I just got home from a little excursion to PulpFest 2010 in Columbus, Ohio.
PulpFest is a convention dedicated to the history, preservation and collecting of the pulp fiction stories of the early 20th century. Characters such as The Shadow, Doc Savage, Tarzan, and more made their first appearances in the pulps.
Pulps got their name because of the cheap paper that was used to produce them. There were magazines from every genre imaginable: science fiction, fantasy, horror, detective stories, westerns and even romance. They all told stories that captured the imaginations of Americans for decades until they fell out of favor with the publication of the first paperback books around World War II. They finally faded away altogether with the advent of television, which quickly became the chosen entertainment of the land.
However, the phrase "gone, but not forgotten" certainly applies to the pulps. Not only did many of the characters introduced in the pulps go on to star in other mediums such as comic books and movie matinee serials (and even the features themselves), but the publications themselves were collected by many, and still are today. PulpFest is a testament to that.
I stopped down there today to check out the wares in the dealers hall. I found a room full of old pulp magazines of every ilk, paperback novels, old hardcover novels, original artwork that had served as cover paintings for novels and magazines, reprints, and even new material being done in the style of the pulps. The pulp tradition is being carried on even today!
One such publisher that I had the pleasure of speaking with was Ron Fortier of Airship 27. If Ron’s name is familiar to you it may be because he’s also been a prolific comic book writer. His past works include The Incredible Hulk for Marvel, The Green Hornet for NOW Publications and a little book (also for NOW) called The Terminator: Burning Earth that launched the career of its artist, Alex Ross.
Now, through his Airship 27 imprint, Ron is publishing all new tales in the pulp tradition. They’ve just released a new book, The Green Llama Unbound marking their 28th publication. Ron shared with me a little about their future plans and there is some fantastic stuff coming down the road for fans of high adventure, in addition to their strong library old current books. Definitely check them out!
I spent several hours just perusing all the books and magazines being offered for sale. Sadly, right now, my money is tied up for Gen Con at the end of the week. So, I ended up spending a grand total of $1.00 on two old Perry Rhodan science fiction novels from 1969. I saw another dealer selling pretty inexpensive copies of old Galaxy magazine. I really wanted to pick up the July 1965 (when I was born) issue, but that one was already gone.
I saw plenty of stuff that I wrote down to order later online such as reprints of the old Planet Stories pulps (not to be confused with the new books from Paizo, which I’m also reading, that derive their inspiration from their namesake). There’s so much out there that I’m just now beginning to discover. It’s been quite exciting!
I had a fantastic time, and am already looking ahead to PulpFest 2011. But, next time…I’m bring more cash!