Our books on Amazon: the MEN'S ADVENTURE LIBRARY series...

Our books on Amazon: the MEN'S ADVENTURE LIBRARY series...
Click the image above for more information about our anthologies of men's adventure magazine stories and artwork

Saturday, March 27, 2021

MEN’S ADVENTURE QUARTERLY #1, “The Most Wanted Wild West Issue”

Recently, I joined forces with Bill Cunningham, head of Pulp 2.0 Press, to launch a new 155-page, full color, 8"x10" magazine that reprints stories and illustrations from men’s adventure magazines published in the ‘50s, ‘60s and ‘70s and provides background on the writers, artists and publishers who created them.

We dubbed it the MEN’S ADVENTURE QUARTERLY, reflecting our plan to publish 4 issues per year.

Each issue will focus on stories and artwork related to a particular topic. The first issue, Vol. 1, No.1, focuses on Western stories and artwork. Bill and I subtitled it “The Most Wanted Wild West Issue.” In this post, I’ll provide a preview of what you’ll find in it.

MAQ #1 was released in mid-January 2021. It’s available on Amazon in the US and worldwide (or directly from me via my eBay listings) and we’ve been very encouraged by the response.

The front cover art is by Robert Stanley and was originally used on the cover of STAG, November 1956. The back cover features artwork by Louis Sher, first used on the cover of SAVAGE ADVENTURES, March 1959.

Inside MAQ #1, you’ll find eleven hand-picked Western fiction yarns and non-fiction articles from vintage MAMs.

Each shows the cover of the issue the story comes from and the interior illustrations or photos used for it, plus an introduction with background info on the magazine, writer or artist.

I’m especially happy to have included authorized reprints of Western stories by Lou Cameron, the prolific writer who essentially launched the “adult Western” paperback genre with his LONGARM and STRINGER series, and Donald Honig, one of the last surviving writers who was a regular writer for the great MAMs published by Martin Goodman’s Magazine company (ACTION FOR MEN, FOR MEN ONLY, MALE, MEN, STAG, etc.).

Other great authors whose stories appear in the first MAQ issue include Dean Ballenger, Jack Pearl, Jules Archer and Richard Gehman.

MAQ #1 also includes the first examples of what will be two recurring features in each issue.

One is the “MAQ Art Gallery,” showcasing MAM covers by some of the best artists who worked for the MAM genre.

In this case, it features covers with Western themes by illustration art masters like Robert E. Schulz, Frank McCarthy, George Gross, Tom Ryan, A. Leslie Ross, Stan Borack, John Leone, and Mel Crair.

The cover and interior artwork shown with the stories are by other top artists, such as Mort Künstler (whose original MAM artwork is featured in MORT KUNSTLER: THE GODFATHER OF PULP FICTION ILLUSTRATORS, the art book I co-edited with Mort and Wyatt Doyle, and Samson Pollen (whose MAM art is featured in two other books I co-edited with Wyatt for our Men’s Adventure Library book series: POLLEN’S WOMEN: THE ART OF SAMSON POLLEN and POLLEN’S ACTION).

Another recurring feature will be what Bill cleverly named our “MAQ GAL-lery,” a special section showcasing pinup photos of some of the glamour girls who appeared in MAM photo spreads, along with biographical info about them.

MAQ #1's GAL-lery features Juli Reding, a gorgeous blonde model and actress who appeared in scores of men’s magazines, many TV classic TV shows and several cult movies.

I want to send out a special thank the readers who posted positive reviews of the first MAQ issue on Amazon, Facebook, Goodreads, blogs, podcasts and elsewhere online or who sent us nice messages about it.

Many of those folks are writers that I’m a big fan of. Here’s a sampling of what they said, along with some more scans of pages from the issue.
“Loads of great text and LOTS of art including full color cover repros. If you love Westerns or those old ‘sweat’ magazines, this is a must-have!”
     - Chuck Dixon
       Legendary comics writer (THE PUNISHER, BATMAN, BANE, and many others) and novelist (including the popular BAD TIMES and LEVON CADE series)

“Brilliant Western stories and stunning art from the Men's Adventure Magazines of the ‘50s thru the ‘70s.”
     - Paul Bishop

       Novelist (LIE CATCHERS, the FEY CROAKER series, and many others), Co-Editor editor of the 52 WESTERNS and FIGHT CARD series, and Co-Host of the SIX-GUN JUSTICE PODCAST

“All the stories are well-written and entertaining...and it features dozens of magazine covers and interior illustrations by some of the top artists of the mid-Twentieth Century era.”
     - James Reasoner
       Award-winning author of more 350 Western (including the WIND RIVER and RATTLER'S LAW Western series and the CIVIL WAR BATTLE series) and founder of Rough Edges Press

“From the reproductions of glorious covers and interior illustrations to the reprinting of both factual articles and action packed fiction, this collection is rollicking trip back in time.” 
     - Ron Fortier

       Acclaimed comics writer, novelist (the CAPTAIN HAZZARD and BROTHER BONES series and more), editor of many “New Pulp” books and anthologies and founder of the Airship 27 publishing company

“This is a winner for anyone interested in vintage top notch men’s adventure fiction and the illustrations that accompanied them.”
     - Michael Stradford
       Video producer and author of MILESSTYLE, BLACK TO THE MOVIES, and the forthcoming book STEVE HOLLAND: THE WORLD'S GREATEST ILLUSTRATION ART MODEL

