EDitorial Comments

Another Holiday Season Bargain!

Posted in Murania Press,Special Sale on November 21, 2019 @ 7:24 pm

Continuing our series of holiday-season sales focusing on groups of books, this week we offer three must-have reference works for anybody interested in pulp-fiction history. The Blood ‘n’ Thunder Guide to Pulp Fiction (revised and expanded second edition) is our all-time best seller, with more than 2000 copies in print and buyers in 23 countries! With 428 pages and more than 750 reproductions of pulp covers and original paintings, the Guide presents a comprehensive history of rough-paper magazines. It has been used as a text in a half-dozen American universities offering courses in pop culture and popular literature of the 20th century.

The sale also includes both volumes of The Best of Blood ‘n’ Thunder, which reprint the cream from the long-out-of-print first 20 issues of the award-winning BnT. Each book supplies more than 300 pages of text and picture galleries.

Purchased separately these books would lighten a buyer’s wallet by nearly $80. Buying all three together during this sale will cost just $54.95, a 30 percent savings. Don’t miss this opportunity to get the trio for a bargain price. And don’t waste any time ordering if you’re interested, because seasonal demand means slower delivery times from our printer as we get closer to Christmas! You can order here.


Holiday Season Bargains Now Available!

Posted in Murania Press,Special Sale,Uncategorized on November 15, 2019 @ 4:34 pm

We’re beginning the 2019 holiday season a little early, and this year we’re doing things a little differently.

Previously we’ve offered discounts across the board, usually 20 percent off each book. This year we’re offering special sales on groups of books, and the amount of the discount for each group will vary. Last week we collected our four books and two monographs devoted to cliffhanger movie serials, pricing all six items at $79.95—a savings of $50 for the entire package, with shipping thrown in for domestic purchasers as always. This group is available in our Books section as “Serial Spectacular.”

Today we’re unveiling a separate sale for the four-volume set of Blood ‘n’ Thunder Presents, our well-received series of oversized books covering different aspects of pulp-fiction history. Now you can buy the quartet for just $69.95 (again, shipping included within the continental U.S.), which represents a savings of 30 percent. In other words, it’s like getting one of the four books free and receiving a five-spot in addition.

For information on the quartet’s contents, please consult each volume’s page in our Books section.

We’re urging customers to take advantage of these sales quickly, because seasonal demand generally translates to longer wait times from our printer as Christmas draws closer. Ordering early ensures faster receipt of merchandise, which is why we’re not waiting for Thanksgiving weekend, as we’ve done in the past.







Next Week: BLOOD ‘N’ THUNDER Volume Two, Number Two

Posted in Blood 'n' Thunder,Murania Press on October 25, 2019 @ 9:30 pm

We’re now accepting orders for the second issue of the revived Blood ‘n’ Thunder!

Volume Two, Number Two begins shipping next Friday, November 1st. Interest in BnT‘s new incarnation remains strong, and the feedback we’ve received to date indicates reader satisfaction with the new format and price point.

If this issue gets the same reception that Volume Two, Number One got this summer, we’ll begin thinking about a third issue for debut next April at the Windy City Pulp and Paper Convention. If it doesn’t, we won’t. The new BnT will succeed or fail based entirely on issue-to-issue sales, and if or when we perceive a lack of interest the revival will stop in its tracks. We have no intention of offering subscriptions or committing ourselves to a firm schedule. Thus far, however, we’ve been encouraged by the enthusiasm people have shown for BnT‘s return.

For a full description of Fall 2019’s contents, check out the listing here.


Coming Soon: The Forgotten Classics of Pulp Fiction, Second Series!

Posted in Forgotten Classics of Pulp Fiction,Murania Press on September 27, 2019 @ 4:31 pm

Murania Press is proud to announce that, owing to the success of its recent “Forgotten Classics of Pulp Fiction” reprint line, a second series of ten books will be published soon. We expect to have the next ten volumes ready early next year; stay tuned for a firm release date.

