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Wednesday, August 23, 2017

The John Whitlatch enigma solved: a guest post by writer & pulp maven Paul Bishop…

Paul Bishop blog post about John Whitlatch
EDITOR’S NOTE: A while back, I posted an interview here with a writer I’m a huge fan of and proud to call a friend: Paul Bishop. As I noted in that interview, Paul is an excellent and prolific novelist. His most recent novel is LIE CATCHERS, a highly-acclaimed police procedural with a special twist. Paul is also a veteran police detective, an editor and an indie publisher. On top of all that, he’s a serious action/adventure media maven who posts regularly about books, magazines, movies, TV shows, and people in the men’s adventure, Western, spy, mystery, and noir genres on his own blog, other sites, and in various men’s adventure-related Facebook groups, like the one associated with this blog and The Men's Adventure Paperbacks of the 70s & 80s group.

One of Paul’s recent blog posts focused on the novels of a mysterious writer named John Whitlatch. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, Whitlatch wrote a series of gritty action/adventure novels that have gained a cult following, partly because they feature terrific cover paintings by two artists who did hundreds of illustrations for men’s adventure magazines and novels, Norm Eastman and Mel Crair, and partly because they are bloody good reads.

Exactly who John Whitlatch was remained an enigma to those of us who are his fans — until recently. After doing some initial research and a post about Whitlatch on his blog, Paul was contacted by someone who knew Whitlatch and gave Paul more information than existed anywhere online. Armed with that info, Paul wrote a new, in-depth post summarizing what he’d learned. I immediately asked him if I could repost it here, along with higher resolution scans of the covers than I’ve seen online (using my own copies of the Whitlatch novels) and an interesting review of his first two books I found using my Newspapers.com subscription. Paul said “yes.” So, here it is. Thanks, amigo! And, thanks again for the great Afterword you wrote for our book collecting men’s adventure magazine artwork featuring bikers and motorcycle gangs, BARBARIANS ON BIKES.

WHITLATCH’S ENIGMA: BY PAUL BISHOP

Jon Whitlatch is an author whose name pops up regularly within men’s adventure series genre circles. Between 1969 and 1976, Whitlatch wrote eleven action novels, the first ten of which were published with a series of stunning covers. Lurid and garish, featuring outlaw bikers, big breasted babe in jeopardy, and tough heroes out for revenge, the covers of Whitlatch’s novels could just as easily have graced the covers of any of the titillating Men’s Adventure Magazines of the day.

In actuality, the stunning covers of Whitlatch’s books first ten books were painted by top Men’s Adventure Magazine artists Norm Eastman (Gannon’s Vendetta, Lafitte's Legacy, Tanner's Lemming, Frank T’s Plan, The Judas Goat), and Mel Crair (Morgan's Rebellion, Morgan's Assassin, Stunt Man's Holiday, Cory’s Losers. Men’s Adventure Magazine top model Steve HollandThe Face That Launched A Thousand Paperbacks—appears on several of the covers, adding to their collectability.

Unfortunately, Whitlatch’s last novel, Gannon’s Line, did not receive a similar instantly collectible cover. Instead, even though the small central illustration was by the great Robert Maguire, the cover design itself was generic and instantly forgettable.

While the covers of Whitlatch’s books are often the catalyst for men’s adventure readers to buy and collect them, the writing between the covers is uniformly terrific. While definitely in sync with the attitudes and mores of the time period in which they were written, Whitlatch’s tales of every day guys caught up in deadly circumstances never failed to thrill.

A Whitlatch hero is a man pushed beyond the reasonable boundaries of civilization and is forced to find a core of inner strength to overcome overwhelming odds—in other words, a guy who you can unabashedly root for as he takes on outlaw motorcycle gangs, voodoo cults, tin-pot Latin dictators, sadistic Japanese troops in the Pacific Theater, Renegade Indians, and other megalomaniac villains.

Paul-Bishop pic in libraryWhitlatch’s books are straightforward contemporary actioneers. Even when writing a Western (Iron Shirt) or a WWII Dirty Dozen style tale (The Judas Goat), the narratives are straight out of the men’s adventure genre. This is not to say they are cookie cutter or by the numbers plots. Whitlatch’s writing elevates the tropes of the genre with excellent action scenes. His heroes are not supermen, but rugged individuals who face their fears and have the courage to not lay down and die.

For many years Whitlatch himself remained an total enigma. When asked about Whitlatch, regular genre resources and gurus were forced to shrug their shoulders and admit to their mystification at the lack of information.

Usually, this little information about an author would indicate the use of a house owned pseudonym, with a number of authors penning the tales. But, this doesn’t appear to be the case with Whitlatch. Having read all eleven novels, the distinctive tempo and sentence structure make it clear they were written by the same person.

About twenty years or more ago, I tried tracking Whitlatch through his publisher. I was put in touch with Whitlatch’s agent who informed me Whitlatch was deceased. He did, however, provide me with a contact number for his family, warning me they would probably not want to be interviewed.

I eventually made contact with Whitlatch’s sister in Arizona, but while polite, she refused to impart any information. A strange situation, especially coupled with a tid-bit from mystery historian Al Hubin, which noted there had been no copyright renewals on Whitlatch’s titles. This raised the odd possibility of Whitlatch or his work being seen as an embarrassment to his family.

My introduction to Whitlatch originally came through his second published title, Morgan’s Rebellion. This was a great adventure tale. The all-American everyman Jamey Morgan finds himself falsely imprisoned in Central America. Desperate and alone, he takes it upon himself to escape, rally the scattered rebel forces, and overthrow the corrupt regime in order to get his life back and revenge on his wife and business partner.

This was great stuff! Morgan was a cool character with his archery background and his righteous American indignation. Whitlatch is hardly politically correct and he wears the Mad Man style male chauvinist label proudly—definitely a product of his time—but the guy could write a rousing adventure

Norm Eastman - GANNON'S VENDETTA, John Whitlatch (1969) MPMNorm Eastman - MORGAN'S REBELLION, John Whitlatch (1969) MPMNorm Eastman - TANNER'S LEMMING, John Whitlatch (1970) MPM

In 2009, I wrote about Whitlatch in a Forgotten Books post for my blog. At the time, in response to a blog post of his own, my buddy and prolific writer James Reasoner said, “You have to love the Internet.” In James’ case, his own blog post regarding a specific hardboiled author generated unexpected contact from one of the author’s surviving relatives.

In my case, several months after my post bemoaning the complete lack of information about John Whitlatch—beyond his novels and those lurid covers—I received a surprise email. It was from Bob Miller, a friend and former co-worker of Whitlatch’s who had somehow come across my original Whitlatch post. He offered to share information about the elusive author, whom he stated was a down-to-earth nice guy with a good sense of humor. I immediately scrambled to dial the provided phone and quickly found myself chatting with my informant.

