Conventions


CONVENTION REPORT: PulpFest 2013
by Walker Martin

   During the dates of July 25-July 28, 2013 an event happened in Columbus, Ohio, that may have been not important to non-pulp and non-book collectors, but if you collect and read these great artifacts then you know that something very special occurred. I attended almost 40 pulp conventions when the old Pulpcon was the big summer event during 1972-2008. And as much as I loved that pulp convention, it never reached the heights of the present show which we call PulpFest. The most attendees that Pulpcon ever had was around 300 and many of the events had around 100 or so. But all five of the recent PulpFests have had higher attendance than Pulpcon ever had. Once again the attendance reached 400 with 100 dealer’s tables.

pulpfest 2013

   Yes, it is hard to believe but this was the fifth convention of the new pulp convention. And as a special reward to the attendees, it was one of the very best shows. If you read or collect pulps, pulp reprints, books, vintage paperbacks, slicks then this was the place to be. If you like old movies or collect original art from books and magazines, then you were in luck because there were plenty of dvds and art for sale.

   As usual, I had been thinking of this convention ever since the Windy City Pulp Convention ended in April. I’m severely addicted to reading, collecting, and buying all sorts of books and magazines and I needed another fix. I also collect dvds of old movies and original artwork, so non-collectors simply do not understand me at all. They tend to call me everything from hoarder to that crazy guy who likes to read. Actually it is impossible for the non-collector and non-reader to ever understand the collector, so the best policy is to ignore the poor ignorant fools.

   If you do not read or collect anything then you better stop reading this report because it will freak you out. Most of the 400 attendees were addicts like me and they were out to collect and buy books and magazines come hell or high water. One collector actually took an Edd Cartier artwork out of my hands while I was looking at it and yelled “I’ll buy it!”

   Another time a collector beat me again to a pulp cover painting and I was consumed with feelings of jealousy and hatred. The only thing that stopped me from trying to yank it out of his hands was the fact that he was a lot younger than me and could pound me into the floor before I made my getaway.

   It’s a pulp jungle out there as Frank Gruber once said, and every man for himself. Since I couldn’t sleep the night before, I got up at 4:00 am and waited for the van to arrive. For the last several years, a group of us have been renting a van and driving out from NJ. We have to rent a van because a normal car will not hold all our acquisitions.

   Only veteran, long time collectors are allowed in this van and you have to have a thick skin because we are prone to joke and laugh at each other. We even use insults in order to try and get an advantage over each other. Once again to pass the time we talked about bizarre and crazy pulp collectors that we have known.

   I recounted the story of a friend who wanted to steal art from the art display and another friend who picked up girls by leering and saying “the mole men want your eyes”. It seemed to work, but I never tried it because all I’m interested in at the pulp conventions are books, pulps, and original art. Everybody can have sex, but to hell with it during the pulp convention!

   After nine hours of driving we arrived in Columbus at 3:30 pm. We quickly checked in and once again I marveled at the size of the hotel and convention center area. I got lost more than once. Maybe that’s a result from all the years that I’ve spent alone in a room happily reading. That’s my ideal of a good time: reading a good book.

   Since Ed Hulse, our driver, was giving a lecture at Ohio State’s Thompson Library, we went with him to listen to him talk about the ancestors of Batman. For an hour and a half he discussed the various pulp crime-fighters. Eric Johnson, a professor at Ohio State, drove us over to the Library. He has organized these annual lectures each year during PulpFest and this one was especially enjoyable.

   We then registered for the convention and set up our tables. The panels discussed the influence of Fu Manchu and Hollywood and the Hero Pulps. Following the panels, we watched the first five chapters of THE SPIDER’S WEB. Starring Warren Hull and Iris Meredith, this has never been commercially released but is available on the bootleg market.

   In my opinion, this is one of the very best serials ever made. It faithfully follows the spirit of the Spider novels and is non-stop action. We saw five chapters each night for three evenings. My favorite scene involves a little old lady in a dress fighting the Spider. I know it’s a henchman but the scene is funny as hell seeing a woman in a dress and white wig fighting the Spider. I guess the Spider didn’t think it was funny because when the little old lady tried to run away from him, he calmly shoots her in the back. I almost had an accident laughing. One of the great scenes in movie history. I guess the movie code censors didn’t preview THE SPIDER’S WEB because they would have demanded the scene be cut. The poor little old lady. I loved it!

   I mentioned the competition between collectors above. Sometimes it can misfire. For instance when the collector took the Cartier drawing away from me, I was very jealous. He paid more than it was worth at $450 but I was still unhappy. But the next day I found si more Cartier drawings, each priced at only $160 each plus they were signed!

   Needless to say, I took great enjoyment in showing my friend that he had overpaid about $300. I was happy to see that he was crushed and I took advantage of his sadness to eagerly push ahead of him and buy some pulps. It’s true that we have been friends for 40 years but we are talking about our collections here! It’s dog eat dog!

   Next to the dealers room I noticed hundreds of women shrieking and yelling at another convention. It seem to involve baskets and shopping. In fact one lady on the elevator asked me if I had found any good shopping bargains. I quickly told her, with a superior air, that I was a member of the PulpFest convention. She asked with great puzzlement “What’s Pulpfest?”

   Since I only had something like 15 seconds on the elevator to explain, I simply muttered it was a convention of book collectors. She repeated in a tone of wonderment “book collectors?” As I said, the non-collector will never understand the collector.