As with the first series, released this past summer, individual books will be priced at $15.95 (postage included in the U.S.) but the entire set will sell for $100.

Like the earlier “Forgotten Classics” volumes, this second set offers considerable variety as to tone, genre, setting, and time period. In coming weeks we will have more to say about the new additions, but for now here are the titles, listed alphabetically by author:

1. H. Bedford-Jones, Blood, Amber and Jade. Action and intrigue in the Far East with Jim Hanecy, dealer in rare Oriental jewels and artifacts, and his daring associates.

2. Max Brand, The Sword Lover. The overlooked but excellent second novel by this specialist in Westerns is a swashbuckling adventure yarn set in 18th-century England.

3. J. Allan Dunn, The Island. The sequel to Barehanded Castaways is a rousing adventure in its own right and an eminently worthy continuation of Dunn’s original narrative.

4. Clarence E. Mulford, Black Buttes. Almost certainly this author’s best novel not featuring Hopalong Cassidy. Its protagonist spends years combing the West for his sister’s despoiler and becomes involved in a frontier murder mystery.

5. Roy Norton, The Glyphs. After deciphering ancient Mayan hieroglyphs, an eccentric archeologist, a soldier of fortune, and an English sportsman head to Nicaragua in search of a lost city that houses tremendous wealth.

6. Randall Parrish, The Strange Case of Cavendish. A baffling mystery that begins with murder in New York City and the victim’s disappearance, with the only clues directing an intrepid female reporter to the contemporary West.

7. Perley Poore Sheehan, The Copper Princess. The mummy of an ancient Peruvian princess is scientifically revived in early 20th-century New York, and her resuscitation has terrifying ramifications for a curious antropologist.

8. Francis Stevens, Serapion. Combining elements of fantasy, science fiction, and psychological horror, this spine-chilling tale chronicles the efforts of a malevolent spirit to dominate a weak man and his hapless associates.

9. Edgar Wallace, Blind Men. Mysterious events, culminating in murder, seem to have their origins in and around the London headquarters of a charity for the blind. Original pulp-magazine version of a novel later revised and published in book form (and brought to the screen) as Dark Eyes of London.

10. Gordon Young, Hurricane Williams’ Vengeance. The best of this author’s Hurricane Williams novels, a South Seas adventure with an unforgettable climax.



Lone Pine and the Movies

Posted in Murania Press on @ 3:39 pm

The very first publication from Murania Press appeared in October 2003. No, it wasn’t an issue of Blood ‘n’ Thunder; at that time the zine was still being published under the auspices of MGT Media Services, a company operated by BnT co-founder Mark Trost. The first Murania Press product was a 32-page pamphlet titled Lone Pine in the Movies. I had put it together for distribution at that year’s Lone Pine Film Festival.

Long-time followers of this blog will remember that Lone Pine is a small town about 200 miles north and east of Los Angeles, nestled in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountain range, practically in the shadow of Mount Whitney. Lone Pine and its nearby Alabama Hills—picturesque formations of granite boulders spewed across the countryside during a pre-historic volcanic eruption—have been used by Hollywood filmmakers for location shooting since at least 1920. While many classic “A” films have been lensed in the area (among them Gunga Din, High Sierra, and Bad Day at Black Rock), Lone Pine has been employed mostly in Westerns; every major cowboy star and most of the minor ones worked there at least once. More than half of the 66 Hopalong Cassidy feature films were shot there in whole or in part.

In 1990 a few of the town’s prominent citizens organized a weekend-long tribute to Lone Pine’s movie history. That first Lone Pine Film Festival was conceived as a one-shot affair during which some of the above-mentioned motion pictures were screened. The Festival was a rousing success and became an annual event. I got involved in 1993 by loaning rare 16mm prints from my collection for exhibition at the confab. Ten years later, I decided to create a magazine celebrating Lone Pine’s role in Hollywood history.

