Monday, April 26, 2010

C2E2 Panel: Pulp Fiction

Last weekend on Friday night and Saturday all day, I attended the Chicago Comics & Entertainment Expo (or C2E2). My postings for this event will be short, closer to the expected writing style of the Internet.

On Saturday, I spent most of it attending panels, three of them to be exact. I took fairly copious notes. Instead of writing in an expository form and expanding on ideas and topics, I’m just going to provide bullet points that I took during the panels. If I expand on the bullet points, I’ll probably make it brief.

The “Pulp Fiction” panel is when I came up with the idea of taking notes on my Smartphone, and I came up with the idea halfway through the panel. I really didn’t get that many notes as I figured out my system.

That being said, here are the bullet points:

  • Panel made up of five or six modern-day pulp authors. Looking back with more than a week of retrospect, realizing that they were all male.

  • Pulp magazines get their name from being made of cheap paper pulp and they’re a magazine.

  • Mixing race difficult in pulp. Only one pulp property in contemporary day allows non-white main characters. I believe that I noted the wrong property for it, though, so I’m going to redact the title. The publisher only allows it, though, because the property originated with a mixed race cast.

  • Some interesting stories of getting into pulp. Some of the authors introduced to pulp characters and stories through parents, grandparents. Others through the library. A lot of them found pulp through some magazines that continued the tradition or publications that have tried to revive the tradition.

  • The story and art viewed as disposable, not something to reverence or value beyond quick entertainment. A lot of it thrown away without a second thought. Maybe even today, but at some point in the past, easy to walk into a library alleyway or somewhere near a bookstore to find a bunch of pulp publications and art pieces thrown in the trash.

  • Pulp fiction mythologized characters. I’ve heard and myth and mythology as terms used in a lot in regard to comic books. I guess they could be used in the same way with pulp fiction. Comic and pulp fictions can often act as archetypal icons for representations of some force or sense of meaning.

  • Ownership of characters and properties means the ability to dictate how they can be written and not written.

  • Some time spent comparing pulp writing based in past compared to modern times. The consensus seemed to fall on basing their stories in the past. The most vocal panelist, however, said that pulp fiction could be set in the modern day. As with any kind of writing, if done well, it can be done.

  • Aspects of characters and characteristics of pulp heroes and pulp worlds get pushed to edge of believability but be careful. It could become fantasy or too science fictiony. [Sin City, the movie – not really the comics since I haven’t read them – seemed to skirt the edges of pulp and fantasy quite a bit.]

  • Pulps influencing TV - only so many plots but details allow for many many stories. Some examples of TV shows and movies: Fringe, LOST, Indiana Jones

  • Keeping pulp alive - Marketing important to keeping it alive.

  • High Adventure - magazine reprinting older pulps – except I can’t find any trace of the modern day version of this magazine on the Internet.

Links of Interest: Chicago Comics & Entertainment Expo (or C2E2), “Pulp Fiction, myth and mythology in comic books, Sin City, the movie, Fringe, LOST, Indiana Jones

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