Bob Miller told me he worked with Whitlatch in the 1960s when they were both claims adjusters for an insurance company working out of an office on Gower Street in Hollywood. Bob remained friends with Whitlatch, and was an ardent reader of his novels, until Whitlatch died in the late 1970s.

Apparently, Whitlatch was a force in the insurance business. He eventually became the head claims adjuster for All-State Insurance, working out of the company’s headquarters on Wilshire Boulevard in LA. Reportedly, he had a large, framed, picture of the All-State HQ building in Chicago hung on the wall behind his desk. The picture had a hand-drawn arrow pointing to one specific window in the building, which Whitlatch claimed was the office of the idiot I work for.

While working as a claims adjuster, Whitlatch also attempted to branch out into private business. For several years, he operated a self-service laundry on Ventura Boulevard—in the San Fernando Valley—with his wife, Geraldine. However, the business was forced into bankruptcy when long-term street repairs closed down easy access to the building.

Norm Eastman (I think), THE IRON SHIRT, John Whitlatch (1970) MPMNorm Eastman - THE JUDAS GOAT, John Whitlatch ( 1971) MPMNorm Eastman - LAFITTE'S LEGACY, John Whitlatch (1971) MPM

Crippled with a bad limp, Whitlatch didn’t let his physical infirmities keep him down. Miller remembers Whitlatch’s visits to the ranch where Miller’s father-in-law trained and bred horses. Whitlatch always managed to get around and showed an interest in everything.

During the time of his visits to the stables, Whitlatch began writing spec movie scripts. Miller’s father-in-law had contacts in the movie industry via several of the horse owners for whom he bred and trained. He allowed Whitlatch access to those contacts and, while Whitlatch never sold a script, he received encouragement and praise for his writing.

On one stable visit, Whitlatch witnessed Miller’s father-in-law putting Vicks Vapor Rub in a mare’s nose in order to get her to accept a foal that wasn’t hers. The Vicks worked to distort the mare’s olfactory senses so she couldn’t tell the foal wasn’t her own. Whitlatch was to later use the scene in one of his novels.

A perfectionist when it came to insurance work, Whitlatch was a taskmaster—never letting correspondence or reports leave the office until they were letter perfect. But while he found insurance work financially rewarding, he longed to quit and write full time.

Miller remembers the day Whitlatch called him full of excitement. He had just sold his first two novels. Pocket Books had given him a contract for two of his completed manuscripts and planned to publish both novels simultaneously—a first for the publishing house.

Norm Eastman - FRANK T'S PLAN, John Whitlatch (1972) MPMMel Crair - MORGAN'S ASSASSIN, John Whitlatch (1973) MPMMel Crair - STUNT MAN'S HOLIDAY, John Whitlatch (1973) MPM

Whitlatch eventually quit All-State to pursue his writing career. He had a handful of other novels published, but there was bad news on the horizon. Two years later, Miller received a phone call from his friend. Whitlatch told Miller he had been diagnosed with a brain tumor and had been given six month to two years to live.

Whitlatch’s final book, Shoot-Out At Dawn, was a non-fiction account of the deadly events at a remote Southern Arizona cabin in 1918. The book was written with Tom Power, one of the survivors of the clash. Whitlatch died shortly after it was published by Phoenix Books in 1981.

From other sources , it appears Whitlatch’s wife died sometime after 2005. The couple had no children. Clearly, Whitlatch will remain an enigma, but thanks to Bob Miller, those of us who have admired Whitlatch’s novels were finally given a glimpse into his background.

Usually, this little information about an author would indicate the use of a house owned pseudonym, with a number of authors penning the tales. But, this doesn’t appear to be the case with Whitlatch. Having read all eleven novels, the distinctive tempo and sentence structure make it clear they were written by the same person.

About twenty years or more ago, I tried tracking Whitlatch through his publisher. I was put in touch with Whitlatch’s agent who informed me Whitlatch was deceased. He did, however, provide me with a contact number for his family, warning me they would probably not want to be interviewed.

Mel Crair - CORY'S LOSERS, John Whitlatch (1973) MPMRobert Maguire - GANNON'S LINE, John Whitlatch (1976) MPMJohn Whitlatch & Tom Power, SHOOT OUT AT DAWN (1981) MPM

I eventually made contact with Whitlatch’s sister in Arizona, but while polite, she refused to impart any information. A strange situation, especially coupled with a tid-bit from mystery historian Al Hubin, which noted there had been no copyright renewals on Whitlatch’s titles. This raised the odd possibility of Whitlatch or his work being seen as an embarrassment to his family.

My introduction to Whitlatch originally came through his second published title, Morgan’s Rebellion. This was a great adventure tale. The all-American everyman Jamey Morgan finds himself falsely imprisoned in Central America. Desperate and alone, he takes it upon himself to escape, rally the scattered rebel forces, and overthrow the corrupt regime in order to get his life back and revenge on his wife and business partner.

Steve Holland & Eva Lynd art and photoThis was great stuff! Morgan was a cool character with his archery background and his righteous American indignation. Whitlatch is hardly politically correct and he wears the Mad Man style male chauvinist label proudly—definitely a product of his time—but the guy could write a rousing adventure

In 2009, I blogged about Whitlatch. At the time, in response to a blog post of his own, my buddy and prolific writer James Reasoner said, “You have to love the Internet.” In James’ case, his own blog post regarding a specific hardboiled author generated unexpected contact from one of the author’s surviving relatives.

In my case, several months after my post bemoaning the complete lack of information about John Whitlatch—beyond his novels and those lurid covers—I received a surprise email. It was from Bob Miller, a friend and former co-worker of Whitlatch’s who had somehow come across my original Whitlatch post. He offered to share information about the elusive author, whom he stated was a down-to-earth nice guy with a good sense of humor.

I immediately scrambled to dial the provided phone and quickly found myself chatting with my informant.

Bob Miller told me he worked with Whitlatch in the 1960s when they were both claims adjusters for an insurance company working out of an office on Gower Street in Hollywood. Bob remained friends with Whitlatch, and was an ardent reader of his novels, until Whitlatch died in the late 1970s.

Apparently, Whitlatch was a force in the insurance business. He eventually became the head claims adjuster for All-State Insurance, working out of the company’s headquarters on Wilshire Boulevard in LA.

Reportedly, he had a large, framed, picture of the All-State HQ building in Chicago hung on the wall behind his desk. The picture had a hand-drawn arrow pointing to one specific window in the building, which Whitlatch claimed was the office of the idiot I work for.

While working as a claims adjuster, Whitlatch also attempted to branch out into private business. For several years, he operated a self-service laundry on Ventura Boulevard—in the San Fernando Valley—with his wife, Geraldine. However, the business was forced into bankruptcy when long-term street repairs closed down easy access to the building.

Crippled with a bad limp, Whitlatch didn’t let his physical infirmities keep him down. Miller remembers Whitlatch’s visits to the ranch where Miller’s father-in-law trained and bred horses. Whitlatch always managed to get around and showed an interest in everything.

