Collecting


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.

WINDY CITY PULP CONVENTION 2018 REPORT
by Walker Martin


   The older I get, the longer this drive gets! Five of us drove from New Jersey to Chicago in the usual 15 seat white rental van. We take out the last two rows of seats to make the cargo area bigger. We need the space for all the books, pulps, and artwork that we will buy during the convention. During the long drive I pondered the age old question of which is worse: to forget your want list or to forget your medication. I know of two collectors who had to deal with these mistakes. I think forgetting your want list is worse. How can you collect without your lists?

   First stop was the Thursday pulp brunch at the house of Doug Ellis and Deb Fulton, otherwise known as the Windy City Pulp Art Museum. Doug had recently added an addition to the large house because he needed more wall space for the hundreds of cover paintings and illustrations. After three hours of eating, drinking, and gawking at the art, we drove to the Westin Hotel, home of the convention for the last several years.

   This year dealers were allowed to set up Thursday evening and I believe everyone was happy with this arrangement. Friday morning the convention officially began and there were approximately 150 dealer tables and somewhere around 400 to 500 attendees. This made for a busy three days of hunting for pulps, paperbacks, books, digests, slicks, DVDs, and artwork.



   But if you were not into collecting or short of money, then there were other things to do, such as the enormous art show showing scores of pulp and paperback paintings and the film festival which ran mainly during the day on Friday and Saturday. The evenings consisted mainly of John Locke discussing “The Secret Origins of Weird Tales” and GOH F. Paul Wilson being interviewed.

   Then of course there was the auction, which is one of the main attractions of the convention. It was held on Friday and Saturday evening and lasted about 4 hours each night. Friday night consisted of over 250 lots from the estate of Glenn Lord, who was the literary executor for the Robert Howard estate for many decades. Robert Howard collectors had the opportunity to bid on many magazines that contained Howard stories, such as WEIRD TALES, FIGHT STORIES, SPICY ADVENTURE, SPORT STORY, ACTION STORIES, GOLDEN FLEECE, ORIENTAL STORIES, MAGIC CARPET, STRANGE TALES, and ARGOSY.

   Many of these pulps went for hundreds of dollars and two of the highest amounts were for the rare fanzine, THE PHANTAGRAPH. $1400 and $1000 for two issues that I noted, but a friend bought down some beer from his room and I had several bottles which resulted it me not noting the prices for the rest of the issues.

   Saturday night I avoided the beer for awhile and noted some good prices for pulps from the Ron Killian estate. This auction also had material consigned by the attendees at the show. It’s good to see pulps come up for auction but sad to realize that they are from the estates of collectors that you will never see again. At the break I went up to hospitality room for a beer and somehow never did make it back down to the last of the auction. Is it possible that I’ve reached the stage in my collecting life that I would rather have a cold beer? Could be! I’ve been at this game for a long time now.

   I bought my usual amount of books but I don’t need many pulps according to my want lists. However I did manage to find some excellent and bizarre art. I bought as Emsh interior from IF in the fifties, a very large drawing by one of the decadent artists, Beresford Egan, and a stunning Lee Brown Coye interior from FANTASTIC, February 1963. It illustrates the Mythos story “The Titan in the Crypt”. Some of my friends don’t like Lee Brown Coye but I find his art to be perfect for bizarre horror stories. There are presently three books published about his art recently and this indicates that people are realizing his greatness.

   Another paperback cover I bought was one of the strange paintings that show two novels. In the early fifties there were a few fat paperbacks that had two novels and the cover shows two paintings, one upper and one lower. I remember buying PRIME SUCKER and THE HUSSY. Looks like the work of Walter Popp. I always wanted one of these strange paintings. Finally after decades of hunting!

   But the biggest sale of the show was a copy of ALL STORY for October 1912. That’s right the Tarzan issue! The Holy Grail of pulps! It went for $30,000 and sold right away soon after the doors opened. I’ve never seen a complete copy at a pulp convention. I once was high bidder on a copy at an early Pulpcon but it lacked the covers and the Tarzan novel was excerpted. That’s right, some crazy Breaker had cut out the Tarzan novel reducing a $30,000 to $50,000 magazine to a $400 curiosity piece.

   Another high priced item was a sexy cover painting from PRIVATE DETECTIVE by Parkhurst. It was priced at $18,000 but I believe sold for $16,000. One piece of art that did not sell was a Kelly Freas cover painting from ASTOUNDING, February 1955, showing a tough guy dressed as a woman. Price was $30,000 and I guess the owner did not want to sell it but just to exhibit it.

   Each year, I swear that I’m not going to buy any more art because I’ve run out of wall space. I have paintings stacked up against bookcases, etc. But being a collector is a hard job and someone has to do it…

   The program book, titled WINDY CITY PULP STORIES #18 is the usual excellent book edited by Tom Roberts. 136 pages mainly dealing with the air war pulps and Harold Hersey. I noticed three books making debuts at the show:

1–ART OF THE PULPS. This is a must buy and the title says it all. Several essays by well known collectors discuss all the genres including those often forgotten such as the love and sport pulps.

2–HALO FOR HIRE by Howard Browne. This is the complete Paul Pine mysteries and published by Haffner Press.

3–BLACK MASK, Spring 2018 is the fourth issue of the revived BLACK MASK. Published by Altus Press.

   Over the years, after writing one of these convention reports, I’ll hear from fellow collectors who regret not attending the show. Windy City may be over for another year but coming up is the next big pulp convention on July 26 through July 29. It’s in Pittsburgh and the details are at pulpfest.com. I highly recommend this show, and I ought to know what I’m talking about since I’ve been to almost all of them since 1972 when the first Pulpcon was held in St Louis. Almost all my pals who attended are gone now except for a handful such as Caz, Randy Cox, maybe Jack Irwin attended also, I forget. But of the hundred or so who eagerly went in 1972, we are getting down to the last man standing. Or the last Collector standing!

   Don’t miss out on Pulpfest. It’s a must for collectors. We have to support Windy City, Pulpfest, Pulpadventurecon and the other one day shows or one day we won’t have any conventions and then we will be like the dime novel collectors.

   I know one collector who says the two conventions are the same. No, they are not. Windy City is different and the emphasis is on art, films, and the auction. Pulpfest is also different with the emphasis on the dealer’s room and an evening full of panels and discussions.

   The hotel is great and I recommend that you stay there. Sure you can get a cheaper rate down the road somewhere but the convention hotel is where all the action is.

   I hope to see you there!

PS. Thanks to Sai Shankar once again for the use of his photos. All of the larger ones are ones he took. To see many more of the photos he took at Windy City, check out his Pulpflakes blog here.

COLLECTING PULPS: A Memoir
Part 21: Pulp Art, Part Three
by Walker Martin


   This is the third and last column on one of my favorite subjects: Pulp Art. The two prior installments may be read on Mystery*File as Part 19 and Part 20.

   Often I’m asked where can a collector buy pulp or paperback art? eBay is certainly a source and I have often typed in an artist’s name and looked to see what is available. Or I’ve tried different combinations of words on eBay such as Original Pulp Art, Cover Paintings, Paperback Paintings, etc. Another source that I’ve used are the auction houses such as Heritage Auctions. Or you can visit another art collector. They often have pieces that they would be willing to trade or sell. For instance I’ve bought art from such well known collectors as Bob Lesser, Doug Ellis, and Bob Weinberg. At the recent pulp brunch at my house in November, I bought several Bjorklund drawings from WILD WEST WEEKLY from art collector and dealer, Paul Herman. As I mentioned earlier, Matt Moring and I completed a trade involving 4 pulp paintings at the brunch.

   But one of the best sources for original art are the pulp conventions: Windy City in Chicago, PulpFest in Pittsburgh, and Pulp Adventurecon in Bordentown, NJ. Of the three shows I consider Windy City to be the best source for original pulp and paperback art. The convention lasts three days each year and there are perhaps as many as a dozen dealers with art for sale. Next, comes Pulpfest with two main art dealers: Doug Ellis and Craig Poole. Sometimes other book dealers bring in art: Nick Certo, Scott Hartshorn, Mark Hickman, Ray Walsh, etc. Pulp Adventurecon is usually about the books and magazines but this year Craig Poole had several tables with excellent pulp, digest, paperback and slick art. Prices range from a few hundred dollars to several thousand.

   Frankly, I collect art because I love collecting but if you are thinking of possible investment value, you can’t go wrong with original art as an investment. Of course I’m assuming you pick nice pieces and not poor art. For instance I have a painting from DETECTIVE FICTION WEEKLY that is just a bloody hand. Another from the same magazine, is just the face of some ugly criminal. It’s possible these paintings will never be worth anything except for a few hundred dollars, but since I collect pulp magazines, I was happy to buy them as examples of the poor cover art occasionally used by the magazines.