The 2003 edition of Lone Pine in the Movies sold out at the Festival and I produced subsequent annuals through 2012, when I relinquished the copyrights and editorial control to the recently established Lone Pine Museum of Film History. The Museum’s mission statement called for a concentration of interest in movies made in the area, but several years ago it was revised to focus on Western movies specifically, and not only those filmed in the Alabama Hills. At that time the magazine’s title was changed to Lone Pine and the Movies.

Editorial chores were assumed by my old friend Packy Smith, who’d been Film Coordinator of the Festival since its inception. Following his untimely death late last year, the Museum’s newly installed director asked me if I would be willing to sit in the editor’s chair once more. I could hardly refuse.

So now, once again, Lone Pine and the Movies is being produced by Murania Press. The 2019 edition, which will “technically” debut on October 10th at this year’s Film Festival, is now available from me directly. You can read about and order it here.




The BLOOD ‘N’ THUNDER Revival Will Continue!

Posted in Blood 'n' Thunder,Murania Press on August 30, 2019 @ 12:17 pm

We recently published a “Volume Two, Number One” of Blood ‘n’ Thunder as a trial balloon, giving the zine a smaller format and a cheaper price point. The response thus far has been extremely gratifying, with initial sales stronger than anticipated. After printing up what we thought would be a sufficient quantity for the recent PulpFest, we were surprised when our entire stock sold out within 90 minutes of the show’s opening on Friday morning. (About half the copies had been sold on Thursday evening during the dealer set-up period.) Sales here at the web site have been steady, and we’ve even moved quite a few copies on Amazon, where the zine carries a suggested retail price that’s 20 percent higher.

Therefore, we are moving ahead with plans for a second issue to be published this fall. In fact, we already have enough copy on hand to fill more than half of it. Well-known pulp historians Will Murray and Don Hutchison will be represented with significant contributions, and there will be a special section devoted to the works of Frank L. Packard, the creator of Jimmie Dale and one of early pulpdom’s most prominent figures.

Our plan is to “formally” debut Volume Two, Number Two at the Pulp Adventurecon in New Jersey on November 2. Whether the BnT revival continues beyond a second issue will depend upon its reception. But we’re encouraged by the favorable response to Volume Two, Number One.

Stay tuned for further details.


Permanent Price Reduction for “Forgotten Classics” 10-book set

Posted in Forgotten Classics of Pulp Fiction,Murania Press on August 26, 2019 @ 9:47 pm

You’ll recall that we launched the “Forgotten Classics of Pulp Fiction” series in June with a special promotion. Each book carried a $15.95 price tag with the complete set retailing for $120 postpaid. But for the opening weekend we offered all ten volumes at $100 postpaid to domestic buyers. That brief sale was more successful than we anticipated, with nearly 30 sets ordered in less than 48 hours.

Four weeks ago, in anticipation of the upcoming PulpFest in Pittsburgh, we announced that the $100 sale price would be honored at the convention. We sold four complete sets at the show and delivered a fifth that had been ordered by one attendee just before he left home for the confab. Several conventioneers who weren’t prepared to buy the set at PulpFest asked if we were likely to offer the $100 deal again, perhaps as part of a year-end holiday sale.

Clearly, $100 is the magic number for this ten-book collection. Therefore, beginning today, we are permanently reducing the complete-set price accordingly. Individual volumes in the series will continue to retail for $15.95 postpaid.


PulpFest 2019 Report

Posted in Conventions,PulpFest on August 23, 2019 @ 4:54 pm

Last Thursday morning, August 15, found me with four old friends and fellow pulp enthusiasts headed for Pittsburgh in a 14-seat rental van packed with boxes of pulps, books and other collectibles we planned to sell at the 11th annual PulpFest. It was a picture-perfect day and spirits were high.