“Wow there is a lot of content here...It is absolute quality from cover to cover.”
      - Justin Marriott
        Editor of popular fanzines about vintage paperbacks, including PAPERBACK FANATIC, MEN OF VIOLENCE, THE SLEAZY READER, HOT LEAD, and more

“This is THE most impressive magazine of its sort I have ever seen.”
     - Morgan Holmes
       Vintage paperback historian, reviewer and blogger for Castalia House publishing company

“Just fantastic! Beautifully designed...Awesome stuff!”
      - Jules Burt
        Vintage paperback book maven and host of the popular YouTube “Collections & Unboxings” video series

“Lots of gunplay and vengeance, lots of dance-hall floozies, and really fantastic art...The book is worth the price for the art alone.”
     - Dan Leo

        Author of the trippy “Arnold Schnabel” novel series (RAILROAD TRAIN TO HEAVEN, THIS WORLD OR ANY OTHER, etc.) and several entertaining blogs

“An excellent first issue and I'm looking forward to the next one already...Over 150 pages of fiction and artwork. Highly recommended!”
      - Walker Martin
        Renowned pulp art and pulp magazine expert and collector, and regular contributor to the popular pulp newsgroups and sites like ThePulp.net and MysteryFile.com

My MAQ Co-Editor, Bill Cunningham, and I were also honored by the interview Justin Marriott did with us for MEN OF VIOLENCE  Issue #12, by the cool video review paperback maven Jules Burt posted on his YouTube channel, by having Paul Bishop do an audio interview with us for the SIX-GUN JUSTICE podcast, and by the glowing post about MAQ#1 on the increasingly popular AmericanPulps.com website.

One of the cherries on top was getting praise from Tom Simon and Christopher Eric Compton, Co-Hosts of the great Paperback Warrior podcast and blog.

If you’re a fan of vintage action, adventure, crime, mystery or Western paperbacks you’re probably already a Paperback Warrior fan. If not, head to PaperbackWarrior.com and find out why it’s so popular.

We picked Westerns as the theme of this inaugural issue partly because of the recent upsurge of interest in that genre. We’d noticed an increase in reprints of old Western novels and the publication of many new ones by indie publishers we admire, like Wolfpack Publishing, Airship 27, Bold Venture and Piccadilly Press.

We’d also become big fans of the SIX-GUN JUSTICE PODCAST, a podcast about Western novels, TV shows and movies that became hugely popular soon after it was launched in 2020 by Paul Bishop and novelist Richard Prosch.

We were both extremely happy that Paul agreed to write a Guest Editorial for the first issue of the MAQ. I love the Western stories and artwork we included in it. And, I love the amazing layout Bill Cunningham created.

If you don’t have a copy, you can get on Amazon in the US and worldwide, with free shipping if you’re an Amazon Prime member.

We’ll be releasing the MEN’S ADVENTURE QUARTERLY #2 in April 2021.

It will feature James Bond style espionage stories and artwork. If you’re into vintage spy stories and artwork, keep an eye out for it.

In addition to a terrific set of stories and artwork, MAQ #2 will include a special introduction about the connections between vintage paperbacks and MAMs by Paperback Warrior Tom Simon and a GAL-lery featuring some famous Bond Girls.

If you join the Men’s Adventure Magazines & Books Facebook group, where I post daily, you’ll be among the first to know when it’s available.

*     *     *     *     *

Comments? Corrections? Questions? You can email them to me, or
join the
Men’s Adventure Magazines & Books Facebook Group and post them there.

Related reading and listening…

Thursday, February 25, 2021

“THE WACKIEST SHIP IN THE ARMY” from ARGOSY, to film, TV & paperback – A Guest Post by Paul Bishop


Recently, my friend writer, editor and podcaster Paul Bishop asked if I had a copy of ARGOSY, July 1956. If so, he asked, could I send him a scan of the storyBig Fella Wash-Wash in that issue?

I had it and was happy to make the scan for him. I am a huge fan of Paul’s novels, his non-fiction guides to Western books, movies and TV shows, and the popular SIX-GUN JUSTICE PODCAST he hosts with fellow writer Richard Prosch.

I was also intrigued by the reason he asked for the scan.

That story, written by Marion Hargrove and Herb Carlson, was the inspiration for the 1960 movie THE WACKIEST SHIP IN THE ARMY, the 1965 TV series of the same name, and the novelization created to help promote the series.

It’s one of several stories I know of that first appeared in MAMs and were later adapted as novels and films. (For examples, see my recent posts about Mike Shayne stories in MAMs, which notes some stories by Shayne creator Davis Dresser that first ran in ARGOSY, then were expanded into novels.)

The story in ARGOSY is not quite as wacky as the movie or TV show. But it’s definitely odd for a true war story. The ship and its mission are unusual, some members of the ship’s crew are quirky and memorable, and their encounters with South Seas islanders are humorous, though told from the politically-incorrect, ethnocentric viewpoint that was common until recent decades.

That viewpoint is reflected in the title of the story. It’s based on the pidgin English spoken by the “natives.” Of course, they at least spoke some English and that was handy, since the Americans didn’t bother to learn their language.

The cover of ARGOSY, July 1956 features an underwater scene painted by Paul Rabut (1914-1983). It goes with a treasure story inside and the model for the diver was every illustration artist’s favorite in the ‘50s and ‘60s – Steve Holland.