   As you may have noticed I have no problem with buying unframed art, art in poor condition, even art with holes in the canvas. I used to frame everything, but now I say the hell with it and hang them up as is. If a piece is falling apart, I have restored it, however. There are art restorers that work on paintings, in fact Matt Moring and I met a restorer at the Bordentown convention and he has emailed us several photos of excellent pulp art that he has worked on.

   An important thing to remember is to be sure and collect original art that you like. If you like SF, there is plenty out there. Hero pulp art is very popular but quite expensive. Same thing with risque or spicy art such as pinup art. Detective and mystery art has increased in value during the past few years. I can remember when you couldn’t get much of anything for a detective pulp painting. Western art still remains fairly inexpensive except for the big names like Nick Eggenhofer or Gayle Hoskins.

   Many collectors make the mistake of ignoring western art which is a big mistake. The cover paintings are full of action, very colorful, and inexpensive compared to SF, hero and detective pulp paintings. So far there is practically no interest in love or sport cover paintings. Not many collectors are interested in the love or sport magazines either. As a result we don’t see many covers at all from these two genres. It’s possible they have mostly been lost or destroyed due to this lack of interest.

   Here are some great examples of inexpensive pulp art. Most collectors don’t seem that interested in preliminary art but they can be quite stunning as these pieces show. Often such prelim work is very sketchy or not that well done but these two pieces by Delano and Baumhofer are almost finished enough to appear as covers. The two magazines show how the finished cover paintings turned out and you can see there is not a lot of difference between the preliminary work and the finished canvas. The Baumhofer one showing the cowboy on the ground is especially impressive as a preliminary sketch.





   Now here is an example of a preliminary by De Soto that is very sketchy and unfinished. There is no way this Spider prelim could be used as a cover as is. But it does give the editor an idea of what the artist planned to do with the large painting on canvas. As far as I know this sketch was never made into a finished painting. By the way, I have two SPIDER preliminaries and they are quite rare. Only a couple of the cover paintings are known to exist.


   This is one of the earliest cover paintings that I have. It’s from 1914 and the artist is Howard Hastings. He painted a lot for OUTDOOR LIFE and that type of magazine so maybe it is from a slick. I bought this from art dealer Steve Kennedy in 1989 for $700. During this period I could spend about $700 each month on art and much later Steve told me that my $700 each month was a life saver for his business at the time. He had just started to deal in pulp cover paintings, and no one except for me was buying from him. Too bad I couldn’t spend more than $700 each month because I lost out on some nice art that Steve sold later to other collectors.


   I got this one from Pulpcon in the eighties for only a couple hundred. I wonder how it got that hole in it? It’s FIFTEEN WESTERN TALES.


   This is one of my very favorite illustrations. It’s a great Nick Eggenhofer interior, probably for a two page spread. It shows two stage coaches passing each other and one looks ready to tip over. By the way, I haven’t located where this is from in case anyone can help me out. It may be WESTERN STORY or one of the western titles published by Popular Publications like DIME WESTERN or STAR WESTERN.


   This is PEOPLES from the early 1920’s and the artist is Wittmack. This is another painting I got from Kennedy when he was selling me one painting a month back in 1989. I never bothered to get it framed. Frankly I find that framing sometimes detracts from the painting. Steve liked to frame his paintings in a gold frame which I did not like much. And of course Bob Lesser habit of framing the pulp magazine inside with the painting, I found to be sacrilege and very annoying! But despite my many complaints over the years Bob continues this practice. As far as I know there is no museum, art gallery or art restorer that would frame the magazine under glass with the painting. After a few decades you would have a pile of pulp chips and a stain on the canvas.


   I love when I get this type of painting. It’s by Norman Saunders and was used on a pulp AND a paperback years later. It was first used on WESTERN ACES magazine in the 1940’s and then reused on the Ace Double titled GUNSMOKE GOLD in the 1950’s. One funny story about me buying this art. When I first saw it the dealer wanted $200 for it as a paperback cover. I stupidly looked closely and muttered that it was signed by Saunders and bang, the price went up right away to $400. Later I discovered it was also a pulp and this makes it worth far more than the $400 I had to pay.


–   Whatever happened to art dealer Tony Dispoto? I bought this from him and it’s a great piece by one of the best of the pulp artists. It’s a Flanagan from BLUE BOOK in the mid-1930’s illustrating a great adventure serial by James Francis Dwyer.


   This is a rare example of Walter Baumhofer’s early work. It’s from ADVENTURE in the mid-twenties and I got it at Windy City for only a couple hundred dollars.


   FIGHT STORIES by Gross. A pulp collecting brain surgeon was once visiting me and was interested in this because boxers often require such surgery.


   I love showing this painting to visitors. It’s 10 STORY WESTERN by De Soto and has over 20 pinholes punched through the canvas. In other words someone used it as a dart board! I’ll never get it restored because it shows just how little respect these paintings used to command back in the day. I’ve heard so many horror stories of cover paintings thrown away, lost, burnt, etc. Back when they were painted they were just about considered worthless.


   Author Ryerson Johnson once told me that he was an editor for a couple years for Popular Publications back in the forties. When he resigned to return to full time writing, he was shown into a large room full of paintings and illustrations and told to take what he wanted because it was all going to be thrown away eventually. He took several paintings and a couple large stacks of interior illustrations. Decades later he sold this art to me and other collectors.


   When I first bought this ADVENTURE cover, it was on a board that was spongy and soft. You could take off pieces of the board with two fingers. I thought it was just about worthless and ready for the garbage. But art restorers can do magical things and this painting was saved. It was somehow transferred to another board without any damage.


   This is another strange story. Collector Al Tonik had the paperback to this cover and decided to commission artist Rudi Nappi to paint it again as a recreation of the original painting. The artist did the recreation which is almost an exact copy for $100. But then later on I discovered the original paperback cover painting. So Al sold me the recreation to go along with the original cover painting. I now have both paintings, the original which was done in the 1950’s and the recreation which was done in the 1990’s or thereabout. Sometimes we think these old paintings are lost but they show up anyway!


   This is from BATTLE STORIES and I bought it from Illustration House in NYC. Notice how the magazine reversed the image. They did this sometimes to make room for the magazine title or cover blurbs.


   This is by the great Frank Paul and is from FAMOUS FANTASTIC MYSTERIES, one of my favorite magazines.


   This is FIGHTING ACES by Blakeslee. I got it from Bob Weinberg back in the 1980’s. He was just released from the hospital and needed money to pay his medical bills. He had over a dozen of these aviation paintings which he sold but I only bought two of them. I guess I was broke again!


   I also collect advertising posters which are pulp related. This is a poster advertising Street & Smith’s DETECTIVE STORY MAGAZINE.


   I have several paperback racks which I spent decades searching for. This is the first one I found and I had to trade a Clark Ashton Smith first edition to get it back in the 1970’s. Most collectors don’t realize how rare these things are. Someday after we are gone they will be worth a lot of money.


   An unusual night scene which must have happened to many cowboys. They hear a sound and reach for their gun. I got this one a couple years ago at the Bordentown convention and it’s from WESTERN STORY in the thirties. I saw the art dealer come through the door and I immediately ran up and asked the price. It was inexpensive so I bought it. But I had driven in with my old pal Digges and when I went to put it into the car there was absolutely no room. He had filled the entire car up with boxes of pulps. Fortunately my friend, Sai Shanker was visiting me the next day and he delivered it to me at my house. But we were so busy talking that he almost drove off to the airport with it still in his car.


   Well, that’s it, all you need to know about pulp art in three easy installments. Thank you Steve Lewis for publishing this and thank you Sai Shanker for taking the great photos. And finally thank you to all my art collecting friends over the many years. Many of you may no longer be with us, but you are not forgotten. After all we are just the temporary caretakers of our collections. Eventually we leave but the collections continue on!

COLLECTING PULPS: A Memoir
Part 20: Pulp Art, Part Two
by Walker Martin


   This is a continuation of the pulp art subject which commenced in my last column numbered Part 19. When I started this column in 2010, I never planned for it to last and continue for long. I thought I’d just discuss my collecting of The Big Three in the detective genre(BLACK MASK, DIME DETECTIVE, DETECTIVE FICTION WEEKLY). But I’ve received such great support for the series that it has continued now to Part 20 and beyond.

   And the Collecting Pulps subject led to me writing the series about ADVENTURES IN COLLECTING, and also book reviews and the pulp convention reports. I firmly believe we should be discussing these shows and collecting in general. I can remember the time when there was very little discussion of the importance and fun of collecting pulp magazines and original pulp art.

   We all know about how much fun it is to read and collect these old magazines, but it also is of great importance. It will be difficult for future generations to be aware that once there was a golden period of excellent fiction magazines and illustration art. It’s hard now to even find a newsstand, but once there were thousands of such outlets in drugstores, deli grocery stores, and on street corners. The newsstands groaned under the weight of scores of fiction magazines both pulp and slick. And they all used illustrations from talented artists that numbered in the hundreds.

