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Our books on Amazon: the MEN'S ADVENTURE LIBRARY series...
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Saturday, August 31, 2019

An interview about our book POLLEN’S WOMEN: THE ART OF SAMSON POLLEN…


As noted in previous posts on this blog, I love the fanzines published by UK paperback and action/adventure media maven Justin Marriott.

Justin began publishing his flagship fanzine THE PAPERBACK FANATIC in 2007. In the years since then he has added THE SLEAZY READER, PULP HORROR, HOT LEAD, MEN OF VIOLENCE and, most recently, MONSTER MANIACS, a fanzine focusing on horror comics and magazines.

All of Justin’s fanzines are full of fascinating facts, lushly illustrated and contributions from other vintage media mavens, such as writer/editor Paul Bishop, fantasy, science fiction and action/adventure expert Morgan Holmes, Australian pulp culture scholar blogger and author Andrew Nette, and many others.

Last year, in MEN OF VIOLENCE #10, Justin interviewed my publishing partner Wyatt Doyle and I about POLLEN’S WOMEN, the first of book in our Men’s Adventure Library series to showcase original men’s adventure magazine (MAM) paintings by the great illustration artist Samson Pollen.

This week, as I was shelving books and magazines in my library, I looked at MEN OF VIOLENCE #10 again and thought readers of this blog who had not seen that interview might find it interesting. So, I’m reprinting it here, even though a couple of things in it are outdated.

Since the interview was first published, Sam Pollen has passed away and the second book we worked with him on before he died has been published. It’s titled POLLEN’S ACTION.

We have also published another book mentioned as forthcoming in the interview, CUBA: SUGAR, SEX, AND SLAUGHTER, which features men’s adventure magazine stories and artwork about Cuba, Fidel Castro and the Cuban Revolution.

Here’s the interview as it appeared in MoV #10, illustrated with scans from that issue…

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POLLEN’S WOMEN

Justin Marriott talks Samson Pollen

with Bob Deis and Wyatt Doyle


JUSTIN: I just wanted to say congratulations on the magnificent Pollen’s Women and how much I am looking forward to the promised Pollen’s Action. How has Pollen’s Women been received?

BOB: Thanks, Justin. We’re big fans of your fanzines and greatly appreciate your continuing support for our Men’s Adventure Library book series.

Pollen’s Women breaks new ground for us. We’ve included lots of cover and interior artwork in our other books, but this one about Samson Pollen and his work is the first we’ve published that features original paintings by one of the grandmasters of the men’s adventure genre. Sam, who is still alive and well at age 86 and living in New York, mostly did interior illustrations for men’s adventure mags, published across two-page spreads.

In order to be able to show the full true glory of his interior paintings in a nice, large size, we chose to print the book in a “landscape” format.. That way, we were able to show a complete painting on one page, in full color. On pages between the paintings, we show scans of the two-page story spreads the art was used for.

Pollen’s Women has been getting great reviews, and we hope it will continue to create new fans—of Samson Pollen’s artwork, and of vintage men’s adventure magazines, which we call MAMs for short.

JUSTIN: How did you decide upon Samson Pollen as an artist you wanted to put in the spotlight and how did you track him down?

BOB: Working with Sam evolved out of conversations I had with my friend Rich Oberg, who owns what is probably the largest collection of original men’s adventure magazine artwork in the world. Years ago, when Rich was building his collection, he sought out many of the living artists, visited them at their homes and bought paintings directly from them. One of those artists was Sam Pollen.

Rich was a great supporter of my initial effort to increase awareness of the men’s adventure magazine genre, the MensPulpMags.com blog, and he often fed me information about the artists. Several years ago, Rich sent me copies of the emails he’d exchanged with Sam, and we discussed that the fact that his work was less well known than some of the other great artists who did artwork for MAMs, because he primarily did interiors. (Most posts on the internet of showing MAM artwork are covers, not interiors.) And, the few notable books about the genre that existed before ours mostly show covers.

So, unlike artists who did a lot of MAM covers, like Mort Künstler, Norm Eastman, Bruce Minney, Gil Cohen and Norman Saunders, Sam’s artwork for men’s adventure mags was not as well known as it should be. Rich and I agreed that Sam’s work is as great those other artists, and deserved wider recognition.

WYATT: Bob and I called to interview Sam for MensPulpMags.com, and we got on well. We’d sent him some of our other books, and he liked what he saw in them. He was receptive to the idea of our publishing collections of his artwork, and we were off and running.

