A continuing proliferation of problems (both personal and professional in nature) forced a suspension of all Murania Press activity late last month. While significant difficulties remain, shipping of product will resume in late November and all backorders will be filled before year’s end. These include subscriber copies of Blood ‘n’ Thunder #38 and two titles previously announced for release earlier this year: Volume Five of the Classic Pulp Reprints series (featuring J. Allan Dunn’s The Island) and the long-awaited Distressed Damsels and Masked Marauders. The latter title will figure in a big publicity push tied to the upcoming centennial of the cinematic chapter play: Chapter One of the first true movie serial, The Adventures of Kathlyn, was released nationally on December 29, 1913. Although promised several times only to be delayed, Distressed Damsels will definitely ship next month to take advantage of the publicity break occasioned by the centennial.
Beginning in January, Murania Press will have the services of new volunteers tasked with processing both retail and wholesale orders. This assistance will enable editor/publisher Ed Hulse to spend the bulk of his time preparing upcoming books and new issues of Blood ‘n’ Thunder.
In the interest of getting back on schedule, BnT’s next issue will be another double, cover-dated Fall 2013/Winter 2014 and numbered 39/40. It will be published in late January or early February. Contents of the double will be revealed in upcoming blog posts on the Murania Press site.
We thank those with outstanding orders for their patience, and promise to get all backordered shipments out gradually over the next several weeks.
Owing to the sudden convergence of rather severe problems — a Perfect Storm of bad luck, bad timing, unforeseen obstacles, and unintended consequences — the last several weeks have been extremely difficult for me. As a result I’ve been forced to postpone the printing and shipping of several Murania Press publications announced for late-Summer release, including Blood ‘n’ Thunder #38, the long-awaited Distressed Damsels and Masked Marauders, and Volume Five of the Classic Pulp Reprints series, J. Allan Dunn’s The Island. These items will ship soon; at least two of them by the end of September and the third in early October.
In some cases I’ve held up shipments of multiple items to include copies of the new BnT, and I thank those customers for their patience with me during this trying period.
I’d expected to have the Summer 2013 BnT ready in time for last month’s PulpFest, but eleventh-hour day-job distractions pushed completion of the issue to the very last minute. And then, in my haste, I made the rookie mistake of affixing to the cover an ISBN number that didn’t match the one I’d registered. Correcting and resubmitting the cover file for review would have delayed printing just long enough to prevent final copies from getting to Columbus in time for the convention, so I decided to wait until I returned home from Ohio.
It turns out to be good that I did, because shortly thereafter I discovered that a story I had reprinted in the issue — based on the assumption it was in the public domain — may in fact still be protected by copyright. With no idea where the successor-in-interest might be found, and no desire to pay a licensing fee anyway, I was left no choice but to remove the yarn in dispute and substitute another. It took me a little while to find a suitable replacement; that is, one of a similar type and length. Finally I did, and BnT #38 is at last ready for the printer.
This issue’s outstanding feature is a lengthy excerpt from Nathan Madison’s recently published book, Anti-Foreign Imagery in American Pulps and Comic Books, 1920-1960. In this richly detailed, extensively illustrated piece Nathan explores “Yellow Peril” fiction from the pulps. His exhaustive study complements Bill Maynard’s celebration of Fu Manchu’s centennial from our last issue.
Another book published earlier this year, Will Murray’s Skull Island, pitted Doc Savage against King Kong and aroused much interest not only among the Bronze Man’s fans in general but devotees of Philip José Farmer’s Wold Newton Universe in particular. BnT contributor and Wold Newton adherent Rick Lai examines Skull Island and catalogs its deviations from the Universe in an unusually absorbing work of scholarship. In a separate piece Will responds to critics of his approach. Let it never be said that BnT refuses to present both sides of a story!
Will’s second contribution to BnT #38 is an 80th Anniversary hat-tip to the long-running hero pulp G-8 and His Battle Aces, adventures from which are now being offered in audiobook form by Radio Archives. He covers a hitherto overlooked attempt by Popular Publications editors to gauge reader interest in a proposed shift of emphasis for the magazine.