   I collect this great art and the columns titled Part 19, Part 20, and Part 21 (upcoming) contain the story about how I managed to track down and find many unique cover paintings and interior illustrations. Every now and then the accusation is made that you have to be rich in order to collect paintings and sets of long running magazines. No, you don’t, and I’m living proof of how it can be done on a middle class income.

   True, you have to be a committed and enthusiastic collector, but I built up this collection while working on a salary and bringing up a family with the usual mortgages, car payments, and other bills. I often went through periods where I had very little money in the bank account, or I had to borrow money from the credit union at work. For many years I skipped lunch in order to save money to buy books. Sounds familiar right? I’m sure many collectors have scrimped and saved in order to feed their collections. And yet they still had all the usual things that we take for granted such as family, children, homes, cars, education.

   One of my favorite book conventions is Pulp Adventurecon, otherwise known as the Bordentown show, or Harveycon, after Rich Harvey the organizer of the show. He’s been putting it on for almost 20 years now, and it is an annual event held every November. Officially it’s a one day show, but for the last several years, I and some of my best friends have turned it into a four day convention lasting Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Not only do we discuss books, pulps, and art, but we eat and drink everything in sight. It’s like a gigantic bookish picnic and party.

   This photo shows several of us at my kitchen table: left to right is me in a SHORT STORIES T-shirt, Matt Moring, Digges La Touche, Scott Hartshorn, and Ed Hulse. Also present but not in the photo are Sai Shanker, who is responsible for these great photos, Nick Certo, Paul Herman, and Laurie Powers. These are all committed and serious collectors that I have known for many years.


   And fitting in with the collecting art theme, they all collect art except for Ed. Even Ed has a big interest in the art and though Digges and Laurie only have a piece or two, they represent what I think every book and pulp collector should strive for, and that is to have at least one representative piece of art to go with your collection of books. Anthony Powell once titled a novel, BOOKS DO FURNISH A ROOM, and so does original art.

   Two weeks prior to the show, Doug Ellis and Deb Fulton visited me and I finally managed to obtain an Edd Cartier illustration from one of my favorite magazines, UNKNOWN WORLDS. In a prior convention report I had bemoaned the fact that I had missed out on a previous Edd Cartier drawing from UNKNOWN. I think this 1941 drawing showing a scene from a Jane Rice story is even better that the one I missed out on.


   Before I move on to more art, I would like to mention that this year’s Pulp Adventurecon was one of the best yet. 50 tables and well over a hundred attendees. No guests, no panels, no movies. Just hard core pulp collecting and book buying! Two important items made their debut at the convention: ART OF THE PULPS, an excellent book on the pulps and the artwork, by Doug Ellis, Ed Hulse, and Bob Weinberg and the third issue of the new and revived BLACK MASK.

   Matt Moring and I shared a table, and many collectors were wearing the Altus Press pulp T-shirts. These look great, and Matt has over a dozen titles available. The selection can be seen on the Altus Press website and so can the hundreds of pulp reprints that Altus Press has published.

   Though this is only a one day show, there are many unusual and rare items for sale. A couple years ago I completed my set of ALL STORY at this convention, and you can’t get rarer that that. This year John Gunnison of Adventure House, had many bound volumes of FLYNN’S and DETECTIVE FICTION WEEKLY from the 1920’s and early 1930’s. Also available from Altus Press was a complete run of ASTOUNDING, 1937-1943 which are the great John Campbell years, otherwise known as The Golden Age of SF.

   I had a couple stacks of the rare British mystery digest magazine, LONDON MYSTERY MAGAZINE. So there were some rare and collectible items. Speaking of rare items, I also saw and spoke with Bob Lesser, another pulp art collector. He says he is 94 years old! That give us all hope for the future and a reason to keep collecting even when we get old.

   Matt Moring and I completed a pulp cover painting trade. Here Matt is holding a cover from SKY RIDERS, 1929, that he has just traded to me. Many pulp cover paintings and interior illustrations change hands through trades.


   Another painting Matt traded to me: PEOPLES from 1922 and the artist is Franklin Wittmack.


   This item is absolutely unique, and something I never thought I’d find. For decades, ever since Pulpcon started to give the Guests of Honor a plaque in honor of their work in the pulp field, I have wanted to find one of the plaques for my collection. It was the one thing that Pulpcon got absolutely right because these plaques are beautiful. I have seen many of the guests get emotional after receiving these great plaques. They always show four pulp covers and bear the guest’s name while praising them for their contributions to the pulps. This one I found out about when I read an article by David Saunders. Dan Zimmer, the publisher of ILLUSTRATION MAGAZINE, had it hanging in his office and I managed to buy it. It’s the one given to Walter Baumhofer during Pulpcon 8, 1979 in Dayton, Ohio.


   This is from ADVENTURE in the 1940’s. During a visit to Gerry De Ree’s house in 1989, I saw two beautiful paintings by Earle Bergey from STARTLING STORIES. Gerry had a terminal illness and was selling his collection, but the price was more than I could pay for the two Bergey paintings. He saw how disappointed I was and sold me this painting at a special bargain price. Gerry was a great collector and dealer and has never been replaced.


   This is a favorite of mine because of the unusual scene depicted. A sixgun preacher in a saloon forcing the boozers to listen to his sermon. I got it at an early Pulpcon for only a couple hundred dollars.


   1930’s DETECTIVE FICTION WEEKLY by Rudolph Belarski. Author Richard Sale had two popular series characters, Daffy Dill and Candid Jones. This cover illustrated the story where they meet. Artists often had to leave space for writing on the the cover. This square was for the blurb “Daffy Dill and Candid Jones, Together Again!” Many collectors would not buy this art because of the empty yellow square but I love it. Plus it made it affordable for me to buy it!


   The reason for this photo is sort of weird. If you look carefully you can see 6 small risque paintings by J. Brandt. They all are signed and were submitted in the paper envelope I’m holding to CASTLE OF FRANKENSTEIN magazine. But the publisher and editor, Calvin Beck, never used them as far as I know and never returned them to the artist.

   Now J. Brandt paints fine art and would be amazed to see his teenage paintings have survived. I consider these paintings to be sort of outsider art and of great interest as examples of unique and strange pieces of art. Most collectors would bypass these as just unpublished amateur work, but I think they are beautiful.


   DIME MYSTERY in the 1940’s. Many collectors have a fetish for guys or women in hoods! I love it!


   Lee Brown Coye, one of my favorite artists, but many collectors are blind to his great bizarre talent. There have been three recent books discussing his work. This lacks the Coye weird figures but has the bizarre house and the sticks that became his trademark in later life.


   Nick Eggenhofer is one of the greatest of the pulp artists and he did hundreds of illustrations for WESTERN STORY and the Popular Publication pulps. For many years I couldn’t find one of his illustrations that I could afford but finally in the 1980’s I found one and the floodgates have opened. I now have 9 or 10. One of the great books on the pulps is one titled EGGENHOFER: THE PULP YEARS.


   I have over 30 of these smaller preliminary paintings and drawings like the one below, all framed by art dealer Steve Kennedy in the same type of frame. The artists were often requested to submit a preliminary sketch or painting before receiving the ok to do the finished cover painting. Many of these prelims are well done and some are mere sketches, very rough indeed. I have them in all styles, some painted like these but some drawn in pencil or ink. Most collectors do not seem to want to bother with these preliminary sketches but I like them a lot.


   Here I am holding up the issue of ASTOUNDING which started the serial, SLAN by Van Vogt. I obtained the drawing back in the 1970’s at the Toronto world science fiction convention. I have a total of six Charles Schneenman drawings, all from ASTOUNDING in the 1940’s. I got them for the minimum bid at the big auction. No one else was interested in bidding! A puzzle that I cannot understand. One thing about collecting art is that you eventually run out of wall space. These six drawings are hung in the master bathroom. Not a good idea but I don’t want to add them to the ones I have stacked against the wall, unable to hang them for lack of space.


   This is a painting that I just traded to Matt Moring. Richard Lillis is the artist for this cowboy portrait from STAR WESTERN. The Lillis is the last one I bought from Steve Kennedy before his early and sudden death two years ago. He had met Lillis at an art class and they became friends even though Steve was in his 30’s and Lillis in his 80’s. They became friends and when Lillis died in his 90’s, Steve was the executor of the estate. Prior to meeting Lillis Steve was mainly a fine art dealer and knew nothing about the pulps. This friendship changed Steve’s life because he started to specialize in pulp art.


   De Soto didn’t sign many of his pulp paintings but this ADVENTURE cover is signed. Sometimes we forget that non-collectors just do not understand the collector. This is an example. I had this painting hanging in a good spot in the powder room but one year after returning from Pulpcon, my wife had moved it and replaced with a $20 Walmart decoration. I just don’t understand how non-collectors think.