Rabut was a top-notch illustrator who did artwork for MAMs, mainstream magazines, advertisements, commemorative stamps and more. He was also an expert on African, American Indian and pre-Columbian artwork, who gave lectures on those subjects and served as a consultant to museums and individuals who collected “primitive art.”

Writer Herb Carlson’s only claim to fame seems to be as co-author of “Big Fella Wash-Wash.” But Marion Hargrove (1919-2003) was a notable professional writer.

He started out writing various types of stories for newspapers in his home state of North Carolina. In 1941, after joining the Army, Hargrove began writing a regular, often humorous column for THE CHARLOTTE NEWS about his experiences in the service, titled “YOU’RE IN THE ARMY NOW.” He also wrote for YANK, the Army Weekly.

In 1942, his columns were collected and published by the Henry Holt company in the book SEE HERE, PRIVATE HARGROVE. It became a bestseller and was adapted into a movie of the same name with actor Robert Walker playing Hargrove and Donna Reed as his love interest.

That film was successful enough to lead to a follow-up titled WHAT NEXT, CORPORAL HARGROVE, again starring Robert Walker as the author.

After the war, Hargrove went on to become a highly successful professional writer. In addition to writing stories for top men’s magazines such as ARGOSY and PLAYBOY, Hargrove became Hollywood scriptwriter, penning scripts for more than 30 different TV shows between 1949 and 1982 and several movies. His TV credits include scripts for popular shows like 77 SUNSET STRIP, MAVERICK, I SPY and THE WALTONS — and the short-lived TV series version of THE WACKIEST SHIP IN THE ARMY

After I learned that background, I found Paul Bishop’s article about THE WACKIEST SHIP IN THE ARMY even more interesting. Here’s it is…

*     *     *     *     *


Taking advantage of staying home during the pandemic, my wife and I have been bingeing old movies we've never gotten around to viewing.

Recently, the choice was an oddly titled, slightly schizophrenia film with Jack Lemmon and Ricky Nelson, THE WACKIEST SHIP IN THE ARMY.

My wife and I both enjoyed it, despite its inability to decide if it was a comedy set during the War in the Pacific, an adventurous war movie with a few laughs, or a sentimental, feel good, version of HELL IN THE PACIFIC.

My wife has a habit of watching movies and TV shows while keeping Google open on her phone. This means everything we view is accompanied by her running commentary on the history of the film, the background of the actors—both the leads and the bit players—and whatever trivia IMDB coughs up.

She's my best friend and I love her to forever and beyond, but sometimes she's like a living director's commentary track you can't turn off.

However, I'm not without my own set of quirks, one of which is the inability to pass by a tangential rabbit hole without doing my version of an ALICE IN WONDERLAND routine. I was already intrigued because I vaguely remembered there had been a television show based on the movie, although I couldn't remember seeing any episodes.

When I gleaned the information from the credits that the film was based on the true story “Big Fella Wash-Wash” in ARGOSY magazine, I was not only being sucked inexorably down the rabbit hole, I was picking up speed.

In real life, the 27-year-old Lieutenant Meredith “Rip” Riddle (Rip Crandall in the movie) was justifiable proud when he received orders from the U.S. Navy to take command of his first ship, the USS Echo.

Oddly, nobody had ever heard of the Echo, and it wasn’t long before Riddle realizes he’s been hoodwinked when his new assignment turns out not to be a battleship or a destroyer, but a 40-year-old, twin-masted, flat-bottomed, wooden schooner of dubious seaworthiness.

An expert yachtsman in civilian life, Riddle knew he wouldn’t have a problem sailing what was more garbage scow than a battleship—but there were bigger challenges ahead. First, the crew of misfits assigned to the Echo didn’t know a jib from a jigger.

Second—and far worse—Riddle finds out the ship is actually on loan from the U.S. Army, and comes with an Army major with whom Riddle is supposed to share command.

To top things off, the Echo turns out to have a crucial, top secret mission with hundreds of allied lives depending on its success.

The plan is for Randall and his inept crew to disguise the Echo as a South Seas fishing scow in order to sail through waters heavily patrolled by the Japanese fleet. Their mission is to place coastal watchers behind enemy lines on islands under Japanese control.

These watchers must hide on the islands, while being hunted by the enemy, in order to transmit the movements of the Japanese fleet.

The good news was the Echo herself as she was a sound ship despite appearances. Originally the property of the New Zealand government, the Echo had been given to the U.S. Army as a transport ship to carry cargo and supplies to Army bases in the South Pacific—which earned her an Army commendation.

The better news was the aft mounted .50 caliber machine gun hidden by fishing nets on the Echo’s deck. The best news, however, was Rip Riddle himself.

A native of Shelbyville, Tennessee, Riddle was a born leader and masterful at improvising on the fly. He would eventually serve in the Navy for more than 30 years, commanding six different ships—including the Echo.

He also served as the chief engineering officer of the aircraft carrier USS Kearsarge, where he headed a staff of 600 men and 18 officers.

Aside from its original mission with the Navy to transport the Island spotters, the Echo often found herself engaged in a variety of other hazardous escapades.

Once, after a hurricane hit the Pacific islands, the Echo rescued several fishermen whose canoes were blown more than 100 miles away from their villages and had been given up for dead by their families. On their return, the ship was met by the ecstatic villagers who almost all paddled out in their canoes.

This caused a problem. The celebration was attracting the attention of nearby Japanese planes, so the crew members and the rescued fishermen had to fend off the well-wishers attempting to climb aboard.

