Collecting


WINDY CITY PULP CONVENTION 2021 REPORT
by Walker Martin


   A group of about five collectors have been making this trip out to Chicago for over 10 years but this year only three of us made the two day drive out to the convention. One of our group could not make it due to pandemic restrictions and one hurt his back moving bookcases just prior to the show. This injury was especially sad since he always looks forward to the pulp shows and has been attending them since the second Pulpcon in 1973.

   We had nice weather driving to and from the show and enjoyed several meals together, especially the ones at the Outback and Longhorn Steak House. The three of us discussed several topics during the drive, including memories of past Pulpcons and my adventures at the first one in 1972, a mere 50 years ago. Somehow it feels like only the other day that I drove out to St Louis and discovered so many great friends and great pulps.

   In fact we often hear about people entering their second childhood if they live long enough, and the same rule applies to pulp and book collectors. For instance back in the 1980’s I got rid of my almost complete set of G-8 and His Battle Aces and here I am 40 years later buying a complete set of the 110 issues again. I imagine I will dislike Nippy and Bull just as much as I did decades ago, but I also love the great insane covers just like I did so long ago. Thanks Doug. Just what I needed, another set of G-8 to complain about.

   What else did I buy? I have an almost complete set of Sea Stories, over 112 issues and I’ve always wanted an original cover painting. Thanks to Doug (again!) I bought the painting for the cover of the June 20, 1923 issue. True, this is not a great one like the ones Anton Otto Fischer painted, but then again I probably cannot afford such great art anyway.

   I’ve been buying paperback cover art by Larry Schwinger for over 30 years, starting in 1989 with two Cornell Woolrich covers. This convention I bought another one, a real bargain at only $100. But my old pal Scott Hartshorn beat me to another bargain by Schwinger, the cover to Hombre by Elmore Leonard. I tried to immediately buy it from Scott, but he’s so greedy that he refused my offer.

   I also bought some books including 3 volumes of the R.A. Lafferty collections presently being published by Centipede Press. They plan to publish 12 volumes but the print runs are only 300 each, so they go out of print fast and are expensive to find. Speaking of books, Ed Hulse had an advance copy of his new history of vintage paperbacks. Go to the Murania Press website to order. The book has over 450 paperback covers in color and will be shipping starting September 28. The title is The Art of Pulp Fiction: An Illustrated History of Vintage Paperbacks.

   There were some paintings I wanted to buy but I talked myself out of buying them because I have no space and I don’t want to add to the stacks of art leaning against the walls and bookcases, a common problem that collectors face as they accumulate art. Fred Taraba had a great Frontier Stories cover painting from 1925 and Craig Poole had a McCauley from Amazing Stories but I manage to escape the show without adding to the stacks of art.

   During the old days of Pulpcon in the 1970’s, 1980’s and 1990’s, there were often what we called “feeding frenzies”, where the entire dealer’s room seems to swarm around certain tables with rare and desirable pulps. This no longer happens that often but it did at this Windy City show. Andrew Zimmerli had several tables crammed with hundreds of rare old pulps.

   To give you an example of what happened, Matt Moring missed the first day of the feeding frenzy but still managed to find around 50 old Adventure’s that he needs, mainly from the hard to get teens. He now only needs 40 or 50 issues to complete the set of 753 pulp issues, 1910-1953. Non-collectors may not understand this but believe me it is a major achievement.

   Doug Ellis mentioned to me that attendance was 500 and there were 168 tables. Despite the pandemic, these are excellent numbers. Masks were required, maid service limited and restaurant hours limited. The auction was the main event for Friday and Saturday evening. In the old days’, Rusty Hevelin believed the comic book dealers should by banned from Pulpcon, but we live in The Brave New World today and so the comic book influence was evident. For instance the so called “bat girl” cover of Weird Tales sold for $11,000 and there were conversations about “slabbing” pulps.

   This is the future where we will see rare and expensive pulps slabbed like many comics in plastic. Readers Beware!! I guess we will have to change the old saying, “So many books, so little time” to “So many books, but since they are enclosed in plastic, we have plenty of time”. The “slabbers” say only the expensive books will be slabbed and there will be reprints to read but to me slabbing books is still sacrilege. I get it about slabbing baseball cards but pulps and books?

   The auction also included over 300 lots of other Weird Tales, rare pulps, Robert Howard items, and correspondence, including some great letters from Farnsworth Wright, the editor of Weird Tales. Most of the items were from the estates of Robert Weinberg and Glenn Lord.

   There were two panels. The Friday night panel discussed upcoming books by Edgar Rice Burroughs and the Saturday night panel discussed the magazine, Black Mask. I talked about how I managed to complete a set of the 340 issues back in the 1970’s and fellow panelists also discussed the Joseph Shaw era and the Ken White years of 1940-1948. The other three collectors on the panel were long time collectors John Wooley, Will Murray, and Matt Moring. We had to be tough and hard boiled to talk about such a subject in only 45 minutes!

   There was the usual art show and films. This year Ed Hulse ran the films only during the day and not at night or after the auction. As usual Sunday was New Pulp Sunday with panels discussing the subject. The 20th edition of Windy City Pulp Stories was excellent and all 158 pages dealt with Black Mask and Dashiell Hammett. This is a must buy if you have any interest in pulps or Hammett.

   The next Windy City Pulp show will be May 6, 2022 through May 8, 2022. Same hotel and hosted as usual by Doug Ellis and John Gunnison. Thank you for your efforts. I know a lot of work went into this convention. Thanks too to Paul Herman and Matt Moring for allowing me the use of the photos they took for this report. I hope everyone survives the plague and that we all meet again next year!

CONVENTION REPORT: PulpFest 2021
by Walker Martin

   Finally, after two years a Pulpfest! Last year there was no convention because of the virus and I had not missed a show in a very long time. I almost went to Pittsburgh anyway in 2020 just to morosely hang out at the hotel but I couldn’t talk anyone else into driving out. But this year there was a convention and I swore I’d make it, pandemic or no pandemic.