   Charles Dye cover for ADVENTURE. Bargains are still out there. I got this from Heritage Auctions and didn’t have to pay much at all.


   This is an unfinished ADVENTURE cover and I guess we will never know the story behind it. It looks like it was painted in the teens which means it is a hundred years old. But why did the artist stop painting? Perhaps the editor did not like it? We will never know. And how on earth did it survive all these years. Even finished excellent paintings were often destroyed or lost.


   STAR WESTERN by DeSoto and I’ve owned it twice, which is not an uncommon occurrence with me. I first had it many years ago and the previous owner got it back in a trade. Then a couple years ago I got it back again. Unusual scene.


   This drawing by Lorence Bjorklund is representative of the ones I just bought from Paul Herman. One good side effort of the pulp brunches is that I often get art, pulps, books. These are quite interesting and were published as interiors in WILD WEST WEEKLY and WESTERN STORY.


   This is the room where I write these columns, surrounded by art and books.


   Close up of the three Lyman Anderson drawings from UNDERWORLD. These were among the first pieces of art that I bought back in the early 1970’s. Nils Hardin had a stack of them and I picked only three. Why only three? Maybe I was broke?


      TO BE CONTINUED IN PART 21

CONVENTION REPORT: PulpFest 2017
by Walker Martin

   Once again, five over the top book, art, and pulp collectors, squeezed themselves into a big van in order to attend PulpFest 2017 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Luckily we rented the biggest van that they had because we needed all the space when we drove back to New Jersey. It was a 15 passenger van which we converted into larger cargo space by taking out some seats.

   In my opinion, after attending almost all the pulp conventions since 1972, this is the best hotel that we have ever had for our shows. Sure the hotel rooms cost $125 each night but they were worth it. Not only were we close to all the action taking place in the dealers room and program room, but we had a free buffet breakfast, the best I’ve ever seen at a pulp convention. It had to be worth $15 to $20. I devoured so much food at breakfast that I skipped lunch each day.

   Yes, there were cheaper hotels down the road, but staying at the host hotel helps the convention because if they reach a certain number of rooms then big discounts kick in. These discounts are necessary in order for us to have future PulpFests. I have always stayed at the host hotels because they are so convenient and help the conventions meet expenses.

   The past several years in Columbus, Ohio, we lacked a hospitality room because the hotel wanted us to buy their alcohol and use their bartenders. However at the Double Tree hotel we had our own room, and thanks to abebooks.com, the PulpFest committee was able to buy pizzas and craft beer. I would have to say that this was the best beer I’ve ever had at a pulp show. And instead of the usual snack items, the pizza was a real treat.

   Right outside the hospitality room was a nice restaurant that also served pizza and beer. They had live entertainment also. All the hotel employees were friendly and helpful. This is a big plus because I’ve stayed at hotels where the employees have attitude problems and don’t want to be bothered.

   Attendance was 350 and the dealer’s room seemed fairly busy each day. There were over 100 tables, most crammed with pulps, vintage paperbacks, digest magazines, DVDs, and original artwork. I always have a table at PulpFest and I sold pulps, DVDs, books, and cancelled checks from the Popular Publication and Munsey files.

   I bought quite a bit including artwork like an interior illustration by John Fleming Gould and a large wraparound cover painting for an early Lion Book. The painting covers the front and back of the book and was used on the Lion book titled The Naked Year (The Inheritors) by Philip Atlee.

   The blurb says “They groped for excitement in an age of boredom” and the image shows a big party with some two-fisted drinking and a bit of kissing with some good looking women. I’ve always had a weakness for these risque, sort of sleazy paperback novels.

   One funny thing however, I had just told several of my friends that I would not be buying any original art because I have run out of wall space and I have many pieces of art just leaning against bookcases or the wall. What a liar I am. Once a collector, always a collector! I then promptly go over and buy a large cover painting. One big blunder that I never would have made in my younger days, I failed to recognize an Edd Cartier drawing, illustrating a scene from The Wheels of If by L. Sprague de Camp, and from Unknown, one of my favorite magazines. One of my younger friends snapped it up (by younger, I mean 30 years younger). I spent the rest of the convention cursing my stupidity and bemoaning the onset of senility.

   A large batch of London Mystery Magazine was delivered to me and now I only need 16 issues out of 132. When I went to the bookstores in London and Hay On Wye, I couldn’t find a single issue. I also found three boxes of bound men’s adventure magazines. Completely unreadable of course, unless you love to read about Nazis partying with girls in their underwear, but the artwork is exceptional. I bought all of them of course, mainly bound volumes of Saga and Man’s World from the fifties and sixties. My descent into the depths of depravity continues but so what? The WW II vets loved these magazines and what’s good enough for those guys is good enough for me!

   Pulp T-shirts have become very popular especially since Altus Press started cranking out all sorts of pulp titles. For those readers who are into fashion I wore my lucky Fred Davis T-shirt, the one given to me by Davis’ granddaughter many years ago, and shirts showing the logos of Black Mask, Short Stories, and Adventure. All well dressed pulp collectors wear such T-shirts.

   Artist Gloria Stoll returned as Guest of Honor and she was fabulous. Though in her nineties, she was witty and very interesting concerning her seven years as a pulp artist in the forties. She then went on to have a career painting in a more abstract style. David Saunders did a nice job interviewing her and showing a slide show of her covers and career.

   The Munsey Award was won by Phil Stephensen-Payne, who is one of the main men behind The FictionMags Index and Galactic Central. These sites are excellent online sources for information about the writers and the cover art. I visit them just about every day. Phil lives in the UK and couldn’t attend the convention, but I had the pleasure of reading his acceptance speech for him. A remarkable pulp scholar indeed! Sometimes we complain about the validity of some awards but this is an example of an award that they got right. Congratulations, Phil!

   PulpFest is known for its great programming, and there was so much going on that I could fill pages talking about each night. I’ll just mention a few that I found to be excellent or of great interest. Author Chet Williamson read from Psycho Sanitarium; Garyn Roberts talked about 100 years of Robert Bloch; Jeffrey Marks covered the characters of Erle Stanley Gardner; Matt Moring discussed Dime Detective; Philip Jose Farmer was covered; and finally Tom Krabacher and I discussed “Hard-Boiled at 100: The Don Everhard Stories of Gordon Young.” My conclusion was that these stories were more about a gentleman adventurer who acted as a sort of Robin Hood, doing good and fighting criminals. I like Young’s Hurricane Williams south sea stories a lot more and the Don Everhard series is inferior to such novels as Days of ’49 and Huroc the Avenger.

   The auction was of interest and had many items worth bidding on. I managed to get some rare Western Story magazines. I have over 1250 issues, 1919-1949 and only need a few. I obtained two exceptionally rare 1919 issues in dime novel format and an issue from 1925. Other items of interest were a complete run of Amra, volume two, #1-71. I wanted this but lost out since I didn’t want to pay a very high price.

   Fred Cook’s rare copy of the Argosy Index went for $400. I’ve never seen a copy for sale. Some Shadow and Doc Savage premiums went for high prices. Tom Krabacher, who has written the definitive article on Gordon Young, wanted a large travel trunk once owned by Gordon Young but it went to someone else for $425. All in all there were almost 300 lots.

   Each year the convention publishes The Pulpster, which is a magazine full of interesting articles about the pulps. This issue was number 26 and edited by William Lampkin. There were articles on women in the pulps by Ron Goulart and Bill Pronzini; several pieces on Robert Bloch; an article about Mary Elizabeth Counselman by Tony Davis; Curt Phillips on preserving pulps; several other articles including one by me on collecting Detective Fiction Weekly. This is an excellent magazine and we should thank Bill Lampkin for editing and Mike Chomko for publishing it.

   One book I noticed made its debut at the show. Pride of the Pulps is a collection of magazine studies by Ed Hulse. The articles originally appeared in his Blood ‘n’ Thunder magazine, but they have been extensively revised and expanded. The magazines covered are Adventure, All-American Fiction, Famous Fantastic Mysteries, The Popular Magazine, Short Stories, and the 1920’s issues of West.

   A great convention for collectors of old fiction magazines is now part of history but I’m looking forward to the next year at this fine hotel. Thanks to Paul Herman for the use of his photos in this report. I’d also like to thank the Pulpfest committee for another job well done. Thank you: Jack and Sally Cullers, Mike Chomko, Barry Traylor, William Lampkin, and Chuck Welch. Your hard work is very much appreciated!

ADVENTURES IN COLLECTING:
BOOK HUNTING IN THE UNITED KINGDOM
by Walker Martin


   For two glorious, insane, and busy weeks I’ve been on the trip of a lifetime. The adventure started May 31, 2017, when I boarded the Queen Mary 2 in Brooklyn, NY and ended on June 14, 2017, when I stumbled off the airplane at the Newark, NJ airport. At no time did I get more than five hours sleep each night and often not even five hours. But it was worth the trip because everything was free and paid for by a fellow book and pulp collector that I’ve been friends with for almost 50 years.

