Collecting


WINDY CITY PULP CONVENTION 2022 REPORT
by Walker Martin

   A few years ago, one of my best friends attended Pulpcon, despite knowing he had a terminal illness. Hardcore collectors will survive just about anything except death. My health problems lately have not involved a terminal illness, but I suffer from claustrophobia, and I had to undergo two cataract operations in April. Despite being disappointed in these procedures, I somehow managed to, go with four other collectors in our usual van.

   Fortunately, this convention managed to cheer me up and here are my comments on the Windy City Pulp Convention. There have been over 20 of these shows and this was the 15th year at the Westin Hotel in Lombard, Illinois, which is about a half hour outside Chicago. Doug Ellis stated that there were about 500 attendees and 180 dealer tables.

   No masks were required, but many collectors wore them just to be safe. As usual the dealer’s room was very busy and set up was allowed on Thursday evening from 8 pm to about 11 pm. There were thousands of books, pulps, vintage paperbacks, original art, new pulp novels, movies on DVDs and comics.

   Some excellent books made their debut at the show. Ed Hulse of Murania Press had what looked like his biggest magazine on the pulps, Blood n Thunder 2022 Special Edition:336 pages, over 100,000 words, and over 100 illustrations. There are 10 essays in the book with the most important being the 120 pages devoted to the Doubleday Crime Club Golden Age, 1928-1940. Ed also had a preview copy of his new book, an updated edition of Wild West in Fiction and Film.

   Matt Moring of Steeger Press had several new books for sale on Mike Chomko’s table: Unremembered Murder by Carroll John Daly, volume 7 of the Race Williams series, all from 1944-1955, The Major by L. Patrick Greene, volume 4, The Life of Pinky Jenkins by H. Bedford Jones, volume 3, and the best one of all, The Complete Exploits of the Notorious Sea Fox by James K. Waterman. This last collects several stories from Frontier in the 1920’s and deals with the infamous slave trade before the Civil War. Steeger Books has passed the 600 book mark I believe. Amazing and quite an accomplishment.

   Also available was the new edition of the Windy City Pulp Stories, #21. 130 pages, all devoted to Fiction House. The best article was Will Murray’s “The Rise and Fall of Fiction House”. Also of note are articles dealing with Arthur J. Burks, the pulp magazine, Black Aces, and other Fiction House items of interest.

   The art show had several original cover paintings and illustrations from Fiction House magazines and I was really impressed by the excellent display. Ed Hulse ran the usual film show which showed serials and B-movies during the day and after the evening auction.

   Speaking of the auction, John Gunnison did his usual fine job as auctioneer. Friday night had 200 lots from the Robert Weinberg Estate and Saturday night had almost 200 lots from the Glenn Lord Estate. An entire set of Planet Stories was auctioned in several lots, many Weird Tales, including the Anniversary large issue from 1924 ($8000), and all sorts of correspondence. The Gent From Bear Creek by Robert Howard sold for several thousand.

   There were the usual panels and I attended the Fiction House discussion given by Roger Hill. On Saturday night David Saunders did his usual excellent job discussing such Fiction House artists as George Gross, Allan Anderson, and Norman Saunders. I’m looking forward to his Pulpfest presentation on Nick Eggenhofer this August.

   I’ve been collecting now for over 65 years and I don’t need much anymore, but I always find something. This year I’m rebuilding some of my sets such as All Western and Dime Detective. I found several copies of each that I need plus an Ace High from 1926 that I’ve been looking for.

   One of the problems of collecting for a long time is that you start to run out of things to collect. Most of my wants are very odd and hard to find, such as the five Sea Stories I lack. There were 118 and I have 113, so it’s not too likely that I’ll find issues I need. Same thing with Western Story and Detective Story. I only need a few issues of each for complete sets, but I’ll probably never find them. But you never know. I never thought I’d find all 444 All Story either but I did.

   Pulpfest is up next in August 4-7, 2022, in Pittsburgh. The 50th Anniversary of Pulpcon/Pulpfest! I never thought I’d see such a long run of conventions when I attended the first one in 1972. But here we are. See you there!

   

CON REPORT:
Pulp AdventureCon, November 6, 2021
by Walker Martin

   I’ve attended all these annual Pulp Adventurecons, over 20 of them, most of them in Bordentown, NJ (there also is a Florida show which I’ve never been able to attend). The first one was in the woods somewhere at a firehouse. Several of us got lost trying to find it. I remember there being maybe ten tables and about 50 attendees, maybe less.