   Since one of our group decided not to drive with us, there was only four of us and we therefore did not need the larger van. Driving out was nice weather, unlike the horror story driving back at the end of the show. We arrived at 3 pm on Thursday and found the dealer’s room to be busy with most tables set up for business. I estimate well over 300 in attendance and a hundred or so tables. I heard that attendance was supposed to be a lot larger but there was a 25% cancellation during the past two weeks as collectors either bit the dust or decided to not attend due to the pandemic.

   The dealer’s room closed at 5 pm and was immediately followed by a great pizza party hosted by many of the dealers. I then hung out in the hotel bar with friends where I drank five pints of beer. I firmly believe that drinking a lot of beer helps scare away the virus. Also it was free, due to my fellow collectors who also believe that beer is the staff of life. Thank you Matt Moring, Richard Meli and the veteran whose name I did not catch. Later on the bartender claimed he did not pay the bar tab, and he came to me for payment. But I told him I only drink the beer. I don’t pay for it. Plus he’s a vet. He should get free beer.

   The next morning I got up and followed my usual practice of getting rid of hangovers by eating a large breakfast and drinking plenty of coffee. I have to admit the hotel serves the best and largest buffet breakfast that I have ever encountered. It was delicious.

   Then into action when the dealer’s room opened at 9 am. Masks were recommended and most started off wearing them but as the day progressed, the masks came off. I told Matt it was like a scene out of Fritz Leiber’s “Coming Attraction” in the November 1950 issue of Galaxy SF. Social distancing was followed, but then we stopped worrying and concentrated on buying pulps and books.

   What did I buy? Well Doug Ellis had some great art for sale, especially cover paintings and interiors by Hubert Rogers. I almost bought some but I talked myself out of buying any since I have stacks of art leaning against my walls and bookcases. However history was made as my old friend Digges La Touche bought a cover painting from a paperback. In 50 years he has never bought art, except for one Barbara Cartland paperback cover. He always concentrates on buying masses of pulps, but no more I guess. I stop buying art and he starts.

   I also found some of the extremely rare and hard to find large issues of Everybody’s from the WW I era. Sai Shanker had an excellent article in the new Pulpster about the history of Everybody’s. The magazine lasted 355 issues and went from slick to pulp. He will soon publish a collection of the best stories from the magazine. Speaking of upcoming books, Steeger Books, otherwise known as Matt Moring, will be coming out with a collection of “The Campfire” letters from Adventure in the twenties. These books are must buys if you collect fiction magazines.

   As usual I had a table and sold some rare items. This time I had some duplicates of of the Manhunt Detective imitators. These digest magazines were published in the fifties and sixties and have sexy covers showing girls fighting or killing some poor guy. Cool! I’ve been collecting these digest since 1956, so I’ve been at it for 65 years. Time flies when you are having fun, and I considering collecting magazines to be a hell of a lot of fun. My wife thinks different.

   The Pulpster 30 was given to all the attendees and it was the best issue yet of all the 30 issues. William Lampkin is the editor and Mike Chomko the publisher. Copies are available from Mike Chomko Books and I give this magazine my highest recommendation. It’s large format, 8 1/2 by 11, 60 pages, and in color. Several articles were on The Shadow, including interviews with artists Jerome Rozen and Graves Gladney. Other articles dealt with the love pulps (escape literature for three million maidens), the debut of online newgroups dealing with pulps, the history of Everybody’s by Sai Shanker, Tony Davis on editor Dorothy McIIwraith, and a Darrell Schweitzer interview with Hugh Cave.

   PulpFest is known for the great programming and all the panels and discussions were outstanding. If I had to pick one above all the others I would have to highly recommend Laurie Powers’ “The Queen and Her Court: Great Women Pulp Editors.” It is obvious that Laurie spent a lot of time on this presentation which deserves to be reprinted in a print magazine or book. It is a great example of original pulp research and not just the rehashing of well known facts.

   Other programming was also noteworthy like the discussion on Shadow artists. This was supposed to be presented by David Saunders but he could not attend and Chet Williamson stepped in. I also liked Doug Ellis on Margaret Brundage and the discussion on Eva Lynd: Countess, Actress, and Cover girl. Eva Lynd was supposed to be the Guest of Honor but could not attend but she sent a very nice thank you film.

   This was also the first year of ERBFest. I hope these Edgar Rice Burroughs scholars and fans will return next year. As usual the presentation of The Munsey Award was a highlight of the programming. This year’s award was given to Rich Harvey who has not only published many pulp books and magazines, but more importantly, has been the organizer behind the annual one day convention, Pulp Adventurecon. There have been more that 20 of these shows usually held in Bordentown during November of each year. Congratulations Rich!

   The auction was held Saturday night and though there was no estate auction, many collectors contributed items of interest. Halfway through the auction an overpowering thirst descended upon me, and I adjourned to the bar where unlike Thursday and Friday, I had to pay for my own drinks. I forget which night it happened but the fire alarm went off, and we had to leave the hotel. Fortunately I had a full beer in hand and simply strolled out the door hoping that not too many pulps would be destroyed. Many other collectors had to get dressed and leave their beds. That’s what happens when you go to bed too early.

   I was glad to see that Blood n Thunder had not bit the dust. The Blood n Thunder 2021 Annual made its debut as well as Sam Sherman’s When Dracula Met Frankenstein. Both published by Ed Hulse’s Murania Press.

   Next year will be the 50th Anniversary of Pulpcon/Pulpfest. The first one was held in 1972 and I was there! I sure as hell wish all the other attendees were still around and we could have a panel discussing the good old days. But it’s getting down to The Last Man Standing and hopefully I’ll be present to talk about the way things were and what happened. In 1972 I was one of the youngest collectors present and now in 2021, I’m one of the oldest. My advice for a long life? Drink Beer and collect books, pulps, and art. It worked for me!