For the third consecutive year PulpFest was staging its annual summer confab at the Pittsburgh-Cranberry Double Tree by Hilton hotel, which reposes in neither Pittsburgh nor Cranberry but at the edge of Mars (not the planet, just a small municipality outside Pittsburgh). It’s a terrific venue for an event like ours, with a spacious ballroom holding the 100-plus vendor tables employed by PulpFest exhibitors. An adjoining meeting room, while somewhat smaller, is more than ample for the con’s programming needs.

We rolled into the Double Tree parking lot shortly after 4 p.m. and unloaded the van. Dealer set-up had begun at 3 and a bonafide feeding frenzy was already underway: Adventure House’s John Gunnison was debuting a recently acquired collection and his tables were already crowded with early birds and other dealers feverishly pouring through dozens of boxes. I made a bee-line for John’s exhibit and muscled my way into the throng of pulp-lusting buyers. Although it later turned out that I’d already missed many choice items, within minutes I amassed a stack of pulps that John’s wife Maureen salted away until I could return for a more careful search. The show was off to a good start.

Thursday’s feeding frenzy. I’m in the light blue shirt.

PulpFest has always distinguished itself with carefully planned programming, which started on Thursday evening after the dinner hour. The convention formally begins on Friday, and in earlier years the Thursday-evening session was more or less a throwaway to entertain early arrivals having nothing to do. There would be one or two casual presentations, maybe the screening of a pulp-related movie. More recently, Thursday prime-time programming has been just as extensive as that on Friday and Saturday night. As always at PulpFest, the presentations offered ample variety. Things got underway with Gene Christie’s tribute to pioneering Munsey editor Robert H. Davis, whom he dubbed “the Grandfather of Science Fiction.” Bold Venture Press editor-publisher Rich Harvey followed with a centennial celebration of Zorro, who first appeared in an August 1919 issue of All-Story Weekly. I took the stage with a slide show of stills and posters from movies adapted from stories first published in pulp magazines. Next up was an 80th-anniversary appreciation of Fritz Leiber’s beloved Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser. Newly minted PulpFest committee member William Patrick Maynard polished off the evening’s entertainment with a Fu Manchu film festival, presenting an ultra-rare TV pilot starring John Carradine as Sax Rohmer’s Devil Doctor and a seldom-seen episode from a 1923 British series of Fu Manchu short subjects.

Mind you, all this took place before the convention officially got underway.

Friday opened with a goodly amount of foot traffic and brisk business. This year’s PulpFest was the best in several years for Murania Press. I had ordered up from my printer what I thought would be a sufficient quantity of the newly revived Blood ‘n’ Thunder. About half the copies sold during dealer set-up on Thursday, and the others were gone by 11:30 Friday morning, just 90 minutes into the convention. Turns out I could easily have sold another 15, maybe 20 copies. I also sold four complete sets of the ten-volume “Forgotten Classics of Pulp Fiction” series as well as numerous “loose” books from the group. I had restocked last year’s revised second edition of The Blood ‘n’ Thunder Guide to Pulp Fiction and sold all but one of those.

Some of these sales were made to newbies—people attending their first PulpFest. In fact, I spotted quite a few new faces at this year’s con, indicating the show hasn’t exhausted its growth potential. According to convention chairman Jack Cullers, total attendance was approximately 430, a big increase over last year’s turnout.

Dealer-room traffic remained steady throughout Friday and Saturday. I got the sense that most exhibitors had a good show. There didn’t seem to be any phenomenally rare items for sale, but I noticed some very high-grade copies of popular titles at the tables of high-end dealers Richard Meli and Todd Warren. And there were exceptional bargains to be had by those who took the time to look for them.

Friday’s daytime programming included readings by five “New Pulp” authors, including the aforementioned Bill Maynard (Rohmer-authorized chronicler of Fu Manchu’s exploits) and Christopher Paul Carey, writer of ERB-authorized adventures of characters from the Burroughs universe. Well-known author attendees Chet Williamson, Will Murray, and John Locke did book signings outside the dealer room near the registration area.