This summer marked another important anniversary in American pop culture: Superman debuted 75 years ago in the first issue of Action Comics. Mike Bifulco, author of The Original Superman on Television (a definitive guide now in its third edition), weighs in on the recent theatrical release Man of Steel and reflects on the enduring popularity of the TV series starring George Reeves.
This time around our “Tricks of the Trade” department boasts a particularly comprehensive installment by long-time pulp editor and science-fiction specialist Robert A. W. “Doc” Lowndes. Originally written for a 1949 writers’ magazine, this 6400-word treatise is perhaps the most informative piece of its type we’ve published to date. It provides the clearest look yet at how pulp editors appraised the manuscripts they received by the thousands every year.
BnT #38 also reprints two fascinating short stories culled from vintage pulp magazines. James B. Connelly’s “The Last Passenger,” from an early 1913 issue of The Popular Magazine, may well have been the first work of mass-market fiction inspired by the Titanic tragedy. “The Tenth Man,” from a 1922 issue of Adventure, is a taut tale of African intrigue by the unjustly forgotten Robert Simpson.
Subscriber copies will begin shipping shortly after Labor Day. To those of you who either aren’t BnT subscribers or have let your subscriptions lapse, remember that signing up for a year earns you a 20-percent discount on the recently published Blood ‘n’ Thunder Guide to Pulp Fiction.
Individual copies of Blood ‘n’ Thunder #38 can be purchased here for $11.95 plus shipping as soon as they are available. The cost of a one-year, four-issue subscription is $40, which represents a considerable savings.
Just this last week I started receiving e-mails from buyers of the just-released Blood ‘n’ Thunder Guide to Pulp Fiction, and so far they’ve been uniformly positive — even glowing, in some cases. It’s always gratifying to get that sort of response to something you’ve worked hard on, and I’m hoping that the new Guide will be as successful as its predecessor, the now-out-of-print Blood ‘n’ Thunder Guide to Collecting Pulps.
Here are some random comments from folks who’ve just finished reading the book.
Rich Passatino, Atlanta GA: “Congratulations on a really excellent book. I have been reading your magazine for a couple years now so I know how much research you do, but I was totally blown away by the amount of information you were able to get into this one book.”
Thomas H. Corrigan, Charlotte NC: “Just wanted to drop a line telling you what a terrific job I think you did on the new pulp guide. I got a copy of the first one on Amazon before I knew about BnT but this one is a big improvement. . . . I knew you were adding some extra chapters on other genres but I didn’t realize you had also added stuff to the other chapters as well. . . . The cover is super well done, by the way.”
James McFadden, Monticello NY: “What I really like [about the Guide to Pulp Fiction] is when you go into specific issues of the best pulps and talk about individual stories to look for. . . . Also it was a good idea to have the list of anthologies in the back, now I have a chance to get some of these famous stories without buying the old pulps themselves.”
Kenneth Kunkel, Palmdale CA: “Very very cool book. . . . One of the things that impressed me was how many different covers you got into the book. You had a lot, hundreds even, I have never seen before.”
I’m always grateful for feedback and invite those of you who’ve read the book to send me your observations, positive and negative alike. If you’ve not yet purchased The Blood ‘n’ Thunder Guide to Pulp Fiction . . . well, what are you waiting for? You can buy the book as a standalone purchase for $29.95, but if you subscribe to BnT at the same time, you get 20 percent off cover price.
Saturday in the dealers room seemed a bit subdued to me, especially after Friday’s whirlwind activity. But we got a flurry of newbies, including some attendees of my OSU speech and some curious folks attracted by a double-page spread on PulpFest in that week’s issue of Columbus Alive. According to convention chairman Jack Cullers, by the time the dealers room closed on Saturday our total attendance had just topped 400 — that number including staff, dealers, and day-pass purchasers as well as pre-registrants booked for the entire weekend.
I picked up some additional want-list items (primarily issues of Argosy and Blue Book) and a smattering of high-grade Western pulps. Most vendors agreed with me that trade on Saturday wasn’t as brisk as it had been on Friday, but nobody seemed disappointed. In fact, three or four told me that their sales were better at this year’s PulpFest than at the Windy City pulp show a few months earlier. This was surprising, inasmuch as the Chicago confab run by Doug Ellis and John Gunnison is generally considered to be the superior marketplace.