   Driving home on Sunday was a mess. Heavy rain and the nagging fear of water in the basement. But I dodged the bullet again and my basement was dry. My pulps and wife welcomed me home.

   I would like to thank the Pulpfest committee: Jack Cullers, Sally Cullers, Mike Chomko, Peter Chomko, William Lampkin, William Maynard, Tony Davis, Barry Traylor. I know I’m leaving out someone else and maybe Mike or Jack could list the correct committee in the comments.

   Windy City Pulp Convention is only a couple weeks away. I hope to see you there!

Book and Pulp Collecting During the Pandemic
or a Report on Pulp Adventurecon 2020
by Walker Martin.

   

   This has been a terrible year for conventions. SF conventions, Windy City, and Pulpfest, all cancelled and postponed to next year. For 50 years I’ve had my choice of shows to attend, usually going to Pulpcon/Pulpfest and Windy City. But for the first time I had no convention to attend until Pulp Adventurecon on November 7, 2020. A couple months ago I would have said that there was no way the show could be held because of the NJ lockdown mandated by Gov. Murphy.

Left to right: Walker Martin, Matt Moring, Scott Hartshorn,
and William Maynard seated.

   But somehow, against all odds, Rich Harvey and Audrey Parente managed to organize a show despite the virus increasing in NJ. Social distancing was the rule with masks and hand sanitizer available. The venue was new with the location moved to Mt Laurel, NJ at the Clarion Hotel. I don’t believe we will be returning to the Bordentown location.

   The dealer’s room was very large with 16 dealers and around 30 tables. The pandemic kept attendance down but there were 60 to 80 attendees. However, as you can see from the photo of the room, often the room appeared almost empty. Here are my snapshot impressions:

   Author and dealer Darrell Schweitzer had his usual table but did not appear to sell much.

   Matt Moring and I shared a table but between us we sold only four pulps. However we came to buy, not to sell.

   Gary Lovisi and his wife were present with the new Paperback Parade issue. Gary also filmed a report on You Tube.

   John Gunnison had six tables and appeared to be selling well.

   Ed Hulse said this show was better that the last two Pulp Adventurecons combined. At least for him.

Ed Hulse.

   Paul Herman had a table full of paperbacks and did well.

   William Maynard sold many books that he heavily discounted.

   Martin Grams shocked me with his “Going out of business” sale. For many years he has been selling DVDs and writing books about the old TV series. But he soon will be opening a Coffee shop and his last book will be the one on the Lone Ranger.

   Digges La Touche usually stays all day buying pulps but this year he was in and out before I even arrived. The virus has changed our buying habits.

   What did I buy? William Maynard sold me a set of the Sanders of the Rivers stories by Edgar Wallace. Ed Hulse sold me a couple nice looking books on L. Ron Hubbard, and John Gunnison sold me three pulps that I had once owned. It seems that I had traded off these issues but as I often do years later, I start collecting them again.

Dealers room.

   The big buy for me was the silver anniversary issue of Top Notch, March 1935. I had mistakenly sold it 20 years ago and it took me all this time to find another copy. I also bought a copy of the May 1939 issue of Dime Detective which I used to own. It has a great titled story by Cornell Woolrich, “The Case of the Killer-Diller.” I also use to own the Dime Mystery issue for October 1947. If you collect Black Mask and Dime Detective, you should also collect the other Popular Publication detective titles such as Dime Mystery, Detective Tales, New Detective. I’ve been in the pulp collecting game so long that I’ve started to collect titles for the second time around.

John Gunnison, on the right.

   For several years I’ve been hosting a brunch get together for my long time friends on the Friday before the show. This year, after much thought, I decided to go ahead and have a scaled down version of the lunch. There were six of my closest pals in attendance:

   Matt Moring–In addition to being in charge of Steeger Books and Altus Press, he also collects pulps and original art

   Paul Herman–Dealer, art collector, and Black Mask collector.

   Nick Certo–Book dealer and art collector.

   Scott Hartshorn–collector of all sorts of bizarre things and art collector also.

   Ed Hulse–Now for a couple friends who are not art collectors. Ed is editor and publisher of Blood n Thunder magazine and Murania Press books..

   Digges La Touche–Book, pulp, and dime novel collector. Not too many dime novel guys around anymore. He also is the last of the pulp excerpters. I remember when there were a lot of old time collectors excerpting pulps and making home made books of the excerpted stories.

C. M. Eddy material (Weird Tales author and friend of Lovecraft).

   I just added up the years I’ve known these guys. Over 200 years between them! Some good deals were made at the pre-convention brunch also. Matt sold a three volume Steeger Books edition of H. Bedford Jones complete John Solomon series. A set of preliminary Larry Schwinger drawings for his Cornell Woolrich paperback covers were sold. Several issues of Western Story were bought. After the brunch we found a new place to eat dinner near my house. PJ’s Pancake House and Tavern. Once again I noticed that I’m often the only drinker. This must mean something but I haven’t figured out what. Maybe a Nero Wolfe connection? Or tough private eyes?

   We stayed at the convention until almost 4 pm and then went to Mastoris Diner, another post-convention tradition. Good friends, good food, good drink, as my old friend Harry Noble used to say.

   So thank you Rich and Audrey for taking the big risk and putting on the convention. Hope to see you next year without the pandemic! Also thanks to Paul Herman for taking these photos.

   I hope to see many of you at Windy City in April and Pulpfest in August next year. I don’t know if I can survive another such year as 2020.

   I have good news to report. Bill Pronzini has just informed me that after many years of collecting, he has finally found a copy of the last Phoenix Press hardcover mystery in jacket that he’s needed to complete the entire run.