WALKER MARTIN - PULPFEST 2013

   Now, you might wonder what I brought to sell and what I bought for my own collection. Recently I was lucky enough (or perhaps a non-collector would say *unlucky enough*), to obtain over 1,000 issues of WESTERN STORY MAGAZINE, 1919-1949. I already had almost all the issues but I wanted a few wants plus I’m always looking for upgrades. So I passed many of the Max Brand issues on to a friend, but that left me with many duplicates. So I boxed up a couple hundred issues, mainly 1936-1939 and priced them at only $5 each. The 1920′s I wanted $15 each but it was amusing to watch the many collectors walk by perhaps the biggest bargain in the dealer’s room, sneering at WESTERN STORY issues priced at only $5.

   However, there were a few who realized that I may have taken leave of my senses and bought all the issues I had before I was committed to the local insane asylum. I’m talking about fellow out of control collectors like Matt Moring, David Saunders, and Randy Vanderbeek. These guys know a bargain when they see it! By the way, I’ll try and remember to forward a photo of me looking at the WESTERN STORY’s on my table.

   I also sold several cancelled checks from the files of Popular Publications and Munsey. Again, there are a few collectors that know these are extremely rare and unusual.

   What did I buy? The best and rarest item was a bound volume of a magazine called ROMANCE. Despite its name it was not a love pulp and during its short life of only 12 issues in 1919-1920, was the companion magazine to the great ADVENTURE MAGAZINE. I’ve been hunting for decades for this title and have only found three or four issues. This volume contained six of the 12 issues and made me very happy. Next to it was the crazy magazine THE SCRAP BOOK, so I bought the those volumes also.

   I also bought 24 issues of various crime digests, the ones that tried to imitate MANHUNT in the 1950′s. I used to have these issues but since they are quite unreadable, I sold them years ago. If a collector lives long enough, he often will start collecting items that he previously sold. The covers are nice, showing all sorts of violence against women. Sorry ladies, but digest and pulp collectors seem to like these covers and they bring high prices. I’m talking about such crime digests as TWO-FISTED TALES, OFFBEAT, GUILTY, KEYHOLE, and WEB TERROR.

   I also bought several issues of GHOST STORIES. Despite the claim that these are true stories, they really are fiction. Since I’ve been at the collecting game so long, I’ve filled in most of my wants but I did manage to find a DIME DETECTIVE I still needed. Also an FBI DETECTIVE and a DETECTIVE STORY from 1922.

   I bought several pieces of pulp art in addition to the six Edd Cartier drawings, such a Kelly Freas paperback cover painting and other things too numerous to name. But I do want to mention the Walter Baumhofer art that David Saunders had at his table. He had something like a hundred pieces of art that may have been used as interior illustrations in various pulp magazines. They all eventually sold and I managed to buy many of them. David threw in a great photo of Baumhofer.

   Speaking of David Saunders, I would like to like to discuss the various panels and discussions, but there were too many for me to cover here. Pulpfest.com has a complete listing but I would like to mention two that I found to be of great interest. They all are interesting and that is another thing that Pulpfest is known for. The excellent quality of the evening programming. But my two favorites were the presentation that David Saunders gave on Walter Baumhofer and the talk that Chris Kalb gave on hero pulp premiums and promotions.

   David Saunders, as the son of artist Norman Saunders, knew Walter Baumhofer. There is no one better qualified to talk about Baumhofer. What a great discussion, and I hope PulpFest has David Saunders talk about pulp artists at every convention. David has one of the best websites on the internet where he discusses pulp artists. The site is pulpartists.com. The committee already have invited Chris Kalb back to give us additional information about the pulp premiums.

   The auction was mainly from the collection of Al Tonik and this time concentrated on the research books that Al had accumulated over the years. I also buy reference books as they are published so I had almost all of these items.

   Several pulp reprints and books about the pulps made their debut. WORDSLINGERS by Will Murray, THE BLOOD n THUNDER GUIDE TO PULP FICTION by Ed Hulse, HIDDEN GHOSTS by Paul Powers, a collection edited by Laurie Powers, PAPERBACK CONFIDENTIAL: Crime Writers of the Paperback Era by Brian Ritt, and from Altus Press, THE COMPLETE ADVENTURES OF HAZARD AND PARTRIDGE by Robert Pearsall with an excellent and long introduction by pulp scholar, Nathan Madison. We really do live in the golden age of pulp reprints and reference books.

   Tony Davis retired as the editor of THE PULPSTER last year but this year the new editor, William Lampkin, carries on the tradition by editing a fine collection of articles. My favorite is the piece on Daisy Bacon by Laurie Powers.

   The Munsey Award was given to pulp scholar and anthologist, Garyn G. Roberts. Congratualtions Garyn, you really deserve this recognition.

   OK, there must be something I can complain about, right? Nope, no drunks giving me a sour look, no complaints about the lighting in the dealers room, no bitching about the hospitality room. I just went to the bar on the second floor and acted like a collector. All the non-collectors gave me plenty of space!

   So, I would like to thank the PulpFest committee for all their hard work. Mike Chomko, Jack Cullers, Ed Hulse, and Barry Traylor. Thank you, thank you!

   And to all you collectors and readers out there. Make plans for PulpFest next year. Do it now and no excuses accepted! Even if we die, we can haunt the place.