The PulpFest dealer room.

Frankly, the Friday and Saturday prime-time programming deserves more coverage than I have room for in one blog post. While I missed a number of presentations, attendee feedback was unusually strong and after the fact I heard nothing but good things about them. Friday had men’s-magazine buff Wyatt Doyle discussing Argosy, Adventure and Blue Book (all of them pulps that evolved into men’s mags). Sherlock Holmes and his pulp connections were examined next, and David Saunders followed with a talk on female pulp artists. John Wooley and John Gunnison took a humorous approach to examining Dashiell Hammett and the detective story. The evening programming wrapped with twin presentations covering pulpish influences on The Twilight Zone and one of its writers, Charles Beaumont.

Saturday’s “New Fictioneers” readings were performed by John Bruening, Roger Alford, Sara Light-Waller, and Win Scott Eckert (filling in for Christopher Ryan, whose pressing deadline kept him from attending the show), with book signings conducted by Win, Nicholas Parisi, and John Wooley. Burroughs Bibliophile head honcho Henry Franke staged an ERB-centric art show that afternoon as well.

The evening entertainment began with a group meal and proceeded to the annual business meeting, which thankfully lacked any drama. The committee reported that next year’s PulpFest would once again be staged at the Double Tree, and that was that. Immediately thereafter the 2019 Munsey Award for outstanding service to the pulp-fan community was presented to George Vanderburgh, publisher of the long-running Battered Silicon Dispatch Box line of pulp-fiction reprints. PulpFest committee member William Lampkin, last year’s winner, did the honors.

Bill Lampkin presents the Munsey to George Vanderburgh.

FarmerCon XIV then occupied the dais with a panel discussion titled “Farmer of the Pulps: A Harvest of Influences.” PulpFest has hosted this contingent’s annual get-togethers for many years now, and the Philip José Farmer fans always provide entertaining presentations. A celebration of the remarkably prolific pulp scribe Arthur J. Burks wrapped up the informational programming and set the stage for this year’s auction.

A relatively small group of items—just over 100 lots—were auctioned off, and I have to say, the assortment was pretty motley. Auctioneers John Gunnison and Joe Taine, working in tandem, did their usual fine job but had little of value to work with. The low point was reached when they were forced to solicit bids for a She-Ra lunch pail. No, I’m not kidding. (Amazingly, the item sold.)

An encore presentation of the Fu Manchu films rang down the curtain on PulpFest’s programming. The dealer room opened on Sunday at 10 a.m. but, as always, most vendors were packing up by noon. As is customary, some dealers (including this one) were offering last-minute bargains. I took in several hundred dollars that morning and immediately raced to other tables to snap up goodies I hated to leave behind. In fact, I made my last purchase—a sharp copy of Unknown‘s first issue—while my friends were packing up our van.

The drive back to New Jersey was brutal, owing to torrential rainfall that for considerable lengths of time had drivers averaging 20 to 30 miles per hour on Interstate 80, where the speed limit is 70. But we had plenty of time to conduct our own PulpFest post-mortem, and the consensus view was that (auction aside) the 2019 convention was the best in several years. My only gripe with the event was the absence of a half-dozen or so good friends I regularly see at this show.

As always, thanks go to the PulpFest committee: Jack and Sally Cullers, Mike Chomko, Bill Lampkin, Bill Maynard, Barry Traylor, and their various family members who chip in. Great job, y’all! I’m already looking forward to the 2020 show!

P.S.  I meant to include photo credits but have already forgotten from whose Facebook pages I cribbed these photos. Please let me know if I grabbed one or more of your pictures and I’ll give you proper credit!

Making my “Pulp Page to Silver Screen” presentation.

My Incredibly Busy April, #2: The Windy City Pulp and Paper Convention

Posted in Conventions,Special Events on May 14, 2019 @ 9:41 pm

I’m posting this convention report several weeks after I planned to, but better late than never. I flew home from Los Angeles on Sunday the 7th and had just two days to prepare for my trip to the 19th annual Windy City Pulp and Paper Convention.