   The one book that has eluded him for so long is Tread Gently, Death, by Robert Portner Koehler. It probably has no intrinsic value other than it’s so rare. As a milestone in collecting history, that’s another matter altogether.

   The cover is shown below. For covers of the complete run, go here:

            http://www.lendinglibmystery.com/Phoenix/1936-39.html

   

   

KEVIN HANCER – The Paperback Price Guide. Harmony Books / Overstreet Publications, softcover, 1980.

   A friend of mine gave me some good advice once. “Never,” he said, “throw anything away before it starts to smell.”

   In this age of compulsive collectibles and instant nostalgia, that’s not such a bad idea. Besides guides for collectors of antiques in general, there are price guides as well for old baseball cards and old comic books, for example, basic commodities of life that have always given mothers such bad reputations (for throwing them away once our backs were turned). There are price guides for old phonograph records, both 45s and 78s, and yes, heaven help us, for beer cans as well, complete with full-color illustrations.

   Joining the illustrious company of these and doubtless many others, the hobby of collecting old paperback books has come now into its own. Besides the obvious goal of determination and the compilation of current going prices, using some scheme known only to him – there is little or no relation to any asking prices I have seen, but more about that later – the greatest service that Hancer has given the long-time collector is that he has put together in one spot a more-or-less complete listing, by publisher, of all the mass-market paperbound books that were sold originally in drugstores and supermarkets across the country, for prices that from the first were almost always twenty-five cents each.

   By 1960, however, they had crept upward to the thirty-five cent level, or so. (Now , twenty years later again, check the prices of paperbacks in the bookstores today, if you dare.)

   Made superfluous are all the various checklists produced by specialist collectors and appearing in mimeographed forms in various short-lived periodicals over the past few years, signall1ng the big boom of interest about to come.

   Many early paperbacks were mysteries, and mystery fans have collected them in lieu of the more expensive first editions for some time. An added attraction the cheaper paper editions always had to offer was the cover artwork, designed not-so-subtly to catch the would-be buyer’s eye, but now categorized as GGA. Good Girl Art, that is, a term coined by a comic book dealer, I think.

   It speaks volumes for itself, as does the title Naked on Roller Skates, a book by Maxwell Bodenheim which lists for $30. Dell “mapbacks” go high, although most of them still lie in the $5 to $20 range, and so does early science fiction. The first Ace Double goes for $100, however, in mint condition, and a book entitled Marihuana goes for the same amount. The latter was published in 1951, when you could have picked up a copy, had you but known, for ten cents. Last month I could have bought a copy for a mere $13.

   Another friend of mine has a theory about scarcity and price guides, and it goes something like this. Whenever the price of something is forced upward by artificial hype, he says, sooner or later it gets so high that no one wants it. If you have it, your only alternative is to find another fool to take it off your hands. The last person who ends up with it and cannot sell it is thereby crowned the Greatest Fool of Them All.

   Check out your basements and attics now.

–Very slightly revised from The MYSTERY FANcier, Vol. 5, No. 1, January-February 1981.

   A long distance email conversation between Walker Martin and Sai Shankar about the former’s formative days as a Black Mask collector has evolved into a post on the latter’s “Pulp Flakes” blog. You can read it here. (Follow the link.)

BRYNN BONNER “Jangle.” Novelette. Session Seabolt #1. First appeared in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, May 2007.

   Many of you, and I’m willing to wage a majority of you, are collectors of one thing or another: books, magazines, records, DVDs, comic books, Lego sets, Star Wars toys, whatever. And even if you’re not, I think you can identify with those of us who do haunt library sales, old used book and record stores, tag sales (garage sales, perhaps, where you live), hoping that the next place you visit will be The One.

   Such is the case in this short tale. Session Seabolt is the owner of a used record store, and when she’s not in the shop, she loves to go browsing all of the garage sales in the area:

   But now in the gray light inside the garage I stood frozen — awestruck by what I was holding in my hand. The noxious smells of used motor oil, insecticides, and mildew flooded my nostrils and I willed myself not to hyperventilate.

      […]

   My hands shook as I tucked the album into the middle of the stack I had set aside and hugged them to my chest, hoping nobody had noticed my reaction.

      […]

   I nodded and stretched the smile wider, feeling a snake of guilt slithering up my spine. The man had no clue what he had.

   It’s happened to me. I know the feeling. The author (not her real name) has nailed it perfectly.

   What Session has found is almost irrelevant at this point, but since I’m sure you’d like to know — I know I was, and Ms Bonner puts off telling us for as long as she can. An early pressing of Bob Dylan’s first LP, the one containing several tracks that didn’t appear on the version finally released to the public. Some of the early ones did get into circulation, and they’re worth thousands of dollars.

   To assuage her guilt, Session also takes an old stereo set, complete with turntable and speakers. I might have done the same.

   The rest of the story is not nearly as good as the beginning — it gets a little too complicated, and I don’t think I need to go into it. Well, here’s a hint: it has more to do with the other stuff she bought than the Dylan LP. I’ve told all there is to know about the really good part.

      —

PostScript:   According the introductory notes, this was to be the first of series. It was, but the second known Session Seabolt story didn’t come along until “Final Vinyl,” which appeared in the Sept-Oct 2012 issue of EQMM.

WINDY CITY PULP CONVENTION 2019 REPORT
by Walker Martin

   

   Next year will be the 20th anniversary of this great convention, and it seems to just be getting better and better. Everyone looks middle-aged or older, so there has to be a point where attendance declines, but it has not occurred yet. This year there were over 120 dealers, 180 tables, and over 500 in attendance. The dealer’s room was expanded and it was an amazing sight to see almost 200 tables crammed with piles of pulps, vintage paperbacks, slicks, first edition books, DVDs, original artwork, and just about every type of pulp related collectible that you could imagine. A heavenly sight for bibliophiles and art lovers!