ADVENTURES IN COLLECTING:
PULPFEST 2013
by Walker Martin


pulpfest 2013

   Readers and Collectors! We are down to the final minutes now. It’s time to separate the non-collectors from the collectors. Yes, it’s that time of year again. Pulpfest begins this Thursday, July 25 and continues through Sunday, July 28 in Columbus, Ohio. The complete details are at pulpfest.com.

   Will you be one of the millions of poor souls that do NOT attend PulpFest? Or will you be among the elite of old magazine collectors, those that DO attend? I’m talking about the 400 or so pulp, digest, paperback, book and original art collectors who will be swarming to the pulp collecting center of the universe. In April it was Chicago for Windy City and now in July, it is Columbus, Ohio.

   I’ve heard all the reasons for not attending this pulp convention and there is no acceptable excuse! Illness? Hell, I knew a collector who attended knowing he had a terminal illness and would be dead in a few months. I once attended with a busted back, wrapped up like a mummy, not able to sit down for the entire convention. Every 40 minutes I had to stop the car and get out to stretch and walk around. For awhile I was almost positive that I wasn’t going to make it and I started stopping near hotels in case I had to give up and just lay in a bed for a couple weeks.

   But the thought of my collection kept me going. The visions of more SF magazines, more detective and adventure pulps, more westerns. The artwork, the original cover paintings, the interior illustrations. The stacks of digest magazines, the vintage paperbacks. The friends and old pals that I enjoyed talking to and seeing once again. Some of the best friendships in my life are now stretching beyond the 40 year mark. I just had lunch with a collector that I’ve know since 1970 and we talked about books for 3 hours straight. How could I not attend the pulp convention? When I returned home, I took 4 weeks off from work to recuperate from my back problems. Let’s face it, our collections are more important than some job that just pays the bills.

   Speaking of money, I’ve heard the excuse about not having the cash to attend the convention. I never let this stop me. Sometimes I borrowed the money from the bank or the credit union. I even borrowed money from my wife. You know you have to be desperate to ask for help from a non-collector! I’ve used my credit cards, pension money, money set aside for bills. I mean we are talking about a serious addiction here!

   To be a serious book or old magazine collector, is a calling of the highest order. You are not just some wage slave like the other millions of non-collectors. No, you are a Collector with a capital C. You don’t just eat, work, watch TV, and sleep. And then repeat it day after day like most poor bastards. YOU READ! You Collect valuable and rare artifacts.

   In this era of electronic gadgets, you actually collect non-electronic books and pulps. I mean how cool is that? No computer geek can stand up to that. E-books look pitiful next to a beautiful real, hard copy book. You can’t collect E-books like pulps. A stack of pulps is a thing of beauty. The smell, the look, the feel. And they are worth money!

   I’ve tried many addictions and they can’t compare to collecting books and pulps. Drugs, alcohol, gambling, all can destroy your health and finances. I won’t even get into sex. Sexual habits can ruin you just like any addiction or at the very least, you will find yourself married to a non-collector!

   So there is still time to say to hell with your job and personal responsibilities. Your family can do without you for a few days. Your book addiction needs to be fed. Your Collection must be extended and made larger. You need more books!

   PulpFest awaits…

REEL MURDERS:
Movie Reviews by Walter Albert

  Note: This column first appeared in The MYSTERY FANcier, Vol. 7, No. 3, May-June 1983.

   The University of Pittsburgh recently hosted the annual meeting of the Society for Cinema Studies and more than 150 scholars spent four very busy days delivering and listening to papers, attending film showings, and socializing. There were twenty-nine panels, each of them consisting of the reading of three or four papers, followed by discussions, and there was a variety of screenings, highlighted by Robert Altman’s 1982 film, Come Back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean, which the director attended for a post-screening session at which he responded to questions from a large and very sympathetic audience,

   The general topic of the convention was film genre, and the often sparsely attended screenings — film scholars seem to prefer to talk and be talked at rather than cluster anonymously in improvised screening rooms — featured a series of films “on, in, and beyond the genre.”

   Since the films were scheduled at the same time as the panels, I was constantly faced with agonizing decisions. However, I was able to reconcile most of my warring interests and managed to spend several hours in the dark watching Frank Borzage’s Mannequin (1938), a “melodrama of fashion and fetishism with Joan Crawford”; Dario Argento’s stylish horror film, Suspiria (1977); Robert Altman’s very individual and probably unclassifiable comedy drama, Brewster McCloud (1970); and Max Ophuls’ 1949 movie, The Reckless Moment, in addition to the festival screening of Altman’s Jimmy Dean film.

   Since I had already seen DeMille’s Unconquered (1947), Cassavetes’ Gloria (1980), and William Richert’s Winter Kills (1979), I managed a fairly comprehensive coverage of the convention films.

   One of the things that was clear from several of the panels I attended was that there is increasing recognition of the fact that the sub-genres (musical, western, science-fiction, film noir) are not aIways “pure” and there is a fair amount of “bleeding” among the various types, with, for example, elements of the crime film or film noir turning up in westerns or in musicals.

   Since writers on film have traditionally had difficulty defining film noir, establishing firm chronologies, and identifying those films which are undeniably noir, this makes it possible to examine a wide range of films in a number of different categories. Anyone who has looked very closely at the two major books on film noir, the Silver/Ward Film Noir: An Encyclopedic Reference to the American Style (Overlook Press, 1980) and Foster Hirsch’s work, The Dark Side of the Screen: Film Noir (A. S. Barnes, 1981), will have been struck by the lack of agreement on the basic body of films thought to constitute the official canon.

