Thursday, 29 September 2016

In memoriam - Bob Weinberg (1946-2016), pulp and art collector extraordinaire

Recently, I got the sad news that Robert (Bob) Weinberg, pulp and art collector extraordinaire a passed away. I didn't know Bob very well, I spoke to him only a few times, but he shared his knowledge and passion for pulp magazines and art with me in many ways.

Robert (Bob) Weinberg - portrait by Jon Arfstrorm, Weird Tales illustrator (courtesy David Saunders)
Robert (Bob) Weinberg - portrait by Jon Arfstrorm, Weird Tales illustrator (courtesy David Saunders)
It all began with my picking up an issue of Famous Fantastic Mysteries on EBay. It was part of a lot i purchased; i would not have picked it up on its own merit. If i remember right, it was this issue:
Famous Fantastic Mysteries magazine, October 1946

To be honest, the cover art rather put me off reading the pulp, and I put it aside to get at the others in the lot. About a week later, I picked it up and started flipping through the pages. I was struck by the amazing interior artwork - this issue has illustrations by both Virgil Finlay and Lawrence Stevens. It was the first time i ever flipped through a magazine looking for more art and ignoring the stories entirely. When i was done, i knew i wanted to see more of their work and read about how they did this. So i googled them - and i came across some articles by Bob on collecting pulp artwork, including many by Finlay and Stevens - they're listed here:

Collecting Fantasy Art #1: Starting at Zero
Collecting Fantasy Art #2: Aces and Earls
Collecting Fantasy Art #3: Meet Marty G.
Collecting Fantasy Art #4: Art Mania!
Collecting Fantasy Art #5: Lail, It Rhymes with Gail
Collecting Fantasy Art #6: An Art Potpourri
Collecting Fantasy Art #7: Susan and Betsy
Collecting Fantasy Art #8: Sam and the Scientologists
Collecting Fantasy Art #9: Darrell and Sam, Two Famous Collectors
Collecting Fantasy Art #10: A Party and Some Sales
Collecting Fantasy Art #11: Secrets of New Jersey -- Part 1, Two Visits
Collecting Fantasy Art #13: Two Great Artists

Bob's anecdotes of buying art without any real competition amazed me, as was the wide variety of pulp art that he collected. I discovered a lot of titles and artists through him that i wouldn't have considered collecting otherwise.

The first time i spoke with Bob was at the Windy City pulp convention in 2015. It was my second year at the convention, and i had just walked into the hospitality suite, and was looking around to see if there was anyone who remembered me. I ran into someone and he and i started chatting about recent acquisitions, which led to his talking about the pulp art in those issues, and i said that the best i had ever seen was in Famous Fantastic Mysteries. At this point, Bob joined the conversation and agreed with me. We talked a bit about the art in other pulps - I mentioned that Blue Book was a title that i liked - but Bob remained firm in placing Famous Fantastic Mysteries above it. At the time, i didn't know who he was. The conversation moved on to other topics and i left the group to meet other friends.

The next day, i visited the art display, always a highlight of Windy City. It was the first time i saw a Finlay illustration up close, and i was even more impressed than i had been the first time i saw his art. A day later, i was attending the panel discussion and i saw Bob walk on stage and get introduced as Robert Weinberg. I couldn't believe who I'd been talking to  - a person who had been collecting pulp art since a long time, and who i regarded as a guide. I also saw the pulp art on display at the convention, a lot of which was from his collection. 

The last time we spoke was at the 2016 Windy City. I saw him sitting at his table, and i went up to him and complimented him on the work he'd done on Collector's Book of Virgil Finlay, most of the originals for which came from his and Doug Ellis' collections. I grabbed it when it came out, as it's probably the closest I'm going to get to having an original Finlay in the house. 

R.I.P., Bob. Thank you for the books and generously sharing your art with other fans. You will be missed.

Saturday, 24 September 2016

Improbably beautiful covers #1 - Western Story Magazine, December 21, 1929 cover by Gayle Hoskins

Western Story Magazine, December 21, 1929 cover by Gayle Hoskins
Western Story Magazine, December 21, 1929 cover by Gayle Hoskins

Another minute, and there would have been only a red dot on the ground, so i suppose this was the more interesting moment...a very well painted one at that. Gayle Hoskins manages to give the impression of a immense herd of bison very well in the limited space for the painting's portrait orientation, one dictated by the magazine's orientation on the newsstand. 

