Friday, July 31, 2009

Pulp Fest, Day One

Simply put, it's been a huge success and a lot of fun so far.

This photo was taken fairly early in the day. I'm sharing a table with Ed Hulse, member of the Pulp Fest committee and also pulp fiction collector extraordinare, raconteur, and all around great person. Ed is sitting to the right of me. To the left is Otto Penzler, whose current book is the Black Lizard Big Book of Pulps, an enormous compilation of hard boiled detective mystery pulps from the Golden Age of the pulps. Otto will be the guest of honor tomorrow night. So sitting between these two men has left me awestruck. I have met almost every person I have ever chatted with online through the various pulp fiction online chat groups - everyone seems to be here - and they have all made me feel like part of the family.

The dealers are selling pulps which consist of practically every single pulp title you could ever want. Like more than one person has mentioned today, there's no where else in the country where you are going to find such an abundant supply of Black Mask Detective magazines for sale. This is a pulp that is hard to find and so much prized by collectors and readers alike that to find one on eBay is news....I found more than a few dealers who had several dozen for sale. Granted, they are pricey - starting at $100 and up for the less sought after issues - but they are here. There are Weird Tales galore, Planet Stories, Dime Detectives, and I saw a copy of The Octopus for sale on the table behind me. And if you know valuable those are...well, if you do, then you're probably here.

The turn out so far has been tremendous. All of the dealers are walking to the elevators with smiles on their faces. And this is only Friday - Saturday is the busy day. We may just have to leave early on Sunday, one said, because we may run out of inventory. One can only hope. Don't know if that's an exaggeration, but it's safe to say that turn out has been great.

I attended a panel, as did at least another 100 people, entitled The State of the Hobby, on which several eminent collectors discussed what they have found to be the ongoing trends of collecting pulps nowadays and how it compares to the past trends. One interesting thing noted was that 20 or 30 years ago, the big pulps that every one wanted were the hero pulps, such as The Shadow and Doc Savage. The general fiction pulps, such as Adventure and Short Stories, weren't in big demand and were very reasonably priced. Which is ironic, because the latter generally consisted of very, very good fiction. And while the hero pulps are still popular, they have been heavily reprinted into new, glossy softcovers over the past few decades and it's pretty easy to get a hold of reading copies. Adventure and Short Stories are not reprinted as much but they are prized by collectors because of the quality of the fiction.

The panel also talked briefly about how eBay has affected the pulp collector and what to look out for when purchasing pulps. Ed pointed out that this is an excellent topic for a future convention panel - lots of time could be spent on this topic alone.

Another panel continued the celebration of the 75th anniversary of the "Hero Pulp Explosion," and discussed the adventures of Jimmy Christopher, better known as Operator #5 hero and his creator, Frederick C Davis. Included in the panel were Davis's son, Rick Davis, and his granddaughter, Karen Cunningham. So I'm not the only granddaughter-pulp fiction-geek out there.

Enough for now. More tomorrow night if I can tear myself away!

For those of you who don't know, Pulp Fest is currently going on at the Ramada Plaza in Columbus, Ohio, starting today (Friday) and continuing until Sunday, August 2. The doors open at 10 a.m. If you haven't registered yet, you can still do at the door and pay the daily entrance fee which is $15. For more info, go to the Pulp Fest website.


Charles Gramlich said...

I'm very glad turnout has been good. Turnout to a lot of cons in the south have not been good this summer.


Looks like a lot of fun.