The Compleat Adventures of the Moon Man (another Fred Davis creation); Rick Davis and Karen Cunningham, the son and granddaughter of Frederick C. Davis; and Wooda "Nick" Carr, pulp scholar, Davis correspondent and lifelong devotee of Operator #5, having read it fresh off the newsstand while growing up in North Dakota during the Great Depression.
I Spy - Fred Davis and Operator #5 will take place at 8 PM on Friday, July 31. For more information on Davis and Operator #5, read on…
So where did the wild and wooly adventures of Jimmy Christopher, the "James Bond" of the Great Depression, come from? In an interview published in Xenophile in 1977, Popular Publications president Harry Steeger stated: "I was very anxious at that time to say something about the depression and the political elements of the world and, by this time, the trend of story-telling had begun to assume a broader canvas. In other words, instead of talking about individuals, we began talking about nations and armies, etc. Operator #5 was planned deliberately to exert more influence in this direction than The Spider.
Fredrick C. Davis recalled the basic concept of the Operator #5 novels: "It was that Operator 5 must save the United States from total destruction in every story, every month" (quoted in Ron Goulart’s Cheap Thrills, 1972). "When I was called in to start the series, they already had a cover illustration–the White House being blown up. I did the first Operator 5 around this picture. The characters in detail, the ideas, the plots and the gimmicks were all my inventions" (ibid.).
Although the idea behind the series was imagined by Steeger and his lead editor, Rogers Terrill, it was Davis who filled out Jimmy and his cohorts–boy sidekick Tim Donovan; news reporter and love interest Diane Elliot; his father John Christopher, Agent Q-6; Jimmy’s twin sister, Nan Christopher; and Z-7, the grim-faced chief of intelligence.
After Davis departed from the series in late 1935, the writing chores were assumed by Emile Tepperman, a prolific pulp author about whom little is known. He would soon march Christopher and his colleagues through a series of adventures that has become known as "the pulp version of War and Peace." Tepperman’s "Purple Invasion" began with the June 1936 number and would continue through the next thirteen issues of the magazine.
Author Wayne Rogers would complete the 48-issue run of Operator #5, penning the "Yellow Vulture" series for the Popular publication. The final issue of the pulp, which told the story of "The Army from Underground," was dated November 1939. Like all of its predecessors, the author credit was given to Curtis Steele, a Popular Publications house name.
While the rest of the nation was celebrating Independence Day, PulpFest’s Ed Hulse was occupied with putting together a panel of pulp experts to discuss the current state of pulp collecting. On July 8, 2009, PulpFest announced some of the topics that would be explored during this wide-ranging panel discussion.
Pulp Collecting 2009
Ed Hulse, the editor of Blood ‘n’ Thunder, is busy assembling a panel of pulp collectors and dealers who will weigh in on the current state of the hobby. What’s happening with pulp prices? Is demand exceeding supply? What are the hot titles? How has the surge in reprints affected the marketplace? Which magazines will future collectors be chasing? These and other questions will be addressed in this fast-paced discussion that will be held on Friday, July 31, beginning at 7:05 PM.
Even conventions have chores. On July 9, 2009, PulpFest 2009 offered this short post to tidy up some loose ends including the announcement of more free stuff from two more generous publishers.
Due to popular demand, the PulpFest Organizing Committee has decided that children age 15 and under, who are accompanied by a parent, will be admitted free to the convention. However, they must still be registered to gain admittance.
The deadline for advance registrations is Saturday, July 18. Registrations received after that day will be charged the at-the-door fee of $35 for a three-day membership or $15 per day for daily memberships. Payments made through Paypal will not be accepted after July 18.
The hotel’s special room rate of $79 per night plus tax also runs through Saturday, July 18. If you want to take advantage of this or other offers by the hotel, be sure to make your reservation as soon as possible. For further details, visit the Ramada Plaza page under "The Details." Be sure to mention PulpFest when placing your reservation whether by phone or online.
If you are planning to attend the Munsey Award Breakfast on Sunday, Aug. 2, please notify Jack Cullers as soon as possible. The breakfast will begin at 8 AM and cost $10-15 per person, tip included. We need to notify the hotel about how many people plan to attend. A high-quality print of the painting that David Saunders has created to serve as the Munsey Award will be on display throughout the convention. For further details, please visit the Munsey Award page of our website.
John Gunnison of Adventure House has generously offered PulpFest a copy of The Thrill Book Complete, Vol. One to serve as a door prize for the Munsey Award Breakfast. One lucky attendee to the award ceremony will go home with a copy of this volume, a $70 value. PulpFest or Adventure House staff members are not eligible for the prize.
Fantasy & Science Fiction, the award-winning magazine that is celebrating its sixtieth anniversary in 2009, has donated several hundred back issues to hand out to our members come showtime. Back numbers of Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine will also be on hand. Dell Magazines has donated over five hundred Queens to PulpFest.
