ComicConnect's massive pulps auction underscores genre's growing popularity

The First Art Newspaper on the Net    Established in 1996 Wednesday, May 29, 2024

ComicConnect's massive pulps auction underscores genre's growing popularity
The Amazing Pulp Auction features an extensive run of classic titles, many with unusually high-grade copies.

NEW YORK, NY.- Before there were comic books, there were pulps— highly-consumable fiction magazines and novels with incredible cover art and illustrations that jumped off of newsstands around the country. Now, as vintage comic book values soar, pulps are poised to rise as well. Which is why ComicConnect’s Amazing Pulp Auction, featuring nearly 2,200 rarities, is so well-timed.

“Pulps were the precursors of modern-day science-fiction, fantasy, horror and comic books,” says Vincent Zurzolo, COO of, the industry’s leading online auction house.

“They’ve earned their place in the collectibles pantheon. But due to their age and primitive printing techniques, it’s difficult to find many pulps in great condition.”

The Amazing Pulp Auction features an extensive run of classic titles, many with unusually high-grade copies. It’s organized into three sessions that end August 3-5. Bids are already taking off, and unprecedented sales figures are expected.

5 Fast Facts about Pulps

• Published in the late 19th and early 20th century, pulps included a mash-up of stories, art, non-fiction and even poetry in a range of categories.

• Iconic writers like Robert E. Howard, H.P. Lovecraft, Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury, and Edgar Rice Burroughs created some of their best-known works for pulps.

• Pulps paved the way for comic books, by combining art with text and publishing serialized stories of popular characters—including the seeds of superheroes.

• Pulps relied on superlatives like “amazing,” fantastic” and “uncanny,” an attention-getting technique Marvel Comics would carry on.

• Pulps often sported violent, scary and steamy themes. They’re famous for ‘Good Girl’ covers of beautiful women menaced by aliens, monsters, detectives, etc.

Why Interest in Pulps Is Rising

“Pulps are a super-cool, rare, up-and-coming collectible,” says Zurzolo. “They feature beautiful, racy, often graphic covers, especially compared to comics—and of course, they’re available for a fraction of the price.”

For some, the scarcity of these fragile collectibles is part of their appeal. After all, the term “pulp” comes from the cheap wood pulp paper they’re printed on. Typically, the pages were left untrimmed, leaving them prone to chipping and flaking.

Most significantly, it’s expected that the leading comic book grading companies will soon begin grading pulps. Currently, pulps are graded by the dealers themselves, rather than a third party—using a 10-point grading scale similar to the one used throughout the world of comic collecting. That scale was created by ComicConnect CEO Stephen Fishler in the late ‘90s.

“As soon as grading companies start grading and encapsulating pulps, the market will explode,” predicts Zurzolo. “This has happened in every collectible that’s been certified so far, including video games, trading cards, comics and coins.”

Amazing Pulp Auction Highlights

With its 2,171 items and $1 starting bids, ComicConnect’s auction offers something for collectors at every level. However, some top items to keep an eye on:

• Hugo Gernsback’s Amazing Stories: Gernsback is considered “The Father of Science Fiction” for creating Amazing Stories, the first pulp magazine devoted to science fiction. More than 250 items are available here.

• Issues of Weird Tales, a fantasy and horror fiction pulp magazine that premiered a number of H.P. Lovecraft’s best-known stories, including The Hound (Feb, 1924) and the first appearance of Robert E. Howard’s Conan the Barbarian (Dec, 1932).

• A custom-bound hardcover of Weird Tales from late 1923 to mid-1924, containing many of Lovecraft’s first appearances.

• First appearances of the Spider, the Avenger, and runs of other early heroes including The Shadow, The Spider, Operator #5, The Avenger and Doc Savage—direct influences on Golden Age superheroes like Batman, Superman, and Captain America.

And of course, there are hundreds of remarkable “good girl,” bondage, sci-fi and crime covers that appeal to collectors of every stripe and level.

“This auction is a perfect jumping on point for new pulp collectors,” says Zurzolo—who has sold eight million and multi-million dollar comics and earned six Guinness Book of World Records.

“It’s also a great opportunity for experienced collectors to fill gaps in their collections.”

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