   It’s beyond me how Doug, Deb, and John Gunnison manage to organize this show each year. Plus Doug and Deb manage to host a Thursday pre-convention brunch at their home for art lovers. I would like to thank everyone on the convention committee and staff for a job well done as usual.

   The auction this year was even better than usual with hundreds of lots from the Robert Weinberg and Glenn Lord estates. Held on Friday and Saturday the auction started at 8:15 each night and lasted to around midnight. It’s a puzzle to me how John Gunnison manages to handle 400 lots over 8 or so hours. His voice doesn’t fade and he keeps his sense of humor. Somehow his wife, Maureen, and Deb Fulton keep track of each lot and the accounting details. Here are some of highlights:

RAILROAD MAN’S MAGAZINE–two issues from 1918. Despite the title this pulp was a general fiction magazine and is extremely rare. Both issues went for $50 each.

WT letter to author Greye La Spina signed by Farnsworth Wright with his full signature. Due to Parkinson’s disease he soon stopped signing.—$525

Greye La Spina file of excerpts from THRILL BOOK, including a cover to THRILL BOOK from 1919. Too Bad the author didn’t keep the entire magazines because then the lot would have went for thousands of dollars instead of only $100.

WEIRD TALES, Canadian editions—There were several of these interesting issues which had different covers from the American edition. They all went for around $100 each except for one HPL issue which got $700.

ORIENTAL STORIES–nicely bound.—$475

WEIRD TALES–Many issues went for hundreds of dollars but several went for over a thousand, such as 2/24, 3/24, 12/32(first Conan story-$2500), 3/23(first issue–$3750), 9/23, 7/25( Howard’s first story–$1200).

The Case Against The Comics by Gabriel Lynn–Early 1944 pamphlet advocating censorship of comics. Very scarce–$3750

NOT AT NIGHT edited by Herbert Asbury, 1928. Signed by Asbury, Lovecraft, and Derleth—$4500

A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM. The only volume in Wright’s Shakespeare Library. 25 illustrations by Finlay.–$425. I wanted this to go along with my WT set but I chickened out too early.

Errata sheet for “The Shadow Over Innsmouth” by HPL–$1500

Daisy Bacon signed letter from 1945. This did not go for much over a hundred but I must have fallen asleep during the bidding. I wanted it as an example that Daisy edited DETECTIVE STORY magazine in the forties and not just LOVE STORY. A tell all book will soon be out titled QUEEN OF THE PULPS by Laurie Powers(who some of us also consider The Queen of the Pulps).

ACTION STORIES, FIGHT STORIES, COWBOY STORIES–all crammed full of stories by Robert Howard. Prices were all over the place but usually over 100.

World Fantasy Award Statue, 1978. This is Glenn Lord’s which was awarded for his work in editing and publishing Robert Howard. A great image of HPL—$2000. I wanted this to go along with my Walter Baumhofer and Elmer Kelton Guest Of Honor Plaques from Pulpcon. But I dropped out at $2000 weeping bitter tears of disappointment.

AMRA bound set of first 20 issues—$1000. I wanted this since I’m lacking these early issues but I couldn’t convince myself that a 20 page fanzine is worth $50 each.

THE SHUNNED HOUSE by HPL and printed by Paul Cook.$5,500

DUNE by Frank Herbert. First Edition at $1800.

PEOPLE’S FAVORITE MAGAZINE 6/25/19–$950. True HBJ is in this but no way should it bring this price. Ridiculous.

DIME DETECTIVE–30 lots from 1933 through 1935. Most in beautiful condition–Some as low as $80 but many as high as $200 or $300.

   There were many other interesting and high bids but the above will give you an idea of the fun and suspense occurring at the auctions.

   Also of note and almost as interesting as the auction was a talk given on Friday night by Alec Nevala-Lee about his recent excellent book on ASTOUNDING and John W. Campbell. I agree absolutely that Campbell was responsible for The Golden Age of Science Fiction in the forties. Unfortunately he went off the tracks in the fifties with Dianetics, the Dean drive, and the Hieronymus machine. Just my opinion of course but Alfred Bester had a story meeting with Campbell in the early fifties and came away thinking that Campbell was unhinged. I won’t even go into his racial ideas but he was of great influence in magazine SF.

   On Saturday night there was a panel on “Remembering PLANET STORIES“. The funny thing is that the audience thought that we had forgotten Planet Stories since we were late in returning from dinner due to slow service at a restaurant. The panel was made up of Ed Hulse, Garyn Roberts and myself. I concentrated on my collection of PLANET and how I ended up with the world’s best condition set (the Frank Robinson issues) and the world’s worst condition set. It’s a story too strange and horrible to repeat but the audience seemed to enjoy it.

   Despite my respect for John Campbell I also mentioned on this panel that he seemed to have a major blind spot with certain quality writers. Once he made up his mind that you were not on the same wave length, he often would stop publishing your work. Three of the best PLANET STORIES authors suffered from Campbell’s dislike for example. Ray Bradbury had one early story in ASTOUNDING but had 20 appearances in PLANET STORIES. Leigh Brackett had a couple early stories in ASTOUNDING but also had 20 in PLANET. Philip K. Dick, who has claim to being one of the best and most influential SF writers, had one that I know of with Campbell but five with PLANET, including his first sale. As the fifties and sixties continued this trend became more and more obvious with authors who were once popular in ASTOUNDING in the forties. The found new markets in GALAXY and F&SF.

But if you don’t care for auctions, dealer’s room, or panels, then there are other diversions such as the art show, Ed Hulse’s film program, and the hospitality room. I love the hospitality room where I guzzled many a beer. Not to mention the snacks. There are plenty of great restaurants nearby, and I gained 5 pounds.