Saturday evening’s festivities got off to a relatively quiet start with the 2013 business meeting, which elicited no substantive complaints from attendees. Those of us on the committee voiced some concern over what we felt was less-than-stellar cooperation from the hotel staff, but it quickly became apparent that our dissatisfaction was not shared by the membership at large, and that flaws obvious to us were not apparent to others.
After the business meeting Matt Moring of Altus Press presented this year’s Munsey Award to the aforementioned Garyn Roberts. The Munsey, named after the father of the pulp magazine, is given annually to a person who has done something special — or many somethings — to keep pulp fiction alive. Garyn certainly qualifies for the honor and I was delighted to see him named this year’s recipient.
Next up was “Fu Manchu and the ‘Yellow Peril’ in Pulps,” which boasted as erudite a group of panelists as it’s been my privilege to moderate: Gene Christie, Win Scott Eckert, Nathan Madison, Bill Maynard, and Will Murray. I thought this was one of the most interesting and substantive discussions we’ve ever had at a PulpFest. Afterward, Chris Kalb wowed the crowd with his slideshow and commentary on premiums offered by the various hero pulps. Chris had spent most of the convention refining his presentation, and the effort really paid off. In fact, he had material left over, so we’re scheduling a follow-up presentation for next year’s con.
John Gunnison and Joe Saine ramrodded the annual Saturday-night auction, which saw the sale of additional reference books and pulp-related items owned by veteran collector Al Tonik, whose holdings constituted the bulk of last year’s auction items. There weren’t any big surprises or major bidding wars, and to my surprise (and relief) the sale finished more or less on schedule, shortly after midnight, enabling me to begin the last five episodes of The Spider’s Web promptly. The late hour took a toll on attendance, and by the time the Spider finally met up with his adversary, the Octopus, only seven hardy souls remained in the auditorium. On balance, people enjoyed the serial a great deal, even if they found themselves unable to see the whole thing.
As usual, Sunday was slow. I doubt more than a handful of new people arrived, although one early-afternoon arrival was dismayed to see dealers already beginning to pack up. I took advantage of the convention’s waning hours to make some last-minute deals. One of my favorite vendors was offering pulps at one-third off sticker price and discounted an extra few points when I compiled a nice little stack.
As per tradition, a dozen of us assembled at a nearby Italian restaurant that evening for a leisurely dinner and post-mortem analysis. The consensus was that 2013’s PulpFest had been a success, although the absence of numerous regulars — dealers and collectors alike — was considered worrisome. We all expressed the hope that this was an anomaly and did not presage a trend.
I may have more to say about PulpFest in the coming days or weeks, but these two posts should give you a pretty good idea of what you missed.
It’s taken me four days to recover from PulpFest-induced sleep deprivation, but finally I’ve regenerated enough brain cells to make some observations about what I believe was another terrific convention.
With veteran pulp collectors Walker Martin and E. P. Digges La Touche in tow, I began the drive to Columbus at approximately 6:30 a.m. last Thursday. It was a beautiful day — sunny and pleasantly warm — and would remain so all the way to Ohio. Nine hours later we were safely ensconced in the Hyatt Regency, PulpFest’s host hotel. An hour after that I was in Ohio State University’s Thompson Library, delivering a presentation titled “The Ancestors of Batman: Colorful Crime Fighters of Pulp Fiction.” Given the gorgeous weather, I didn’t think my talk would draw much of a crowd; to my surprise, more than 40 people showed up. OSU’s Eric Johnson, who’d arranged all this, seemed to think it was a pretty good turnout. Although the drive had tired me out, I blundered through the hour-long talk and at least managed to keep the audience awake — always a plus.
