2021 Munsey Award Nominees

Frank Munsey in 1910.

The PulpFest Organizing Committee has announced the twelve nominees for the 2021 Munsey Award

Named for Frank A. Munsey, publisher of the first pulp magazine, the award recognizes someone who has contributed to the betterment of the pulp community through disseminating knowledge, publishing, or other efforts to preserve and to foster interest pulp magazines.

The winner of the 2021 Munsey Award will be selected by a committee made up of all the living LamontMunsey, and Rusty Award recipients and announced on Friday, August 20.

Here are the nominees and the citations that explain why they are up for this honor.

  1. Begun in 2004, AIRSHIP 27 PRODUCTIONS was the brainchild of veteran comic book writer, Ron Fortier. Familiar with the reprints being published to keep alive the memory of the classic pulp heroes, Ron wondered why no one was creating brand new adventures featuring these amazing characters. Partnering with professional comic book illustrator and graphic artist, Rob Davis, Fortier self-published THE HOUNDS OF HELL, co-authored with Gordon Linzner. In this tale, the TEN DETECTIVE ACES  hero, The Moon Man, battles Doctor Satan, the equally famous WEIRD TALES villain. They followed this book with their first anthology, LANCE STAR – SKY RANGER, starring all-new exploits of a long-forgotten Canadian aviation pulp hero. Then came two anthologies of brand new Secret Agent “X” stories and the first all-new adventures of Ace Periodicals’ Captain Hazzard. Today, Airship 27 Productions continues its mission of producing brand new adventures of classic pulp heroes, as well as new, pulp-inspired heroes. There are over 200 titles in its catalog. Through Airship 27, Ron Fortier and Rob Davis have helped to establish and invigorate the new pulp fiction genre and introduce classic pulp characters to new enthusiasts. Airship 27 has also provided many new writers and artists an outlet for their work, helping them to establish their careers. Airship 27 continues to promote new pulp through such outstanding titles as LEGENDS OF NEW PULP FICTION and the non-fiction guidebook, WHO’S WHO IN NEW PULP, as well as their longtime support for the Pulp Factory Awards, presented annually for the best in New Pulp Fiction.
  2. As the publisher of Wildside Press, JOHN BETANCOURT has made available hundreds of stories from pulp magazines, digests, and early paperbacks available in print and ebook form, particularly in his MEGAPACK format. In the late 1980s, John also helped to revive WEIRD TALES. The magazine went on to garner a World Fantasy Award in 1992 and a Hugo Award in 2009. In 2015, Betancourt helped the revived WEIRDBOOK get off the ground. Originally published by W. Paul Ganley — for which he won a World Fantasy Award in 1992 — WEIRDBOOK continues to appear on a fairly regular basis from Betancourt and Wildside Press. He also serves as the publisher of SHERLOCK HOLMES MYSTERY MAGAZINE and the infrequently issued ADVENTURE TALES, which presents classic tales from the pulp magazines. Earlier this year, John revived STARTLING STORIES, the classic science fiction pulp originally published by Ned Pines’ Standard Magazines.
  3. The Collections Librarian at the University of Connecticut, RICHARD BLEILER is a bibliographer and researcher in the areas of science fiction, fantasy, horror, crime, and adventure fiction. In 2002, he was nominated for the Bram Stoker Award for Best Non-Fiction for the second edition of SUPERNATURAL FICTION WRITERS: FANTASY AND HORROR. With his father, Everett Bleiler, Richard compiled SCIENCE-FICTION: THE EARLY YEARSand SCIENCE-FICTION: THE GERNSBACK YEARS, both published by Kent State University Press. His other work includes THE INDEX TO ADVENTURE MAGAZINE, THE ANNOTATED INDEX TO THE THRILL BOOK, the second edition of SCIENCE FICTION WRITERS: CRITICAL STUDIES OF THE MAJOR AUTHORS FROM THE EARLY NINETEENTH CENTURY TO THE PRESENT DAY, and REFERENCE AND RESEARCH GUIDE TO MYSTERY AND DETECTIVE FICTION. Richard’s essay, “Forgotten Giant: A Brief History of ADVENTURE MAGAZINE,” originally published in EXTRAPOLATION: A JOURNAL OF SCIENCE FICTION AND FANTASY, is considered the finest overview of the classic pulp magazine. He has also written essays on early science fiction, fantasy, and mystery authors for THE DICTIONARY OF LITERARY BIOGRAPHY and other reference works, as well as articles on the writings of Frank Belknap Long and Clark Ashton Smith for Gary Hoppenstand’s PULP FICTION OF THE ’20S AND ’30S.
  4. A researcher of fantasy, science fiction, mystery, and adventure fiction for over thirty years, GENE CHRISTIE has extensively studied and indexed the magazines of the pulp era, especially those published by the Frank A. Munsey Company. Never too busy or tired to help, Gene has volunteered his time, knowledge, and editorial abilities, contributing to projects published by Adventure House, Off-Trail Publications, Battered Silicon Dispatch Box, and others. He annually volunteers at the Windy City Pulp and Paper Convention, in addition to proofing their program book, and has been a long-time attendee at other pulp-related conventions. In conjunction with Black Dog Books, he has compiled and edited several rare and previously unreprinted works, including Cornell Woolrich’s THE GOOD DIE YOUNG, George Allan England’s THE EMPIRE IN THE AIR, Seabury Quinn’s DEMONS OF THE NIGHT, Murray Leinster’s THE SILVER MENACE, and the excellent Munsey anthologies THE SPACE ANNIHILATOR and THE PEOPLE OF THE PIT. He also serves as the editor for Black Dog Books’ Talbot Mundy Library. At PulpFest 2019, Gene offered convention attendees a wonderful presentation on Robert Hobart Davis, considered by many to be the greatest editor of the pulp era.