I’d be traveling with the usual suspects: dealer Nick Certo and collectors Walker Martin, Scott Hartshorn, and Digges La Touche, aka “the Jersey Boys.” We’ve been driving together to pulp conventions for ten years now. The big change from previous Chicago expeditions was our choice of rental vehicle. We finally harpooned the Great White Whale and rented a newer, sleeker van—one seating 12 instead of 15 but in every other way a much better drive. By this time the Whale’s mileage probably tops 100,000, and after last year’s trip to PulpFest we’d begun having second thoughts about taking it out again. When we started making plans for this year’s Chicago trip, Nick flatly refused to go in the Whale, forcing us to investigate other vehicles. The one we chose was more expensive by roughly $200 but proved eminently satisfactory otherwise.

We left from my house early Wednesday morning, the 10th, and spent the night in South Bend, Indiana, roughly three-quarters of the way to Lombard, Illnois, the Chicago suburb where the convention is staged. The show’s co-founder, Doug Ellis, leaves in another suburb close by and hosts an annual pre-show open house. As usual we planned on reaching his place by Thursday noon, but this year we forgot the one-hour time difference and actually rolled in at 11 a.m. I mention this only because it enabled me to make a great purchase.

We pulled into Doug’s driveway as he, close friend John Locke, and Windy City partner John Gunnison were stuffing boxes into the U-Haul trailer they rent to transport convention supplies and Doug’s dealer stock. Having arrived too early for lunch, we helped the guys load the boxes stacked up in the garage. I noticed two labeled “Unknown Set.” At first I thought, How could it be an unknown set? He put the magazines in the boxes himself, didn’t he? But then—duh—I realized the boxes contained a set of the classic pulp magazine Unknown. I asked Doug how much he wanted and we cut a deal right there in his garage. The show hadn’t even started and already I’d made a major score!

We drove from Doug’s to the con hotel, the Westin Lombard, in plenty of time to check in and grab dinner before the Thursday-night setup. This year the dealer room was expanded to squeeze in an extra 30 tables, for a total of 180—the most ever. Unfortunately, that meant reallocating the large space previously set aside for programming (auctions, panel discussions, film screenings). As a result, the other events were shunted into a smaller room on the other side of the hotel. Previously we were able to fill our 15-foot movie screen, but the smaller room gave us a much reduced “throw” from the projector and proved barely adequate to contain the large crowd attending both Friday-night and Saturday-night auctions.

I hated to lose the larger space, but it’s great to have more dealers. The array of material for sale was impressive, although I noticed far more collectible hardcovers than pulps in the room. That didn’t make me unhappy, though; I purchased more hardcovers this year than at any previous Windy City show.

Last year was pretty much a washout in terms of adding to the core of my pulp collection, a 600-issue run of Adventure from 1918 to 1948. But earlier this year I’d gotten a handful of needed issues on eBay, and I picked up a half-dozen more at Windy, included the last I needed to complete 1924 (one of the 36-issue years). Also found a few issues needed to fill out my ’30s run of Blue Book. So I was a happy camper.

The auctions—always highlights of a Windy City Pulp and Paper Convention—featured rare material from the collections of the number one Robert E. Howard fan Glenn Lord, the late Bob Weinberg, and Tim Issacson, who consigned a two-year (1934 and 1935), high-grade run of Dime Detective. Record-breaking prices were realized for many items.

Of Friday night’s offerings the real shocker—for me, anyway—was the $3,750 (plus 10 percent buyer’s premium) paid for a 32-page 1944 pamphlet titled The Case Against the Comics. A cautionary document advocating severe censorship of comic books, it predated Fredric Wertham’s Seduction of the Innocent by a full decade and is extremely rare. Still, this copy fetched two or three times what I would have expected.

