The Pulpster is the program book for PulpFest, and this time we look at the most recent Pulpster, #24, from Pulpfest 2015. I wasn’t able to attend, but got it.
Each issue of The Pulpster is packed with articles on the pulps, rounded out with artwork, and professionally printed. They stand up to any fanzine. Many articles are written by several of the major pulp researchers, and many articles are organized around the theme for PulpFest. For 2015, the theme was H.P. Lovecraft at 125.
The cover is a photo of Lovecraft taken at age 25. The rest of the issue features several great articles, plus one piece of fiction.
Tying to theme, we get a retrospective of Lovecraft’s legacy from several authors. Each one contributes about a half page write up, and many of the authors have themselves contributed Lovecraft-esque works. So these was an enjoyable set of pieces.Read More
This year’s theme is H.P. Lovecraft, the celebrated pulp horror author, along with Street & Smith’s comic line. It’s the 125th birthday for Lovecraft, and the 75th anniversary for the S&S comics. Most of the contents focus on HPL.
We get a large selection of articles on Lovecraft. From David Keller are two articles reprinted from the 1940s. The first is a good, general article on Lovecraft, and the second is on his astronomical notebook.
Author F. Paul Wilson (Repairman Jack, etc) remembers “My First Lovecraft,” and his experience reading “The Thing at the Doorstep.” Gene Christie looks at “Collecting Lovecraft: A Gallery,” with the covers of early sources for Lovecraft works.Read More
Nick Carter is a literary character which has been around a long time, was enormously popular during his time, but is today largely forgotten. He has appeared in a large number of forms — dime novels, pulp magazines, men’s adventure paperbacks, movies, radio, and comics, — and has also appeared around the world.
He first appeared in a story paper, the New York Weekly, published by Street & Smith in 1886. The son of Old Sim Carter, Carter was trained by his father from an early age to be a physical and mental marvel (sound familiar?), and was able to bench press horses, and was a master of disguise.
He pre-dated Sherlock Holmes, and was more inspired by previous dime novel detectives like Old Sleuth, Old Cap Collier, and Old King Brady (no, I don’t know why they liked using the word “Old” in their names). He was so popular that Street & Smith soon started the Nick Carter Weekly dime novel series. It would, in 1915, become the long-running Detective Story Magazine, and at that point, new Nick Carter stories ended after nearly 40 years! There would be reprints for a couple of years in the pulps, and several years of paperback reprints, but no more new stories.Read More
Doc Savage, the Man of Bronze, has long been a popular pulp hero. But he has also appeared in comic books over the years; some good, some not so good.
He first appeared in comic books published by Street & Smith themselves from 1940-49. Sadly, because of the limitations of eight-page stories and artists that were frankly not that good, the stories in these early comics are pretty poor. This was most likely because S&S just weren’t into comics, mainly farming the work to outside studios. But it is interesting to see how S&S tried to adapt Doc to comics, especially as the comics were obviously intended for a younger audience.Read More
In the next in this series of articles, I take an overview of one of the major pulp publishers and their pulp heroes: Street & Smith.
Established in 1855, Street & Smith was a publisher of inexpensive books and magazines. They started off with dime novels before moving to pulp magazines. In 1940, they added comic books. In 1949, they shutdown both pulps and comic books, selling off some pulp titles to Popular Publications. This lead to speculation at the time that they might sell off their pulp heroes, but that didn’t happen.
At that point, Street & Smith concentrated on “slick” magazines (mostly women’s magazines like Mademoiselle) until they were bought out by Conde Nast in 1959.Read More
In a prior posting, I covered the connection between pulp publishers and comic book publishers.
This time, I’ll delve further into comic book versions of pulp heroes. This post, the first of a two-part series, looks at the comic book versions published during the original hero pulp period (1930s-50s). The second article will look at the various adaptions of pulp heroes into comics, along with original pulp hero comic book characters that also came out.
The pulp hero period basically ran from 1931 (with the debut of The Shadow) until 1953 with the demise of the pulp heroes and the ending of the last pulp heroes The Black Bat and The Phantom Detective. This more or less corresponds with the Golden Age of comic books, which lasted from the beginning of comic books in the 1930s to the early 1950s.Read More