  5. Probably best known for the SCIENCE FICTION, FANTASY, AND WEIRD FICTION MAGAZINE INDEX that he originally compiled with Steve Miller, WILLIAM CONTENTO has assembled other works that have become essential tools of reference. These include his INDEX TO SCIENCE FICTION ANTHOLOGIES AND COLLECTIONS, INDEX TO CRIME AND MYSTERY ANTHOLOGIES (with Martin H. Greenberg), THE SUPERNATURAL INDEX (with Mike Ashley), and others. Since 2003, he and Phil Stephensen-Payne have built up the online FictionMags Index into a research juggernaut. It currently lists the contents of over 75,000 issues of thousands of different magazine titles. Pulps are heavily represented, of course, but pulp writers turn up in other magazines, too, and the FictionMags Index allows them to be discovered. A huge endeavor, the FictionMags Index has been a tremendous boon to pulp-magazine research.
  6. Although pulp reprints abound in our day and age, such was not always the case. Along with John Gunnison of Adventure House, RICH HARVEY was one of the first small publishers to get the pulp reprint movement off the ground. He started in the pages of his fanzine, PULP ADVENTURES — begun in 1992 — where he published stories from COMPLETE NORTHWEST NOVEL, DIME DETECTIVE, .44 WESTERN MAGAZINE, NEW DETECTIVE MAGAZINE, and other pulps. Two of the highlights were two short stories by Norvell Page, offering the first two adventures of the popular pulp hero The Spider. Rich — along with his onetime partner, Cat Jaster, would go on to reprint two dozen of The Spider’s adventures. As Bold Venture Press, he has published a six-volume series reprinting the complete run of Johnston McCulley’s Zorro tales, reprinted unique tales from one of the longest-lived pulp magazines, RAILROAD STORIES, “new pulp” adventures in AWESOME TALES, and pulp old and new in the continuing PULP ADVENTURES. In 2020, he was the publisher of ZORRO: THE DARING ESCAPADES, an anthology of sixteen all-new adventures from multiple authors, based on the legendary character created by Johnston McCulley. Along with his current partner, Audrey Parente, Rich manages the twice-a-year Pulp AdventureCon in two locations, New Jersey and Florida. These one-day events help to bring the world of pulp to a wider geographic range of fans. Rich is also great at personally communicating with fans one-on-one, whether by email or through social media.
  7. CHRIS KALB is known in pulp circles for his hero pulp websites, like The 86th Floor and The Spider Returns, ventures that have helped to attract people who are new to the pulps. There isn’t anyone out there making better use of all the new technology while still preserving the “oldness” of pulps and popular culture. He has become the person to go to for publishers who want a retro-design for their books or website, including Ed Hulse’s Murania Press. He is also the lead designer for Age of Aces Books, a pulp reprint house that specializes in air war fiction. In 2010, Age of Aces received two National Indie Excellence Awards for Chris’s work on the bestselling THE SPIDER VS. THE EMPIRE STATE. Chris was the designer of PulpFest‘s original website and for many years, put together the convention’s print advertisements.
  8. Like many of us, RICK LAIhas dedicated much of his adult life and disposable income to his passion for collecting pulp fiction (in all its permutations). Rick distinguished himself with the erudite and insightful scholarship that has made him respected among Wold Newtonians and purists alike. Rick’s speculative theories on character and continuity may have been inspired by Philip José Farmer, but were never bound by Farmer or anyone else’s parameters. Rick’s brilliant and provocative flights of fantasy informed, inspired, and even infuriated readers, but kept them coming back for the next article or book. Later in life, Rick made the natural progression from scholar to storyteller as he began creating works that supplement and expand upon his literary speculations. Among his many books are CHRONOLOGY OF SHADOWS: A TIMELINE OF THE SHADOW’S EXPLOITS, THE RETURN OF JUDEX, THE REVISED COMPLETE CHRONOLOGY OF BRONZE, RICK LAI’S SECRET HISTORIES: DARING ADVENTURERS, RICK LAI’S SECRET HISTORIES: CRIMINAL MASTERMINDS, and SHADOWS OF THE OPERA: RETRIBUTION IN BLOOD. Rick has also presented at PulpFest and written many articles for THE PULP COLLECTOR, PULP VAULT, ECHOES, BLOOD ‘N’ THUNDER, and other periodicals.
