Putting surf pulp on paper

It all started with a story.

For the last 13 years, Craig Lockwood, the 73-year-old former editor of Surfing and Surfer magazines, has been toiling over a detective story he wrote based on a down-on-his-luck private eye who works out of a Santa Monica gay bar and uses a beer keg as a desk.

"I looked at it and said, 'Darn, it's too bad. There's so much good work out there,'" he said.

This summer, Lockwood of Laguna Beach and artist Rick Rietveld of Newport Beach debuted their pulp fiction publishing company, Pacific-Noir Pulp Press, and their first title: "Hard-boiled Surf Pulp Fiction."

While fiction used to be a valued section in magazines, Lockwood noticed that it slowly began slipping away over the years, all but disappearing in the 1980s.

"For years, the only avenue for surf-related fiction was the surfing magazines," he said. "It later became a part of what would be called surf culture.

"Fiction took up pages, and it didn't pay anything," he said. "I think the editorial decision was pretty easy."

But Lockwood didn't give up on the genre.

He started out with pulp fiction while studying under author Ray Bradbury at UCLA.

"The magazines were a hot ticket for a writer in their career starting fiction," Lockwood said.

He pointed out that Raymond Chandler, Joyce Carol Oates, William Faulkner and Bradbury all wrote for the pulps, which got their name from the cheap wood pulp paper on which they were printed.

Lockwood published his first fiction in surfing magazines but made his career as a journalist, reporting for the Laguna Beach Post in the late 1950s and moving onto the Daily Pilot in the '60s.

However, he always had one thought in the back of his mind: "What would be a better venue than an all-fiction magazine?"

Lockwood bumped into Rietveld at a book signing last year, and they instantly connected over a mutual adoration for the pulp art form. While Lockwood admired the fiction, Rietveld was impressed by the illustrators of that period.

"I think what's unique about it is that we've taken a genre that probably a lot of people aren't familiar with," said Rietveld. "It's really pre-comic book."

Doing the project in their spare time, Lockwood reached out to the writers he worked with over the years and Rietveld attempted larger-than-life graphics. They set up shop in a Newport Beach office off 30th Street.

All of the writers in the magazine are surfers and have written for Lockwood at some point in his career.

"Hard-boiled Surf Pulp Fiction" is sold at Laguna Beach Books, Thalia Surf Shop and McKibben Studios.

Lockwood and Rietveld are working on two additional titles, one with a hot rod theme to be released in the coming months.

For more information, visit Pacific-Noir Pulp Press' website at pacificnoirpulp.wordpress.com.


Twitter: @joannaclay

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