He opened his archives to us. The man has created literally hundreds of pieces of truly incredible illustration art—art which, by a quirk of fate, has gone unseen since the last century, but hasn’t lost a drop of its potency. And Sam still owns quite a bit of his original work, which is unusual. So here we are, with access to Samson Pollen’s entire archive of sexy, sensuous, explosive, mind- bending, hard-punching paintings! For me and Bob to be able to immerse ourselves in Pollen’s work so totally was a rare privilege, and a unique education.

I’ve been fortunate, too, to spend time with Sam and his wife Jacqueline in New York, and we’ve continued to discuss his life and career by phone. Out of those conversations came the autobiographical comments that open Pollen’s Women.

JUSTIN: What has been Sam’s reaction?

BOB: More positive than we could have ever hoped. We were thrilled when he told us he loved it. And, he has been gratified to see some of the nice early reviews.

WYATT: Sam has been extremely gracious, and we want what we do to honor both the artwork and the artist. He’s put a tremendous amount of trust in us, so the fact that he’s happy with what we’ve done—that he’s pleased with how we’re presenting his life’s work—means a lot.

JUSTIN: It was great to see both the original paintings and the story spreads they were for. Did you do the magazine scans?

BOB: Yes. The scans all come from magazines in my collection. I got hooked on collecting men’s adventure magazines almost 15 years ago in a sort of back-door way. I was listening to a CD reissue of Frank Zappa’s Weasels Ripped My Flesh album and looked up info on the album on the internet.

I learned that Zappa had taken the title from a story in the September 1956 issue of the men’s adventure magazine Man’s Life and I saw a scan of that cover. It features a totally gonzo, totally cool cover painting of a man being attacked by a horde of bloodthirsty weasels, done by an artist named Wil Hulsey.

I loved it and tracked down a copy on eBay. Then I bought more MAMs, and more. Then I decided to start my blog about them, then a Facebook group [the Men’s Adventure Magazines & Books group]. Through those, I made contact with other collectors, like Rich Oberg, and some of the living artists and writers.

I also met Wyatt, head of the New Texture indie publishing company. In 2013, Wyatt and I published the first book in our Men’s Adventure Library series, titled—naturally—Weasels Ripped My Flesh! By that time, I had collected several thousand of the roughly 6,000 individual issues of the roughly 160 different men’s adventure magazine published during the genre’s lifespan, from the late 1940s to the late ’70s. Now I have over 5,000. Yes, I am an obsessed, crazy fanboy. Kind of like you, Justin.

JUSTIN: Any pieces you were especially proud to see reproduced?

BOB: Well, I am a huge fan of the duotone illustrations that were common in many men’s adventure magazines. Duotones are illustrations that use black in and one color. It could be black and red, blue, green, or sometimes shades of brown. The artists were told what the colors would be in the issue their painting was used for and would paint the illustration using only shades of black and grey and shades of the color. Samson Pollen was one of the best artists when it came to duotones in my opinion, and we show a bunch of them in the book.

If I had to pick faves, one would be the painting used for the cover of the book. It shows a group of scantily clad women using ropes to pull a bus that’s painted up like the one used by Ken Kesey’s Merry Pranksters, while a guy on the top of the bus is shooting a machine gun at some attackers behind him.

If you look at it, it’s hard to believe he did it all in two colors, black and red. It’s a true duotone masterpiece. Another would be the full color painting he did for the story “We Were Shipwrecked on an All- Girl Island,” used in the July 1958 issue of a magazine called Bachelor, which was more of a Playboy-style mag than a MAM. It shows a guy being fed on a beach by a beautiful Polynesian babe while other gals play in the surf. It’s an ultimate exotic island male fantasy scene.

WYATT: There’s a painting Sam created as an audition piece at the start of his career, a monochrome scene of tough New York street kids; he brought up that painting time and time again in our conversations. Because it was done as a sample piece, he was working without a deadline, and therefore able to give it more careful attention than some of his later, contracted work. It’s an especially evocative, yet ambiguous, scene, and he holds it in high regard as an example of his best. I do, too.

JUSTIN: Tell me about the follow-up Pollen’s Action?

BOB: Sam Pollen did illustrations for just about every type of story featured in men’s adventure magazines. In our next book featuring his artwork, we'll show some of the artwork he did for action, adventure, and war stories.

WYATT: I think newer fans and students of his work will be in for a real treat with that book. Though Pollen is admired both for his women and for his scenes of intense action, he didn't often deploy those elements in equal servings. So while there's some wild action on display in Pollen's Women, truly you ain't seen nothin’ yet. His senses of space, composition, and depth are remarkable, and Pollen's Action will show just how far Pollen pushed the envelope in terms of visual inventiveness and outrageousness.