During the time of his visits to the stables, Whitlatch began writing spec movie scripts. Miller’s father-in-law had contacts in the movie industry via several of the horse owners for whom he bred and trained. He allowed Whitlatch access to those contacts and, while Whitlatch never sold a script, he received encouragement and praise for his writing.

On one stable visit, Whitlatch witnessed Miller’s father-in-law putting Vicks Vapor Rub in a mare’s nose in order to get her to accept a foal that wasn’t hers. The Vicks worked to distort the mare’s olfactory senses so she couldn’t tell the foal wasn’t her own. Whitlatch was to later use the scene in one of his novels.

A perfectionist when it came to insurance work, Whitlatch was a taskmaster—never letting correspondence or reports leave the office until they were letter perfect. But while he found insurance work financially rewarding, he longed to quit and write full time.

Miller remembers the day Whitlatch called him full of excitement. He had just sold his first two novels. Pocket Books had given him a contract for two of his completed manuscripts and planned to publish both novels simultaneously—a first for the publishing house.

Whitlatch eventually quit All-State to pursue his writing career. He had a handful of other novels published, but there was bad news on the horizon. Two years later, Miller received a phone call from his friend. Whitlatch told Miller he had been diagnosed with a brain tumor and had been given six month to two years to live.

John Whitlatch Review, Green Bay Press Gazette 1969 MPMWhitlatch’s final book, Shoot-Out At Dawn, was a non-fiction account of the deadly events at a remote Southern Arizona cabin in 1918. The book was written with Tom Power, one of the survivors of the clash. Whitlatch died shortly after it was published by Phoenix Books in 1981.

From other sources , it appears Whitlatch’s wife died sometime after 2005. The couple had no children. Clearly, Whitlatch will remain an enigma, but thanks to Bob Miller, those of us who have admired Whitlatch’s novels were finally given a glimpse into his background.

Here’s a brief look at what his men’s adventure novels are about, taken from the descriptions on the back covers…

GANNON'S VENDETTA (1969) “Do not forget, gentlemen—violence is the only thing they understand. If in doubt, kill.” … Recalling with hatred all the blood and pain these cycle creeps had caused him, Gannon described his enemy to the men who had come to help him. The animals on the hopped-up Harleys had raped Gannon's wife, torched his house, and then—after working him over—dumped him in the desert to die. They never expected Gannon to come out alive. This was the end of the long hunt--high noon at midnight. Gannon had followed the rat pack deep into Mexico. And now he was ready to do battle—their style.

MORGAN’S REBELLION (1969) “Prison made a man of Morgan. And the man became a legend.” … Jamey Morgan—a quiet California citizen—was arrested on a business trip to Central America. Accused of aiding a revolution he knew nothing about, Morgan was deprived of all diplomatic rights, branded an international renegade, and sentenced to hard labor. And so, the only way he could return to the United States was to overthrow the government that imprisoned him. He made the revolution his own. After escaping from prison, Morgan fled into the hills and joined the rebel forces. An experienced bowman, he trained and organized an extraordinary guerrilla troop—Los Arqueros, the Archers—fifty rugged men on horseback, armed with bows and explosive arrows. The exploits of this daring commando unit help bring a ruthless dictatorship to its knees—and brought fame, love, and fortune to Captain Jamey Morgan.

TANNER'S LEMMING (1970) TANNER—the man who single-fistedly quashed a student takeover and tongue-lashed its leaders into silence at a turbulent school-board showdown. TANNER—the man who had never flown a plane, yet took the stick when a pilot died in midair and landed safely. TANNER—the man whose blunt business sense had won him a place in a Senator's inner circle. TANNER—had he blown a hole in the heart of the man millions of Americans revered? Had he killed Senator Stanton? Could he have been the assassin?

THE IRON SHIRT (1970) Vengeance! Jonathan Fontaine swore it...in the smoking remains of his homestead, over the charred, mutilated body of his young daughter. He had gone East but now was back in Arizona with a specially equipped rifle. And he had a fresh lead on the Indian—the one who had worn a necklace of human fingers and The Iron Shirt...

LAFITTE'S LEGACY (1971) Jean Larue returns the newspaper said...The last of the Latittes had come back from Arizona to visit his dying grandfather. But enemies lay in wait, blocking his way with fallen trees, terrorizing his wife with poisonous snakes, signaling their malice with voodoo dolls. Someone wanted the old treasure map that was his legacy. But his adversaries had not reckoned with the pirate blood that was also part of Lafitte's legacy. He would tight with all the guile and guts, tenacity and ingenuity that had made his legendary ancestor the terror of the bayou.

Paul Bishop, writer editor publisherTHE JUDAS GOAT (1971) Life had made them hard...The army made them mean! The attack squad...Hand-nicked from the entire U.S. World War II army, they were a unique company. Twelve men led by a lieutenant, as able as he was arrogant, and a sharp, seasoned sergeant who was militantly silent about his past. Twelve fighters. among them an ugly man, a black man, an old World War I scout, a southern redneck, and a mountain climber. They were a strange assortment, but they had several things in common—They were tough and tenacious...and they didn't care too much about living. To the General they were the army's answer to the marines. To the Colonel they were a crack team...the best he could assemble. To the lieutenant they were animals. And by the time their brutal training had ended they were killers.

FRANK T’S PLAN (1972) Frank T. Dodge had a plan for revenge and it called for more than seeing a man dead… His daughter had been murdered...Frank T. had a painful score to settle. And his chance came when a jury freed the accused man, Martin Ballard. Lusting for vengeance, Frank T set out on a daring hunt to bring his prey back alive. But there was another group of desperate men who wanted Ballard dead. To get his man, Frank T would face death and terror with only his guts to get him through.

MORGAN'S ASSASSIN (1973) They called him “El Arquero”... The history books said bows and arrows had gone out years ago. But nobody had told James Morgan. Armed only with his great longbow, he had led a revolution that freed a Central American nation from tyranny. His men were all arqueros, or archers, but he was the only one called “El Arquero.” Now, back in the States, Morgan received another call for help—from the F.B.I. This time it was to foil an assassination attempt that everyone else seemed powerless to stop. But then he discovered that he was next on the assassin's list. It was kill or be killed—and as Morgan stalked his man, he discovered he was up against the most diabolical political conspiracy America had ever seen. To defeat it, the arqueros would have to march again...

STUNT MAN'S HOLIDAY (1973)  Max Besh was one tough apache. They shouldn't have gotten him mad. Max Besh, movie stunt man arid full-blooded Apache, was having quite a vacation in Las Vegas. He'd wan six grand at the crap tables and he'd gotten himself a curvy young dancer for companionship. Next thing he knew, he was looking down the barrel of a .38 and somebody was riding off with the cash and the girl. What the kidnappers didn't realize was nobody pulls that kind of trick on Max Besh. They eluded police and crossed the Mexican border, but they couldn't shake the angry Indian on their trail. Even if it took a shootout, Max Besh was going to get his money and his woman back—in that order.