Riddle’s misadventures would eventually find their way into the July 1956 issue of the men’s adventure magazine, ARGOSY. Under the title, writers Marion Hargrove and Herb Carlson recounted the true story of the Echo’s Navy exploits, however, it was ARGOSY’S art director Bernard White who came up with the brilliant tag line, The Wackiest Ship in the Army, as a teaser on the magazine’s cover.

As the lead story on page fifteen, “Big Fella Wash-Wash,” came with two teasers to grab readers’ attention:

“Take a creaking, crummy old schooner, a boot camp Navy crew, and some of the barest, most bucolic aborigines in the Pacific; mix them up with a global war, and you’ve got the ingredients of a rip-roaring adventure story—and every word of it is true...If a man could make his dream of adventure come true, this could well be it—The Editors”

The catchphrase and teaser hype did their job snagging not only readers, but also the attention of Columbia Pictures, who bought the rights to use the story as the basis for the 1960 movie comedy THE WACKIEST SHIP IN THE ARMY , starring Jack Lemmon and Ricky Nelson.

However, in typical Hollywood fashion there was something lost in the translation from page to screen.

In this case it was the Army major who had joint command of the Echo. Even the fact the Echo was an Army transport scow on loan to the Navy somehow missed the boat, so to speak.

This left movie viewers with the wonderfully intriguing THE WACKIEST SHIP IN THE ARMY title and absolutely no idea what it meant. I can only assume the reference got left on the cutting room floor to make room for another song by Ricky Nelson.

Known for writing the script for the 1951 film, YOU’RE IN THE NAVY NOW, Richard Murphy directed WACKIEST SHIP IN THE ARMY and also adapted the screenplay from the source material.

Originally, the film was to star Ernie Kovacs as Rip Crandall (the movie version of Rip Riddle) and Jack Lemmon as his bumbling ensign. But as the deadline for the start of principal photography approached, Kovacs was on duty elsewhere.

There was also a concern that despite his name value, Lemmon—who actually served as a U.S. Navy Ensign in World War II—looked too old for the role as the Echo’s inexperienced ensign.

The solution to both dilemmas was to give Lemmon a field promotion (more of an Army term, but appropriate) to the lead role as Lieutenant Crandall, and bring actor/singer/teen heartthrob Ricky Nelson aboard as the naïve, but mostly competent ensign.

Like Rip Riddle transforming into Rip Crandall, the USS Echo originally underwent a name change to the USS Fiesta for the movie version. Fortunately, the ship was rechristened the Echo before filming started.

But, like Kovacs, the real Echo wasn’t available, which meant brining in a 72 foot gaff-rigged schooner—whose real name was Fiesta—to play the part.

The Echo’s stand-in was built entirely of teakwood in Hong Kong in 1932, and sported a 165hp auxiliary diesel engine, weighed 28 net tons, drew 8 feet of water and could make 7.5 knots under power.

Location filming for THE WACKIEST SHIP IN THE ARMY was done on the Hawaiian islands of Oahu, Hawaii, and Kauai.

The U.S. Navy also provided extensive cooperation allowing the producers to film at Pearl Harbor.

The movie is predictable, but it stays afloat for a number of reasons—the storyline is intriguing and has a couple of unexpected twists; the action is well filmed and maintains a strong sense of tension; the supporting cast is excellent, managing to get laughs more from their facial expressions and dialogue timing with only a little slapstick; Ricky Nelson provides the perfect foil as the lynchpin between the incompetence of the crew and the motivator to get them to pull together; and then there’s Jack Lemmon, who turns in an early version of what would become his trademark style of exasperation mixed with determination. Should you see the film, absolutely—but there’s more.

The movie did big enough box office for NBC to try translating the concept to the small screen. Airing in 1965, the show was produced by Harry Ackerman (who had previously produced popular comedies like LEAVE IT TO BEAVER, BACHELOR FATHER and DENNIS THE MENACE), and directed and written by Danny Arnold (who had previously done scripts for several movies and various TV series, including THE TENNESSEE ERNIE FORD SHOW, THE REAL MCCOYS, MCHALE'S NAVY and BEWITCHED).

The show retained the WACKIEST SHIP IN THE ARMY moniker, but sailed closer to the source material than the movie—even down to the Army/Navy having joint command of the schooner—which was rechristened yet again as the USS Kiwi.

For the TV series, Gary Collins starred as Navy Lieutenant, junior grade Richard Rip Riddle—who has gotten his real name back and is in command when the vessel is afloat—and Jack Warden as Army Major Simon Butcher—who's in charge of shore operations.

Mike Kellin who played Chief Mate Jack MacCarthy in the movie gets the same role on the television series—the only actor to make the transition from big screen to small (with his character’s name changed to C.P.O. Willie Miller).

Though billed as a comedy, at an hour in length it had nothing in common with such service related sitcoms as MCHALE’S NAVY or SERGEANT BILKO. While the crew still got up to some screwball antics, the emphasis was on the adventure of each weekly assignment.

This dual personality—is it a comedy or is it an action show?—was something the TV series shared with the movie version. Fortunately, the TV series did not make use of a soundtrack to tell viewers when to laugh as was the practice for TV comedies.

The series was, of course, set in the Pacific theater of World War II as the misfit crew of the leaky wooden twin-masted schooner USS Kiwi are tasked with placing spies behind Japanese lines.

The non-combatant fishing boat appearance of the Kiwi helps fool the Japanese as it sails through mine infested enemy waters under the false colors of the Swiss flag.