   There is, thus, under way what could be a very fruitful re-examination of the subject , and I would expect that over the next few years there will be major reformulations that will both define more precisely noir elements and refine their applications to particular films.

THE RECKLESS MOMENT James Mason

   While both Silver/Ward and Hirsch list Max Ophuls’ Reckless Moment in their filmographies, Silver/Ward point out the anomaly of casting a woman as the potentially doomed victim, rather than, as is usually the case in noir films, the tracked male. The casting is also ironic in that the woman is played by Joan Bennett, who was the destructive femme fatale in Fritz Lang’s Woman in the Window, here playing an upper middle-class housewife who embarks upon a sequence of lies and deceptions to protect her daughter whom she mistakenly believes to be responsible for the death of her blackmailing lover.

   The film is based on a story by Elisabeth Sanxay Holding, “The Blank Wall,” and has all the elements of standard woman-in-peril magazine fiction but reshaped by the superb direction of Ophuls into a subtle study of middle-class morality threatened by a seductive outsider (Shepperd Strudwick) who is “removed” and then replaced by an even more potentially dangerous threat (a blackmailer, James Mason, working with a totally unprincipled partner).

   The strength of the film is not only in the fluid, accomplished camera work which tracks Bennett in her increasingly more frantic quest for salvation and liberation, but in the bond which develops between Mason and Bennett, the rootless outsider, the black sheep, as he tells her, of his family, and the mother whose only concern is to protect her daughter from the consequences of her folly and keep the stain from contaminating the house and the other members of the family.

THE RECKLESS MOMENT James Mason

   The film is at its most intense and claustrophobic (she is, after all, walled in by her fears and assumptions) in its handling of the interior spaces of the Harper house. Bennett paces incessantly through the house, nervously chain-smoking, trying to hide her machinations from her family, as if she were turning in a cage.

   In the foreground, the camera is most obsessive about Bennett’s every move, but it is also recording, in the background, the routine of the family, so that the spectator is bound by a sense of a precarious balance between the two levels and of the constant threat of the possibility of the rupturing of the fragile membrane that separates the two.

   Bennett plays the role with a dark distraction in which she see ms always to be just a bit to one side of the on-screen action, plotting her next move. She is frequently interrupted, never really alone — even when she is driving with Donnelly, the character played by Mason, at a traffic light someone leans from the next car to talk to her.

   She is always tracked by the camera, but this is symptomatic of a larger trajectory at which her every movement seems to coincide with an intersection. There is no one moment in the film that is in itself irretrievably reckless. It is rather the narrative, restlessly exploring the implications of movements, that is reckless.

THE RECKLESS MOMENT James Mason

   Lucia Harper (Bennett) can only be saved by the intervention of an outside agency, initially threatening, finally converted into something benign and protective, a member of her extended family taking from her the role she cannot herself carry off successfully and restoring her as manager of the household and bearer of the telephone message to a no longer threatening exterior world, “Everything’s fine.”

   There are some of the recognizable features of film noir in the depiction of the doomed character (here uncharacteristically rescued), in the menacing shadows and reflections, and in the atmospheric — and sometimes sordid — milieux that we associate with the genre. But The Reckless Moment is no more to be restricted by a characterization of genre than any other film that uses form not for constriction but for expansion and elaboration.

   This is probably not a film of the same distinction as Ophuls’ Pleasure, The Earrings of Madame X, and Lola Montes, but it is a film of uncommon intelligence and taste, transforming its materials into something at once imperious and elusive, a perfect demonstration of Ophuls’ belief that, in art, “the most insignificant, the most unobtrusive among [details] are often the most evocative, characteristic and even decisive. Exact details, an artful little nothing, make art.”

THE RECKLESS MOMENT. Columbia, 1949. James Mason, Joan Bennett, Geraldine Brooks, Henry O’Neill, Shepperd Strudwick, David Bair, Roy Roberts. Based on the novel The Blank Wall (Simon & Schuster, 1947) by Elisabeth Sanxay Holding. Director: Max Ophüls.

THE RECKLESS MOMENT James Mason

WINDY CITY PULP CONVENTION 2013 REPORT
by Walker Martin


   Once again the usual gang of veteran collectors rented a 12-seat van for the long trip to Chicago. I’m talking about our annual pilgrimage to the Windy City Pulp Convention which was held over the weekend of April 12-14, 2013. But three days were not enough for us so we left the morning of April 10 and arrived 14 hours later.

   We were to stay a total of five days eating meals together, some of us rooming together, competing against each other for books, magazines, artwork, and generally bumping heads, fighting, and insulting each other. You might wonder how five collectors could survive such an intense trip. I wonder about this also but somehow we managed to get through the ordeal of roaming through a gigantic room of 150 tables, most of them piled high with stacks of books, pulps, digests, slicks, pulp reprints, and artwork.

WALKER MARTIN Cover paintings

   I always sleep poorly at the pulp conventions and I guess I averaged 4 or 5 hours sleep each night. The rooms at the Westin Hotel are nice and the convention rate is really low each night, only $109 plus taxes. I would have stayed longer but everyone else had packed up their books and pulps and left. The first day we arose early and continued our practice of eating breakfast each morning at the Egg Harbor Cafe. We devour everything in sight and thus do not have to leave the dealer’s room for lunch and waste valuable time when we could be buying and selling books.