CORY'S LOSERS (1973) When Cory had been stuck with that had murder rap, some of the town's solid citizens had moved in and taken everything he had. Now it was seven years later, and Cory was back with a score to settle. Meanwhile, his enemies had become the most powerful, ruthless men in town. They knew Cory was coming, and they were ready for him. But Cory had friends—the losers who, like him, had been taken by the big honchos. Together, they were going to make things pretty hot for those crooked bastards...

GANNON'S LINE (1976) John Gannon had settled into the life he wanted as foreman of the Holguin Rancho, south of Sonora. But powerful people in Washington had singled him out to lead a band of men and horses into the scorching Baja desert. His mission: to locate in that inferno of sand and sun the secret base of an espionage ring—and to crush the sadistic genius who masterminded it.

EDITOR’S POSTSCRIPT: When I scanned the paperback covers for this post, I noticed a connection between the John Whitlatch novels and men’s adventure magazines that I hadn’t noticed before. As Paul Bishop noted in his post, most of the novel covers were done by two top MAM artists, Norm Eastman and Mel Crair. Eastman and Crair both used the great male model Steve Holland as main characters for their Whitlatch covers, as they often did for their men’s adventure mag illustrations. When I scanned the cover of LAFITTE'S LEGACY, painted by Norm Eastman, it struck me that the gal getting nuzzled in the bottom left corner of the cover looked a lot like my friend Eva Lynd, who was both an artist’s model and pinup photo model back in the day. In fact, she was one of Eastman’s favorite female models for his men’s adventure art. I emailed a scan of the LAFITTE'S LEGACY cover to Eva and she confirmed that Norm had used a reference photo of her for the nuzzled gal. As I’ve discussed in other posts on this blog, Eva often posed together with Holland for reference photos taken by Eastman and another artist who did many MAM and paperback illustrations, Al Rossi. To read and see more about Eva Lynd and Steve Holland together, click this link.

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or join the
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John Whitlatch novels on Amazon

Sunday, August 13, 2017

A Men’s Adventure Magazines & Books Facebook Group Update...

Men's Adventure Magazines Facebook Group
Back in 2010, I created a Facebook group as a spinoff of this blog. It’s called the Men’s Adventure Magazines & Books Group.

Given the sometimes politically incorrect content in the men’s adventure realm, I made it a “closed group” that requires members to ask to join, as opposed to a public group that allows anyone to see the posts.

Year by year, the group has grown steadily.

It now has more than 2,100 members from all over the world, including fans of men’s adventure mags, early pulp mags, vintage illustration art, action/adventure novels and related genres.

In recent years, such Facebook groups have tended to become more popular and more widely viewed than serial blogs like MensPulpMags.com, and I’ve found myself following that trend.

My posts here have become less frequent. I generally use the blog for in-depth posts.

But I post daily in the Men’s Adventure Magazines & Books Facebook Group.

Each day, there are also posts by other members of the group, a diverse bunch that includes casual fans, hard core collectors, and an amazing number of talented artists, writers and indie publishers.

In case you’re not a member of the group yet, I invite you to join us.

Below are some examples of posts that were shared there in the past week...

Wayne Keil, owner of Hooked on Books, an Illinois bookstore that also offers thousands of used and collectible books on Amazon, recently posted a photo of a cool original painting by Mort Kunstler.

Wayne had noticed that the painting had just been listed for sale by Taraba Illustration Art, one of the best sources for original 20th Century illustration art.  

The Taraba folks knew the Kunstler painting had been used in an issue of STAG for a story titled “MY LIFE WITH NEW GUINEA’S AMAZON WOMEN,” but didn’t know which issue it appeared in.

Because I have an extensive digitized database of men’s adventure magazine contents pages, I was able to ID the issue as STAG, September 1957.

Then I posted a scan of the two-page spread from that issue.

STAG - 1957 09 Sept - Mort Kunstler art bbSTAG - 1957 09 Sept - Mort Kunstler REV WM bb

A couple of other cool Mort Kunstler paintings were recently posted in the group by my buddy Craig Clements. Craig is a major collector of original men’s adventure magazine artwork, especially work by Kunstler and Earl Norem.

Every once in a while, Craig sells off some of the MAM paintings he owns on eBay so he can free up space or raise cash to buy new ones. He is currently selling two Kunstler paintings I particularly love.

One is a totally gonzo classic showing a waterborne gang of hellraisers racing along in motorboats. It was used on the cover of MALE, August 1968 and goes with the story inside titled “I RIDE WITH THE OUTBOARD RAVAGERS.”   

MALE - 1968 08 Aug - art by Mort Kunstler WM bbMALE - 1968 08 Aug - cover by Mort Kunstler WM bb

Craig’s second recent post in the Facebook group shows another Mort Kunstler piece he’s currently offering on eBay.

It’s a bank robbing bikers gang scene originally used on the cover of FOR MEN ONLY, February 1966.

As Craig noted in his post, it happens to be one of the covers featured in our book BARBARIANS ON BIKES, a visual archive of men’s adventure mag covers and interior illustrations featuring bikers and motorcycle gangs.  

FOR MEN ONLY - 1966 02 Feb - Mort Kunstler art bbFOR MEN ONLY - 1966 02 Feb - Mort Kunstler cover bb

Our group member who goes by the nickname Johnny Begood and is an expert on vintage “Good Girl Art” from men’s magazines, recently posted a shot of a gorgeous painting by artist Victor Olson that’s up for sale on eBay.

It was used in ADVENTURES FOR MEN, June 1959 for the story “THE STRANGE MATING OF TERENCE O'LEARY.”

ADVENTURES FOR MEN, June 1959 - art by Victor Olson bbADVENTURES FOR MEN, June 1959 - Victor Olson art bb

Speaking of strange mating, another recent post that gave us a chuckle was made by group member Kevin Delaney, an actor and voice talent pro for movies, TV shows and video games who has worked on many cool projects. (See his page on the Internet Movie Database here.)

Kevin posted a scan of an ad for “Life Size Go-Go Girls” from the September 1971 issue of MAN’S ACTION. For a mere $3, one of those lovely love dolls could have been yours!

That ad elicited a string of quips and comments, including one by Patrick Ford, a comics art expert who runs an interesting group about Marvel Comics called THE MARVEL METHOD.

Patrick posted a link to a UK Daily Mail article about a Japanese businessman who claims “he has finally found happiness by having an intimate relationship with his love doll Saori.” Yep, that’s the guy taking his, er, girlfriend shopping in a women’s clothing store in the photo below.

MAN'S ACTION - 1971 09 Sept - Go Go girl doll ad bbSenji Nakajima and his doll Saori 01bb

In another recent post in our FB group, member Chuck Sycamore, a vintage pulp mag and illustration art maven in Chicago, posted photos of something neither he nor I had ever seen.

