2009 Pulp Fan Conventions

As reported here last year, a schism in the Pulpcon board led to rival pulp magazine conventions being scheduled for August, both in Ohio — Pulpfest 2009 in Columbus, July 31-August 2, and Pulpcon 38 in Dayton, August 14-16.

Rusty Hevelin and PulpCon’s other top officers remain with the original con, while Mike Chomko and two other former directors have launched Pulpfest.

The two events are already competing for the core interest group, so it can’t help that their dates also bracket the Worldcon in Montreal, August 6-10. Will scheduling cost them a critical number of potential members? Hard to say. Last year’s Pulpcon ran successfully the weekend before Denvention – and really, since the date of the Worldcon has been advancing progressively earlier in the summer, it must be impossible to avoid that conflict without bumping up against the dates of MidWestCon, Dragon*Con or other events that a Midwestern specialty con cannot afford to overlap.

A lot of pulp collectors I know are from the generation that depends on paper more than it does electronic communication. However, fans who care about the quality of internet-based communication will find their decision practically made for them. The Pulpcon 38 site is static and its Registration and Information links are dormant. Pulpfest 2009 has a full-blown convention information website with incredible graphics.

4 thoughts on “2009 Pulp Fan Conventions

  1. “A lot of pulp collectors I know are from the generation that depends on paper more than it does electronic communication.”

    Yes, I smiled when I saw that Pulpfest has an rss feed.

  2. Actually, PulpFest 2009 is not only using the Internet to publicize our convention. We are also distributing many flyers at various conventions including mystery shows, science-fiction conventions, comic conventions, film conventions and book and paper shows. We will also be advertising in various magazines aimed at book and paper collectors–FIRSTS, PAPER AND ADVERTISING COLLECTOR’S MARKETPLACE, DIME NOVEL ROUND-UP, PAPERBACK PARADE, BLOOD ‘N’ THUNDER, ALTER EGO and more. Additionally, we will be sending a mass mailing via John Gunnison of Adventure House and also have our own mailing list for those who are not on the Internet. We are doing the best we can to publicize PulpFest 2009.

    Although it has been reported in the science-fiction community that a schism in the Pulpcon committee led to the creation of PulpFest, I would more correctly label it as a disagreement over the way the convention has been managed.

    For a fairly substantial number of years–somewhere between 6-10 years–attendance has been dropping at Pulpcon. From a membership of 300+ about ten years back, last year’s attendance was, at most, about 180. That figure was probably inflated by people who paid for a membership, but did not attend the show. During the course of the convention, several dealers reportedly did head counts and came up with a number less than 150 (including the dealers).

    During an extended business meeting at the 2008 Pulpcon, the general membership of the convention offered a wide variety of ideas to improve attendance at the convention. Jack Cullers, Barry Traylor and myself felt that it would be best to try to quickly institute as many of the membership’s ideas as possible. From our perspective, the other members of the Pulpcon Committee did not feel that speed was required. They seemed to believe that only minor changes were necessary to turn the convention around.

    For about 6-8 weeks following the 2008 Pulpcon, Jack Cullers, Barry Traylor and I attempted to institute many of the changes requested by the Pulpcon membership. However, when it became apparent that the other members of the committee were resistant to making wholesale changes in an attempt to improve attendance, the three of us decided to mount our own pulp con.

    With the help of Ed Hulse, the editor and publisher of BLOOD ‘N’ THUNDER, Jack, Barry and I created PulpFest 2009. Our blueprint for the convention is based upon the ideas expressed by the general Pulpcon membership over the last few years.

    So you see, PulpFest was not founded due to a schism within the Pulpcon organizing committee, but upon a desire to do what the membership of Pulpcon has asked that convention to do for many years.

    Mike Chomko

  3. There’s one more person involved with PulpFest 2009 who I should also mention and that is Chris Kalb, our website designer and art director. Chris has done a phenomenal job on our website as well as in flyer and advertising design. Although not a member of the PulpFest 2009 organizing committee, Chris is a very important member of our organization. He’s helped us to bring our convention a very long way in a matter of a few months.

    Mike Chomko

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