His action pieces are packed with wild angles and airborne characters being flung and hurled violently by opponents or explosions, tumbling through the air. Making the incredible—even the preposterous—believable, if only for the length of the story, is a big part of what MAMs were all about; that no-holds-barred atmosphere. Pollen's Action is going to be a book that really grabs you by the lapels and yanks you in!

JUSTIN: What are the chances of Pollen's Paperbacks as a title?

WYATT: The chances are very good indeed! Sam is rightfully very proud of his paperback covers, and he's covered a lot of territory there, both in terms of subject matter and time served in the in­dustry. His paperback work is as important a part of his story as his MAM work. We're looking forward to making Pollen's Paperbacks the third volume of his artwork that we release in a deluxe format.

BOB: Additionally, we may do a book featuring the cover paintings artist Gil Cohen did for the Executioner/Mack Bolan series of books created by Don Pendleton. I recently did an extensive interview with Gil about those for my MensPulpMags.com site. Gil and Sam both did men’s adventure magazine artwork and men’s adventure paperback artwork.

Most of their men’s adventure magazine artwork was done for the classic MAMs published by Martin Goodman’s Magazine Management Company. And both men did more than just action/adventure paperback cover art; they also both painted covers for romance novels.

JUSTIN: Finally, any news on Cuba: Sugar, Sex, and Slaughter?

BOB: Yes, I’m glad to say it’s coming soon. [Now available here.]  I live near Key West, which has a long history of interconnections with Cuba and is only 90 miles away. I’ve always been fascinated by it. In the course of reading through the magazines in my collection, I discovered that men’s adventure magazines published more stories about Cuba and Fidel Castro than almost any other genre. There are hundreds of them, illustrated with terrific artwork and historic photos. Those stories chronicle and dramatize what was happening in Cuba in the years leading up to the Cuban Revolution, and what happened during and after the Revolution, in ways no other American print or electronic media did at the time—or since.

We picked a selection of our favorites for Cuba: Sugar, Sex and Slaughter. If it sells well enough, we plan to do a second, large format book that’s reprints even more Cuba-related artwork and photos from MAMs, similar to our visual archive of MAM artwork and photos featuring bikers and motorcycle gangs, Barbarians on Bikes. So, I hope readers of Men of Violence pick up a copy of Cuba: Sugar, Sex and Slaughter. Believe me, folks, you’ll find plenty of gritty and sometimes grim action and violence in it.

JUSTIN: I look forward to it, and please keep me and the MoV readership informed of future Men's Adven­ture Library publications from New Texture.

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

Related reading…

Thursday, August 8, 2019

DEBUTING AT PULPFEST 2019: A guest post by Mike Chomko…


EDITOR’S NOTE: Mike Chomko is one of the founders and main organizers of the annual PulpFest convention that will held this year in Pittsburgh from August 15 to 18. Recently, Mike wrote a post for the PulpFest Facebook page and website that discusses some of the new books that will be debuting at PulpFest 2019 and events scheduled during the 3-day con. Thanks to Mike for allowing me to reprint his post here.

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DEBUTING AT PULPFEST 2019: An overview by PulpFest Programming Director Mike Chomko…

PulpFest has become a top venue for writers and publishers to roll out their newest titles. Following are some of the books that will be premiering at our 2019 convention…

Bob Deis and Wyatt Doyle — the editors and publishers of THE MEN’S ADVENTURE LIBRARY series — will have their latest book, POLLEN’S ACTION, at this year’s PulpFest. It collects the cream of the Samson Pollen’s high-octane action paintings for the men’s adventure magazines. They’ll also have a limited number of copies of EVA: MEN’S ADVENTURE SUPERMODEL. These are being produced exclusively for members of PulpFest. This special edition — predating the title’s wide release by several months — will look at actress, pin-up model, and men’s adventure magazine artist’s model Eva Lynd.

Interestingly, Eva often posed with Steve Holland — James Bama’s model for the Bantam DOC SAVAGE paperbacks — for the men’s adventure magazine cover and interior illustrations painted by both artists Al Rossi and Norm Eastman. After checking out their books, please don’t forget to catch Bob’s and Wyatt’s presentation ARGOSY, ADVENTURE and BLUE BOOK — The Men’s Adventure Pulps, a look at the metamorphosis of these “pulp giants” into men’s adventure magazines. It’s on Friday evening, August 16. [See a preview of the presentation in the posts here.]

