Over the past decade, the Windy City Pulp and Paper Convention in Chicago, Illinois, has become the premier venue for lovers and collectors of genre fiction. From original artwork by Robert McGinnis and Wally Wood to reading copies of paperback reprints of Doc Savage and The Shadow, the dealer’s room features a range of excellent material that fits any budget. The atmosphere is friendly and relaxed with great conversations among dealers and collectors about what they love—all things paper related to science fiction, mystery and detective fiction, fantasy, and horror.
Lloyd Currey and I have had the pleasure of showing here for the past few years. The challenge and excitement of every fair is bringing along material that we think (hope?) will fit the culture of the gathering. Among some of the items we were excited to bring along were a first edition of Wilkie Collins’ The Queen of Hearts in the original cloth, a copy of A Gnome There Was inscribed by both Henry Kuttner and C. L. Moore and the classic gothic novel The Monk. We also offered obscure mysteries such as John Bellamann’s The Gray Man Walks and Philip Johnson’s Hung Until Dead. In addition to the many fine books also on display were pulps and art, the highlight being a lovely unpublished hand-colored drawing by Roy Krenkel from 1948.
Held recently from April 12 to 14, this year’s Windy City Pulp and Paper Convention was spectacular. In addition to the 5.3 inches of snow on April 14, the most snowfall Chicago has had this early in the spring in 58 years, the Windy City Pulp and Paper Convention set a number of its own records, including the most number of dealers and the best auction results in the show’s history. In addition to top genre dealers in books and artwork from the United States, a number of key figures from the United Kingdom also attended, including Malcolm John Edwards, the deputy CEO of the Orion Publishing Group, and Stephen Jones, editor of the Best New Horror series.
Wonderful, one-of-a-kind items routinely turn up at Windy City, and this year was no exception. Highlights included a review copy of John W. Campbell, Jr.’s Who Goes There? inscribed by Campbell to Anthony Boucher, the late Richard Dalby’s copy of The Hole of the Pit, a pristine jacketed copy of the first hardcover edition of John D. MacDonald’s Darker Than Amber, and a superb very fine run of Strange Tales.
Friday night’s auction featured a number of unique items from the late Robert Weinberg’s collection, including a copy of the first American edition of Not at Night! signed on the front free endpaper by editor Herbert Asbury, H. P. Lovecraft, and August Derleth, and Karl Edward Wagner’s handwritten manuscript for “Lacunae,” a Kane story. Equally impressive was Gabriel Lynn’s The Case Against The Comics, a 32-page pamphlet published in 1944 by The Catechetical Guild. Citing numerous examples from comic strips that supposedly resulted in juvenile delinquency and threats to democracy, this rare work predates Frederick Wertham’s Seduction of the Innocent by a decade. Where else will you ever see such items?
We encourage everyone to mark their calendars for next year’s convention as soon as the dates are announced. Look for details at the convention’s official website.
Boyd White, John Knott & Susan Knott