   The convention also published a book titled WINDY CITY PULP STORIES. This book comes out annually and the 19th edition is 188 pages and edited by Tom Roberts. Tom always does a good job on the book and also is the publisher of Black Dog Books. I hear he had to miss the show this year, and I hope to see him at next year’s event. The best and most interesting article in the book was by Frank Robinson written in 1951 and discussing the likely end of the pulps. Frank shows some interesting circulation figures leading to the decline and end by 1955. (There were a couple of exceptions lasting beyond 1955 like SF QUARTERLY and RANCH ROMANCES.)

   Three excellent books from Altus Press made their debut. Though Matt Moring couldn’t make it due to work, the books made it thanks to Mike Chomko. The books are:

1–OPERATOR 5, The Complete Purple Wars. Two volumes with the illustrations which are excellent. It would cost thousands to get the 14 issues in fine condition, so this limited edition is a bargain at $150. Often called The War and Peace of the pulps. WAR AND PEACE is my favorite all time novel, so I’ll be comparing Tepperman with Tolstoy. I wonder who wrote the better novel?

2—SHIPS AND MEN by H. Bedford Jones. Reprinted from BLUE BOOK for the first time.

3–The 2019 issue of the revived BLACK MASK. Matt Moring is doing a great job reviving this great pulp with new and reprinted stories. I urge you all to support this magazine. Copies are available from Altus Press, Mike Chomko, and Amazon.com.

   Another excellent book coming out by the end of the year will be QUEEN OF THE PULPS by Laurie Powers. Not only a life of editor Daisy Bacon but a great love story as Daisy carries on a torrid affair while editing LOVE STORY. By the way Daisy also edited DETECTIVE STORY MAGAZINE during the forties, so the book is just not about the romance pulps. McFarland Books has it listed on their website.

   What did I get at the show? Well, I don’t need too many pulps any longer and I managed to control my lust for original art but I did find a nice piece of preliminary cover art by Rosen for TEXAS RANGERS, April 1944. The interesting thing is this art was also used as the cover for a Popular Library paperback titled DRYGULCH TRAIL by William Macleod Raine. So in other words the art appeared on two different formats: pulp magazine and paperback.

   I also bought a stack of interior illustration proofs. We have all seen cover proofs but illustration proofs are a lot rarer. These came from the estate of Ryerson Johnson, who was a long time writer but also an editor for Popular Publications for a couple years in the forties. He told me as he was leaving on his last day of work, he was encouraged to take whatever art he wanted for free. He ended up taking three cover paintings, many interior drawings, advertising posters, and these illustration proofs.

   One of the few auction lots that I was high bidder on turned out to be a nice find. PM #42, dated Feb-March 1938 had a nice article on artist Lee Brown Coye. The cover and many interior illustration are by Coye and give a nice example of his early work,

   As usual, I have nothing but good things to say about the convention and the Westin hotel. But surely something must have gone bad, right? I can only think of three things:

1–On the drive to Chicago, we stayed at an inexpensive motel which was like only $60. I guess you get what you pay for because when I got up to take a hot shower to wake me up and loosen my back spasms, the water almost immediately turned cold. I almost jumped through the wall. How can a motel not have hot water?

2–On the ride back we stayed at another motel this time for $80. Unfortunately they had breakfast sausage that looked and smelled horrible. It probably is not a good idea to eat breakfast at inexpensive motels.

3–As we packed the rental van on Sunday, there seemed to be quite a bit of snow. So much in fact that we held a meeting and almost voted to stay over another night and leave the next day. But we decided to leave anyway despite the snow storm and eventually the snow turned to rain.

   Next up? Pulpfest! August 15 through August 18, 2019. The hotel is first class like the Westin and details are at pulpfest.com. See you there!

RICHARD LUPOFF – The Comic Book Killer. Bantam, paperback; 1st printing, February 1989. Previously published in hardcover by Offspring Press, 1988. This earlier edition also contains bound-in black & white comic pages and a separate full color comic book “Gangsters at War” in a slip case. (This specially created comic book has a crucial role in the story.) Also published by Borgo Press, paperback, 2012.

   I’m of two minds about this one. As the title indicates, this first real mystery that insurance adjuster Hobart Lindsey has ever had to deal with has to do with comic books, and comic book collecting in particular.

   Right up my alley! I’ve been collecting comics in one way or another since I was five — but not necessarily as “collectibles,” if you see what I mean, not hardly. This one begins when a comic book shop insured by Lindsey’s company reports the theft of $250,000 worth of comics.

   Lindsey is so unknowledgeable about comic books that he thinks the thief must have needed a truck to haul them away. The proprietor of the shop quickly disabuses of that idea. Only 35 books were stolen, and all of them could have fit in a single briefcase.

   Trying to make a good impression with his superiors, Lindsey decides to take an active role in the investigation. This puts him in close contact with Marvia Plum, the black (and definitely female) detective assigned to the case. An immediate attraction develops, which leads to more.

   Of two minds, I said. Making this one more difficult than I expected to enjoy is that I did not find Hobart Lindsey a very engaging protagonist. In the first few chapters especially I found him both callow and not particularly likeable.

   And we learn even less about Marvia Plum. An unanswered question I kept asking myself is what does she see in him. Worse, the only character I really related to is the first murder victim. There is also one huge coincidence that needs to be swallowed as well. For me, it didn’t spoil the book, but it didn’t go down all that easily either.

   A mixed bag, then, but there is no doubt that author Richard Lupoff knows his comic book history, and that was a big plus. If that’s a subject matter you’re interested in, I think you’ll find as much to like in that regard as I did.

      The Hobart Lindsey / Marvia Plum series —

The Comic Book Killer (1989)
The Classic Car Killer (1991)
The Bessie Blue Killer (1994)
The Sepia Siren Killer (1994)
The Cover Girl Killer (1995)
The Silver Chariot Killer (1997)
The Radio Red Killer (1997, Marvia Plum alone)
One Murder at a Time: The Casebook of Lindsey & Plum (2001; story collection)
The Emerald Cat Killer (2010)

CONVENTION REPORT: PulpFest 2018
by Walker Martin


Dedicated to the memory of Rusty Hevelin.

