|PULPS >> THE PULPS >> COLLECTING|
Art by Walter Baumhofer
Doc Savage TM & © Conde Nast Publications
I saw -- and immediately bought -- my first Pulp magazine at an antiquarian book fair in Pennsylvania in 1992. I was a reader of Doc Savage and Spider paperbacks, but my awareness of their Pulp magazine roots pretty much began and ended with the few black and white pictures in Jim Harmon's Nostalgia Catalogue, a favorite library book growing up. This secret history was as elusive to me as the Tom Mix rings and Radio Orphan Annie decoders that Harmon also wrote about; Items that were the purview of only an elite group of collectors or diligent estate-sale hunters, or so I thought. Seeing that first pulp made me an even greater fan of Doc Savage. Owning it made me a collector.
Time, travel, research, and now especially the Internet, has taught me that Pulps, while not plentiful, can be owned by mere mortals. I initially found Pulps by visiting book and paper shows, antique malls, and the occassional discerning comic shop or used book store. In the dark ages before the Internet, I got my first Operator #5 by answering a classified ad in the Comics Buyer's Guide, and won my first Spider through Hake's phone-in auction. In 1996 I discovered PulpCon and saw my first convention hall filled to the rim with tens of thousands of Pulps! I've gone back many times, but somehow I'm still not jaded to their retro charms.
Because value depends so much on the fragile, and rapidly deteriorating, condition of the Pulp, I tend to only buy Pulps in person, though I have been known to take a chance on what looks like a good deal on eBay. I have mixed feelings toward this auction behemoth; Though eBay has brought a lot of Pulps out of people's attics, it's also had the effect of syphoning off dealers from PulpCon and other shows, since the prospect of selling from home is so much easier and cheaper.