If your tastes lean toward classic crimefighters, salt-of-the-earth cowboys, damsels in distress, detectives under duress, space travelers with jet-packs, swooning ladies, or just plain weird creatures that cannot be named, this is probably an event you would enjoy. Vintage pulp magazines, movie memoribillia, collectible paperbacks, original artwork, and even some new media turn up.
What Is Pulp?
That question has plagued scholars since Pulp Fiction ghosted across the silver screens across the nation. Quentin Tarrantino's film brought the subject out of the shadows and into the living rooms, but it muddied the waters of definition at the same time. To wit: Is it a motion picture? A style of writing? An atitude?
Well, it's all of those things, but Pulp Fiction is also a magazine ... several magazines ... thousands of them, in fact.
In the late 1800s, publishing mogul Frank A. Munsey decreed that the paper and binding of a publication were wholly secondary to its content. To that end, Argosy transformed from a children's magazine to an all-fiction format printed on low-grade newsprint. The paper was to publishing what meatloaf is to dinner tables across this great land.
But I like meatloaf ... and I like pulp magazines.
Some of the greatest names in pulp fiction became popular in other media. Perry Mason, Zorro, Tarzan, and authors such as Dashiell Hammett, Ray Bradbury, Max Brand. They became the greatest practitioners of genres like science fiction, hardboiled detectives, masked crimefighters. In many cases, they were the inventors and pioneers of these genres.
Magazines like Amazing Stories, Black Mask, Weird Tales, Argosy, and The Shadow changed the landscape of popular culture for all time. In many ways, they continue to influence modern movies and television shows -- but, as the song goes, ain't nothing like the real thing.