   Thursday we again visited The Doug Ellis and Deb Fulton Pulp Art Exhibit. They also happen to live in this art museum. We have visited the museum for three years in a row and this year we saw the new expansion. However, we got lost driving back to the hotel and spent a couple hours blaming each other for such stupidity, so this may be the end of the visits to the Art Exhibit.

   Friday was the official beginning of the festivities. Dealers were allowed in at 8:30 but since I had an “early bird” badge, I started to harass and bother the dealers at 9:30, thus beating the poor souls who had to wait until 11:00. Since I no longer need many pulps, I’m mainly interested in pulp art and cover paintings. I made my first buy at Bob Weinberg’s table. I’ve known Bob since the late 1960′s when we both lived in NJ and used to meet at the NYC SF conventions. Despite the news that he was having some health problems, he was at this table each day and walked around the dealer’s room.

   While I was talking to Bob, I noticed a cover painting by Brian Lewis for NEW WORLDS #84 (June 1959). I quickly snapped it up because I’ve recently been reading through my sets of NEW WORLDS and SCIENCE FANTASY because of the recent publication of three excellent books on these two British magazines edited by John Carnell. Written by John Boston and Damien Broderick the books are titled BUILDING NEW WORLDS and STRANGE HIGHWAYS. Both deal issue by issue with the stories, authors, and artwork.

WALKER MARTIN Cover paintings

   I then spent the rest of the convention buying original art. I’ve always wanted a GALAXY cover painting from the period when I started to read the magazine. I bought the cover for March 1955 by Mel Hunter. I also found a nice preliminary cover by Kelly Freas for ANALOG. Moving to other tables I manage to buy two Norman Saunders illustrations for the men’s adventure magazines. Unfortunately they do not depict such crazy scenes as Nazis partying with girls but then again I would not be able to afford such great art.

   Art dealer Fred Taraba had many interesting paintings but I managed to control my greed and addiction and limited myself to a nice painting showing a woman screaming in a library. Sort of reminds me of the typical reaction from the non-collecting spouse when they realize they have married a Book Collector! This painting is by Maurice Thomas and was used as the cover on a 10 cent Dell paperback, DEATH WALKS THE MARBLE HALLS by Lawrence Blochman. It also was reprinted in the NEW YORKER for August 19, 1996.

WALKER MARTIN Cover paintings

   I also found a nice illustration by Edd Cartier titled “Framed For Murder.” Somehow I’ve managed to accumulate five of these Cartier drawings over the years. One of biggest finds was a set of 20 illustrations by Lynd Ward, who was an early graphic novelist. My first greedy thought was to buy all 20 but since they were priced at $500 each, I started to hesitate and before I knew it paperback collector, Tom Lesser had clutched two of them. Then I decided to buy only five of them at a discounted price of $450 each. All 20 are from one of the greatest ghost story collections ever, THE HAUNTED OMNIBUS edited by Alexander Laing.

   But my biggest discovery was a large piece of art by Howard Wandrei. The brother of Donald Wandrei, Howard is known in pulp circles for his short stories written for such magazines as DETECTIVE FICTION WEEKLY, SPICY DETECTIVE, WEIRD TALES, UNKNOWN, etc. However his real claim to fame may very well turn out to be his strange, unusual, and bizarre outsider art. I’ve been thinking about buying this piece, which is impossible to describe, for two years, ever since I first saw it at the 2011 Windy City.

   In addition to the fabulous dealer’s room, there also was a large art exhibit, mainly taken from the collections of Doug Ellis, Deb Fulton, and Bob Weinberg. There were a couple of panels discussing Sax Rohmer and Fu Manchu and Science Fiction and Bookselling. Unfortunately I was so busy partying, drinking and having a fine old time with my collector pals, that I missed the panels. As I’ve said before, one of the great things about Windy City and PulpFest are the friends and contacts that lead to long friendships and future deals.

WALKER MARTIN Cover paintings

   The film programming was handled by film expert, Ed Hulse and was of great interest. The serial DRUMS OF FU MANCHU was shown as well as several episodes from the great Boris Karloff THRILLER TV show. Ed also had the new issue of BLOOD N THUNDER magazine, which is a must buy for all magazine and film collectors. Check out his Murania Press website for news of upcoming publications.

   Actually I did find a major pulp want now that I think of it. I recently obtained the February 1933 BLACK MASK cover painting and was pleased to find the magazine in the dealer’s room. The auction this year was one of the best ever held by Windy City. Friday night saw over 200 lots sold from the estate of Jerry Weist. I just added up the amounts paid for the lots and the total was over $43,000 for Friday. The Saturday auction also was of interest. A complete set of PLANET STORIES in very nice shape was auctioned off in several lots. But the main magazine title was the many issues of ALL STORY(1905-1920). These issues brought the highest prices and many had Edgar Rice Burroughs stories.

   I’m closing in on a complete set of ALL STORY and need only 4 issues. Since many issues of this magazine are now over 100 years old, it is getting hard to find copies. But the auction had one of the four I needed, the July 7, 1917 issue. But I had to drop out when the bidding hit $950. Artwork is more interesting at that price and it’s difficult to justify paying hundreds for magazines. A friend of mine paid $900 for a pulp at the Frank Robinson auction and read it in about an hour. $900 for an hour’s reading? And I firmly believe these magazines should be read. I simply do not understand collectors who do not read but pay such high prices for issues.

