July 2013



THE MAD DOCTOR OF MARKET STREET. Universal, 1942. Una Merkel, Lionel Atwill, Nat Pendleton, Claire Dodd, Anne Nagel, Hardie Albright, Richard Davies. Director: Joseph H. Lewis.

   There`s a certain art to making an enjoyable bad movie, to which The Mad Doctor of Market Street bears witness. Directed by the redoubtable Joseph H. Lewis and written by someone named Al Martin (not exactly a name to conjure with, but he deserves his due) this one offers the eponymous medico-maniac (ably impersonated by Lionel Atwill, the second-greatest mad doctor of his time) against backdrop of a delightful studio-made luxury liner, followed by an equally bogus tropical island.

   Native Devil-Worship, shipwreck, unconvincing leading players (Claire Dodd and Richard Davies, admirably stiff as cardboard cliches) and capable comedy relief provided by Una Merkel and Nat Pendleton.

   The show really revolves around Lionel Atwill as a self-styled genius whose ground-breaking experiments in suspended animation seem to be breaking ground only in cemeteries. After a particularly egregious cock-up, Atwill takes it on the lam and ends up shipwrecked on a tropical island with the rest of the cast, where the natives decide he’s the God of Life and Death, with all the privileges and perquisites pertaining thereunto.


   None of this is to be taken seriously for moment, but everyone involved really seems to act their little hearts out, putting commendable pace and energy into what is, after all, a forgettable time-killer. Director Lewis throws in the odd camera-angle and an occasion bit of mood one doesn’t expect in this sort of thing, and it emerges as quite a worthwhile effort.

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.


   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.

GASTON LEROUX The Perfume of the Lady in Black

GASTON LEROUX – The Perfume of the Lady in Black. Brentano’s, US, hardcover, 1908. Published in the UK in paperback by London Daily Mail, 1909. Translation of Le Parfum de la Dame en Noir, Paris, 1909. Softcover reprints include: Dedalus Ltd, 1998; Wildside Press, 2012. Silent film: Eclair, 1914, as Le Parfum de la Dame en Noir (scw & dir: Emile Chautard). Sound film: Osso, 1931, as Parfum de la Dame en Noir (dir: Marcel L’Herbier). Also: Alcina, 1949, as Le Parfum de la Dame en Noir (scw: Vladimir Pozner; dir: Louis Daquin).

   The present volume is a sequel to that exceptionally clever detective story, The Mystery of the Yellow Room. We presume that it is no disadvantage in a sequel, from the practical point of view, that it shall send the reader back to the pages of its predecessor.

   That is what M. Leroux does in the present instance, though indirectly. Yet it would have been better to insert a frank recommendation right at the beginning that the earlier work be read as a preparation for the treat to come; for without a previous acquaintance with the two men whose deeds fill the pages of both stories, the reader will find it somewhat difficult to enter into the spirit of the latter events.

   The Perfume of the Lady in Black can be described as inferior to The Mystery of the Yellow Room and yet remain a tale of mystery and ‘ratiocination’ very far above the average. Its inferiority consists in this, that the same device which was employed with simple and direct ingenuity in the earlier book, appears here in a somewhat mechanical and cumbersome setting.

   Still, the highest judgment a book of this kind can aspire to is that it cannot be laid down till it is finished. That verdict can be justly pronounced in the present case.

– Unsigned
– “Current Fiction”
– March 18, 1909
– [Scroll down to page 282, middle]

Editorial comment: Thanks to Al Hubin’s Crime Fiction IV for the information about the various film versions of this book.



THE CROOKED CIRCLE. World Wide, 1932. Ben Lyon, Zasu Pitts, James Gleason, Irene Purcell, Burton Churchill, Frank Reicher, Tom Kennedy. Director: H. Bruce Humberstone. Shown at Cinefest 19, Syracuse NY, March 1999.

   This hit all the right buttons for me, although some people felt it was one of the worst films of the weekend. Lyon, Churchill and Karns are members of the Sphinx Club, a group of amateur criminologists. Their opposite number is The Hooded Circle, a gang of masked villains, who appear to have infiltrated the Sphinx Club and to be poised to eliminate their competition.

   Much of the action takes place in an old house, reputed to be haunted, and it has the requisite sliding panels, chairs that dump occupant down chutes, and a clock that strikes 13 times.

   Almost nobody is what he (or she) appears to be, and you may not care, but I had a good time and I would like to think I wasn’t the only one. Yes, Zasu flutters like an inebriated butterfly, but Gleason’s dry style manages to provide something of a tonic.

PATRICK QUENTIN – Puzzle for Fiends. Avon, reprint paperback, 1979. Originally published by Simon & Schuster, hardcover, 1946. Other paperback reprints include: Pocket #614, 1949, as Love Is a Deadly Weapon; Ballantine F778, 1970; Penguin, trade paperback, 1986.