It’s a subscription flyer for TRUE magazine from around 1952 or 1953 that has a cool Tom Lovell illustration on one side and a pitch to potential subscribers on the other.

Lovell’s painting, which was used for a story in the July 1952 issue of TRUE, shows a group of nude women being attacked by a huge tiger.

TRUE subscription ad insert c. 1952 , Tom Lovell artTRUE subscription ad insert c. 1952 bb

Our member Thomas Clement recently posted another MAM illustration featuring a tiger. Thomas is the creator of the awesome American Art Archives illustration art site. (BTW, the eBay store run by his wife Christiane Thomas offers many vintage magazines for sale.)

The tiger illo posted by Thomas is from WILDCAT ADVENTURES, June 1960. The cover painting for that issue was done by Basil Gogos and is one of my faves. It goes with the wild story inside “BESTIAL ORGY OF THE HAIRY AINU.”

The tiger artwork is uncredited and unsigned, but looks like it was done by Charles Fracé, who started out as a magazine illustrator and ended up as a wildlife artist.

It was used for the story “THE DEADLY CARGO OF THE BRAZEN HUSSY.” That one is not included in our new book of “killer creature” stories and artwork I WATCHED THEM EAT ME ALIVE, but it would fit right in.

Wildcat Adventures - 1960 06 June - maybe Charles Frace bbWILDCAT ADVENTURES, June 1960. Cover by Basil Gogos

As a side note, my publishing partner Wyatt Doyle and have been pleased by the reviews that book has been getting from people we highly respect.

One recent review was posted by Ron Fortier on his Pulp Fiction Reviews blog. Ron is a legendary comics and “New Pulp” writer, editor and publisher, so we were quite proud to read his positive review. If you don’t know Ron’s work, check out the website of his Airship 27 publishing company. One of the latest Airship 27 offerings, titled TALES FROM THE HANGING MONKEY (Vol. Two), is clearly an homage to classic adventure pulp and a TV show you may recognize.

We also got a nice review from John Navroth, Editor of the great MONSTER WORLD MAGAZINE blog. And, we got a 5-star Amazon review from Dan Leo, author of the mind-blowing serial novel RAILROAD TRAIN TO HEAVEN.

We’re big fans of Ron, John and Dan, so it’s a pleasure and honor to get positive reviews from them.

Killer Creatures ad - 02TALES FROM THE HANGING MONKEY, Vol Two

One of my own recent posts in the Men’s Adventure Magazines & Books Facebook Group was a scan of a story in ARGOSY, December 1963.

The story is about Captain Paul Boynton, a real life adventurer who (among other things) invented a floating rubber suit that was like a cross between a modern diving drysuit and a kayak. He used it to paddle across the English Channel and down various rives in America and Europe in the 1870s and 1880s.

I love ARGOSY’s full-color interior illustration by George Gross showing Boynton and his suit. For an in-depth account of Boynton’s adventures, get the book, ROUGHING IT IN RUBBER. It has nothing to do with love dolls.

ARGOSY - 1963 12 Dec - George Gross illo WMRoughing It In Rubber book

If the posts above look like things you’d enjoy, but you’re not yet a member of the Men’s Adventure Magazines & Books Facebook Group, click this link to group’s main page, then click the “Join Group” button.  We usually respond to requests the same day.

Fair warning: we screen out people who appear to be fake Facebook entities or whose timeline posts peg them as likely trolls or jerks. And, sorry kids, the group is limited to adults.

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Comments? Corrections? Post them on the Weasels Ripped My Book Facebook Page, email them to me,
or join the
Men’s Adventure Magazines & Books Facebook Group and post them there.

Thanks to John Navroth, Editor of the great MONSTER MAGAZINE WORLD blog
for his review of our book collecting “killer creature” stories & artwork
from vintage men's adventure magazines, I WATCHED THEM EAT ME ALIVE.
Click this link or the image below to read the complete review.

Monster Magazine World Review graphic

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Who will inherit the Earth? Turtles, of course! I read it in STAG, Nov. 1961…

STAG, Nov 1961, Out of This World WM2 
I’m a big fan of turtles in real life. I’m also a big fan of the surreal “killer turtles” stories and artwork found in some of the men’s pulp adventure magazines published in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s.

We’ve featured some examples of gonzo turtle yarns and illustrations in several books in our Men’s Adventure Library series, including our latest offering, I WATCHED THEM EAT ME ALIVE.

Recently, a cool little item about turtles in the monthly “OUT OF THIS WORLD” Department in the November 1961 issue of STAG caught my attention.

“OUT OF THIS WORLD” is kind of a combination of news bytes, historical factoids and Robert Ripley’s “Believe It or Not,” illuminated with small, uncredited illustrations.

Many men’s adventure magazines had regular sections like it.

They often tend to get overlooked since they’re not as flashy as the cover paintings and interior illustrations or the feature stories.

But, personally, I find them to fascinating, entertaining and (dare I say it?) educational.

Most things in the “OUT OF THIS WORLD” Department that appeared in STAG are true or at least largely based on facts.

For example, I learned from the first mini-article in the “OUT OF THIS WORLD” Department in STAG, November 1961 that Benjamin Franklin was “the first American to tinker with the possibility of execution by electrocution.”  

It explains: “By using a set-up consisting of six Leyden jars, he was able to utilize the electrical current from the jars to snuff out the lives of chickens, lambs and a 10-pound turkey.”

Yes, that really is true. I checked.

Franklin did experiments in which he killed animals using electrical charges stored in Leyden jars, the 18th Century version of batteries.

There are some intriguing additional details about this dubious distinction in an article on the POPULAR SCIENCE magazine website.

It cites a report about Franklin’s critter-zapping experiments published by the famed British scientist William Watson. Watson noted that Ben’s attempt with the turkeys didn’t succeed initially.

“The turkies, though thrown into violent convulsions and then lying as dead for some minutes, would recover in less than a quarter of an hour,” Watson said drily, seemingly oblivious to the animal cruelty this implied.

But Ben was persistent. With a bigger shock, he did manage to kill a 10-pound turkey. And, Franklin boasted to Watson that “birds killed in this manner eat uncommonly tender.”

Don’t try it at home, folks. As the POPULAR SCIENCE article also explains, Franklin electrocuted himself during one of those experiments. Just not fatally.

STAG, Nov 1961, cover by Gil CohenSTAG, Nov 1961, Out of This World feature WMSTAG - 1961 11 Nov - Ben Franklin turkey story

Another fact-based mini-article in this example of “OUT OF THIS WORLD” is about a hero of a different kind, Jose Mendoza Lopez. Lopez was a Mexican-born American soldier who received the Medal of Honor for his bravery during the bloody Battle of the Bulge in World War II.

Using a heavy Browning M1919 machine gun, Lopez killed over 100 Nazi soldiers during that battle, more than any other American soldier did in WWII. In doing so, he saved the lives of many fellow soldiers who were pinned down by a German assault, allowing them to withdraw.