A ship with two masters, however, means less than smooth sailing as Navy Lieutenant Riddle and Army Major Butcher are almost always at odds.

Although the show lasted only one season, it did spawn an original TV tie-in paperback written by Lee Bergman and published by Popular Library in 1965. It sums up the plot of the book like this on the back cover:

The roughest, toughest, wildest mission of the Wackiest Ship in the Army...What is the good ship Kiwi? Is she fish or Fowl? Does she belong to the Army? Major Simon Butcher is damned certain she does. Or does she belong to the Navy as Lt. Rip Riddle knows she does? One thing is sure, on this mission the Kiwi is heading into the biggest dose of trouble she’s ever seen—including the two beauties in disguise, and enemy scientist, and a secret weapon that could blow the U.S. forces right out of the Pacific.

Maybe I’m easy to please, but the Jack Lemon movie version of THE WACKIEST SHIP IN THE ARMY, the related TV series, the TV tie-in novel, and the original story that started it all in ARGOSY magazine, have all entertained me.

As for the real USS Echo—she was decommissioned in 1944, and returned to the Army, who returned her to the New Zealand Government.

After a lengthy and varied career—including serving as a floating bar—she eventually ended her days as a museum in Picton, New Zealand. Unfortunately, she was poorly maintained over the years and her condition deteriorated to a dangerous state beyond repair.

She was demolished in 2015—110 years after her launching in 1905.

After retiring from the Navy in 1964, Rip Riddle moved to Hawaii, where he had a long career working for a maritime shipping company. He died in 2007 at age 92.

*     *     *     *     *


Many thanks to Paul Bishop for making me aware of the classic ARGOSY story and this great guest post. And, thanks again for the introduction you wrote for the first issue of the MEN’S ADVENTURE QUARTERLY #1, the new magazine I launched with Bill Cunningham of Pulp 2.0 Press that reprints stories and artwork from men’s adventure magazines.

Thanks again, too, for the cool Afterword you wrote for BARBARIANS ON BIKES, the book I co-edited with Wyatt Doyle that showcases MAM artwork featuring bikers and motorcycle gangs. It’s one of the 12 current books in our Men’s Adventure Library series. If you follow my Amazon author page, or join the Men’s Adventure Magazines & Books Facebook Group, you’ll see announcements of a couple new ones in the near future.

Comments? Questions? Corrections? You can email them to me, or
join the
Men’s Adventure Magazines & Books Facebook Group and post them there.

Related viewing and reading…


Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Mike Shayne in men’s adventure magazines – Part 3: Shayne stories from 1962

It’s been a while since I posted on this blog, but I haven’t been slacking.

During the past two months I’ve been working on several different book projects.

I worked with my partner in the Men’s Adventure Library books series, Wyatt Doyle, to finalize and publish the paperback edition of our book MORT KÜNSTLER: THE GODFATHER OF PULP FICTION ILLUSTRATORS, which showcases Mort’s original men’s adventure magazine cover and interior artwork.

The paperback and deluxe hardcover editions of our MORT KÜNSTLER art book are both now available from Amazon worldwide, as well as from other major online booksellers. You can also buy a copy signed by Mort himself via his website at this link.

Wyatt and I have also been putting the finishing touches on an illustrated anthology of men’s adventure mag stories written by Robert Silverberg.

Titled the EXOTIC ADVENTURES OF ROBERT SILVERBERG, it should be available in January.

We will also soon release our third art book featuring MAM artwork by Samson Pollen. (The first two are POLLEN’S WOMEN: THE ART OF SAMSON POLLEN and POLLEN’S ACTION.)

Meanwhile, I’ve been cooking up a whole new series featuring MAM stories and artwork with Bill Cunningham, the founder of Pulp 2.0 Press.

In January, Bill and I will be releasing the first issue of a large-format, magazine-style publication we’re calling the MEN’S ADVENTURE QUARTERLY.

The first MAQ issue will showcase classic Western stories and artwork from MAMs. Every few months, we’ll release another issue built around another theme. The second issue will focus on espionage stories and artwork.

If you follow the Men’s Adventure Magazines & Books Facebook Group page, you’ll be among the first to know when new issues of the MAQ and new books in the Men’s Adventure Library become available. I post there almost every day.

In my previous three posts on this blog, I covered the earliest appearances of stories about Private Detective Michael “Mike” Shayne in men’s adventure magazines published between 1953 and 1961 and Dell’s Mike Shayne comic book series (which was recently reprinted by Pulp 2.0 Press).

This post reviews Mike Shayne stories published in MAMs from 1962.

Most were written by Davis Dresser, the creator of the Mike Shayne novels and MIKE SHAYNE MYSTERY MAGAZINE, under his Brett Halliday pseudonym. Some were penned by other writers after Dresser turned Brett Halliday into a house name for Shayne stories.

As noted in my initial Shayne post, Dresser’s first Mike Shayne novel, DIVIDEND ON DEATH, was originally published in 1939, and the first Mike Shayne story to appear in a men’s adventure magazine was “The Naked Frame” in BLUEBOOK, February 1953.

Since 1939, the Mike Shayne character has appeared in more than 70 novels, over 300 short stories, a dozen Mike Shayne movies, a Mike Shayne television series, several different Mike Shayne radio series and the Dell comic book series.

My second post about Mike Shayne in MAMs covered “Payoff Girl” in STAG, December 1956, “Murder in Haste” in ARGOSY, March 1961 and “The Careless Corpse” in ARGOSY, August 1961.