   What do I mean by free? The entire trip was paid for, free seven day luxury cruise, free hotel rooms in London, free hotel in Hay on Wye, otherwise known as “The Town of Books,” free trains, free airplane tickets. In another words the only thing I had to pay for was my books, beer, and some food (the food was free on the 7 day cruise).

   There were six of us on this trip and the total cost must have been over $20,000, or close to it. The story behind how all this came to pass is fascinating and began over 100 years ago when a young boy named Ollie Pendar decided to start collecting Cracker Jack baseball cards in 1914. He was born in 1905, so he was only nine years old and never dreamed that his card collection would finance a trip of a lifetime 100 years later.

   He put together the baseball card collection by buying and eating boxes of Cracker Jack, each of which had a card as a prize. He obtained the official Cracker Jack Album and pasted the cards in during 1914 and 1915. There were over 100 cards of some of the great early baseball stars. This was back in the era when baseball truly was The National Sport, not like today when people flock to such sports as football and basketball. Shortly after Ollie went away to boarding school, and his mother packed them away in a box where they stayed for almost 100 years.

   Now mothers are known for their dislike of baseball cards, comic books, stamp collections, etc. They usually throw such collections in the trash, meanwhile chuckling with glee and sadistic happiness. That’s why these collectibles are so valuable and rare. Without mothers we would be drowning in piles of comics and baseball cards, all worthless because our moms did not throw them away.

   But Ollie’s mom saved them and there the cards resided in the attic for the teens, twenties, thirties, forties, fifties, sixties, seventies, eighties, nineties. I’m sure Ollie and his mother forgot about them and did not realize they were sitting on a future fortune. Ollie lived a long life as an attorney and died at age 96 in 2002. His heirs did not open the box containing the cards until 2014 and before the Internet they probably would have been chucked into the garbage. But nowadays a simple google search on your computer, and you can see the cards are worth a fortune.

   They have even been given a name: The Stockton Find. To make a long story short, the cards were auctioned off one by one and realized over six figures. Some sold for only hundreds each but some sold for thousands. I believe one card had a high bid of $26,000. There were three main heirs, and my friend got a third of the amount realized. I’ve known hundreds of book collectors, and I know what they would have done with such a windfall of money. They would have blown it on their book and pulp collections, spent it on themselves, maybe put it in the bank, or perhaps spent it on their favorite vices such as drugs, booze, or women. Or perhaps the collector’s wife would confiscate the money. I’ve seen it happen time and time again, so I know whereof of speak.

   But my friend did not do any of the above. Instead he decided to spend his share of the money on a book hunting cruise and trip to England and Wales. I think it is now time to identify the generous collector who dreamed up this trip and paid for it: Everard Pendar Digges La Touche. His relatives, neighbors, co-workers know him as Pen, but book and pulp collectors know him as Digges. Since he retired as a Major from the Air Force and one of his favorite literary characters is The Major by L. Patrick Greene, he is often called The Major.

   Behind his back we sometimes refer to him as The Reading Machine, but it is a compliment based on the character The Thinking Machine and the fact that Digges can read a book anywhere and any time except while in the shower. The only reason he doesn’t read in the shower is because the pages get drenched and he can’t read the words.

   I should also introduce the five readers and collectors that Digges invited to go on this trip:

      Nick Certo–Book dealer, art collector, and expert on conspiracy theories.

      Richard Corcoran–Businessman, student of politics, and the youngest member by far of our little group

      Scott Hartshorn–Book seller, art collector, and expert on film noir.

      Ed Hulse–Editor, publisher, author, and the man behind Blood n Thunder magazine and Murania Press.

      Walker Martin–Since I’ve filled up my house with books, pulps, vintage paperbacks, original art, dvds, and jazz cds, I refer to myself as The Collector. But others call me Percy, since I think Percy Helton was one of the greatest character actors ever filmed.

   Unfortunately only three of the above could take the seven day cruise. The other three flew out to England seven days later, and all six of us met in London. I feel I have to say something about the cruise which was an amazing way to start off this grand adventure. I’ve been on a cruise before so I knew what to expect but this was a luxury cruise with everything first class. There were almost 3,000 guests and over 1,000 employees making sure that the guests enjoyed themselves.

   I’ve never eaten such fine and excellent food for seven days. Breakfast, lunch and dinner were superb events where fine food and drink were served. The service was unbelievable. During the day entertainment such as plays, music, and all sorts of events kept us busy. At night there were several jazz clubs on board the ship.

   I ate, drank, and gained ten pounds due to my gluttony. All the food was paid for already but I managed to rack up almost $400 for beer, gin and tonics, and other incidentals. It was a cruise to die for, and I probably would have died if it had been much longer! Also on this heavenly cruise were Digges and Scott Hartshorn.

   When the ship docked, we met the other three collectors at our hotel in London and the six of us spent two days in the big city visiting museums, 221 Baker Street, several bookstores, Charing Cross Road, riding the subway system and eating and drinking in pubs. I loved the pubs, and now I wonder why the USA doesn’t have more of them.

   The six of us in front of 221 Baker Street, the home of Sherlock Holmes in London. From left to right: Digges, Walker Martin, Richard Corcoran, Nick Certo, and Ed Hulse. Scott Hartshorn is peering over the top of Ed.

   Digges and Ed in 221 Baker Street!

   This shows four of us in the cafe of the Richard Booth Bookshop in Hay on Wye. Booth was the self appointed King of Hay On Wye. On the left are Digges and Ed Hulse. On the right are Walker Martin and Richard Corcoran. (Richard is the young guy.)

   Here are Ed Hulse and Digges La Touche strolling between some buildings. The streets were narrow and the sidewalks very small. I was almost run over by a couple of speeding cars. What better way to die while hunting for books?

   This photo shows some of the shops and bookstores. All these buildings are made to last and built of stone, unlike many houses in the US.

   As we visited the bookstores I noticed a serious problem, mainly how the hell was I going to fit all the books in my luggage? Most bookstores in London and Hay on Wye did not want to ship the books to America. So when I saw a book I wanted, I usually made a note of it and figured I could probably buy it a lot cheaper in the US. Certainly that would solve my luggage problem and postage would be a lot cheaper. When I arrived back home I looked up several books on abebooks.com and sure enough they were available at far lower cost.

   But there were still rare books that had to be bought! Most were in Hay on Wye, which is a beautiful little town of about 30 to 40 bookstores and perhaps a pub on every street corner. Our hotel in Hay on Wye was the beautiful Swan Hotel, and I recommend it highly. They had a great breakfast included with the room and two pubs. They also had a nice meeting room for us to hang out in between book buying. The staff was extremely friendly and seemed glad to see us, unlike the hotel in London which was disappointing to say the least.

   Almost all the bookstores in Hay on Wye were of interest. We spent four days there which is ample time to investigate them. Richard Booth’s Bookshop and Cafe was the biggest and Murder and Mayhem the most interesting. But the one I found to be the best and most unusual was The Poetry Bookstore. It was a former ice house, and I spent some time in the basement where it was still chilly and very damp. It is the only bookstore in the UK devoted to books dealing with poetry. The main floor had many books on poetry, and the basement had hundreds of poetry magazines. I collect and read these back issues and have thousands in my own collection, but I still managed to find some back issues I needed.

   About half of our group had no interest in The Poetry Bookstore, of course, but there were plenty of other stores to satisfy our bibliomania. Many detective novels were bought in Murder and Mayhem and Digges found some volumes of P. G. Wodehouse that he still needed. Nick being a book dealer himself, found several books for his own collection and for possible customers, including the exceedingly rare magazine The Outsider, containing poems by Bukowski. The three issues were priced at hundreds of pounds but I’m sure he got a good deal. I don’t collect Blackwood’s Magazine, but I found several volumes reprinting stories from the 1800’s on into the 1920’s and 1930’s.

   There were plenty of books that were not rare, but we bought them to read. I was kept busy scribbling away titles and authors that I intended to look up in the US and order through abebooks. In addition to poetry magazines, I also collect literary or little magazines. I found a few oddball titles and managed to read several stories and articles in my room at the Swan Hotel.

   Here is Ed Hulse again, this time in front of the remains of an old castle which is being restored.

   Speaking of reading, what else did I read during the two weeks? In addition to poems and stories from the literary magazines, I read several tales from Blackwood’s Magazine, a collection of Robert Silverberg stories from his best period of 1970-1972, and a book of Philip Larkin’s poetry chosen by Martin Amis.

   It seemed that this trip was full of funny events, one howler after another. But this is to be expected when a bunch of old friends get together for such a big trip and adventure. Let me pick out a few to give you a taste. They all involve literature in some form or another:

      1. One of our group found what looked like a first edition of 1984 by George Orwell in dust jacket and in great condition. Only six pounds! Rushing up to pay for it, the cashier calmly said with a sneer, “You do realize this is the Dutch edition”. Needless to say none of us can read Dutch.