Finally, Jack Cullers will serve as the master of ceremonies during our evening programming.
Nearly three weeks before the big event, the PulpFest organizing committee was overjoyed to announce that every dealer table in the huckster area had been spoken for. Many thanks to all of the dealers who decided to throw their support behind the efforts of those who worked to organize this exciting, new convention. You can read about our dealers by visiting the PulpFest 2009 Dealers page.
It’s a Sellout!
As of July 11, all 100 dealer tables slated for PulpFest 2009 had been reserved. For those dealers still interested in island tables, we will now be creating a waiting list in case of last-minute cancellations. If you would like to be added to this waiting list, please contact Jack Cullers at email@example.com. You will not be required to pay for a table until you arrive at the convention. However, you must purchase a full, three-day membership to be added to our waiting list. They are available for $30 through Saturday, July 18. All three-day memberships purchased after July 18 will cost $35. The deadline to be added to our dealer waiting list is Saturday, July 18.
Please see our registration page for further information about registering as a dealer and/or member. We’ll see you in 3 weeks for what promises to be a great summer weekend for pulp fans.
On the 14th of July, PulpFest 2009 made its final programming announcement. For those people who hated to see a convention’s nightly programming come to an end, PulpFest decided to offer a presentation that would run until midnight. What better topic to explore than the work and legacy of the great H. P. Lovecraft, whose stories for Weird Tales and other pulps have inspired scores of authors since they were first published.
Lovecraft for the Night Owls
For those who like to burn the midnight oil, Ian Lohr, editor of Howling Wolf’s Lost Pulp Classics series, will explore the life and legacy of H. P. Lovecraft. Lovecraft and His Circle: Yog-Sothery and Its Influence on Writing and the Universe will take place on Friday, July 31, beginning at 11 PM.
Today recognized as a master of supernatural fiction, during his lifetime Lovecraft was an impoverished writer who subsisted on canned pork and beans while spinning what would become some of the most widely respected tales to emerge from the pulp market. In such stories as "The Call of Cthulhu," "The Colour Out of Space," and "The Shadow Over Innsmouth," Lovecraft combined the elements of Gothic horror with the emerging field of science fiction to create some of the most unique fiction of his day or any day.
In his voluminous correspondence, Lovecraft encouraged other writers to develop further the ideas he was exploring in his own fiction. Soon, Frank Belknap Long, Clark Ashton Smith, Robert E. Howard and others were refining their colleague’s "Yog-Sothery," now better known as the Cthulhu Mythos.
Lovecraft’s influence is felt even today in the fiction of Poppy Z. Brite, Neil Gaiman, Stephen King and others as well as in other areas of popular culture such as film, comic books, role-playing games, Scandinavian heavy metal music and a wide array of contemporary mythologies.
So join Ian as the witching hour approaches for an evening of cosmic horror, pop culture and philosophy.
Thanks to the efforts of Mark Trost, in the days leading up to PulpFest 2009, the convention found its way into newspapers, magazines, and other mass media. On July 26, 2009 less than a week before the start of the convention, PulpFest was very pleased to announce the publication of articles about the pulps and our convention in two Midwestern newspapers. The Columbus Dispatch piece was later picked up by Business Week, a national business news magazine.
PulpFest in the News
News of PulpFest 2009 found its way today into two Midwestern newspapers. Our convention was featured on the front page of the arts section of The Columbus Dispatch and in the local news section of The Parkersburg News and Sentinel. The show starts this Friday, July 31, at 11 AM.
July 26, 2009 and PulpFest’s debut was right around the corner. As is normal in the world of conventions, there were many last minute tasks to discuss. And just as they did in 2009, the PulpFest organizing committee is urging dealers to arrive on Thursday in order to set up their displays for the 2010 convention. In fact, they’re hoping everyone will show up by Thursday evening . They’ll be offering a July 29th film showing as well as a "Welcome to the Summer’s Great Pulp Con" party to those who arrive on the day before the convention’s official opening on July 30, 2010.
PulpFest 2009 Begins this Friday!
Although PulpFest 2009 officially gets under way on Friday, July 31, the convention’s organizing committee is urging dealers to arrive on Thursday to set up their displays. The dealers’ room will be open from 7 PM to 12 AM for set-up. It will also be open for set-up on Friday morning from 8 to 11.
The general membership is also welcome to arrive on Thursday. Early registration will take place beginning at 7 PM in the hospitality suite. The Ramada Plaza will post the location of the suite at the main entrance to the hotel. All members, dealers included, will be able to pick up their registration packets at this time. If desired, dealers can unload their merchandise prior to registering for the convention. For those of you who have not yet registered for PulpFest, Thursday evening will be an ideal time to do so. Three-day memberships will be available for $35. Early-bird memberships will be available for $55. You can also register for single-day memberships at the rate of $15 per day.
