The Evolving Hero: Representations of the Heroic in Pulp Fiction
Over time, representations of the heroic have evolved from the white hatted cowboy and the unflinchingly honest Superman to the modern, often amoral anti-hero. To this evolution the American dime novels and pulps contributed many memorable characters and heroic types. Conan of Cimmeria, Jiril of Jiory, The Shadow, Doc Savage, The Spider, Nick Carter, Zorro, Captain Future, The Domino Lady, and Buck Rogers all were influential pulp heroes. For this conference we are calling for papers that treat some aspect of heroes, villains, sidekicks, and significant others that emblazoned the pages of dime novels and pulp magazines. Proposals need not be limited to heroes themselves, but can treat any aspect of heroism, its influences from dime novels and mainstream literature, or its continuation in comics, genre novels, film, television, and online.
Suggested authors and topics:
• Magazines: Amazing Stories, Weird Tales, Wonder Stories, Fight Stories, All-Story, Argosy, Thrilling Wonder Stories, Spicy Detective, Flying Aces, Black Mask, and Unknown, to name a few.
• Editors and Owners: Street and Smith (Argosy), Farnsworth Wright (Weird Tales), Hugo Gernsback (Amazing Stories), Mencken and Nathan (Black Mask), John Campbell (Astounding).
• Influential Writers: H.P. Lovecraft, A. E. Merritt, Robert E. Howard, C. L. Moore, Fritz Leiber, Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett, Donald Wandrei, Clark Ashton Smith, and Henry Kuttner.
• Influences on Pulp Writers: Robert Bloch, H. Rider Haggard, Arthur Conan Doyle, Jack London, and Edgar Rice Burroughs were all influences, along with literary and philosophical figures such as Bram Stoker, Mary Shelley, Friedrich Nietzsche, Edgar Allen Poe, and Herbert Spencer.
• Popular Heroes: Conan of Cimmeria; Doc Savage; Solomon Kane; Buck Rogers; Northwest Smith; Jiril of Jiory; Zorro; Kull of Atlantis; El Borak; The Shadow; The Spider; Bran Mak Morn; Nick Carter; The Avenger; and Captain Future, among others.
• Artists: Popular cover artists included Margaret Brundage (Weird Tales), Frank R. Paul (Amazing Stories), Virgil Finlay (Weird Tales), and Edd Cartier (The Shadow, Astounding)—depictions of heroes and villains.
• Periods: The dime novels; Argosy and the ancestral pulps; Weird Tales, Amazing Stories, and the heyday of the pulps—who are the heroes here?; the decline of the pulps in the 50s and 60s—where do the heroes go?; pulps in the age of the Internet: how does digitization affect heroic representation?
• Theme and Styles: Masculinity, femininity, and sex as related to the heroic in the pulps; the savage as hero, the woman as hero, the trickster as hero, etc.
• Reinvention of the Pulp Hero: Pulps in film, television, comics, graphic novels and other forms are especially encouraged. Possible topics could include film interpretations such as Conan the Barbarian, comic book incarnations of pulp magazines and series; "new weird" reinventions of the pulps such as the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and The Watchmen; fan films; and newer productions, including the recently released Solomon Kane and Conan.
These are but suggestions for potential panels and presentations. Proposals on other topics are welcome.
Final Submission Deadline: December 1, 2011
• When submitting your paper, abstract, proposal, or panel please include your name, affiliation, and email address. For those submitting a panel, include the name, affiliation, and email address for each participant and note who will be the principle contact and panel chair.
• Abstracts should be approximately 250 words in length.
• Indicate if presentation media is required. Projectors will be present in most locations, but presenters must supply their own computers.
• A preliminary version of the schedule will usually be posted on our website in January. Due to the number of panels and participants, we are unable to accommodate individual scheduling requests. We encourage participants to come for the entire conference. The final version of the schedule will be distributed in hard copy at the conference with addendums if needed. For privacy reasons we do not publish email addresses in the online version of the program.
• Only one paper is accepted from the same presenting author. All presenters, including invited panel speakers and session chairs, must register and pay the conference registration fee. If you need an early confirmation for visa or budgetary reasons, please indicate this in your submission.
Proposals should be submitted directly to the SW/TX PCA/ACA database at the following web address: http://conference2012.swtxpca.org
If you have difficulty submitting your proposal to the website, would like assistance, or would like us to enter your abstract into the database for you, please contact the Pulp Studies coordinators via the following emails:
University of the Sciences