      2. As readers and book collectors, we all know the power of a good story. No matter what our surroundings, we can lose ourselves in a good novel. This happened to me when my roommate started to brew coffee and almost set the room on fire in our London hotel. I was in bed, under the covers reading and noticed nothing until I heard loud cursing coming from the kitchen area. Looking up I saw a lot of smoke billowing through the room. But there was no sprinkler system or fire alarm! We managed to put out the fire and get a fan to blow out the smoke. A few days later I saw a big tower of apartments go up in flames on TV in London, and I totally understood that the British have different fire codes than we do.

      3. This is a true story. Near the end of our trip as we started to realize that no one was going to ship all our books back to the US, we started to throw away our clothes in order to make more room in the luggage for books. It would be cheaper to buy a new pair of pants or a shirt back home, so we started to think about what clothes to throw away. All of us may have thrown something away to make room for books. I packed so many books in my suitcase that I broke one of the zippers. There still was one zipper that held the suitcase barely closed, and somehow it made it across the Atlantic on the airplane. When I unpacked it at home the zipper finally broke and everything spilled out on the floor. Close call! If it had broken in London or on the plane I would have been doomed.

   There was one major disappointment for me. I used to have a complete set of London Mystery Magazine, 132 issues during 1949-1982. But in a moment of insanity I disposed of it for practically nothing. I checked with several bookstores in Hay on Wye and nobody had copies, in fact many did not even know what I was talking about. If anyone has a set or a large amount of issues, please contact me.

   Peparing to leave the beautiful Swan Hotel in Hay on Wye. From left: Nick Certo, Scott Hartshorn, Richard Corcoran, Ed Hulse, Walker Martin, and Digges.

   Digges and I on the train back to London from Hay On Wye. During the 3 1/2 hour train ride Digges read the entire trip while I pondered what beer I would order in the next pub.

   And so ended our grand adventure. I’m still exhausted from very little sleep and I have some weight to lose. Also I miss the pubs! But I’d like to thank three people who made this trip possible. First of all my thanks to Ollie Pendar, who as a little boy over a hundred years ago was smart enough to be a collector. I’ve always said collectors are the best people in the world. Second, I want to thank Ollie’s mother. Unlike most mothers, she did not throw away the baseball cards!

   Thanks also to Nick Certo and Richard Corcoran for the use of their photos. But most of all I want to thank my old friend Digges, aka Pen and The Major.

Beautiful skyline of Hay on Wye in Wales.

COLLECTING PULPS: A Memoir
Part 19: Pulp Art
by Walker Martin


   I’ve talked before about how I love collecting the original pulp and paperback cover art and illustrations. My feeling is that every book and pulp collector should have at least one example of cover art in their library. I’m not recommending that book collectors go to the extreme that I have gone to with scores of pieces, but it’s a thing of beauty to have a pulp, paperback, or dust jacket cover art framed and hanging on your wall with your book collection.

   Recently Steve Lewis was visiting me, and he took over 30 photos, not only of the pulp art but also of other items in my house. This installment should give an example of how one long time collector has dealt with the addiction known as bibliomania. I’ve been at it now since I was a child in 1956. That’s over 60 years!

   This first photo shows me standing next to my most valuable painting, the cover of Black Mask, for February 1933 by Jes Schlaikjer. Normally, I never would have been able to afford this cover painting because it’s from the classic 1930’s period of Black Mask when the covers showed stark, violent scenes with just a few images. But the seller perhaps did not realize it was a Black Mask cover by Schlaikjer. Over my shoulder is a Lyman Anderson painting for an early 1930’s issue of Alibi.

   The second photo is a paperback cover painting by James Avati illustrating a scene from the novel, The Double Door, by Theodora Keogh. Avati was one of the very most influential cover artists in the paperback field, and he was widely imitated. Again, this was a painting that I normally would not be able to afford, but I bought it on credit from an art gallery in NYC.

   I’ve often taken out bank loans, used my credit card, paid on the installment plan, in order to feed my art and bibliomania addiction. I’ve never regretted my decision to buy books or art. What I’ve regretted are the books and art that I did not buy!

   This third photo shows a corner of my mystery paperback room and part of a Dell paperback rack. For decades I hunted for paperback racks from the forties and fifties and finally found five of them at a Windy City show several years ago. They were too fragile to be shipped, and it was two years before the dealer managed to find someone driving across the country in a van to deliver them to my house.

   Here below are three more photos of the mystery paperback room. I have the books shelved by alphabetical order except for my Ace Doubles and Dell Mapbacks. The Dell Mapbacks may be complete or close to it. I even found the crossword paperbacks and I wonder how they ever survived? Also pictured is my Bantam Books paperback rack which is in fine condition. The room is very crowded with books, just the way I like it!

   This next photo shows two of three large western pulp cover paintings that are hanging by the stairs to the second floor. Back in the 1970’s and 1980’s it was possible to buy western, detective and adventure cover art for very low prices. The three paintings were delivered by a long time collector named Chet Woodrow, who risked driving through a terrible New Jersey snow storm to my house.

   Price? A hundred dollars each. Back then I thought such prices were ridiculously low and I still think so. One funny thing about Chet was that he had the worse condition pulp collection that I’ve ever seen. The magazines looked to be in fine condition with nice covers and spines but when you tried to open them the interior pages were very brown and brittle and almost impossible to read.

   The Dime Western painting below is from the 1930’s and the artist is the great Walter Baumhofer. Many years ago at an early Pulpcon, I was talking to artist Norman Saunders, and I saw a car drive into the hotel parking lot. I said excuse me to Norman and ran outside where I asked the driver who was not even out of the car if he had any pulp paintings.

   He said yes and sold me this painting out of the trunk of his car for only $400. I then went back and showed Norman Saunders the painting that I just had bought in the parking lot and he couldn’t believe that I had just bought an excellent Baumhofer painting out of a car trunk.

   We then spent much of the convention in the hotel bar talking about pulp art. I tried to get Norman to sell me some of his paintings, but he was leaving them in his will to his children.

   The two bookcases below show part of my extensive DVD collection. I believe these are mainly film noir movies, another my addictions. The crusader painting is from a 1931 Adventure. I got it from the estate of A. A. Proctor, who was the editor of Adventure in the early 1930’s.

   Above is one of my favorite pieces of art. It’s a bizarre illustration by Howard Wandrei, the brother of Donald Wandrei. Howard died an early death of alcoholism, but he was a writer of pulp fiction and a sort of outsider artist. This piece fascinates me with its complexity and strangeness. Dwayne Olson has written at least three long book articles on Howard Wandrei, but he is an unjustly forgotten, excellent artist.

   The next photo shows me holding the February 1956 issue Galaxy. This is the actual magazine that I bought off the newsstand in Hoscheck’s Deli, and it so impressed me that I became the fiction magazine collector that I am today. It led to my present collection of thousands of pulps, slicks, and digest magazines.

   Above is a corner of my son’s former room. For thirty-five years Joe lived with us and then a couple years ago decided to get his own place and moved out. It did not take me long to move into his room and convert it into a library and art gallery!

   I have over thirty-five pieces of art in the room and eight bookcases. I think I’m now in every room of the house with art and books. All five bedrooms, the garage which I converted into a library and gallery, the basement, living room, family room. Even the bathrooms and kitchen have art. If I had room I would build another house in the back yard. The large painting is from Detective Fiction Weekly.

   This is Paul Herman who has been friends with Steve Lewis and me for quite a while. He’s standing next to a western paperback cover painting.

   Above is a corner of dining room with a western painting by Sam Cherry. I love western art, but many collectors seem prejudiced against westerns. They are colorful, full of action, and not as expensive as science fiction or hero art.

   Below is another Dime Western painting by Walter Baumhofer showing a girl and cowboy blazing away, back to back. Art dealer Steve Kennedy owned it for many years and would never sell it, but one day he needed money, and I managed to talk him into selling it to me. I seem to remember me whining, begging, and crying. Collectors know no shame!

   I’ve told this story before in my article on collecting Western Story Magazine, but the painting below amazingly enough came from my next door neighbor! What’s the odds of a non collector moving next door and having a pulp painting? Took me years to talk him into selling it to me. It’s by Walter Haskell Hinton from Western Storyin the 1930’s.

   Above is a row of cover paintings. The first one is from Street & Smith Detective Story. The second one is a Spider cover which was repainted by Raphael Desoto, the original artist. The third one is by Wittmack from People’s.

   Another western from one of the Popular Publication pulps. I only paid $400 for it. In the background you can see in the laundry room three of the dozen or so preliminary drawings I have framed. The artist would make a preliminary sketch and if approved would then go ahead and paint the cover. Not many of these survived, but I love them and pick them up whenever I see them. Not many art collectors care about them, but I think they are of great interest.

