Friday I drove up to Chicago to check out the Windy City Pulp and Paper show. It was a long haul in crummy weather, and ten miles from my destination I took the wrong exit which cost me a precious 30 minutes. Worse, when I got there I discovered the batteries in my camera were just short of dead and I squeezed only three shots out of it before it died completely. More unfortunate, the Bolles painting I had hoped to see had been left behind, as had been a CD of another original Bolles painting I had previously arranged to pick up. But those things happen and people were there on business with lots to deal with. There will be other opportunities. Besides, I had a great time. As you can see from the photo above there was plenty to keep anyone with an interest in pulps, comics, original art or pop culture entertained, and I spent several productive hours thumbing through stacks of glorious old paper. There was a fabulous original art show that featured the work of Hubert Rogers, one of the very most important science fiction illustrators of the Golden Age. Both his paintings and pen & ink work were terrific. The art show also had some great originals by Hugh Ward and Earle Bergey, each of whom did covers for magazines that Bolles also worked for. I also got to meet at long last, Dan Zimmer, the intrepid publisher of Illustration Magazine who has done as much as anyone the past decade to keep classic American Illustration in the public eye and who was kind enough to publish my biography on Enoch Bolles in an issue of the magazine a few years back. Dan was there with copies of all his magazines and copies of beautifully produced books he has published on the art of Reynold Brown and Norman Saunders. Accompanying him was David Saunders, frequent writer for Illustration Magazine and son of Norman Saunders, the prolific artist of pulps, paperbacks, comicbooks and gum cards (not just any cards, we are talking Mars Attacks! and Wacky Packs). David was there to sign copies of the book he wrote about his father's life and work. If you have any interest at all in pulp art or popular culture, check it out. David and I have been going back and forth on email for the past several years so it was great to place a face with a name. As those of you who have followed Illustration Magazine will know, in the past few years David has managed to track down and interview several pulp illustrators who nobody knew were still living. His fascinating interviews with these living legends have been featured in Illustration Magazine.
I also had some good luck at the show, which like other pulp cons is primarily oriented toward hero pulps such as Doc Savage, The Shadow, The Spider and so on. There is also a lot of interest in the Spicy's but not so much the Spicy titles that Bolles worked on. That being said, I had some good luck, finding several titles I had been looking for a long time, including a cover of Breezy Stories I had only seen as a rough scan. I'll do an entire post on her soon. So despite the long drive back home Friday evening the show was definitely worth it. I'll be back next year.