Left to right: Nick Certo, Paul Herman, Richard Meli, Digges La Touche.

   But it certainly has grown! This year the show was held in a new hotel in Bordentown, and I liked the new venue though I wish the dealers were all in one big room instead of two smaller rooms. There were over 40 tables and what looked like well over 100 attendees. I was happy to see the hotel had free coffee and egg sandwiches available in the morning.

   A year ago I reported on the show held in November 2020 (Book Hunting during the Pandemic) and I received some negative criticism on one of the online discussion groups. But my entire life has been consumed by my desire to collect books and pulps, not to mention original cover and interior art.

Left to right: Ed Hulse, Steve Lewis.

   I’ve been a bibliomaniac now for over 65 years ever since I discovered Edgar Rice Burroughs, Erskine Caldwell’s Signet paperbacks with the sexy James Avati covers, and the SF digest magazines. I’m not going to go into hiding because of the virus. In fact what better death for a book collector than to die hunting for collectible books, vintage paperbacks, pulps, and artwork? With that attitude, I guess that’s why I have a large collection.

   Last year the hotels were requiring masks and social distancing, but this year masks were optional and we all happily squeezed into the two rooms and bought and sold books, magazines, and DVDs.

   Though this convention is a one day show, it feels a lot longer. Each year it seems to last several days. To give you an idea I will briefly list each day’s events at my house:

      Wednesday, November 3

   Matt Moring of Steeger Books has for several years arrived on Wednesday before the Saturday convention. He does some research for upcoming books, and we meet for dinner. There are plans for a special Thanksgiving sale, and he soon will announce the upcoming publication of around 40 new volumes in the Steeger Books reprint series.

Left to right: Scott Hartshorn, Nick Certo.

   That’s right, 40 new books! This has to mean that Matt has published over 500 books in the last few years. If not 500, then very close to it. There will be new books in the Dime Detective Library, the Argosy Library, and important releases reprinting Talbot Mundy, The Spider and others including perhaps H. Bedford Jones. There will be a great release coming soon dealing with The Campfire letter column in Adventure.

      Thursday, November 4

   Richard Meli and Scott Hartshorn arrive from Florida. I’ve been friends with Scott since 1976 when he was a teenager and thought I was an old man even then at age 34. He must think I’m really old now. Scott is a long time art and book collector with a love for film noir movies, a passion I share.

   Richard Meli is the man behind Heartwood Books and Art and also happens to be a physician. I mention this because every book convention should have a doctor on call in case an elderly collector collapses or faints from the terrific stress of trying to buy every damn book and pulp magazine in sight.

   Actually I thought Rich Meli might keel over since he bought so much and was so excited. Maybe we need two doctor/collectors, in case one collapses, the other could care for him. There were now five of us and we had lunch and dinner together.

      Friday, November 5

   This is the day of my annual brunch that I host every year just prior to the Bordentown convention. I can’t handle a big crowd of insane book collectors, so I try to keep attendance at around ten. I used to have hoagies, potato salad, chips and beer and soda but I couldn’t depend on the delis to have the food ready for Friday at 1:00 pm, so the last couple years I’ve ordered pizzas for everyone except for one collector who hates pizza. So I ordered a steak sandwich and fries for him.

Left to right: Walker Martin, Digges La Touche, Nick Certo, Ed Hulse, Scott Hartshorn, Paul Herman, Steve Lewis

   During this brunch, a lot of selling and buying goes on. To give you an idea, this year a nice condition set of Thrilling Wonder changed hands. Also nice sets of the Ziff Davis Amazing and Fantastic Adventures, two sets of Planet Stories, a nice stack of All Western and many individual issues of detective and western pulps.

   In fact the weather was so nice and sunny that we were buying books and pulps outside at the curb in front of my house and out of the back of cars and pickup trucks. Two of my neighbors were walking by and commented on the mass of books and magazines on the grass and sidewalk. I’ve known them 25 years and little did they know I also had a house full of books! Non-collectors just don’t know the true insanity of collectors.