PATRICK QUENTIN Puzzle for Fiends

   Since late last year Avon has quietly been reissuing the Quentin “Puzzle” series, although unfortunately they haven’t bothered to publish them in chronological order. This was the first one they did, and as it turns out, it’s one of the later ones in the series.

   But I hope you’ve seen them — the attempts at period photography on the covers came out well, and they’re certainly designed for eye-appeal — and even though the asking price of $2.25 seems a little stiff, if you’ve never read any of them, here’s a part of what the Golden Age of Mysteries was all about.

   As a detective, Peter Duluth was purely an amateur. As a civilian, he was usually a theatrical producer; his wife Iris, a glamorous Hollywood star. In this book, though, she makes only the briefest of appearances, as she’s off on an ex-tended overseas entertainment tour just as Peter arrives home, Navy discharge in hand.

   And for that matter, neither does Peter do any producing, since in true tour de force fashion he wakes up from a mugging attack to find himself without a memory to call his own, casts on both arm and leg, and being taken for someone called Gordy Friend, and by the latter’s own family, no less.

PATRICK QUENTIN Puzzle for Fiends

   Still, there’s nothing like waking up from a nap and finding yourself rich, is there?

   Nevertheless, accident and all, Peter has not been weakened enough mentally to sense that appearances, as always, can be deceiving. He soon learns that he is a central figure in a small fiendish scenario involving both himself and a will about to be contested in unusual fashion by the West Coast branch of the Aurora (Minn.) Clean Living League.

   A number of nicely thought out twists follow before Duluth finds his befogged way out of this mess, with one of them depending greatly on — how does the riddle go? — a “particularly nasty spell of weather.” Well done — Bravo!, in fact — with a couple of scenes decidedly more erotic than anything you could ever find in the complete works of, say, Christie, Carr and Gardner, combined.

Rating:   A.

— Reprinted from The MYSTERY FANcier,
       Vol. 4, No. 4, July-August 1980 (slightly revised).

Bibliographic Note:   Peter Duluth appeared in nine mysteries, the first six of which were in the “Puzzle” series, of which this is the fifth.



TELL NO TALES. MGM, 1939. Melvyn Douglas, Louise Platt, Gene Lockhart, Douglass Dumbrille, Florence George. Dorector: Leslie Fenton.

   Tell No Tales offers a Good Idea for a Movie, almost buried under MGM production gloss. Melvyn Douglas — who, in his day, starred opposite Greta Garbo and Boris Karloff with equal aplomb — plays a big-city newspaper editor who gets a break on a kidnapping case: a Hundred Dollar bill marked as part of the ransom payment falls into his hands. Using his connections and newsman’s instinct for a story, he follows the bill from hand to hand, back to the kidnappers.


   This is fairly standard stuff for a 30s crime reporter story, but writer Lionel Houser milks a lot of extra interest from it. As Douglas tracks the bill from person to person, we get unsettling glimpses of the lives he’s walking in on: an older man whose pretty young wife bought a gift for another man with it; a black prizefighter who paid his doctor bill before dying or a prestigious singer afraid it will betray a sordid secret.

   Writer Houser and director Leslie Fenton make the most of this Woolrichian bent (the scene at the prizefighter’s wake, held over a seedy nightclub, is particularly unsettling) with flashes of insight that lift this film well out of the ordinary.


   Unfortunately, there is that MGM Gloss to contend with, and it almost suffocates a very intelligent little B-movie. At Warners, Tell No Tales would have established the lead character cracking a case with a quick montage of sirens, bullets and screaming headlines; Monogram would have opened the film with economic stock-footage and a wise-cracking talk on a pinch-penny Editor’s Office Set.

   But not MGM. No sir. They open Tell No Tales with a big money shot of editor Douglas walking through a busy newsroom packed with extras, taking a few minutes of his (and our) time to give a break to an honest politician, and organizing a surprise party for file paper’s oldest employee, thus establishing him as a man of character and sensitivity (like all big city newspaper editors) and incidentally wasting about ten minutes of a one-hour movie.

   The surprising thing is that once you get past this yawning chasm, Tell No Tales still manages to pack a lot of interest, thanks mainly to fine writing and the considerable charm of leading players Melvyn Douglas and the under-used Louise Platt (who played the pregnant army wife in Stagecoach that same year) seriously abetted by veteran nasties like Douglas Dumbrille and Leroy Mason.

   Look for this one.

Editorial Comment:   This movie has been reviewed once before on this blog, the earlier post contributed by David L. Vineyard. Check out what he had to say here.

WARNING: Part Two of the YouTube video provided is incomplete. (See Comment #1.)

William F. Deeck

ROBERT MARTIN – Just a Corpse at Twilight. Dodd Mead, hardcover, 1955. No paperback edition.

   In this investigation by Jim Bennett, he has been farmed out by his agency’s head to work for an unnamed state checking into industrial accidents and occupational diseases. In Beech Tree to get permission from the widow to perform an autopsy on her husband, who was collecting compensation for silicosis but died of a heart attack, Bennett encounters obstruction from all but the widow.

