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Rafael De Soto Pulp-Cover Recreation To Be Auctioned At PulpFest

Posted in Conventions,PulpFest on July 24, 2012 @ 3:04 pm

About a month back, PulpFest 2012 was very proud to announce that at this year’s convention we’d be auctioning the substantial collection of longtime fan and scholar Al Tonik — pulps, paperbacks, hardcovers, dime novels, comic books, fanzines, and, particularly, reference books.

One of the last remaining PulpFest members who actually bought rough-paper mags off the newsstands, Al spent several decades researching many aspects of pulp history. In the course of his work, he amassed a huge library of reference material that he used to cross-reference the wealth of knowledge he uncovered through his friendships with veteran pulpsters.

As we began to catalog Al’s vast holdings, it became increasingly apparent that we would have difficulty getting through everything in time for this year’s convention. Given his standing in the pulp community, we wanted to do justice to his collection. With that in mind, PulpFest has decided to take a couple of years to work through the Tonik archives. Therefore, only a portion of his holdings — albeit a substantial one —  will be put up for bid at our 2012 Saturday Night Auction.

In order to thank the PulpFest membership for their patience, Al has decided to sell one of his most prized possessions — a recreation of the November 1934 front cover art to The Phantom Detective, painted by the original artist, Rafael de Soto. A former pulp-convention guest himself, de Soto began to sell cover art to pulp magazines in 1932, contributing to such magazines as Ace G-Man, All Detective, Argosy, Black Mask, Captain Zero, Champion Sports, Dime Detective, Dime Mystery, Five-Novels Monthly, Popular Detective, The Spider, Terror Tales, Thrilling Detective, Walt Coburn’s Western Magazine, War Stories, Western Aces, and Wild West Weekly in addition to Phantom Detective. He produced pulp covers into the 1950s.

De Soto also contributed cover art and interior illustrations to such “slick” magazines  as Colliers, Redbook, Ladies Home Journal, and The Saturday Evening Post, as well as to men’s adventure magazines such as Battle Cry, For Men Only, and True Adventure. He also produced many paperback book covers for Ace, Bantam, Dell, Lion, Signet, and Pocket Books beginning in the fifties.

According to pulp-art historian David Saunders, Al Tonik was one of several collectors who personally commissioned de Soto to paint recreations of his classic pulp covers. “I had to think long and hard to pick the one image I would most like to have!” Al recalled. He chose the November 1934 cover for The Phantom Detective.

Al’s DeSoto painting is a real gem, as you can see here. It will go up for sale on Saturday, August 11th at PulpFest 2012. Register now for a chance to bid on this fabulous piece of pulp memorabilia.

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