Over the following ten years, Mike Shayne stories appeared in eleven more issues of ARGOSY and two issues of MAN’S MAGAZINE.

“Payoff in Blood” appeared in ARGOSY, January 1962. It’s illustrated with artwork by the great Robert McGinnis.

His cover paintings, typically featuring bold colors and tall, eye-poppingly gorgeous women, have become some of  the most iconic images associated with paperback editions of detective, crime, mystery and action novels published in the ‘60s and ‘70s. Among them are the covers for the classic Dell reprints of the Mike Shayne books in the ‘60s.

If you’re a McGinnis fan, put these books on your Christmas list if you don’t have them: THE ART OF ROBERT E. MCGINNIS, THE PAPERBACK COVERS OF ROBERT MCGINNIS and TAPESTRY: THE PAINTINGS OF ROBERT MCGINNIS.)

Robert A. Maguire is another top paperback cover artist whose work was used for Mike Shayne stories in MAMs. His popular paperback cover art is showcased in the book DAMES, DOLLS, AND GUN MOLLS: THE ART OF ROBERT A. MAGUIRE, edited by Jim Silke.

McGinnis and Maguire did more than 2,000 covers for paperbacks published by virtually every major publisher. Their artwork also appeared in top tier MAMs, like ARGOSY and MAN’S MAGAZINE. Sometimes their MAM art was done specifically for the magazine. Often, their paperback cover art was repurposed by MAMs published by Pyramid.

In addition to being a major publisher of paperback books, Pyramid published three notable men’s adventure mags: MAN’S MAGAZINE, CHALLENGE FOR MEN and GUY.

The Art Directors for those MAMs regularly got double duty out of Pyramid paperback cover paintings by reusing them as cover and interior illustrations for the magazines.

The Mike Shayne story in MAN'S MAGAZINE, January 1962, titled “The Deadly Stripper,” is a case in point.

The left-hand page in the initial two-page spread for that story is a black-and-white reprint of Maguire’s cover painting for the 1959 Pyramid paperback FIRE IN MY BLOOD, the autobiography of a famous femme fatale who went by the name Denisa, Lady Newborough.

Born Denisa Braun in Romania in 1913, she got her “Lady” title thanks to a brief marriage to British Lord Thomas Newborough and went by Denisa, Lady Newborough, or sometimes as Lady Denisa de Newborough, until her death in 1992.

But her marriage to Lord Thomas is not what gave her legendary fame.

Maguire’s portrait of her dancing on the cover of FIRE IN MY BLOOD is hot, but Denisa may have been even hotter in real life.

As a young woman she gained a reputation and many admirers for being a nude dancer in nightclubs, a high wire walker, and a pioneering female pilot.

Later in life Denisa became a popular hat designer, perfumier and antique dealer.  

According to her obituary:

“Her admirers included the Kings of Spain and Bulgaria, Adolf Hitler (whose virility she doubted), Benito Mussolini (whom she described as a ‘gigolo’) and Sheikh ben Ghana. She only refused to be two things – a whore and a spy – ‘and there were attempts to make me both’, she once wrote.”

“The Deadly Stripper” in MAN'S MAGAZINE, January 1962 is a “Book Bonus” version of the Mike Shayne novel KILLERS FROM THE KEYS, first published in 1962.

The cover for the Dell paperback edition of KILLERS FROM THE KEYS is one of those done by Robert McGinnis.

According to the checklist in THE PAPERBACK COVERS OF ROBERT MCGINNIS, nearly 100 Mike Shayne paperbacks feature McGinnis cover art.

The “Book Bonus” version of the book in MAN'S MAGAZINE, January 1962 includes three black-and-white illustrations by an uncredited artist, in addition to the reuse of Robert Maguire’s cover art for FIRE IN MY BLOOD.

Maguire’s painting and two of the same B&W illos are also used for a reprint of the same “Book Bonus” version of KILLERS FROM THE KEYS in the 1962 Fall Annual issue of MAN'S MAGAZINE.

Two other Mike Shayne stories appeared in issues of ARGOSY in 1962: “Murder by Proxy” is in ARGOSY, June 1962, and “Never Kill a Client” is in ARGOSY, November 1962.

Unfortunately, I don’t have a copy of ARGOSY, June 1962. If you have one and want to sell it or can give me a scan of the Mike Shayne story illustration in that issue, please email me.

I do have ARGOSY, November 1962. The story in that one, “Never Kill a Client,” features an illustration by another artist who is best known for his paperback cover art – Baryé Phillips. The story was expanded and published as a novel by the same name in 1963.

The cover art on the Dell edition is another masterpiece by Robert McGinnis. The original painting for it was sold by Heritage Auctions in 2010 for over $16,000. I wonder what it would sell for today?

Coming up, one more post about Mike Shayne stories in MAMs. Or, maybe two.

AN UPDATE: Action/adventure novelist Stephen Mertz told me in a comment on Facebook that “Never Kill a Client” was written by Dennis Lynds under what had become the Brett Halliday house name. Lynds wrote scores of popular mystery and crime novels under his own name and his well-known pseudonym Michael Collins, which he used for his Dan Fortune series. Mertz, who has himself written scores of novels under his own name and pseudonyms (including fan favorite Mack Bolan novels), is still writing and recently launched the excellent new CODY'S WAR series, which I highly recommend.

