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THE ART OF THE PULPS: Here at last!

Posted in Special Sale on October 24, 2017 @ 4:33 pm

Today, October 24, The Art of the Pulps officially “drops,” climaxing a process that for me began just over one year ago.

Last year during the first week in October I got a phone call from my friend Doug Ellis, a fellow pulp collector and chairman of the annual Windy City Pulp and Paper Convention, with which I’ve been involved many years. He and Robert Weinberg—author, anthologist, and long-time collector of pulps and pulp art—had recently pitched a pictorial history of rough-paper magazines, to be titled The Art of the Pulps, to the London-based Elephant Book Company, a producer of high-quality coffee-table books. The project had been underway for some time; Doug and Bob, the book’s co-editors, had already asked me to write the chapter on Western pulps. Other genre specialists, among them Blood ‘n’ Thunder contributors Will Murray and David Saunders, were being pressed into service as well.

Bob, who had been in poor health for many years, suddenly took a dramatic turn for the worse and passed away on September 25. After getting over the shock of losing his friend and colleague, Doug realized the entire project hung in the balance. He called to ask if I’d be interested in taking over for Bob, whom I too had known for many years and for whom I had enormous respect. Assuring Doug that I’d be honored to step into the breach, I became the book’s co-editor on the strength of my work with Blood ‘n’ Thunder and my authorship of The Blood ‘n’ Thunder Guide to Pulp Fiction, still the best-selling book Murania Press has ever published.

In addition to supplying the chapter on Western pulps, I penned other essays Bob was to have contributed, wrote numerous sidebars, and performed the editorial carpentry that’s required to make copy fit neatly in space allotted by a book’s designers. Then Doug and I composed the meaty captions accompanying each of the more than 400 covers, paintings, and illustrations included in the 240-page tome. Elephant’s project director wanted 50 to 60 words per illo, so we divvied up the chapters and packed as much information possible into every caption. Each of us pounded out approximately 12,000 words during this phase of the project alone.

Since Art of the Pulps was scheduled for manufacture in China, which these days turns out most books printed in full color on thick glossy stock, our deadlines were unforgiving. Doug and I worked off and on throughout the first half of this year—initially editing contributors’ essays, then massaging copy to fit the layout and grinding out captions to complete the package. There were several rounds of proofreading to catch the inevitable minor mistakes, and by late June the finished project was finally dumped into our printer’s lap. The only cost-effective way to get Chinese-produced books stateside is to sail them across the Pacific, and finished copies reached San Diego-based IDW Publishing (marketing the book under its auspices) early last month. Doug and I received our preliminary authors’ copies just a few weeks ago.

This past Friday I got together with my esteemed co-editor at a Secure Undisclosed Location to jointly sign a limited number of copies.  I’ve been selling some here and will bring a handful to Rich Harvey’s Pulp Adventurecon on November 4th. Doug is saving the rest for next year’s Windy City con.

Signing copies this past Friday at a top-secret location.

Our friend Jim Steranko, legendary publisher, graphic designer, and comic-book artist, got a sneak peek at the final PDFs before they were shipped off to China, and he had this to say about Art of the Pulps: “If there’s only space for one pulpmania book on your crowded shelves, The Art of the Pulps is it—an irresistible entry to pop-culture sorcery! It’s the volume we’ve been awaiting for decades!” Last week, Jim and Doug met for dinner and the Jaunty One (as Stan Lee called Steranko during the latter’s heyday as a Marvel Comics top-notcher) got the first look at a finished copy. I’m happy to report that, according to Doug, he was impressed.

I only have a few—literally, three—more signed copies available here on the Murania Press site, so if you’ve been thinking about ordering one, don’t think too much longer!  I’m extremely proud of this book and will always be grateful to Doug for bringing me on board.

UPDATE, OCTOBER 25: I HAVE NOW SOLD ALL BUT A HANDFUL OF THE SIGNED COPIES AND AM SAVING THOSE FOR THE UPCOMING PULP ADVENTURECON IN NEW JERSEY, SO I’VE REMOVED THE BOOK’S LISTING FROM THIS SITE. HOWEVER, YOU CAN BUY UNSIGNED COPIES AT A GOOD DISCOUNT FROM AMAZON, WHERE THE BOOK IS CURRENTLY THE #1 TOP SELLER IN ITS CATEGORY!

 

Doug shows the book to Jim Steranko at dinner last week.

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