WALKER MARTIN Cover paintings

   Jack Cullers provided me with some nostalgia. He found Rusty Hevelin’s copy of the June 12, 1972 St. Louis Globe-Democrat. In an article about the first Pulpcon, titled “Pulp magazine may fade, but never the memories” there is a photo of Edward Kessell, Rusy Hevelin, and Mrs Walker Martin, all looking at a Graves Gladney painting for THE SHADOW magazine. 41 years ago and I’m still at it!

   Doug Ellis told me Sunday afternoon that the attendance had reached a new high level of 488. Almost 500 attendees and a new record that the old Pulpcon never came near. In this day of electronic gadgets and e-books, that is quite an achievement. So there is hope for the collectors of books and magazines afterall.

   Monday morning the 5 of us, now known as The Publisher, The Collector, The Dealer, The Reader, and The Loser, piled into the van with hundreds of books, magazines, and artwork. Somehow we made it back to NJ despite one of us almost being arrested by a state trooper. It’s too strange a tale to tell.

   Next up? PulpFest in three months! Details at pulpfest.com. See you there…

[UPDATE] 04-19-13.   Thanks to pulp collector/dealer Dave Kurzman, some photos of the proceedings:

1. Long time pulp collector Digges La Touche sifting for nuggets while sitting on the floor.

WALKER MARTIN Windy City Pulp Show 2013

2. Ed Hulse and Walker Martin keeping a close eye on the traffic across the way:

WALKER MARTIN Windy City Pulp Show 2013

   For Ed’s own comprehensive commentary on the weekend’s activities, go here.

[UPDATE] 06-20-13. Here is a link that shows two pages of photos from Windy City. Mainly about the art but interesting just the same:

http://www.comicartfans.com/galleryroom.asp?gsub=144236

CONVENTION REPORT: PulpFest 2012
by Walker Martin

   As I think back on the many pulp conventions that I have attended, I am reminded of the many friends that I have made and the bookish traditions that we started over the years. For instance, when I was a newly wed collector, my wife and I attended the first four Pulpcons, 1972-1975.

   But then children were born and she had to stay home plus let’s face it, non-collectors eventually get tired of the dealers room and the constant discussion about books and pulps.

   Then I started driving out and sharing a room and expenses with the greatest book and pulp collector that I ever encountered: Harry F. Noble. He was so modest that most collectors really never knew anything about him. But we both lived in NJ and visited each other hundreds of times during our almost 40 year friendship. Since Harry’s death, I’ve been driving out with NYC art dealer, Steve Kennedy.

   That is how this convention started with Steve arriving at my house on Wednesday in order to sleep over so we could leave early on Thursday morning. Another tradition of a few years standing. We started off the festivities with a dinner at the Metro Grill in Trenton and five days later we ended it with another visit to the Grill and I had the same salad, pizza, and beer both times. Guess I’m set in my ways.

   But the greatest tradition in my life is Pulpcon, now known as PulpFest. I do not see a difference in the two conventions. PulpFest is not a different, separate event. It is the natural continuation of Pulpcon. The present committee had the foresight to see that Pulpcon was dying and they broke away and formed a stronger and better convention with a new name and a more enthusiastic approach to collecting. But I still see it as the natural evolvement of the Pulpcon started all those years ago in 1972 by Ed Kessel and continued by Rusty Hevelin.

   We left early Thursday morning at 7:15. We rented a van as usual because a car won’t hold all the pulps and books that will be bought. Ed Hulse was the driver; I was riding shotgun; Steve Kennedy was the official talker, and Digges La Touche, otherwise know as The Major, was laying down in the back row reading. He is not called The Reading Machine for nothing.

   Our attitude was drive hell for leather, PulpFest or Bust, and get to Columbus, Ohio in record time. Ed was willing to do this but the State Trooper on the Pennsy Turnpike took a dim view of our policy.

   Two hundred dollars poorer, we continued our mad rush to financial doom. But my attitude has always been that book collecting is the very best addiction. It won’t ruin your health like smoking, drinking or drugs. It won’t break you like fooling around with women or gambling. In fact, you might even make some money when you sell some of your collection. So I always say to hell with bills and family responsibilities; collect books and pulps instead.

   To give you an example of my madness, just a few days before the convention, my central air conditioner bit the dust after 23 years of loyal service. The repairman said not only did I need a new unit but I needed a new furnace also. I went for top of the line, high efficiency, which cost $12,000.

   Many collectors would say at this point, forget PulpFest, I don’t have the money. But serious collectors who are truly addicted will say full steam ahead, I’m not going to miss PulpFest! To top it off, I had to move dozens of boxes and hundreds of books to make room for the workers to install the furnace.

   Since I am no longer the young collector that I once was, needless to say I injured my shoulder and suffered all through the convention with a twisted and wrenched arm. This didn’t stop me either though it was not fun to try and sleep through the pain. Book collectors must have the attitude that the show must go on.

   I have a theory that collecting books and old magazines keeps you young and interested in life. I wake up each day, eager to read books or pulps from my collection. I’ve been retired many years since quitting my job at age 57 and these years have been the happiest of my life.