   A TALE OF TWO CITIES by Charles Dickens is one of my favorite novels and starts off with the famous passage, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness”. It continues later, “…it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us…” This just about sums up my feeling after Pulpfest 2018.

   So what happened? On the drive back home, what made me attack a vending machine which tried to keep my dollar bill? The thing was seven feet tall but somehow I was so energized and angry that I shook the small bag of pretzels loose. What made me walk away from arguing with a bunch of fellow collectors, muttering curses, and angry?

   People that have known me for a long time know that the love of my life is Pulpcon/Pulpfest. I’ve been attending them since the first one in 1972. My vacation plans are always scheduled around the convention, I’ve attended them with severe back problems, once against the advice of both my chiropractor and physician. I’ve even gone to the show when my employer said I could not go. Like my good pal Harry Noble, I’d probably attend even knowing I had a terminal illness.

   I see Pulpfest as a big event, a big party or picnic. I go to have a good time, not to argue with other collectors and finally walk away grumbling. I had heard rumors of a big announcement which was to be made at the business meeting. It still surprised me to hear the news that Pulpfest might go back to Columbus, Ohio next year and what’s more might be connected in some way with a comic book convention.

   The committee mentioned that assistance would be provided by an unnamed comic book dealer and convention organizer. As far as I know only very few collectors questioned this plan. I was one plus one committee member said he agreed with me and a couple other collectors were also doubtful.

   But most seemed to accept this news. You may notice I dedicated this report to Rusty Hevelin who was responsible for continuing Pulpcon for over 25 years. With Rusty I knew I could walk into the dealer’s room and not see piles of comic books, it would not be another science fiction convention, it would not be full of new pulp books written mainly by non-collectors and amateur writers. It would not be a nostalgia convention. By god, it would be a convention for pulp and book collectors even if only 100 to 200 showed up. They at least would be serious collectors often bringing boxes of pulps, books, vintage paperbacks, slicks, digest, and original art.

   Everybody seemed to be moaning about how the attendance was not growing but was stuck at about 375. Still, this was far more than the old Pulpcon ever achieved in 37 years. There may be a thousand or so pulp collectors in the US. But most of them won’t ever come to Pulpfest because of health problems, financial problems, or they can’t get away from their job or family responsibilities. 400 and something is about the maximum that we can expect, though the Windy City Convention has claimed to break the 500 mark. I really don’t see any big increase in attendance being possible unless we want to import a ton of comic collectors, new pulp people and walk ins that seldom buy anything.

   But I’m a pulp collector and I want to talk and deal with other pulp collectors. Many comic book collectors seem to like slabbing the books. I’m completely against this because I want to read the things. I don’t want them in a sealed plastic case. But comics are big money and pulps are not. I don’t see us co-existing at all. True, the committee has some personnel problems. Ed Hulse left a few years ago which I saw as a big blow. Bill Lampkin could not make it this year due to family responsibilities, Chuck Welch will soon be moving to Canada, Jack Cullers and Barry Traylor are my age which means they are getting older, to put it kindly.

   It’s time for me to talk about the convention and stop with my complaints, especially since I seem to have few supporters. Nothing has been decided yet by the committee and we will have to see what happens. I really like the Double Tree Hotel however and hope we return next year.

   First, the programming was outstanding as usual. I skipped the new pulp presentations because I don’t care about new pulp. They mainly strike me as non-collectors and as I have said many times, collectors are my favorite type of people. But Thursday the best thing on the program was Sai Shankar talking about the great WW I author, Leonard Nason. I’ve often wondered why people travel to Pulpfest and then miss the programming due to the fact they are stuffing their face.

   Well, I’ll be damned if I didn’t miss Sai Shankar, who is one of my friends, talking about one of my favorite ADVENTURE writers, Leonard Nason! His talk was scheduled for 8:40 and we sat down to eat in the hotel restaurant at 7:00 or perhaps even before 7:00. But the service was so slow that we were there forever and as a result we all missed Sai’s talk. Laurie Powers complained to the manager that due to the slow service we missed the program.

   Friday, there were three panels I enjoyed mainly because I have problems with the subjects. I love the art of the men’s adventure magazines and have collected it in the past. I mean what is there not to love about Nazis turning girls into gold ingots? No wonder they lost the war! Bob Deis and Wyatt Doyle talked about the art and the fiction. I often have problems with the fiction but I love the magazines anyway. I know the WW II vets loved them also! They had a table full of their latest books including POLLEN’S WOMEN: The Art of Samson Pollen. I hope they can publish a reference book listing and discussing the many men’s adventure titles. We need such a guide book.

   Then I liked the panel on the air war pulps hosted by Don Hutchison. Bill Mann, Chris Kalb and company are doing a great job reprinting many authors of the aviation magazines. I have problem reading these stories but I’m working on it and hope to someday be able to appreciate the fiction. Finally the son of John Fleming Gould talked about his father’s art.

   Saturday, started off with the dreaded business meeting which just about ruined my evening but the announcement that Bill Lampkin had been awarded the Munsey Award cheered me up. Bill edits the excellent PULPSTER magazine and is also on the committee. Then the guest of honor, Joe Lansdale, was interviewed. David Saunders gave an excellent talk on the Art of the War Pulps. David discusses art at each Pulpfest and I hope this tradition continues.

   For just about the first time the auction was scheduled for two evenings at Pulpfest. Usually the auction is only one night but there was so many lots, over 400 total! Both nights the auction lasted from 10 pm to past 1 am. Some collectors griped that there was nothing at the auction. I disagree. Friday night saw a run of ARGOSY from the thirties, almost 600 issues of WILD WEST WEEKLY from 1927 through 1943, a set of PLANET STORIES, and many miscellaneous lots. The highest priced item by far was the five boxes of Al Tonik’s research papers. It went for $2000.00.