The PulpFest organizing committee is looking for volunteers to serve as hospitality suite hosts on Friday and Saturday evenings. If you are willing, please write to firstname.lastname@example.org. We’re also looking for sponsors to purchase refreshments for the suite. If you’re a publisher, dealer, organized fan group or simply someone who would like to help, please drop us a line.
The Ramada Plaza Hotel and Convention Center is located just off Exit 116 of I-71, about ten minutes north of downtown Columbus, Ohio. Heading north on I-71, get off at Exit 116, the Morse Road exit. Turn left onto Morse Road. Follow Morse until you get to Sinclair Road. Turn right onto Sinclair Road. The hotel is at 4900 Sinclair Road. Heading south on I-71, get off at Exit 116, the Sinclair Road exit. Turn right onto Sinclair Road and follow to the Ramada Plaza Hotel. For those who would like a map to get to the hotel, click here.
According to reports from last-minute registrants, the Ramada Plaza is still offering the special convention rate of $79 per night to those PulpFest attendees who place a reservation via telephone. To make a reservation, please call the hotel at 614-846-0300. Be sure to mention PulpFest to get the special convention rate. You can also register online at ramadaplazacolumbus.com and receive a similar deal if you pay in advance. When placing your reservation online, please note in the comments box of the reservation form that you will be attending PulpFest.
The convention will officially open on Friday, July 31 at 11 PM. Early-bird registrants will be allowed into the dealers’ room beginning at 9 AM. If you’d like to upgrade your prepaid membership to gain early access to the dealers’ room, you will be able to do so by paying an additional $25. The doors will open to everyone, beginning at 11 AM. The dealers’ room will be open until 5 PM on Friday evening. It will be open from 10 AM to 5 PM on both Saturday and Sunday.
There will be a full schedule of programming on Friday and Saturday evenings from 7 PM until midnight. There will also be a few presentations during the daytime hours. Please visit our programming page for further details.
All PulpFest attendees will be able to submit material for inclusion in the Saturday Night Auction. At this time, it is believed that each attendee will be able to submit up to five auction lots. For additional information, please visit our Saturday Night Auction page.
The first annual Munsey Award will be presented at a special breakfast on Sunday, Aug. 2, beginning at 8 AM. You will be able to sign up for the breakfast during our Thursday night registration or anytime during the afternoon hours on Friday or Saturday. The cost of the breakfast will be $15 per person. Included in this price will be a chance to win a copy of The Thrill Book Complete, Vol. One, a $70 value from Adventure House.
PulpFest 2009 will have a ton of freebies available for all attendees. There will be a variety of materials at the entrance to the dealers’ room. These will be accessible beginning Friday morning. So bring along a BIG bag!
For those attendees who would like to ship their purchases to their homes, PulpFest 2009 has arranged for a local UPS store to be open on both Saturday and Sunday afternoon. The store will be open until 3 PM on Saturday and from 1 - 3 PM on Sunday. Transportation can be arranged through the hotel’s shuttle service. A local FedEx office, located about two miles from the hotel, will also be open for shipping your purchases.
The entire PulpFest 2009 organizing committee–Mike Chomko, Jack Cullers, Ed Hulse and Barry Traylor–is looking forward to seeing you all in just a few short days. Have a safe trip to Columbus.
July 31, 2009! It’s Showtime!!!
PulpFest 2009 Gets Underway!
Following dealer set-up on Thursday evening and early Friday morning, PulpFest 2009 officially got underway at 11 AM this morning. As always, the show began with the typical feeding frenzy as book and pulp collectors scoured the room searching for this or that long elusive volume. The convention’s programming schedule will get underway at 3:30 this afternoon when G. Warlock Vance and Michael Glagola get things rolling with the first of four "New Fictioneers" sessions. There will be a lot more programming during the evening hours including presentations on pulp collecting, Operator #5, Edmond Hamilton, The Avenger, and H. P. Lovecraft.
There’s still plenty of time to join in on the fun. The dealers’ room will be open until 5 PM on Friday and from 10 AM until 5 PM on Saturday and Sunday. The evening programming schedules for Friday and Saturday nights will run from 7 PM until 12 AM. Admission to the show is $15 per day or $35 for all three days, allowing entry to all convention activities. The general public is very much welcome to attend.
To whet your appetite for the summer’s one and only national pulp convention, below is a sneak peek at the Munsey Award that will be presented at a special breakfast to be held at the Ramada Plaza in Columbus, Ohio from 8 AM to 10 AM, Sunday, August 2….
On August 2, 2009, PulpFest 2009 was history. By everyone’s estimation, the convention was a tremendous success. With a paid attendance of 351, the convention was nearly double the announced attendance of similar summer pulp cons in recent history. One of the many highlights of the convention was the announcement of the 2009 winner of the Munsey Award, Bill Thom, the creator and designer of the Coming Attractions website.