   Believe me work is a waste of time if you are a book collector. If you can swing it, sell some of your collection and retire, you won’t regret it.

   Let me give you another example of how book collecting keeps you young. The Major, is 70 years old, yet he had no problem with the cramped quarters in the back of the van. If fact, every time we stopped for gas or food, he leaped out of the van, hopping like the energizer bunny.

   Nine hours later, we arrived at the hotel which looked quite new and not at all like the dump we were in last year. There was an enormous complex of meeting rooms in the Convention Center, along with many stores and a big food court. Many restaurants were in walking distance. The Hyatt was worth the extra money and I gleefully paid the con rate of only $109 per night.

   At first I was stunned to discover that there was no hospitality room. Another tradition I have is after a long, hard day of buying books and pulps, I like to unwind with a nice dinner and have a couple drinks talking to other collectors in the con suite.

   I heard that the hotel wanted too high a price for the room plus they wanted to supply a bartender and the liquor. Whether or not this is all true, I found that the big bar on the second floor was a good substitute. The only problem was the annoying presence of many non-collectors boozing and talking at the top of their voices. I thought about telling them to shut up so we could talk about books, but they were quite younger than me and might injure my other shoulder.

   Speaking of drunks, several people asked me the question, “What is Pulpfest?” I not only wore my con ID badge but I also had my usual pulp t-shirt on. I noticed the Thrilling Mystery cover showing cretins menacing a young girl was especially objectionable to many non-collectors.

   Why, I have no idea. I always responded the same way, that PulpFest was a convention of people who collecting old books and magazines. This always resulted in a puzzled stare at my shirt or plain disbelief. I mean what can you expect from non-collectors.

   But I realized I may have made a serious mistake when I got on the elevator and two drunks who were younger and bigger than me stared at my shirt with angry expressions. Holding the elevator door open to prevent the elevator from moving they asked me in a very confrontational manner, “What the hell is PulpFest?” Only they used a stronger word than “hell.”

   I gave my usual answer about old books, etc. They both cursed at the same time and I figured I better take the stairs. They let me go but were not happy about it. This reminded me once again of that old saying, “the non-collector will never be able to understand the collector.” Most non-collectors may look at your collection with a straight face but they really think you are crazy or a hoarder.

   To avoid mean drunks and non-collectors, I hung out in the dealer’s room just about all the time. Attendance was similar to last year and the room was enormous with 115 dealers. The tables were full of pulps, digests, vintage paperbacks, books, dvds, pulp reprints, and artwork. For a collector, it was as if you had died and gone to heaven. It did appear to be too dark in the room, so hopefully this can be corrected next year.

   One collector I was very glad to see was Gordon Huber. He has been to every single pulp convention either under the name Pulpcon or PulpFest. Since Gordon is in his 80′s, I am always glad to see him walking around. It give me hope that I may survive so long.

   Jim and Walter Albert were there as usual and if you had told me that they would be bringing two long comic boxes filled with Adventure pulps, I would have said no way. But they did, and their table may have been the best one with the hundred issues going back to the teens.

   Also of note were the several tables of SF digests, all priced very low. Forty years ago I did not buy many issues of Fantastic and Amazing but I filled up two large boxes with back issues of these two titles.

   Also present were long runs of the digest Analog, F&SF, Galaxy, etc. And then Art Hackathorn had a 50% off sale on several tables of pulps. These bargains all proved once again that it is worth attending PulpFest even with the extra expense of traveling and room rates.

   The auction consisted of over 300 lots. It began at 9:30 pm and lasted past 1:00 am. In the beginning hours there were many bidders but as the night went on less and less collectors were present.

   I managed to last until about the half way point and then Scott Hartshorn and I went to the Big Bar on 2 for beer. I understand by the end of the auction items were going for very low prices.

   However there were some big items in the early lots. For instance there were four gigantic boxes of PEAPS mailings spread throughout the auction. Each big box contained 25 mailings. PEAPS 1-25 went for around $600; PEAPS 26-50 went for $500. I believe the two later boxes also received high bids. Lot 50 of Leonard Robbins Pulp Magazine Index (6 volumes), went for $600.

   The rest of the auction was mainly items from Al Tonik’s collection, a few pulps and many reference books. His DeSoto cover painting recreation of a Phantom cover went for $900.

   The Guest of Honor was SF author Mike Resnick and following his speech were panels such as “Barsoom and Beyond,” “J. Allen St. John,” and “Tarzan on Mars.” Saturday night we had panels on Robert Howard and “The Illustrated Conan.” Artists Jim and Ruth Keegan and Mark Schultz discussed this last topic.

   There was so much going on that I couldn’t take it all in. One discussion I had to miss was the talk that John Locke gave on pulp magazines. Even Thursday night had interesting panels such as Ed Hulse and Garyn Roberts discussing John Campbell and Astounding, Rick Lai on how French literature may have influenced writers, Henry Franke on “Tarzan: A Hero for the Ages,” and Ed Hulse again, on Burroughs as a movie producer.

   Like last year FARMERCON and the New Pulp movement were present. FarmerCon of course refers to Philip Jose’ Farmer and the New Pulp movement is about new stories and novels dealing with pulp series, etc.

   I mentioned that I bought a couple hundred digests above. But I also obtained many pulp reprints, especially those from Altus Press. I found a few pulps I needed and bought some pulp artwork from Beyond Fantasy Fiction.