Then it was back to the Hyatt, where dealer set-up and advance registration were already underway. Setting up the Murania Press tables kept me just busy enough to miss Rick Lai’s 8 p.m. presentation on the pulp descendants of Fu Manchu, whose American centennial we were celebrating. I stumbled into the programming room at 9 p.m., just in time to deliver another speech, “Hollywood and the Hero Pulps,” which was by way of an introduction to the first five chapters of The Spider’s Web, the 1938 Columbia Pictures cliffhanger serial adapted from the adventures of a popular pulp-fiction crime fighter. The fifth episode finished at midnight or thereabouts and, bleary-eyed, I staggered up to my room for an abbreviated and fitful night’s sleep.
After joining some pals for breakfast at 7 a.m. on Friday, I hit the huckster’s room just prior to the 9 a.m. opening. There were just over a hundred tables of merchandise for sale, and although several of our usual dealers didn’t join us this year, I found no shortage of desirable items. My preliminary sweep of the room turned up nearly 20 issues of Adventure I needed, and after having those put aside for later purchase, I manned the Murania table for what turned out to be a very busy day.
I’d spent the entire month of July working feverishly on three publications I planned to debut at PulpFest: The Blood ‘n’ Thunder Guide to Pulp Fiction, the Summer 2013 issue of Blood ‘n’ Thunder, and the fifth volume in Murania’s Classic Pulp Reprints series, The Island (J. Allan Dunn’s 1922 sequel to Barehanded Castaways). I couldn’t get a suitable cover design for The Island in time, and a bush-league mistake prevented me from printing the Summer BnT in time to get copies for the show. Only the Guide to Pulp Fiction arrived on schedule, and to my amazement I sold all 25 copies on hand before the end of Day One. I even sold the display copy I’d brought for potential buyers to thumb through. And I took orders for an additional dozen or so copies that, as I type these words, are being printed and shipped. I also did a brisk business in back issues of BnT and previously published Murania Press books. So Friday was an extremely profitable day for me.
During the afternoon we’d had two readings from New Fictioneers William Patrick Maynard and Van Allen Plexico, and a panel featuring several members of FarmerCon, a satellite convention PulpFest has hosted the last several years. This group includes fans of SF writer and latter-day pulpster Philip José Farmer, whose Wold Newton Universe provides the impetus for their activities. Since PulpFest 2013 was dedicated primarily to celebrating the 80th anniversary of 1933’s hero-pulp explosion, the Newtonites were back that evening for a discussion of Farmer’s contributions to the Doc Savage mythos. Participants included Rick Lai, John Allen Small, Win Scott Eckert, and Christopher Paul Carey; Art Sippo acted as moderator and piped in with some trenchant observations of his own.
Next I moderated a panel discussing the aforementioned explosion of single-character pulp magazines in 1933. And a blue-ribbon gathering of historians it was, too: long-time fan Nick Carr; Don Hutchison, author of The Great Pulp Heroes; Will Murray, authorized chronicler of new Doc Savage adventures; and Garyn G. Roberts, college professor and noted anthologist.
Then came David Saunders, son of famous pulp-cover artist Norman Saunders and a talented artist in his own right. David has extensively researched the lives and careers of other pulp artists, several of whom he grew up around and was privileged to know as friends. His presentation on one of them, the prolific and immensely talented Walter G. Baumhofer, featured a slideshow with dozens of rare, behind-the-scenes photographs and heretofore-unseen sketches. After David’s hour wrapped, I came back to run Chapter Six through Ten of The Spider’s Web. The second-night screening was better attended than the first. I slept longer and better that night, looking forward to Saturday.
This blog has been dark for the last several weeks because I’ve been working furiously on a raft of Summer 2013 releases, among them the long-awaited Blood ‘n’ Thunder Guide to Pulp Fiction — which, I’m happy to report, is now available.
This new Guide is a considerably revised and expanded version of the Blood ‘n’ Thunder Guide to Collecting Pulps, which was published in 2007. With the dimensions of a vintage pulp (seven by ten inches), the earlier book had 226 pages. This one has 414 pages. The first Guide reproduced nearly 400 pulp covers. This one has approximately 700, and also uses a smattering of original pulp paintings as chapter-opening illustrations.