A copy of the December 1932 Weird Tales (with the first Conan story) gaveled in at $2,500 plus buyer’s premium, a surprise in that it wasn’t even close to being the best copy I’ve seen.

Another breath-taker was a first edition of Herbert Asbury’s 1928 horror-story anthology Not at Night! signed by Asbury, H. P. Lovecraft, and August Derleth: $4,500 plus buyer’s premium. Bob Weinberg had gotten this item from Derleth’s estate.

A fairly disreputable copy of Weird Tales #1 brought $3,750 plus.

Auctioneer John Gunnison brought down the gavel on 230 lots altogether in Friday’s session.

The Saturday auction was somewhat less impressive and exciting, but not without its highlights. Early on, the first World Fantasy Convention Award statue, presented to Glenn Lord in 1978, sold for a cool two grand plus premium. My pal Walker was the underbidder on that one.

The evening’s big kahuna, though, was Glenn’s copy of Lovecraft’s The Shunned House in the 1928 edition privately published by W.Paul Cook. For those unfamiliar with this particular item: Under the auspices of his Recluse Press, Cook printed approximately 300 copies but never had them bound. Many years later Derleth acquired half the print run, distributing 50 sets of the unbound sheets and binding 100 for sale through Arkham House. Glenn acquired one of the unbound sets and had a Houston bindery do a custom job on his copy. On the basis of rarity alone, Shunned House is a phenomenally valuable item, but in this case rarity plus provenance equaled $5500 plus premium.

I never plan to win anything at the Windy City auctions because the stuff I want most invariably sells for a lot more than I’m willing or able to pay. But every year brings a few pleasant surprises, and I occasionally pick up minor items for resale. On Friday I decided impulsively to bid on a 1925 bound volume of Flynn’s that had come from the Munsey offices. It was in pretty nice shape but auctioneer John Gunnison couldn’t get a $50 opening bid. He dropped down to $40, but still nothing. Then he went to $30, and failing to get any interest he was about to pass it when I piped up. Nobody bid against me. I also paid $30 for the 1920 issue of Argosy with the first installment of Francis Stevens’ “Serapion.”

I really wanted several of the Dime Detectives but was outbid on two of the three, winning the June 1, 1935 for $90—a righteous price for that issue.

A month or two before the show, Doug had asked me to moderate a panel on Planet Stories, 2019 being the 80th anniversary of that magazine’s launch. Walker and fellow pulp scholar Garyn Roberts agreed to sit in. But that Saturday night our dinner ran long and we were late getting back to the hotel. With no time beforehand to compare notes or map out a strategy, my fellow panelists and I took the stage in a hurry and just improvised. To my amazement, the 45-minute discussion went over quite well and all three of us fielded compliments afterward, and on Sunday morning.

A total of 525 people passed through the doors, and business was brisk. I sold nearly 90 percent of the Murania Press stock on my dealer-room table, along with a couple dozen bargain-priced pulps. And, of course, I mingled with dozens of friends I only see at the various pulp conventions.

So the show had been a good one for me, both sales-wise and in terms of acquisitions. All five Jersey Boys had done well, in fact, and normally would be basking in the afterglow of a successful convention while making the 800-mile drive home. But on Sunday morning a freak snowstorm dropped several inches of slushy white stuff on Chicagoland, and it was with great trepidation that we loaded the van and left Lombard shortly before 2 p.m.

It’s no fun driving in lousy weather when you have a two-day trip ahead of you. Fortunately, the snow let up once we’d logged a hundred miles or so, although it rained to rain the rest of Sunday and most of Monday—in other words, practically all the way home. Things had finally dried out by the time we reached the Delaware Water Gap separating Pennsylvania from New Jersey.

This was our group’s tenth excursion to the Windy City convention. And one of the most enjoyable, inclement weather notwithstanding.

Doug, his wife Deb, and John Gunnison in the dealer room at Doug’s exhibit. (Picture by Sai Shankar)

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