I wonder if a different perspective - maybe over the hunter's shoulder - would have worked better, though. Leave a comment with your thoughts.

Monday, 19 September 2016

Adventure magazine covers featuring a pirate

In honor of International Talk like a Pirate Day today, here's a series of covers from Adventure magazine featuring a pirate. All these covers were done by the artist A.L. Ripley and appeared in the magazine from 1922 to 1925. During at least part of this period (1923-1925), Ripley was in Europe on an art scholarship, so it's interesting to speculate whether these were done in Europe and sent over, or done in bulk earlier and then appeared one at a time.

Pick your favorite and leave a note in the comments. Mine's the March 10, 1924 issue with the two pirates shown in shadow fighting over treasure.

Saturday, 17 September 2016

Treasures hidden within books

As I read through magazines and books i buy, i sometimes come across things inside the pages. I never know what will pop out. So far, i haven't found any money inside, but that doesn't stop me from looking. 

My best find so far has been a couple of signed postcards from the Western author and poet Clem Yore, sent to his aunt. I found these in an issue of the magazine West i won in an Ebay auction.

Postcard from Clem Yore to his aunt, Caroline Hanley
Postcard from Clem Yore to his aunt, Caroline Hanley

Postcard from Clem Yore to his aunt, Caroline Hanley
Postcard from Clem Yore to his aunt, Caroline Hanley

Other finds are more mundane. Recently, i came across a couple of postcards. One i found in a lot of Western Story Magazine that i picked up at an antique show in Oregon. It was advertising seeds by mail order - the of the time.

Postcard advertising seeds from H.W. Buckbee
Postcard advertising seeds from H.W. Buckbee 

This renewal notice for the Bangor Daily News came from an issue of Detective Fiction Weekly in 1930.

The yuckiest thing that i ever found was this old-time dental floss made from silk. Looked like knitting yarn till i saw the label. I threw that out fast and am trying to forget where i found it, or i will have to throw out the magazine too.

Antique dental floss made from silk
Antique dental floss made from silk

So what have you found in the magazines and books you've bought? Share the best and or the worst thing you found in a comment. 

Saturday, 10 September 2016

Adventure cover artist - Roy J. Pomeroy

You may remember an earlier article i had done on Notable Artists of Adventure magazine. Among those artists was a Roy Pomeroy, who won the first ever Oscar for Special Effects. I came across some photos of him as well as a very detailed biography of him on a genealogical blog. Thought you might like to read it.

Adventure, January 30, 1922 cover by Roy J. Pomeroy
Adventure, January 30, 1922 cover by Roy J. Pomeroy

Roy J. Pomeroy (picture courtesy Getty Images)

His biography in 2 parts was posted on a blog with genealogical information about Pomeroys in America:

Roy Jobbins Pomeroy, Oscar Winner and Early Hollywood Special Effects Technician: The Life of an Artist

Roy Pomeroy, The life of an Artist Part II: From England to Ohio and New York

It's a comprehensive and interesting profile of a multi-talented man who found a niche at the beginning of the film industry and covers his life from his birth in Colonial India to his death in Los Angeles in 1947.

Sunday, 4 September 2016

Blog with world war 1 stories scans

"Field Punishment No.1" is a blog that gather togethers some research on Canada’s war literature.

The author is a book collector that became curious about these writers and wanted to know more about them than was contained in their brief bios in the Canadian Encyclopedia and literary guides (where those existed at all) –so he started digging.

Sound familiar? That's how i got into this blog.

Anyhow, there's some interesting stories that he's scanned from different pulp magazines, all by Canadian about soldiers in World War 1. One of them is from Adventure magazine, and the rest are from War Stories, a magazine published by Dell - the same Dell that went on to be a major player in the paperback market, and are still around as a division of Random House.

See all his posts that have story scans here:

And as usual, say hello there :-)

M. Leone Bracker - illustrator,poster designer

M(ichael) Leone Bracker was the artist who painted the cover illustration for the first issue of Adventure magazine, for the serial novel “Yellow Men and Gold” by the author Gouverneur Morris. He was a prominent magazine and advertising illustrator who was well known for his war poster designs.

Ilustrator M. Leone Bracker c. 1912
Ilustrator M. Leone Bracker c. 1912