In addition to significantly reworking and beefing up copy in the old Guide, I’ve added all-new chapters on genres that weren’t covered in the 2007 book: War/Aviation, Sports, Romance, and Spicy/girlie pulps. The earlier tome’s emphasis on collecting vintage magazines has been toned down for newer fans who just want to read the stuff. As an aid to them I’ve created two new appendices; one offers basic information on the various small-press publishers who specialize in pulp-story reprints, the other lists must-have pulp anthologies both in and out of print.
Although the Blood ‘n’ Thunder Guide to Pulp Fiction is available now as a standalone item, I’m also offering the book at a discounted rate to those who purchase it with a subscription to Blood ‘n’ Thunder. The book’s cover price is $29.95 (shipping included to domestic U.S. buyers) and individual copies of the magazine sell for $11.95. But a four-issue subscription costs just $40, and I’m selling the Guide at a 20 percent discount (which brings its cost down to $24) if you purchase both in tandem. I’ve even created separate pages, one for each purchasing option. Either way, you can get the Guide to Pulp Fiction with just a few mouse clicks.
The combo deal is good not only to Guide buyers subscribing to BnT for the first time, but also to former subscribers who’ve not renewed lately and current subscribers who can extend their subs by another four issues.
A few years ago, in an exchange with me on the Yahoo group PulpMags, legendary writer, artist, editor and publisher Jim Steranko was kind enough to say: “I recommend everyone get a copy of your book, The Blood ‘n’ Thunder Guide to Collecting Pulps — it’s loaded with the kind of insights that only decades of actual reading could confirm. And it’s superbly written, too. Couldn’t ask for more!” I think Jim will find the Blood ‘n’ Thunder Guide to Pulp Fiction equally to his liking. And I’m willing to bet that other folks who bought the 2007 Guide will feel the same way.
I’ve also completed work on the new issue of Blood ‘n’ Thunder (#38, Summer 2013), the latest volume in the “Classic Pulp Reprints” series (J. Allan Dunn’s The Island, a sequel to Barehanded Castaways), and the long-delayed Distressed Damsels and Masked Marauders. The rest is up to my printer.
Normally I’d be announcing another Summer Surprise sale, but to celebrate the holiday weekend I’m offering 20 percent off all Murania Press books, not just one. The sale is limited to Murania Press books only, not issues of Blood ‘n’ Thunder. But it gives you another opportunity to load up on both Best of Blood ‘n’ Thunder collections, Blood ‘n’ Thunder’s Cliffhanger Classics, and previous entries in our Classic Pulp Reprints series. Like the regular Summer Surprise sale, this Holiday Weekend sale continues through Sunday evening and ends at midnight.
Just a reminder that our Summer Surprise Sales continue this weekend with another Murania Press book available for 20 percent off cover price between Friday evening and midnight on Sunday. Where does the Surprise come in? Well, see, we don’t tell you which book is on sale; you have to scroll through each listing to find out. That’s the fun of it.
Back issues of Blood ‘n’ Thunder are exempt, but everything else Murania has published will be available some weekend between now and Labor Day.
- Special November Announcement
- An Important Notice
- Fanzine Follies of 2013; or, The New Issue of BLOOD ‘N’ THUNDER
- Early Praise For THE BLOOD ‘N’ THUNDER GUIDE TO PULP FICTION
- PulpFest 2013 Report: Part Two
- November 2013
- September 2013
- August 2013
- July 2013
- June 2013
- May 2013
- April 2013
- March 2013
- February 2013
- January 2013
- December 2012
- October 2012
- September 2012
- August 2012
- July 2012
- June 2012
- May 2012
- Blood 'n' Thunder
- Collectibles For Sale
- Murania Press
- Recently Read
- Upcoming Books
- Western Movies
- Adventure House
- Age of Aces Books
- Altus Press
- Armchair Fiction
- Black Dog Books
- Black Mask Magazine
- Brotherhood of the Popcorn
- Coming Attractions
- Field Guide to Wild American Pulp Artists
- Girasol Collectables
- Heartwood Auctions
- Major Malcolm Wheeler-Nicholson
- Mike Chomko Books
- Raven's Head Press
- Vintage Library
- Vintage Pulps
- Windy City Pulp and Paper Convention