Comments? Corrections? You can email them to me, or
join the
Men’s Adventure Magazines & Books Facebook Group and post them there.

Related reading, viewing, and listening…

Sunday, September 20, 2020

Mike Shayne in men’s adventure magazines – Part 2: 1953 thru 1961….

When Davis Dresser’s novel, DIVIDEND ON DEATH, was published in 1939 under the pseudonym Brett Halliday, it launched what became a huge multi-decade multimedia empire.

It was the first appearance of his tough, red-headed, Miami-based Private Investigator Mike Shayne.

The Mike Shayne character went on to appear in more than 70 novels and 300 stories written by Dresser and other writers tapped to use Brett Halliday as a pen name.

In addition, there were a dozen Mike Shayne movies, a Mike Shayne television series, and several different Mike Shayne radio series.

There was also a short-lived Dell comic book series based on the Mike Shayne novels.

In September 1956, Dresser launched the MIKE SHAYNE MYSTERY MAGAZINE.

It became one of the most successful crime digest magazines ever published, running for 337 issues over a period of three decades.

Scores of stories by Dresser and hundreds by many other notable writers were published in that magazine until it finally folded in 1985, seven years after Dresser’s death.

One of those writers I admire a lot is James Reasoner. He wrote many Mike Shayne stories for the magazine under Dresser’s name and went on to become a prolific writer of Western, action/adventure and historical novels.

Another is my friend Paul Bishop. Paul is a former LAPD detective who became a popular novelist, an editor of action/adventure novels for his own imprints and, more recently, for Wolfpack Publishing. He’s also co-host of the excellent Six-Gun Justice Podcast with fellow writer and Western maven Richard Prosch.

Earlier this year, when I bought THE MIKE SHAYNE PRIVATE EYE COMIC COLLECTION, published by Bill Cunningham via his Pulp 2.0 Press imprint, I discovered that Paul had written the introduction.

In it, he notes that the first fiction story he had accepted and published was in MIKE SHAYNE MYSTERY MAGAZINE.

When I read Paul’s intro, it reminded me that “Book Bonus” versions of many Mike Shayne novels appeared in men’s adventure magazines (MAMs) published in the ‘50s and ‘60s.

However, when I Googled around, I discovered there was almost no information online about those MAM appearances other than a list on Philsp.com, the great “Galactic Central” site that provides info about thousands of different vintage magazines.

When I looked through the Galactic Central list, I realized it wasn’t complete. So, I decided to fill that gap by doing a series of posts on this blog.

I started with a post about the first Shayne story I know of in a MAM, “The Naked Frame” in BLUEBOOK, February 1953.

As I explain in that post, it’s touted in the magazine as Bluebook’s COMPLETE Book-Length Novel by BRETT HALLIDAY.” At that point, no novel version had been published.

The book was released a month later by Torquil Publishing Company, which Dresser created with wife Helen McCloy, a successful mystery writer in her own right. The title he used for the novel was ONE NIGHT WITH NORA.

It was an expanded version of the “The Naked Frame” story in BLUEBOOK.

Counting that one, I believe a total of 17 Mike Shayne stories appeared in men’s adventure magazines. Here’s the checklist (please email me if you know of any I missed):

     1.  “The Naked Frame” in BLUEBOOK, February 1953
     2.  “Payoff Girl” in STAG, December 1956
     3.  “Murder in Haste” in ARGOSY, March 1961
     4.  “The Careless Corpse” in ARGOSY, August 1961
     5.  “Payoff in Blood” in ARGOSY, January 1962
     6.  “The Deadly Stripper” in MAN'S MAGAZINE, January 1962
     7.  “Murder by Proxy” in ARGOSY, June 1962
     8.  “Never Kill a Client” in ARGOSY, November 1962  
     9.  “Strip for Death” in MAN'S MAGAZINE, 1962 Fall Annual (a reprint of “The Deadly Stripper”)      
     10.  “The Corpse That Never Was” in ARGOSY, May 1963        
     11.  “A Redhead for Mike Shayne” in ARGOSY, March 1964       
     12.  “Shoot to Kill” in ARGOSY, July 1964       
     13.  “Murder Spins the Wheel” in ARGOSY, January 1966        
     14.  “Armed, Dangerous” in ARGOSY, July 1966       
     15.  “Guilty as Hell” in ARGOSY, April 1967       
     16.  “So Lush, So Deadly” in ARGOSY, January 1968,       
     17.  “Count Downward to Zero” in ARGOSY, April 1971

As shown in my previous post, “The Naked Frame” in BLUEBOOK, February 1953 features 6 duotone illustrations by Al Tater. (A duotone is an illustration printed in black and shades of grey, plus one color.) The main 2-page spread, a red duotone, is shown above. You can see all 6 of the Tater illos in my Mike Shayne in MAMs Part 1 post.

The Next Mike Shayne story in a MAM is “Payoff Girl” in STAG, December 1956, a condensation of the 1948 novel BLOOD ON THE STARS. The STAG version features 8 black-and-white illustrations by artist Robert “Bob” Riger: a 2-page spread and 7 spot illustrations.

I’m always exited to find artwork by Riger in MAMs. There are only a handful of examples and they are from early in his career. He went on to become a top sports illustrator and photographer, an award‐winning television director, and a cinematographer. His artwork and photos for SPORTS ILLUSTRATED are especially legendary, earning him a place of honor in The American Sport Art Museum & Archives.