   The next three photos show areas of my basement. The first is an almost complete set of Western Story. Of over 1250 issues, 1919-1949, I need only nine issues.

   The second shows some Ace High magazines and the third photo gives an idea of a corner of the basement. The basement is about 60 feet long by 30 feet wide. I’ve filled the entire area with shelving.

   In 1989 when I moved into this house I hired a contractor to turn the two car garage into a library and art gallery. These photos show some the area which I’ve filled with artwork, books, and pulps. All the neighbors asked me the same thing. “Why am I turning my garage into a library?” My response was why should I park my cars in my house? But who can understand non readers and non collectors?

   More photos of my converted garage taken from different angles. You can see some of the art hanging above the pulps.

   The final photo is of me and Steve Lewis. We have been friends for almost 50 years and I’ve been reading the various incarnations of Mystery*File for almost as long. Over Steve’s shoulder is a large painting from The Saturday Evening Post by Harold Von Schmidt. It’s from 1950 and illustrates a scene from a serial starring series characters Tugboat Annie and Glencannon. It was the only time they met in a story, but it has an interesting background.

   The Glencannon series were comedies and the Post readers found them hilarious. During the 20 year period of 1930-1950 there were over 60 stories written by the author, Guy Gilpatric. I’ve read them all and they are among my favorite stories. They have all been reprinted in omnibus collections and there was even a British TV series back in the 1950’s.

   Unfortunately there was a tragic ending to this comedy series. Gilpatric’s wife was diagnosed with terminal cancer and in a fit of depression they decided on a murder suicide pact. He shot his wife and then took his own life. Later there was a rumor or evidence that the doctors had made a mistake and made the wrong diagnosis.

   I obtained the painting from an art gallery by telling the owner that I’d like to get a painting showing my favorite series character, Glencannon. I was stunned when he said he knew where one was, and it turned out to be the best one of them all, the one where Glencannon meets Tugboat Annie. Von Schmidt is a famous western artist, and I’d never be able to afford one of his paintings, but since this was a non-western the price was a lot lower.

   So thanks, Steve, for taking these photos and also thanks to Sai Shanker for twice taking photos that unfortunately did not turn out as well. I love reading about the collections of other collectors and maybe this memoir on my art collection will make you decide to become an addicted, out of control bibliomaniac also! I’ve enjoyed the trip and it’s been a great ride…

WINDY CITY PULP CONVENTION 2017 REPORT
by Walker Martin


   I believe there have been 17 versions of this excellent pulp and paperback convention and this may have been the best yet. 150 dealer tables and almost 600 attendees. This is the biggest crowd yet and the room seemed to be constantly busy with collectors prowling the aisles.

   It all started with the usual group of serious and perhaps deranged pulp collectors driving out from New Jersey in a rental van. Between the five of us, we have more than 200 years of experience collecting books and pulps. In prior years we managed to make the trip in one death defying drive of 14 hours but this year we decided to split it up and take two days. The first day we drove about 11 hours before stopping at a motel which appeared to be connected to the Bates Motel in Psycho. The night clerk certainly thought we were a suspicious looking group because she refused our business and sent us on our way. Fortunately there was a Ramada Inn down the road and they were used to a van full of book collectors stumbling into the lobby.

   The next day we drove three hours to the Chicago Pulp Art Museum, otherwise known as the house of Doug Ellis and Deb Fulton. Each year Doug and Deb have a pulp art luncheon for those collectors who love pulp and paperback original cover paintings. It’s a nice beginning to a great convention. Despite a recent addition the house is bulging with original art. Perhaps Doug can build another house in his back yard to house more paintings.

   We then drove to the Westin Hotel and arrived in time to hang out in the Con Suite. This year my room was just down the hall on the 16th floor and made it easier for me to drink free beer and snacks. I renewed friendships with several collectors, most of whom I had not seen in a year or two. Unfortunately, I have now reached the age where I don’t recognize fellow collectors if I only see them once a year, so please accept my apologies if I ignored you or seemed to not recognize you. My eyesight is fading and old age is bothering the hell out of me, so several times I passed someone and then a minute later moaned “Oh hell, that was so and so, and I looked right through them.” Fortunately some collectors had canes or were limping or like Tony Tollin had a pet dog. That made it easier to recognize them….

   Even all these years later, I still get excited when I enter a room full of books and pulps. At first I sort of stumbled down an aisle in a daze obviously suffering from sensory overload. But unlike a J.G. Ballard character, the books did not start to disappear from my sight. Instead they multiplied and I began to wonder which table to go to first. Should it be the table surrounded by cover paintings and art? Maybe the one loaded with vintage paperbacks? How about the boxes of digest crime and SF magazines? Damn it, there are rows and rows of pulps! Wait a minute, some old friends are waving to me…

   But then I saw a table that really stood out because all three dealers were British. So over I went to Malcolm Edwards, Alastair Durie, and Andy Richards (Cold Tonnage Books). I figured for them to make the trip across the Atlantic, they must be bearing some rare items. And they were! I even saw issues of the amazingly rare Hutchinson’s Adventure or Mystery magazine. WW II was really rough on some British magazines. (The paper drives.) But what I really scooped up were issues of Scoops, the 1934 British SF magazine. A complete set of all 20 issues.

   Then I found twelve issues of Triple X. The title stands for the three genres of westerns, adventure, and detective fiction. Not the risque meaning that triple x has nowadays. Why this magazine is so rare is beyond me. It lasted for over 100 issues in the twenties and thirties and seemed to be quite popular with readers. Yet copies are hard to find and expensive.

   So OK, I’ve blown $1500 in a few minutes, and I still have three days of the convention to survive somehow. Will this be the pulp show that finally breaks me? Will I return home a penniless beggar? Will I have to borrow money, maybe skip meals? God Forbid, Go On the Wagon? The answer is no. Maybe next year. But I did find some more of my esoteric wants, such as Ace High, Cowboy Stories, Dime Detective.

   Since we live in The Golden Age of Pulp Reprints, I filled up a box of recent books from Altus Press, Haffner Press, Black Dog Books, Murania Press, and also the book Weinberg Tales, which is almost 300 pages of Bob Weinberg on Collecting Fantasy Art, plus memories from fellow collectors like me and plenty of photos.

   The reprint publishers have really done a great job and these recent books show an excellent sampling of the type of reprints. For instance Haffner Press (Haffnerpress.com) has just published two Fredric Brown collections which gather together all his mystery short stories. The titles are Murder Draws a Crowd and Death in the Dark, ,with introductions by Jack Seabrook who wrote a book on Fredric Brown. The stories also reprint the original illustrations. Highly Recommended!

   Altus Press had a boat load of books available and I especially recommend Leo Margulies: Giant of the Pulps by Philip Sherman and Gales & McGill, Volume One, by Frederick Nebel. A nice long introduction by John Locke, this book reprints the air adventures of these two flying soldiers of fortune. Also Altus Press has the latest two issues of Black Mask and Famous Fantastic Mysteries. The pulps are not dead!

   Murania Press had the last issue of Blood n Thunder out. This is issue number 49 & 50 and it was a great run lasting 16 years. We now will see one shot issues on various topics. Also out from Murania is The Blood n Thunder Sampler which reprints some of the best articles from past issues.

   Black Dog Books had several new collections out, and I liked The Trail of Blood and Other Tales of Adventure by Murray Leinster. Also Paths of Fire and Other Daring Tales of Adventure by Albert Richard Wetjen.

   Every year the convention has a book titled Windy City Pulp Stories. Issue # 17 has several articles dealing with the Gangster pulps and the Red Circle Publications. Also pieces on Steranko, artist Tom Lovell, and David Kyle. Tom Roberts of Black Dog Books is the editor and does a fine job each year.

   It’s worth going to this convention to meet and talk with other collectors about their passions. I’ve known artist Peter Poplaski for a long time and though he lives in France, I’ve seen him at several conventions. He is one of the top experts on Johnston McCulley and Zorro. This year he kept me amused with over a dozen masks that he had made of McCulley’s characters. He has now identified over 20 of them.

   Windy City is known for its great auctions which run far into the night on Friday and Saturday, This year we had about 300 lots each night, mainly from the collection of Ron Killian. The catalog had a great photo of Ron Killian surrounded by towering stacks of pulps. Though I prefer book shelves, I can understand tall stacks also! All type of genres were represented in the auctions and the prices ranged from high to low, with many bargains.

   The Guest of Honor was artist Jim Steranko, and he gave a speech and was available at his table to sign items. The art show was stunning with mainly pieces of art from the collection of Bob and Phyllis Weinberg. There was a Weinberg Tribute panel Friday night and I was honored to be part of it since I had known Bob since the late 1960’s and early 1970’s. In other words I was friends with Bob Weinberg when he still lived in New Jersey and was in his twenties. It really does not seem that it has been 45 years ago when we both started off building our collections.