   Saturday night saw many lots of WESTERN STORY, many sport titles, and the best conditioned set of SF digests that I have ever seen, and I’ve been collecting for over 60 years. The entire run of these magazines were in astonishing beautiful condition. Nice paper, new looking covers, that great scent of new magazines. I had them all but I was tempted to buy them all just for the beautiful condition. Seeing these lovely magazines reminded me once again about why I am a collector. They are beautiful. Sets of AMAZING, FANTASTIC, GALAXY, ASIMOV’S, ANALOG, F&SF, IF, NEW WORLDS, SCIENCE FANTASY, NEBULA, and IMAGINATION. The IMAGINATION set may be the prettiest thing I’ve seen in a long time. Though I had them all already, I bought the 5 lots making up the over 200 digest issues of AMAZING because the condition was just so much better than my own set.

   THE PULPSTER, number 27, was the usual excellent issue. 48 large size pages discussing Arthur Sullivant Hoffman’s ADVENTURE, the American Legion in ADVENTURE, artist George Evans and the aviation pulps, Philip Jose Farmer, and a great letter from a college student talking about her the summers she worked for Popular Publications.

   I was told that attendance was around the 375 mark which I think was great. The dealer’s room was always buzzing with a lot of activity. The hospitality room was well stocked with craft beer and one night about a dozen pizzas were delivered.

   Hopefully soon we will see two new magnificent books about pulp titles we seldom talk about. Laurie Powers book on the romance pulps and the life of Daisy Bacon, the excellent editor of LOVE STORY and DETECTIVE STORY. Michelle Nolan’s book on the sport pulp titles should also be a groundbreaking book on a seldom discussed topic. We desperately need books like these two because I’m tired of the same old hero pulp discussion. I know, I know, everyone loves the hero pulps but after all they were aimed at the teenage boy market and are not really adult fiction. Let’s talk about something new like love and sports!

   So, you may be wondering what did I buy? Actually this was one of the better Pulpfests for me finding unusual items. As I mention already above, I bought at the auction a lovely set of AMAZING, 1953-1980’s. Simply stunning condition. Here is a listing of what else I found of great interest:

1–Lot of 54 of the 71 isssues of AMRA. AMRA was a SF fanzine published between 1959 and 1982. Edited by George Scithers, it was famous mainly for the articles on Swords and Sorcery. The famous artists and authors that appeared in the magazine are too numerous to name but include Roy Krenkel, Poul Anderson, L. Sprague de Camp, Avram Davidson, Fritz Leiber, Michael Moorcock, and many more. AMRA won the Hugo for best fanzine in 1964 and 1968.

   I bought these from Chet Williamson who also sold an interesting Hammett item to someone else and some rare ALL STORY issues. I was a subscriber to AMRA but I sold my issues a long time ago and now I’m rebuilding the set, something I done so many times, with so many magazines.

2–THE AGE OF THE STORYTELLERS: British Popular Fiction Magazines, 1880-1950 by Mike Ashley. This book was published at a hundred dollars but at only $25 I had to get this second copy to add to my first copy. That’s right, the book is so great that you must buy two copies!

3–A framed, signed drawing by the great Edd Cartier. This was only $225 so I had to add it to my Cartier collection which now numbers over 15 drawings. You can never have too many Cartier drawings.

4–A framed painting by pulp collector Lester Belcher showing Sonny Tabor riding on a horse. I knew Lester and he was not an artist but he loved WILD WEST WEEKLY, so he attempted to paint one of the characters from the magazine. I consider it a great piece of “outsider” art done by one of my former friends that I miss. Price at the auction was only $10. Everyone thought it poorly done but to me, knowing Lester, it is priceless.

5–A Richard Powers painting for the Ballantine 1964 paperback, TARZAN AND THE CITY OF GOLD. Done in a different style than usual with Powers. After I bought it the art dealer told me two other collectors stopped by and were disappointed to learn that it had been sold.

6–Two Guest of Honor plaques from Pulpcon. I already have the one given to Walter Baumhofer but I couldn’t pass up these two. One was from 1994 and given to artist R. G. Harris in Tucson. It shows four cover paintings that he did for the pulps. The second is a real treasure since Elmer Kelton was one of the great western writers. It was given to him when he was the guest at the Pulpcon in 1998. It shows four covers from RANCH ROMANCES containing four of his early stories. I hunted for these plaques for decades, now I have three of them!

7–Now the most unusual story of them all. I now have three cover paintings of the paperback western BADLANDS BOSS by Bradford Scott. All by the same artist, Rudy Nappi. It’s possible that there is no other cover painting that was painted three times by the same artist. Back in the early 1980’s I bought the original cover painting at Pulpcon for $100.

   Then several years later I was at Al Tonik’s house for a Tonikcon and there was the same cover by Rudy Nappi also. Al explained that he was not aware the the original cover had survived and so he commissioned Rudy Nappi to paint an exact recreation of the cover. Price he paid was also $100. But the painting was damaged in the mail when the board was bent in order to stick in Al’s mailbox. So he contacted Nappi and told him the sad story and Nappi agreed to paint the painting again for no charge. So now Al had two paintings.

   He gave me the damaged one and kept the good one. Actually you can’t see the damage until you look closely and see the board has been bent. Then after Al Tonik’s death what comes up for auction? The third Rudy Nappi cover painting of the same paperback. Since I had two I had to buy the third one also and got it for only $30 at the auction. You can’t make up such an insane story.

   So ends my report. Despite my complaints, I truly appreciate the hard work of the committee. Thanks Mike Chomko, Jack Cullers, Sally Cullers, Bill Lampkin, Chuck Welch, and Barry Traylor. Plus the many helpers, and of course thanks to for Sai Shankar for the use of some of the photos he took during the convention. Stay tuned to pulpfest.com for news of next yea’s show.

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