As the STAG piece explains:

STAG, Nov 1961, Jose Lopez “Although he was a member of Co. M, he and his machine gun were assigned to cover Co. K’s right side. Sizing up the desperate situation, he grabbed his heavy machine gun and lugged it to a shallow hole that only covered him up to his hips. His first burst cut down 10 Germans. Ignoring a barrage from an advancing enemy tank, he quickly trained his gun on a group of soldiers trying to encircle him—getting 25. Dazed by an artillery attack that dropped shells all around him, he was still able to see additional Nazis corning in from his right in an effort to outflank him. Again he dragged his gun to another, not so vulnerable position. Before he could set up his gun, he was bowled over by the concussion of a near miss, but he immediately reset his gun and kept on firing. Singlehandedly, he held off the massive German drive until Co. K could complete its withdrawal…For his extreme heroism—above and beyond the call of duty—PFC Lopez was awarded the nation’s highest tribute: The Congressional Medal of Honor.”

There are many articles about Lopez online, including a cool page about him on the “Badass of the Week” website. But I first learned about him from the brief piece in STAG

Some of the mini-articles in STAG’s “OUT OF THIS WORLD” sensationalized or stretched the facts. Some were based on legends.

Some combined fact and legend, like this one in the the November 1961 issue. 

“BORROW YOUR TEETH, PLEASE? — One of the most incredible stories to come out of the Yukon territory concerns a man who had all of his teeth extracted. A short while later, while out on a bear hunt, the toothless gentleman was lucky enough to bring down a fine specimen. Unable to eat the tasty meat of the bear, because without teeth it was impossible for him to chew, the hungry hunter proceeded to carve a set of teeth for himself out of the dead bear's now-useless fangs. Not only did he enjoy his meal, but he became a legend in the north country for having eaten the bear with its own teeth.”

With some Googling, I found that this is based on stories about Erwin A. “Nimrod” Robertson, a hardy Mainer who headed to Alaska during the Klondike Gold Rush.

Nimrod did make dentures using “incisors from a Dall sheep, premolars from a caribou, and molars from a bear.” But the legend about him eating the bear that supplied the molars is just that—legend.

Another little story in the OOTW Department in STAG, November 1961 says:

“FOR WHOM THE BELLS TOLLED — When King Louis XV of France passed away, the bells in the Cathedral of Toul pealed for 40 consecutive days and nights. The terrific vibrations set up by the constant ringing actually weakened the bell tower to such an extent that it continued to sway on its own. The swaying caused the bells to keep ringing for almost 21 years or more.”

That whopper is obviously contrary to the laws of physics. But, again, it probably wasn’t concocted by STAG, just repeated. It seems to be a legend that was floating around, at least in the 1960s. I found it in an old Ripley’s-like column titled “REALLY?” in a newspaper published in 1965.

I WATCHED THEM EAT ME ALIVE, p8 & 9 WMThere’s also this little oddity in the November 1961 “OUT OF THIS WORLD”:

“BIRTH AFTER DEATH — Probably the most macabre coincidence on record is the case of the Knoxville, Tennessee, woman who married three times. With each husband she had a child. Yet, each of her children came into this world after its father had died.”

Maybe true. Maybe not. I didn’t bother to Google that one.

The piece I liked best in the OOTW Department in STAG, November 1961 is about turtles.

In this case, it’s not one of the wild “killer turtle” stories we’ve featured in some of our books.

It’s a bit of speculation about what animal is likely to survive in the event of a nuclear apocalypse.

It says:

“WHO WILL INHERIT THE EARTH? — If any living thing on this earth is going to survive man's tampering with nuclear explosions, put your money on the turtle. For one thing, it's been able to keep going strong for at least 60,000,000 years. It lives in every part of the world and in such varied habitats as the middle of a desert or at the bottom of the sea. Turtles have been frozen into blocks of ice for months at a time, yet have been defrosted back to life. With no ears, they can hear the approach of friends or enemies, long before they arrive, by the vibrations set up. They have no voices, yet they can whistle and be heard 40 feet away. They are toothless, but the ridges in their mouths can shear off a man's finger as cleanly as a razor. And if you think they are slow, they can actually swim through the ocean at 20 miles an hour. Protected by a fantastic shell into which they can crawl at the sign of danger, turtles average about 150 years of life and probably have lived for as long as 500 years. Having outlived the giant dinosaurs, and having adapted to everything this earth has thrown at them over the last 60,000,000 years, it's a good bet some of the 300 species of turtle will be around long after man—as we know him—is gone.”

From what I can tell, most of those turtle factoids are true. And, in 1965, the Cold War was in full swing and the U.S. and Soviet Union were stockpiling and testing more and bigger nuclear weapons to use against each other. So, the threat of a radioactive Armageddon was viewed as almost inevitable reality.

Luckily, World War III hasn’t happened…yet.

But if it ever does, I hope the turtles do inherit the earth. Humans won’t deserve it.

*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *

Comments? Corrections? Email me, or post them on our Weasels Ripped My Book Facebook Page
— or join the
Men’s Adventure Magazines & Books Facebook Group and post them there.

     
Click this link
or the image below to order our latest full-color
collection of men’s adventure magazine artwork and stories,
the first
in our new, lushly-illustrated “Men’s Adventure Library Journal” series...
 

I WATCHED THEM EAT ME ALIVE:

Killer Creatures in Men’s Adventure Magazines

I WATCHED THEM EAT ME ALIVE, w contents

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

I WATCHED THEM EAT ME ALIVE! — the new Men’s Adventure Library book and first “Men’s Adventure Journal”

Killer Creatures book cover WM  
   
“I had a glimpse of a squirrel perched on his neck; it seemed funny as hell for a second.”

That was the initial reaction of the main character in the story “FLYING RODENTS RIPPED MY FLESH!” when he saw a small furry creature land on his buddy in the outback of Australia.

It’s the same initial reaction most people have when they see the “killer flying squirrels” cover painting done by artist Wilbur “Wil” Hulsey for that story, which originally appeared in the men’s adventure magazine MAN’S LIFE, August 1957.

But if you read that story and the others reprinted in our new book, I WATCHED THEM EAT ME ALIVE: KILLER CREATURES IN MEN’S ADVENTURE MAGAZINES, you’re likely to find they aren’t quite what you expected.

Most animal attack stories in MAMs — including those that may initially seem like they’d be “funny as hell” — are dark action/adventure tales that are grim and bloody as hell.

In most cases they are essentially horror stories.

I WATCHED THEM EAT ME ALIVE reprints examples animal attack stories from men’s adventure mags published in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, along with dozens of “killer creature” covers and interior illustrations, printed in glorious full color.

The format of this new book is a bit different from previous books in our Men’s Adventure Library series.