   Ed Hulse organized the film program as usual and the theme was “From Pulp to Silver Screen.” These were mainly obscure pulp related movies. Each movie was described in the Windy City Pulp Stories book.

   We need this convention to keep the pulps alive so Doug Ellis, Deb Fulton, John Gunnison and others, all deserve our thanks. Next on the horizon is Pulpfest (Pulpfest.com) in July. If you liked Windy City, then you have to attend Pulpfest also. I ought to know, since I’ve been attending these shows most of my life!

2017 Los Angeles Vintage Paperback Collectors Show

   According to the flyer I have beside me as I type this, the 38th annual gathering of the LA area paperback collectors convention was held today. This isn’t a con report per se, as Jon and I were there for only just over an hour this afternoon, and not very many of the photos I took with my phone turned out to be usable.

   But a couple did, and I thought I’d share them with you, along with a comment or two. The room was packed not only with dealers and their tables showing their wares, but at mid-afternoon the room was filled with would-be buyers, circulating the room, stooped over tables, and schmoozing with each other as they made the rounds one more time.

   My sense was that the show was perhaps double the size of the Manhattan-based shows that Gary Lovisi did for many years, up to a several years ago. A few tables had some pulps for sale, others had hardcovers or movie posters and other memorabilia, but the vast majority of the offerings were old paperbacks, all glossied up in crisp clear baggies. To me the prices asked were high. If I could get these prices, my basement, garage and storage areas would be emptied so fast it would make your head swim. Too bad all my collectibles are 3000 miles away, or I’d be sure to set up here next year.

   According to the flyer, over 60 authors and artists were set up to sign books and other items. While I was there, there may have been 20 or so sitting behind tables along one side of the room, and they all seemed pleased to be there.

   Nobody seemed to have name tags. I probably passed several people I know but have met only infrequently and didn’t recognize them. If you were there and didn’t see me, either, I apologize.

   I did talk to show organizer Tom Lesser for a short time. I haven’t been able to get to either a pulp or paperback show in quite a while, so it may have been a couple of years since I’ve seen him. If I’m not mistaken, he said they had over 500 people show up. I believe it. It was a big affair.

   Here’s a photo of Jonathan and my friend Paul Herman. Paul lives two towns over from me back in CT but he flew all the way to CA just to see us there. That’s Jon on the left.

COLLECTING PULPS: A Memoir, Part 18:
The Importance of Friends
by Walker Martin


   This series has been stressing the joy of collecting pulps and books, but also of great importance is surrounding yourself with like-minded friends. I cannot overstress the importance of this factor in collecting.

   The simple fact is that the great majority of the people that we come in contact with are not collectors at all and don’t really have any understanding or sympathy with our love of collecting books and pulps. They are non-collectors pure and simple, and when they see our collections, they may say that the collection is great or of interest, but usually what they are thinking is along the lines of why don’t you sell the books; why don’t you clean up this clutter; why don’t you see a therapist to address this problem of hoarding…

   Since they are non-collectors, they just about have to think these things and thus be unsympathetic to your collecting interests. So it is of great importance to have friends that collect also in order to preserve your sanity and keep enjoying your collection. And I’m not talking about just long distance friends that live far away in another city. I’m talking about friends that visit you and talk about book and pulp collecting. I’m just recovering from five days of intense interaction with such friends. The excuse for us gathering together was the Pulp Adventurecon pulp convention which was held in Bordentown NJ on November 5, 2016. This was the 17th year that this annual one-day show was held and I’ve attended all of them. Following is a summary of what happened each of the 5 days as the book collecting friends visited me in Trenton, NJ:

Wednesday, November 2 — Matt Moring of Altus Press and the owner of the rights to Popular Publications and Munsey drove down from the Boston area and spent all five days discussing future plans, pulps, original artwork, and his Altus Press pulp reprints which have now passed the 200 book mark. Several more collections in his Dime Detective Library have just been released and are available at the Altus Press website, Mike Chomko Books, and amazon.com. But the big news was about the second volume of the Race Williams BLACK MASK stories. Titled THE SNARL OF THE BEAST, it will be available at the end of November. It is a big book and looks like a black tombstone which is sort of suitable for a Carrol John Daly hard boiled book.

   While having dinner with long time friend and pulp collector Digges La Touche (hereafter referred to as The Major since he retired as a Major in the Air Force and his favorite pulp series is The Major by L. Patrick Greene) Matt showed us an amazing sight, one I never thought I’d see ever again. He is publishing three of the best pulp magazine titles, picking up the volume number where it was when the magazines ceased publication. The titles are BLACK MASK, ARGOSY, and FAMOUS FANTASTIC MYSTERIES. They are slightly larger than the pulp format and each issue has a new story in addition to reprints. Plans are for later issues to also have articles and interviews. And here I thought the pulps were dead!

Thursday, November 3 — An area collector has decided to reward his long time friends by inviting them to his storage areas (he has several) and letting them take their choice of books, no charge, subject to his final approval since there are some titles he cannot bear to let go. No pulps are included but many hardback and paperback books are available. This is by invitation only and only for his good friends. Sai Shanker, who is one of the very few pulp collectors from India joined Matt and me and we carried out several boxes of books. Now that is what I mean about the importance of friends!

   We all had breakfast, lunch, and dinner together while talking about books, pulps, movies, and artwork. I can’t name the non-collectors that I’d want to eat all three meals with during the day. But the passion of collecting books is a great feeling and one you want to share with other collectors. So I ate and drank too much but it was like being at an all day party. But a party unlike the usual parties because everyone was talking about books!

Friday, November 4 — The celebration continued as I hosted a pulp luncheon for around a dozen of my book collecting friends. Fellow collectors started to arrive at 11:00 am and the only non-collector present was my wife. After a few hours of hearing us talk about books, she had to leave because non-collectors can only take so much. Books, books, books…

   Among those present were Jack Seabrook, expert on Fred Brown and the TV show ALFRED HITCHCOCK PRESENTS; Jack Irwin, long time pulp collector who actually bought the magazines off the newsstands; Ed Hulse, publisher of BLOOD n THUNDER magazine; Paul Herman, art and BLACK MASK collector; Nick Certo, long time pulp dealer and art collector; Scott Hartshorn, another long time collector; and of course Matt Moring, Sai Shanker, and The Major.

   After several hours we then went to dinner at an Irish pub where we continued to talk about pulps and books. To a collector, this is like heaven, being with like minded book lovers, talking about that great subject, collecting books. Hell, we even read the things!

Saturday, November 5 — The Major picked me up at 7:30 am and by 8:00 am we were at the Bordentown convention which always is held at a Ramada Inn on route 206. The official opening time is 10:00, but dealers started to set up at 7:00 am. I had a table next to my good friends Scott Hartshorn and Mike Chomko. Sai, Matt, and The Major did not have tables but they were always nearby and ready to discuss literary subjects. Also close by with tables were Ed Hulse, Paul Herman, and Nick Certo.

   There were almost 50 dealers’ tables crammed into the room and all sorts of books and magazines were represented. Each Pulp Adventurecon gets better and better and this 17th edition was the largest yet. Well over 100 attendees and the room was busy until 4:00 when we started to pack up. I price things to sell and I sold several SF pulps which were all priced at only $5.00 each. Same with some DVDs, many still in shrink wrap. I also had nine SHADOW digests which I priced at only $10 each, maybe the bargain of the show. I sold seven of them, and then someone wanted a discount on the final two, like the 2 for $15 I guess. I told him they were priced at rock bottom and he walked away. Collectors!

   I found some bargains: 22 issues of my favorite SF fanzine, FANTASY COMMENTATOR. Price around $3.00 each. I have many of them already but at that price I might as well get them all. The same thing with SCREAM FACTORY, a great magazine which I have some copies of, but I don’t remember which ones. I bought a stack of them for $3.00 each. I also found a big bound copy of CHUMS, the British boy’s magazine. Unreadable crap of course, but the artwork was interesting and the price even more interesting at only $5.00.

   After the show closed, we all drove to the near-by Mastoris Diner, which is a famous landmark restaurant known for its large portions and baked pastry. About a dozen of us devoured as much as we could, but even then they give you so much it is difficult to finish.

   As usual I noticed I was the only one drinking. Only beer, true, but I’m a firm believer in the Mediterranean diet which consists of plenty of fruit, vegetables, nuts, fish, and not much meat. Also wine and beer each day. So far it’s working for me…

Sunday, November 6 — The fifth and final day. Several of us were invited back to the free book storage area, and we met for breakfast before devouring more books. Food may finally kill your appetite but my appetite for books never ends.

   So ends five intense days of friends discussing all sorts of bookish topics. Now I have to catch up on my reading!

A SPECIAL NOTE OF THANKS to Sai Shankar for the use of the photos you see above.

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