   Then after 5 pm we all met at Firkin’s Tavern for dinner. Matt Moring has sent some photos showing us in the Irish pub. In addition to myself, also in attendance were Matt Moring, Nick Certo of Certo Books, Scott Hartshorn, Ed Hulse of Murania Press, Digges La Touche, Paul Herman, book seller, Steve Lewis of Mystery*File, Richard Meli of Heartwood Books and Art. My wife, being a non-collector was absent because so many collectors in the house at one time freaks her out.

      Saturday, November 6

   The day of the convention! Matt Moring picks me up at 8 am and we arrive at 8:30. Matt quickly sets up five long boxes of pulps, all priced at only $5.00 each, easily the bargain of the convention. John Gunnison and his wife were already set up with what looked like five tables of pulps or an entire wall of the room. Cowboy Tony was there with three tables of all sorts of paper products: pulps, fiction digest magazines, slicks, comic strips, men’s adventure magazines and risque magazines.

   
   Ed Hulse was selling his brand new book on vintage paperbacks: The Art of Pulp Fiction. Martin Grams had his usual tables of DVDs, Paul Herman had hundreds of vintage paperbacks. Gary Lovisi and his wife were selling his excellent magazine Paperback Parade. Nick Certo had books and paperbacks. This is just a sample of the books available. There were many more dealers. After the convention closed at 5 pm, many of us ate dinner at Mastoris Diner, another long time tradition.

   The people behind this long running show are Rich Harvey, Audrey Parente, and Rich’s father was taking care of admissions. Thank you for your efforts and usual fine job!

      Sunday, November 7

   Matt and I went out for breakfast and we talked about a possible art trade but we couldn’t reach agreement. Maybe next year.

      Monday, November 8

   Scott Hartshorn and Digges La Touche met me for breakfast and afterward we took Scott to the airport.

   So ends another Pulp Adventurecon. See you at Windy City and Pulpfest!

   

   

   

From left to right: Matt Moring, Walker Martin.

   

Digges La Touche.

   

Paul Herman

   

   

Andy Jaysnovich

   

Gary Lovisi

   

Gary’s wife Lucille

Reviewed by Walker Martin:


   

ED HULSE – The Art of Pulp Fiction. IDW Publishing, hardcover, September 2021.

   As I was reading this excellent illustrated history of vintage paperbacks, it slowly dawned on me that I have actually been collecting paperbacks longer than digest or pulp magazines! This is amazing to me because I’ve been at the fiction magazine game for 65 years, which is a long time to be collecting pulps and digests (I started in February 1956 with Galaxy).

   But I started buying paperbacks off the stands even earlier, in 1954. I still remember being absolutely stunned and falling in love with the risque and sexy covers by James Avati. The Signet paperback covers for the Erskine Caldwell novels grabbed hold of me and made me a book collector for life. How many times did the owner of Hoscheck’s Deli ask me “Hey are you going to buy that book?” as I gazed stricken at the James Avati girls. I was only 12 and back then the covers and novels were not considered suitable reading for a young boy.

   Now of course such covers are routine, but James Avati got me off and running on a lifetime of paperback collecting and I’m still at it. Over the years, many collectors wondered which is the best book on the paperbacks? Prior to 2001 there were several books that were interesting but it was hard to pick one out as the most comprehensive. Then in 2001 The Great American Paperback by Richard A. Lupoff was published and for 20 years it has been the best illustrated history of vintage paperbacks.

   Now in 2021 we have Ed Hulse’s book The Art of Pulp Fiction, and in my opinion it is now the best illustrated history of vintage paperbacks. True the Lupoff book is a bigger book at 320 pages and 600 cover photos. Plus it also rates the 600 paperbacks as to collectibility based on a rating scale ranging from one to five book icons. The higher the number of book icons, the more collectible the item.

   But 20 years is a long time and in my opinion we needed a new updated illustrated history, and I think The Art of Pulp Fiction is that book. One big disadvantage of the Lupoff book is that the essays and the paperback captions are on yellow, blue, or red paper. It was annoying and difficult to read 20 years ago and it is even more annoying now that my eyesight is 20 years older and aging. Ed Hulse’s book is mainly on white or black paper but even the white print on black background is a lot better than yellow, blue, or red paper.

   Ed and I have talked about the title of the book. Four years ago in 2017 The Art of the Pulps was published and I think some readers will assume that The Art of Pulp Fiction is a reprint of the earlier book and that they have it already. But they are in fact two different books. The 2017 book is an illustrated history of pulp magazines and this 2021 book is an illustrated history of vintage paperbacks. I’m sure Ed did not want this title, but I think the publisher insisted on it and only agreed to put a small sub title on the cover saying “An illustrated history of vintage paperbacks.”