As noted in bios about him, illustration art became a springboard to Riger’s work as a photographer. He initially learned the craft by shooting reference photos for artwork he was doing for magazines and advertisements. From the mid-1950s until his death in 1995, he focused primarily on photography. He took tens of thousands of photos of athletes and sporting events of all kinds and became one of the most successful sports photographers of all time.

You can see some great examples of Riger’s sports art and photography on the official Robert Riger website and many more of his sports photos in the book THE SPORTS PHOTOGRAPHY OF ROBERT RIGER.

The sketch-like artwork Riger did for the Mike Shayne story “Payoff Girl” in STAG, December 1956, shown below, is similar in style to much of his sports artwork.

The next Mike Shayne story in a MAM I know of is “Murder in Haste” in ARGOSY, March 1961. It’s  a “Book Bonus” version of the novel of the same name that was first published in 1961, around the same time the magazine hit newsstands. The ARGOSY version features artwork by Harry Schaare.

Although he was a prolific creator of artwork for paperback covers and magazines, especially MAMs, there are amazingly few sources of information about Schaare online. One of the most notable is the page about him on American Art Archives, a terrific illustration art website maintained by my friends Thomas Clement and his wife Christiane. (Thomas and Christiane’s American Art Archives eBay store is also one of the best sources of vintage MAMs and other magazines around.)

As they note on their website, Harry Schaare was: “[A] prolific artist for hard and softcover books (Avon, Harper Paperbacks, Dell, Monarch, Popular Library, Pyramid, Bantam, Signet, Readers Digest, Random House). Magazine work for SATURDAY EVENING POST, BOY’S LIFE, SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, and various men's adventure mags. Schaare was comfortable with just about any subject matter, from noir stories to westerns, romance to suspense. Also called upon for reprints buy famous authors (Rafael Sabatini, Philip K Dick, Richard Henry Dana, Zane Grey, James Fenimore Cooper, Max Brand, Erskine Caldwell). Other projects include box art for Aurora models and F X Schmid puzzles.”

Below is an example of a classic Schaare paperback cover, A GEM OF A MURDER (Dell, 1959) by Carlton Keith. Next to that are two of the many great MAM covers Schaare provided paintings for, ADVENTURE, December 1957, and MALE, April 1962.

The ARGOSY version of “Murder in Haste” features a full-page page duotone painting by Schaare and 3 black-and-white spot illustrations, all shown below.

Chronologically, the next Mike Shayne story in a men’s adventure mag is “The Careless Corpse” in ARGOSY, August 1961. It’s another abridged version of a Mike Shayne novel of the same name, published the same year. ARGOSY’s version features a full-page duotone by Jack Hearne (1921-1985).

Hearne had a varied career as an artist. As noted on the Lambiek Comiclopedia website, he started out doing covers, panel drawings and inking for comics in the 1940s. He went on to do did a lot of commercial advertising artwork and magazine artwork for MAMs and mainstream mags. He also did many book cover and interior illustrations. Most memorably for some Baby Boomers, he was among the artists who did covers and interiors for the popular “juvenile” (young adult) book series, THE THREE INVESTIGATORS. That series, created by mystery and science fiction author and screenwriter Robert Arthur, Jr., was published from 1964 to 1987 and included 43 books.

When Arthur and the initial publisher, Random House, launched the series, they capitalized on the popularity of movie and TV producer/director Alfred Hitchcock by using his name as part of the series’ title, making it the “Alfred Hitchcock and Three Investigators” series. In the first 30 novels, Hitchcock is actually a character who provides an introduction and closing to each book. Although Hitchcock had little involvement in the novels, he did reserve the right to approve the cover paintings. Jack Hearne got the nod to do cover art for books #20 through #27. He also did interior illustrations for #18 through #27. His cover for #27, MYSTERY OF THE MAGIC CIRCLE is shown below, next to a full-page ad Hearne did the illustration for and an example of his early comics work.

The two best sources of biographical info on Hearne I’ve found are the Three Investigators site and on Leif Peng’s great Today’s Inspiration blog, the forerunner of his Today’s Inspiration Facebook Group.

Hearne did some excellent artwork for men’s adventure magazines, primarily ARGOSY and SAGA. Below at left is a full color illustration by Hearne from ARGOSY, June 1960, for a story written by the prolific mystery and detective story writer Judson Pentecost Philips under his better-known pseudonym Hugh Pentecost.

Next to that is the initial 2-page spread for Michael Shayne story “The Careless Corpse” in ARGOSY, August 1961. It features a masterful duotone by Hearne.


Between 1961 and 1971, ARGOSY published 10 more Mike Shayne stories. The next one after “The Careless Corpse” is “Payoff in Blood” in ARGOSY, January 1962. That’s a “Book Bonus” version of the 1962 Shayne novel that has the name spelled with a hyphen, as PAY-OFF IN BLOOD.

ARGOSY’S version features an illustration by an artist who has an especially notable connection to the Mike Shayne novels and is one of the towering figures in the realm of illustration art — Robert McGinnis. More about him and the rest of Mike Shayne’s appearances in men’s adventure magazines in my next post.

By the way, in case you wondered, the full color portrait of Mike Shayne used in the graphic at the top of this post is by artist Uldis Klavins. It was used in his illustration for the Mike Shayne story “Count Downward to Zero” in ARGOSY, April 1971, which I’ll also write about in a future post.

Comments? Corrections? You can email them to me, or
join the
Men’s Adventure Magazines & Books Facebook Group and post them there.

Related reading, viewing, and listening…