Bill Thom Wins the 2009 Munsey Award
Bill Thom, the designer of the Coming Attractions website, was named the recipient of the 2009 Munsey Award at this year’s PulpFest. Nominated by members of the general pulp community, Bill was selected by a panel of judges consisting of the 25 living Lamont Award winners.
Bill’s website is where just about every pulp fan with computer access goes to learn about the latest news and book releases in the world of pulps and pulp reprints. He also maintains the Pulp Series Character Reprint Index that can be accessed through the Altus Press website as well as the Robert E. Howard bibliography available through the Howard Works website. He has also been a tremendous help for researchers over the years through his knowledge and collection.
Congratulations to Bill for winning the first Munsey Award. The honor is very well-deserved.
Nominations are now being accepted for the 2010 Munsey Award. If you have someone in mind that you feel worthy to receive the Munsey Award, please let us know. Send the person’s name and a brief paragraph describing why you feel that person should be honored to Mike Chomko, 2217 W. Fairview Street, Allentown, PA 18104-6542 or to email@example.com. Previous winners of the Lamont Award or the Munsey Award are not eligible for the award. The deadline for nominations is April 30, 2010.
On August 3, 2009, planning and organizing is already underway for the 2010 convention. Clear your calendar for the weekend of July 30 - August 1, 2010 and join us at PulpFest 2010.
PulpFest 2009 is a Hit!
Thanks to all of our dealers and attendees who made PulpFest 2009 a great success. Please visit YouTube for a short video of this year’s PulpFest. Registrations totaled 351 and the future looks very bright for "The Summer’s Leading Pulp Convention."
Planning is already underway for PulpFest 2010. It will again be held at the Ramada Plaza Hotel and Convention Center, just off of Interstate 71, about ten minutes north of downtown Columbus. We’ll have an expanded dealers’ room, one or more lively auctions and a variety of the wonderful programming that entertained this year’s attendees.
So start making your plans for the weekend of July 30 - August 1, 2010 and join the convention that everyone is talking about–PulpFest!
Any convention is the work of many people and PulpFest 2009 is appreciative to all who helped make our first pulp con a great success.
Thanks a Million!
The PulpFest Organizing Committee would like to thank the following people whose invaluable assistance helped to make PulpFest 2009 a resounding success:
Sally Cullers, Samantha Cullers, Aaron Cullers, John Gunnison, Mark Trost, Chris Kalb, David Saunders, Dan Zimmer, Steve Haynes, Phil Nelson, John Wehler, Curt Phillips, Rusty Burke, Morgan Holmes, Kurt Shoemaker, Rick Hall, Nicholas Hauser, Barry Traylor, Mark Halegua, Lohr McKinstry, Dave Kurzman, Walker Martin, Scott Hartshorn, Vineetha Thomas and Diane Share of Experience Columbus, and Meri Lynne Stumbo, Beth Sweet, Mark Carr, Jack, Patrick, Andrew and the rest of the staff at the Ramada Plaza Hotel and Convention Center.
The Organizing Committee would also like to thank all of the folks who helped to assemble The Pulpster #18:
Tony Davis, Bill Lampkin, Rex Layton, Monte Herridge, Mike Chomko, Garyn Roberts, Nick Carr, Dean Cartier, Joseph Wrzos, the late Edd Cartier, Barry Traylor, Peter Chomko, Will Murray and the magazine’s sponsors–Altus Press, Age of Aces Books, Girasol Collectables, Dwight Fuhro, Black Coat Press, Mike Chomko Books, Off-Trail Publications, Fenham Publishing, and The Pulp Art Gallery.
And many thanks to all of the presenters who informed and entertained everyone who attended our programming events:
Doug Ellis, John Gunnison, Walker Martin, Tom Roberts, Don Hutchison, Garyn Roberts, Rick Davis, Karen Cunningham, Nick Carr, Ron Fortier, Bill Maynard, Shelby Rhodes, Warlock Vance, Mike Glagola, Stephen Haffner, Anthony Tollin, Will Murray, Eric Johnson, Ian Lohr, our Guest of Honor, Otto Penzler, our masters of ceremonies, Jack Cullers and Ed Hulse, auction organizers Barry Traylor, Mike Chomko, Aaron Cullers, and Sam Cullers, and the Lamont Award winners who helped to select the winner of the 2009 Munsey Award, Bill Thom.
Finally, thanks to all of the conventions, book shows, websites, magazines and newspapers that helped to promote our show as well as the dealers, attending members and supporting members of PulpFest 2009. Truly, it was your encouragement and support that ultimately made our convention a great success. We hope to see you all back in 2010, along with a good many newcomers who will join in the fun at PulpFest 2010.