   The town’s doctor, who is also the county coroner, the funeral director, and the sheriff, a conniving alcoholic, are opposed to the disinterring of the late and at least lamented by the widow. These gentlemen are also all interested in the widow.

   Not one of the world’s quick thinkers, Bennett. He has to be shot at twice before he reluctantly concludes someone doesn’t care for his presence in Beech Tree. Still, he does clear it all up with the aid of Rosemary the cat.

   A character says of a fictional mystery writer’s books: “No cliches, no hard-boiled stuff, no whiskey and blondes and all the rest. He just writes about real people with real problems. Why, even without the murders, his books are interesting.”

   The last sentence may be a bit extreme; otherwise she’s pretty much summed up this novel.

— From The MYSTERY FANcier, Vol. 12, No. 2, Spring 1990.

Editorial Comment: For a long overview of author Robert Martin’s career by Jim Felton, followed by a complete bibliography put together by myself, follow this link now.

Reviews by L. J. Roberts

SARA GRAN – Claire DeWitt and the City of the Dead. Houghton Mifflin, hardcover, June 2011. Mariner Books, trade paperback, May 2012.

SARA GRAN Claire DeWitt and the City of the Dead

Genre:  Private eye. Leading character:   Claire DeWitt, 1st in series. Setting:  New Orleans.

First Sentence: “It’s my uncle,” the man said on the phone.

   Claire DeWitt advertises herself as the world’s greatest private investigator. As such, she accepts a case in recent post-Katrina New Orleans. Her client is the nephew of Vic Willing. The case is to find out what happened to him, the city’s wealthy district attorney who disappeared during the flooding after the hurricane.

   Every now and then, an author comes along with a voice and style that it is almost impossible to describe, quantify, or explain. That was my reaction to Ms. Gran’s first book in a series, Claire DeWitt and the City of the Dead.

   At its heart, it’s a classic hard-boiled mystery, complete with drugs, guns, liquor and bad guys. Then intermix with that a detective who was trained by a wealthy New Orleans woman, Constance Darling, and the book Détection, by Jacque Silette…

    “Clues are the most misunderstood part of detection. Novice detectives think it’s about ‘finding’ clues. But detective work is about ‘recognizing’ clues” … plus a layer of dreams, intuition. … “Never be afraid to learn from the ether. That’s where knowledge lives before someone hunts it, kills it, and mounts it in a book.” … and the I-Ching, and you have something that is unique and wonderful.

    Claire is anything but your usual female detective. She’s from Brooklyn, she knows death and drugs and liquor. She’s not a comfortable protagonist. We learn details of her past and life throughout the story. What is interesting is that every character Gran creates is vivid and memorable, including those who don’t exist, such as Constance and Silette. It’s a story that doesn’t really have any minor players, only short scenes.

   Gran’s descriptions are powerful. New Orleans is a city unlike any other yet, particularly in this time setting, she does not make any effort to romanticize it. It is ugly, violent, sad, desperate and very real. Remarkably, however, at the end we’re left with a sense of hope, both for the city and the characters. You want to know what becomes of them, even if they break your heart.

   The true sign of a book that stands above the usual, is that it makes you stop and consider… “What will fill the void left by the missing person? … Who will now breathe his air, eat his food marry his wife? Who will fill his seat at the university lecture, the foot ball game, in the old armchair at home?…” Gran has a different perspective than I’ve ever found.

   The story’s plot may not always be the easiest to follow, but it is so worth paying attention to every word and every clue and giving each page a bit of thought. That’s easy to do as it is thoroughly and completely engrossing. There are times it may seem trite or pretentious, but you then find yourself going back and reading sections again because something about them resonates. Only because I needed to sleep at night, did I ever put it down.

   Claire Dewitt and the City of the Dead is a remarkable book. I suspect you will either love it or wonder whether I was indulging in one of Claire’s vices.

Rating:   Excellent.

Bibliographic Note: Book two in this series is Claire DeWitt and the Bohemian Highway (June 2013).



SONG OF THE EAGLE. Paramount, 1933. Richard Arlen, Charles Bickford, Jean Hersholt, Mary Brian, Louise Dresser, Andy Devine, George E. Stone. Director: Ralph Murphy. Shown at Cinefest 19, Syracuse NY, March 1999.

   Hersholt plays a genial brewery owner who attempts a comeback after the lifting of Prohibition, but refuses to go along with the extortion scheme of former employee and now big-time mob boss, Charles Bickford.

   Arlen is the honest son, Dresser the naive, and Devine a brewery employer who stays with Hersholt while certified rat George E. Stones casts his lot with Bickford. The scene in which Bickford gets his comeuppance is highly improbable although enormously satisfying.

   This plays like a Warner Brothers meller that got a bit soft in the head when it was re-routed through Paramount, but it’s still great fun.


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…

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