Our previous anthologies — WEASELS RIPPED MY FLESH!, HE-MEN, BAG MEN & NYMPHOS, A HANDFUL OF HELL and the CRYPTOZOOLOGY ANTHOLOGY — each include more than 20 stories, along with the cover and interior artwork originally used for the stories.

Our last book, BARBARIANS ON BIKES, is solely an image archive: a collection of MAM covers and interior artwork and photos that feature bikers and outlaw motorcycle gangs.
 
I WATCHED THEM EAT ME ALIVE is the first of example of a format we’re calling “The Men’s Adventure Library Journal.”

It’s an in-between format that’s roughly half stories and half artwork, all related to a particular theme; in this case, “killer creature” stories.

You can get a good idea of what the book looks like inside by clicking on and viewing the video preview at right.

Men’s adventure mags published hundreds of animal attack stories involving every possible type of critter, from true potential man-eaters like sharks, lions and bears, to squirm-inducing species like snakes, scorpions and spiders, to many kinds of critters that are highly unlikely threats to humans, such as weasels, lobsters, lemmings and anteaters.

In fact, killer creature stories are far more common in men’s adventure magazines than stories about sadistic Nazis tormenting scantily-clad women.

Nazi bondage and torture stories with lurid artwork that makes them both castigated as politically incorrect by knee-jerk critics and beloved by certain collectors are only common in the low-budget “sweat mag” subgenre of MAMs.

Animal attack stories appeared either occasionally or frequently in most of the 160 different men’s adventure titles published from the ‘50s to the ‘70s.

Many of those stories are illuminated with eye-popping artwork by top illustration artists of the era.

For example, the painting used for the first story in our new book and featured on its cover was done by George Gross.

Gross was an extremely-talented artist who started out doing cover paintings for the pre-World War II pulp fiction magazines that were forerunners of the MAM genre.

He later hundreds of cover and interior illustrations for men’s adventure magazines and paperbacks.

His cover painting for “I WATCHED THEM EAT ME ALIVE” is as classic as that story, which first appeared in MAN’S CONQUEST, November 1956.

For some reason, Gross’ painting was heavily cropped when it was used on the cover of that issue. But the full painting was shown inside in black-and-white.

In our book, we inserted the full color version where the painting appeared in black-and-white in the magazine.

Why? Well, because it’s so cool — and because we could. 

The original painting is owned by our friend, mega-MAM art collector Rich Oberg, so we had a high-resolution color photo of it.

Here’s a look at the original magazine spread and the colorized spread in our book side by side…

MAN'S CONQUEST, Nov 1956. Interior by George Gross WMImage20color

Gross’ killer crabs artwork is much less bloody than the story itself. And, the story is not quite as far-fetched as you might think.

Coconut crabs grow up to three feet across. Their claws, which can crush coconuts, can also easily slice off a finger – or do worse.

As noted in an article on the Smithsonian website, coconut crabs have been known to eat everything from chickens to cats and they could in fact overtake and eat a weak or injured human. In fact, one theory about the death of Amelia Earhart is that she crashed her plane on a small atoll in the South Pacific and survived, but was gravely wounded and unable to fend off scavenging coconut crabs, who ate her — possibly alive.

The “killer flying squirrels” story we included in this volume is far less plausible. Moreover, contrary to the famed Wil Hulsey cover painting and the photos used to illustrate it, the story is about “killer” Australian sugar gliders. Of course, in the real world, sugar gliders are about as deadly to humans as squirrels.

These small marsupials are popular pets Down Under and elsewhere. They can nip and they do live in groups in the wild. But it’s unlikely that even a huge mob of pissed off sugar gliders would pose a real threat to humans.

Amelia Earhart eaten by coconut crabs wmI WATCHED THEM EAT ME ALIVE, p. 30 & 31 WM

Nonetheless, if you can suspend your disbelief, you’ll find that “FLYING RODENTS RIPPED MY FLESH” is a very cool and amazingly gruesome ripping yarn.

Killer creature stories were particular mainstays of the long-running periodical that tale originally appeared in, TRUE MEN STORIES, as well as in the equally long-running MAM of killer weasels fame, MAN’S LIFE. (The famed “WEASELS RIPPED MY FLESH!” story we reprinted in our book of the same name, and that inspired the title of an album by Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention, first appeared in the September 1956 issue of MAN’S LIFE.)

In 1950s and early 1960s, most issues of both MAN’S LIFE and TRUE MEN STORIES featured animal attack stories. Many included three or four.

For example, in addition to the story about flesh-ripping rodents, the August 1957 issue of TRUE MEN STORIES includes a wild story about killer pangolin anteaters (“TO HELL WITH THE GOLD – WE’RE DYING”), one about a berserk bull (“I WAS CHOKING ON A POOL OF GORE”) and another about a bloodthirsty lynx (“FETID FANGS TORE AT MY THROAT”).

The third story in the premiere issue of the Men’s Adventure Library Journal series comes from a short-lived and lesser-known men’s adventure magazine that went by the hormone-infused name RAGE. It’s a tale about a “lust-crazed gorilla” who kidnaps human women, titled “TERROR SAFARI.” 

RAGE, January 1961, John Duillo cover WMI WATCHED THEM EAT ME ALIVE, p. 40 & 41 WM

Of course, that old trope has long been played for laughs in comedy films. But it’s not just an old trope. It’s ancient. The idea that gorillas kidnapped and sexually abused human women has been a traditional legend of native peoples of Africa for centuries.

It was noted and repeated widely by white explorers and hunters in the 1800s and 1900s, eventually leading to the modern comedy movie gag. But, as you’ll see, the “TERROR SAFARI” story is not designed to be humorous, even though the cover painting that goes with it, by artist John Duillo, portrays a totally gonzo, gravity-defying scene.

Two stories in the book come from MALE, one of the best and longest-lasting men’s adventure magazines.

MALE was one of the “Diamond Group” MAMs published by Magazine Management. Those magazines were a training ground for many writers who went on to international fame, such as Mario Puzo, Bruce Jay Friedman and Martin Cruz Smith – as well as for many others who, though less well known, earned a good living as professional writers.

For example, one story in our book, titled “STRANGE REVENGE OF WYOMING’S MOST HUNTED GIANT PUMA,” was written by Robert F. Dorr.

I WATCHED THEM EAT ME ALIVE, p70 & 71 WMI WATCHED THEM EAT ME ALIVE, p72 & 73 WM

From 1964 to 1989, Dorr was a globe-hopping Foreign Service Officer for the US State Department. In his spare time, he wrote short stories for men’s adventure magazines.

Most were war and adventure stories, some of the best of which we feature in our anthology of his stories, A HANDFUL OF HELL, published shortly before Bob died last year.

But Bob could write gripping stories about virtually any subject and we are partial to his somewhat different take on animal attack stories because his tend to be sympathetic to the animals. (We included one he wrote about a polar bear in our WEASELS anthology.)