   What exactly is in The Art of Pulp Fiction? The book is 10 by 11 inches, 240 pages, 450 cover photos, and essays on the different genres. It also has short essays by Gary Lovisi (paperback collector and publisher of The Paperback Parade), Will Murray (author and expert on hero pulps), and David Saunders (artist and expert on original pulp art). Each cover photo has an approximately 50 word discussion of the cover. Every cover is large enough to see the details with no thumbsize, small covers. There also are several photos of original paperback cover art from the collections of art collectors.

   One mistake I think the publisher made was to have the front and back cover edges look worn and ragged. The first impression is that the copy of the book is sort of beat up and perhaps defective. But it’s not, and in fact is quite a good looking book overall. Ed not only discusses many of the influential paperbacks but he also discusses the artists and the publishers.

   Many collectors contributed to this book by lending paperbacks to Ed. Also he visited several art collectors. His visit to my house can serve as an example of his methods in borrowing so many books. One afternoon several months ago, he visited me and we went through the rooms discussing and looking at my paperback collection. We started on the second floor in the room that my wife and kids call “The Paperback Room”. The entire room is devoted to detective and mystery paperbacks including what may be a complete set of the hundreds of Dell mapbacks. Also in the room is some original cover art and several paperback racks which took me decades to find. These wooden racks were made to hold paperbacks for sale and were usually destroyed or lost over the years.

   We then went to my basement where we looked and talked about my science fiction, western, and mainstream paperbacks. Ed ended up borrowing two boxes full of paperbacks, perhaps 75 to 100, of which close to 50 may have been used in the book. By the way, I noticed one paperback lacked the 50 words of comment. If there is a reprint or revised edition in the future. page 116 needs comments for Poul Anderson’s Brain Wave.

   This book gets my highest recommendation and can be obtained from Ed’s Murania Press website or from amazon.com. Price is $50.00 and worth every penny. If you read, collect, or just like paperbacks, this is a must buy.
   
   

         

REVIEWED BY BARRY GARDNER:

   

RICHARD A. LUPOFF – The Cover Girl Killer. Hobart Lindsey #5. St. Martin’s, hardcover, 1995. Apparently no contemporaneous paperback edition (!).

   I quit this series after the first, The Comic Book Killer, because I thought the lead was a wimp, but someone told me that I ought to read this one for reasons [you’ll see below], so I did.

   Ace insurance investigator Hobart Lindsey is searching for the model who was the subject of a cover painting for a rare and obscure paperback published in the late 1940s. A tycoon had died in a suspicious helicopter crash, leaving millions either to the unknown model (if she can be found) or to a foundation for indigent artists.

   Hobart finds himself plunged into the world of paperback collectors, while his lover, police Sergeant Marva Plum, struggles with the suspected murder. A personal nemesis from his first case reappears, adding danger and angst.

   Well, I think you may recognize a paperback collector even before his real-life inspiration is named in the afterword. He has something of a regal air about him. This still isn’t going to be one of my favorite series, but it has definitely improved, and I enjoyed it because of the background. Lindsey isn’t quite as much of a wimp as he was, at least. There’s a nice intro by Bill Pronzini, too.

   Required reading [for everyone reading this].

— Reprinted from Ah Sweet Mysteries #22, November 1995

   

      The Lindsey and Plum series —

1. The Comic Book Killer (1988)
2. The Classic Car Killer (1992)
3. The Sepia Siren Killer (1994)
4. The Bessie Blue Killer (1994)
5. The Cover Girl Killer (1995)
6. The Silver Chariot Killer (1996)
7. The Radio Red Killer (1997)
8. The Tinpan Tiger Killer (1998)
9. One Murder At A Time (2001)
10. The Emerald Cat Killer (2010)

WINDY CITY PULP CONVENTION 2021 REPORT
by Walker Martin


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CONVENTION REPORT: PulpFest 2021
by Walker Martin

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

   

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ed Hulse.

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

   William Maynard sold many books that he heavily discounted.

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

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

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

Dealers room.

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

John Gunnison, on the right.

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

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

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

   Nick Certo–Book dealer and art collector.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

   

   

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

   Check out your basements and attics now.

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

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

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