   I had my usual dealer’s table and sold some dvds and a near complete set of The MYSTERY FANcier. But my biggest sales continued to be the cancelled checks showing the payment to pulp writers and artists. Talbot Mundy and Walt Colburn checks sold as well as an interesting $2.00 check to an unknown woman for “A Black Mask idea”.

   By the way, after 21 issues Tony Davis will be leaving as editor of The Pulpster. We will all miss him. I do want to correct one thing. Don Ramlow wrote some notes about the final years of Pulpcon, titled “Pulpcon’s Final Chapter.” The subtitle is “The End of the Little Convention That Could.” Pulpcon is not dead; it did not die. It lives on in PulpFest and continues to this day.

   PulpFest gives a nice award each year and this time there were two winners. Matt Moring of Altus Press received the Munsey Award for his line of pulp reprint books. Jack and Sally Cullers received the Rusty Hevelin Service Award for their many years of hard work at the conventions.

   And finally to close out this report I would like to thank the PulpFest Committee for another great convention. Without Mike Chomko, Jack Cullers, Barry Traylor, and Ed Hulse, there would be no pulp convention in the summer.

   I’ve been going almost each summer for 40 years, so I need my fix for my book addiction. These four collectors have put on another excellent event. I hope to attend again next year and hopefully so will everyone reading this report.

IT’S ABOUT CRIME, by Marvin Lachman

MAX ALLAN COLLINS Mallory

MAX ALLAN COLLINS – Kill Your Darlings. Walker, hardcover, 1984. Tor, paperback, 1988.

   The first mystery novel set at a Bouchercon, Max Allan Collins’s Kill Your Darlings takes place in Chicago, where Bouchercon was held in 1984, though Collins wrote the book before that event.

   It’s an enormously enjoyable tale, well plotted and with lots of insights into a mystery convention and publishing, though mostly from a writer’s viewpoint. (Fans do not loom large in this book.) The plot device, an unknown Hammett manuscript, is an inspired idea.

   Despite Collins’s disclaimer that the victim, an old-time mystery writer, is a composite, he reminded me of someone in particular. If you ask me at the next Bouchercon, I’ll tell you who. Until then, attend a Bouchercon vicariously with Max as your guide.

– Reprinted from The MYSTERY FANcier,
Vol. 11, No. 1, Winter 1989 (very slightly revised).


Bibliographic Data: The detective who solves the case in Kill Your Darlings is “Mallory,” a former cop who became a mystery writer living in Iowa.

       The Mallory series —

The Baby Blue Rip-Off. Walker, 1983.

MAX ALLAN COLLINS Mallory

No Cure for Death. Walker, 1983.
Kill Your Darlings. Walker, 1984.
A Shroud for Aquarius. Walker, 1985.
Nice Weekend for a Murder. Walker, 1986.

MAX ALLAN COLLINS Mallory

PulpFest 2012:
Thursday, August 9, 2012 – Sunday, August 12, 2012


   PulpFest 2012 continues the proud tradition of a summer pulp con, now entering its 41st year. PulpFest is the summertime destination for fans and collectors of vintage popular fiction and related materials. It will be held at a new venue, the Hyatt Regency in downtown Columbus, Ohio. It will begin on Thursday evening, August 9th and continue until Sunday afternoon, August 12th.

   PulpFest continued to grow in 2011 with more than 430 registrants. It was the largest crowd ever for a summertime pulp con. Reviews were generally very positive, from Walker Martin’s “…when the dealer’s room opened officially, it was obvious that this was another rousing success,” to Ron Fortiers’ “…a truly fun and exciting program with a little of something for all pulp enthusiasts,” and newcomer Sean Levins’ “This was, without a doubt, the best convention I’ve ever been to!”

   Sellers of pulp magazines, vintage paperbacks, and other paper collectibles and related items are already filling up our exhibit space. There will be more than 100 tables of pulps, books, vintage comics, original art, B-movies and serials, and similar items available for sale, daily from 9 AM until 5 PM. The evening hours, from 7 PM until midnight, will see a variety of programming.

   2012 marks the 100th anniversary of the publication of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ “Under the Moons of Mars,” better known by its book title A Princess of Mars and, more recently, John Carter, a major motion picture from Disney. Robert E. Howard’s Conan the barbarian will also be 80 years old in 2012. PulpFest will be celebrating both of these occasions during their highly regarded evening programming. The award-winning science-fiction writer and noted Burroughs authority, Mike Resnick, will also be appearing as the convention’s guest of honor. Author readings and an art show featuring work by illustrators Jim and Ruth Keegan and, possibly, Mark Schultz, are also planned.

   For further information, please visit the convention’s website at http://www.pulpfest.com/ or write to David J. Cullers, 1272 Cheatham Way, Bellbrook, OH 45305 or via email at jack@pulpfest.com.

   The contact phone number for the hotel is 1-614-463-1234. Be sure to mention PulpFest 2012 when booking a room to get the convention rate. Hotel reservations can also be through the convention’s website through a dedicated link to the Hyatt Regency Columbus.

Price: $15.00 – $35.00

Member Discount: A three-day prepaid membership will cost $30. Send payment to David J. Cullers, 1272 Cheatham Way, Bellbrook, OH 45305. Payment at the door will be $35 for a three-day membership. Daily memberships will cost $15.

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