His giant cougar story is also notable for being illustrated by Mort Kunstler, under his pseudonym Emmett Kaye.

Mort (who I interviewed for this blog a while back) painted thousands of illustrations for magazines and books from early 1950s to the 1980s.

Since then he has focused on creating historical paintings for high end galleries and collectors. His Civil War paintings are especially sought after and often sell for tens of thousands of dollars. (You can see many excellent examples on his official website.)

A fifth story in our first Men’s Adventure Library Journal was written by another prolific writer who is a special favorite of ours: Walter Kaylin. We showcased a variety of classic stories by Walter in our HE-MEN, BAG MEN & NYMPHOS anthology.

I WATCHED THEM EAT ME ALIVE, p. 90 & 91 WMI WATCHED THEM EAT ME ALIVE, p. 92 & 93 WM

Like Bob Dorr, Walter was a regular contributor to the Magazine Management mags for more than 20 years.

Like Bob, Walter wrote hundreds of stories for men’s adventure magazines. So many that he often had two stories in the same issue: one under his own name and another under one of his common pseudonyms, Roland Empey or David Mars.

In our view, the killer creature story by Walter that we picked for this collection tops the movie SNAKES ON A PLANE in several ways, not the least of which is that it involves “a million snakes” surrounding the survivors of a plane that crashed in Louisiana’s swamp country.

Originally published in the January 1974 issue of MALE, under his pen name Roland Empey, it’s illustrated with a terrific illustration by Bob Larkin.

Larkin’s work for men’s adventure mags came late in their lifespan, in the 1970s. He’s best known for his more recent artwork for comics and graphic novels published by Marvel.

One of the things we’ve done with our recent books is to publish them in two editions: a trade paperback and a higher-priced deluxe hardcover edition.

Most of the content of the paperback and hardcover editions are the same, but the deluxe hardcover editions include bonus stories and artwork.

In I WATCHED THEM EAT ME ALIVE, we include sections showing classic killer creature covers and interior art between the stories by great artists such as Wil Hulsey, Clarence Doore, Rafael DeSoto, Wil Hulsey, Norm Eastman, Mort Kunstler and others.

I WATCHED THEM EAT ME ALIVE, p24 & 25 WMI WATCHED THEM EAT ME ALIVE, p64 & 65 WM

The hardcover edition includes two additional sections of artwork. One features original men’s adventure mag paintings by Samson Pollen.

Sam is still alive and well and living in New York. Last year, my co-editor Wyatt Doyle and I contacted Sam and found out that he has kept scores of original paintings he created for the Magazine Management MAMs, such as ACTION FOR MEN, FOR MEN ONLY, MALE, MEN and STAG, as well as many of the original paintings he did for action, adventure and romance paperback novels.

Most of the originals Sam kept have rarely or never been shown online or in any books. We’re happy to announce that he has agreed to let Wyatt and I show them in an upcoming series of books that will showcase his distinctive illustration art.

The Pollen artwork in the hardcover edition of I WATCHED THEM EAT ME ALIVE provides a little taste of those future publications.

The hardcover also includes a bonus story that’s also sort of a mini-preview of another book we’ll be publishing in the months ahead.

It’s a story about killer crabs written by the legendary, award-winning author Robert Silverberg in 1958 for the short-lived periodical EXOTIC ADVENTURES, under the pseudonym Dave Callahan.

Of course, Bob Silverberg is best known and revered for his science fiction and fantasy stories and novels, such as his Hugo-award-wining NIGHTWINGS trilogy and his highly-popular MAJIPOR novels. But like other hardworking science fiction pros in the 1950s and 1960s, such as Arthur C. Clarke and Harlan Ellison, Silverberg also wrote stories for various men’s adventure magazines.

I WATCHED THEM EAT ME ALIVE, p 48 & 49I WATCHED THEM EAT ME ALIVE, p26 & 27 HC WM

As I’ve noted in previous posts on this blog (“LESBIANS ON THE PROWL”), some of Bob’s MAM stories were classic sexposé and sex advice stories written under the pseudonym L.T. Woodward, which he also used for a number of “sexology” books. Others were action/adventure yarns and softcore erotica, also typically written under pen names.

Several years ago, when I contacted Bob to get permission to reprint his men’s adventure mag story “TRAPPED BY MAU MAU TERROR” in our WEASELS anthology, he confirmed that he had written most of the stories in five of the six issues of EXOTIC ADVENTURES published in 1958 and 1959.

Bob has also sold us the rights to reprint the best of them in a forthcoming book in our Men’s Adventure Library series, tentatively titled THE EXOTIC ADVENTURES OF ROBERT SILVERBERG.

If (hopefully when) you read the “killer creature” stories in I WATCHED THEM EAT ME alive, you’ll see that there many parallels in the realm of movies and understand why such stories can be both absurd and horrific at the same time.

For example, Alfred Hitchcock’s 1963 classic film THE BIRDS might just seem silly based on the premise: killer birds. But it’s not. It’s horror.

So are killer creature movies like WILLARD (1971), JAWS (1975), ARACHNOPHOBIA (1990), THE GHOST AND THE DARKNESS (1996), ANACONDA (1997), CONGO (1995) and many others.

The way for those films and most Grade B, Drive-In and Grindhouse “natural horror” flicks was paved by stories in men’s adventure magazines.

Walter Kaylin book dedicationMen of Violence, Vol 8, with Walter Kaylin obit REV

EDITOR’S NOTES: The great Walter Kaylin passed away in February 2017. Wyatt and I were honored to have known him. We’re also honored to have reprinted stories by him in two previous books and in I WATCHED THEM EAT ME ALIVE. We officially dedicated our new book to Walter. And, with the gracious permission of his daughters Lucy Kaylin and Jennifer Kaylin, we plan to reprint more of Walter’s classic men’s adventure magazine stories in future books.

I’m also pleased that Justin Marriott, editor of several incredibly cool and beautifully-produced fan magazines about vintage pulp paperbacks and related stuff, has included a reprint of my farewell post to Walter in issue #8 of his MEN OF VIOLENCE mag. Here’s a link to Justin’s site, where you can order copies of that issue and other magazines Justin publishes, including the PAPERBACK FANATIC and PULP HORROR. And, here’s a link to a fascinating interview with Justin conducted by our friend, writer/editor/publisher Paul Bishop. MoV #8 also includes an article by Paul about the FARGO action/adventure novels.

*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *

Comments? Corrections? Email me, or post them on our Weasels Ripped My Book Facebook Page
— or join the
Men’s Adventure Magazines & Books Facebook Group and post them there.

     
Click this link
or the image below to order our latest full-color
collection of men’s adventure magazine artwork and stories,
the first
in our new, lushly-illustrated “Men’s Adventure Library Journal” series...
 

I WATCHED THEM EAT ME ALIVE:

Killer Creatures in Men’s Adventure Magazines

I WATCHED THEM EAT ME ALIVE, w contents