  9. From the beginning of his very varied career, writer GARY PHILLIPS has always tipped his cap to those who came before, and been a living, breathing homage to pulp culture and aesthetic. From his graphic novels — PEEPLAND, ANGELTOWN — to his short stories — “L. A. Noir,” “Treacherous” — and his novels — the most recent featuring a pulp reimagining of Matthew Henson, the first black explorer to reach the North Pole, his ethos has remained true. A long-time native of Los Angeles who lives near to where he was born and raised, Phillips writes some of the most realistic crime fiction in the genre, filling his stories with characters that fit right into the context of their times. He particularly admires Dashiell Hammett for his plotting and ability to keep his stories “grounded in reality.” Phillips’ restless devotion to bettering his craft shows, as he is still publishing some of his best work even after twenty-three years of being a professional author. Chantelle Aimée Osman, his editor at Agora Books, has written, “Knowing him for a decade before acting as his editor, I can’t think back to a single conversation where Gary didn’t refer me to some (usually obscure) pulp author or series. To me, and to many in the industry, Gary basically serves as the pulp ‘North Star,’ pointing the way for those who come after and making sure we remember those who came before.” In addition to his Doc Savage inspired novel, MATTHEW HENSON AND THE ICE TEMPLE OF HARLEM and his Hammett-inspired detective novels, Gary has contributed stories to ASIAN PULP, THE AVENGER CHRONICLES, BASS REEVES, FRONTIER MARSHALL, BLACK PULP, THE DARKER MASK: HEROES FROM THE SHADOWS, ECHOES OF SHERLOCK HOLMES, THE GREEN HORNET CASEFILES, JEWISH NOIR, LOS ANGELES NOIR, THE SPIDER: EXTREME PREJUDICE, and similar pulp-inspired anthologies.
  10. While some nominees are like Doc Savage — out front and known to most — others are like The Shadow — hidden from view for most of the time, yet still there and appearing when needed. A pulp collector since a teenager, SHEILA VANDERBEEK began attending pulp conventions in 1975. She has attended nearly all of the major pulp conventions since her first. She helped with all the radio recreations that were performed at Pulpcon. A member of the Battered Silicon Press pulp advisory committee, Sheila has helped on many books for the publisher. In addition to recommending authors and series, she has supplied all or most of the stories included in Battered Silicon’s Great Merlini, John Solomon, Needle Mike, Park Ave Hunt Club, Satan Hall,  and Suicide Squad collections, as well as others. She has also provided copies of stories to Steeger Books and other pulp-related publishers. Owning one of the largest and wide-ranging pulp collections in existence, Sheila also provided content information to Leonard Robbins for his groundbreaking pulp magazine indices. She has also helped with countless other research projects in the pulp field. Sheila has been a member of the Pulp Era Amateur Press Society since 1997.
  11. For twenty-five years, HOWARD WRIGHT was the publisher of the Doc Savage fan magazine THE BRONZE GAZETTE. He created his magazine when there was no real Internet and very little information readily available about Lester Dent’s “Man of Bronze.” His main reason for starting the publication was to gather information about Doc Savage, disseminate this news to the “Fans of Bronze,” and keep Doc fans going during the “lean” years when Doc was, for the most part, a mere memory. Through Howard’s sustained efforts, interest in Doc was maintained and his return to the limelight assured. His final issue of the GAZETTE was published at the beginning of 2016. The magazine is being continued by Terry Allen, Kez Wilson, and Chuck Welch, creator of the Hidalgo Trading Company and a former member of the PulpFest organizing committee. It takes three people to duplicate Howard’s superb work on the GAZETTE.
  12. DAN ZIMMER has been working to promote greater awareness of pulp artists by producing and distributing ILLUSTRATION MAGAZINE since 2001. He has published over seventy issues of his magazine. Dan has tirelessly contributed his time, expertise, and personal wealth to promote a more respectful awareness of the artistic accomplishments of pulp artists through the deluxe publication of the many biographical articles on such artists that have appeared in his magazine. He has done this despite the overwhelming fact that his creative vision is far beyond receiving any reasonable economic return for his efforts. His devotion to classic American illustrators is manifest in the elegant presentation of his magazine and has helped to turn the tide in our culture’s growing appreciation of pulp art. Dan has also published illustrated biographies of pulp artists Walter Baumhofer, H. J. Ward, and Norman Saunders through his book-publishing arm, The Illustrated Press. Additionally, he has supported the pulp community by drawing his readers’ attention to various pulp conventions, including the Windy City Pulp and Paper ConventionPulpcon, and PulpFest. Dan has also served as the sponsor of Windy City’s annual pulp art exhibit and created the limited edition print of David Saunder’s Munsey Award painting without cost to the PulpFest organizing committee.

[Via Locus Online.]

1 thought on “2021 Munsey Award Nominees

  1. Congratulations to all. On a personal note, those massive Kent state bleiler volumes were ambrosia to my late, late adolescent self. I can’t explain why I enjoy reading such material, but I used to read little else.


    Good times.

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