The beautiful painting of Eva Lynd shooting a machine gun on EVA: MEN’S ADVENTURE SUPERMODEL was painted by Norm Eastman. It was originally created as the cover art for the December 1968 issue of NEW MAN. Eastman’s wild and often politically-incorrect cover paintings are among the most famous (and infamous) ever done for the men’s adventure magazines.

Age of Aces Books is a publisher of pulp fiction treasures with a keen eye for design. At this year’s PulpFest, Chris and David Kalb will be releasing two thrilling collections from the tattered pages of the air war pulps: Donald E. Keyhoe’s CAPTAIN PHILIP STRANGE: STRANGE DEATHS — their eighth collection to feature the so-called “Brain-Devil” of G-2 Intelligence — and THE X-GUN FLIGHTthe fourth volume in Ralph Oppemheim’s Three Mosquitoes series from Popular Publications’ BATTLE ACES.

Writer and editor Jonathan Sweet — the owner of Brick Pickle Media — will be representing new pulp publisher Airship 27 as their authorized agent at PulpFest. He’ll have a wide selection of their latest offerings including BULLDOG DRUMMOND: ON POISONED GROUND, DOMINO LADY, VOLUME 3, IKE MARS: BLOODY KEY (set in Pittsburgh), MARTY QUADE, PRIVATE DETECTIVE, and SHERLOCK HOLMES, CONSULTING DETECTIVE, VOLUME 13. Jonathan will also have his own book, THE BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO PULP FICTION: THE HEROES, THE VILLAINS AND THE WRITERS. Consider it the 101-level course on the pulp magazine writers, heroes, and villains that dominated popular entertainment in the first half of the 20th century.

Roger Alford is best known as the author of THE BLACK SPECTRE series. Featuring five gritty noir thrillers, the books effortlessly combine new pulp with a classic 1930s style. Inspired by the masked heroes of the great pulps, Alford’s series is published by Black Hood Press. Come meet Roger Alford in person Saturday afternoon, August 17, at PulpFest and let him introduce you to both THE BLACK SPECTRE and HOLLYWOOD NEWSHAWK. The latter is a new series detailing the exploits of Tom Miller, hardboiled reporter in 1940s Los Angeles. Roger will be releasing THE CITY BURNS AT NIGHT — the first book in the series — on August 13, just in time for PulpFest 2019. “When a mysterious firebug is loose in 1947 Los Angeles, adventurous reporter Tom Miller will have to risk everything to find the truth. Including his life!”

Bold Venture Press is a heroic little publishing company, specializing in quality editions of new and classic pulp fiction. Their publications span many genres — mystery, science fiction, horror, western, romance and humor. We’re pleased to welcome Audrey Parente and Rich Harvey back to PulpFest after an absence of some years. They’ll have copies of the latest issue of PULP ADVENTURES, more from pulp great Johnston McCulley, the newest adventure of The Twilight Patrol — “equal parts H. P. Lovecraft and G-8 and His Battle Aces” — and more. One of our nominees for the 2019 Munsey Award, Rich will also be saluting “A Century of Zorro” during our evening programming on Thursday, August 15.

Please welcome Brad Braddock — the award-winning author of MEMOIRS OF MURDER, a prequel to the 1932 film classic, WHITE ZOMBIE — to his first PulpFest. The award-winning author’s novel has been praised by Bela Lugosi scholars and fans of classic horror alike. His other published works include fiction and non-fiction based on folklore, history, and horror. Brad’s writing is sometimes serious, sometimes quirky, but always fun!

PulpFest marketing and programming director Mike Chomko will be exhibiting six new volumes in the Altus Press DIME DETECTIVE LIBRARY. He’ll also be selling a pair of Frederick Faust titles and three by H. Bedford-Jones, plus the third volume of L. Patrick Greene’s THE COMPLETE ADVENTURES OF THE MAJOR. Thanks to a special arrangement with publisher Matt Moring, Mike will also have the deluxe editions of Ray Cummings’ THE COMPLETE TALES OF THE SCIENTIFIC CLUB and Donald E. Keyhoe’s DR. YEN SIN: THE COMPLETE SERIES on hand for PulpFest 2019.

You’ll also be able to get copies of Camille Cazedessus’ long-running PULPDOM fanzine from Mike Chomko, Books. Started in 1989 as THE FANTASTIC COLLECTOR, it was retitled at the beginning of 1997. Now published online, Mike will have printed copies of PULPDOM ONLINE #15 – 23 and the H. Bedford-Jones classic, THE BUDDHA’S ELEPHANT.

Courtesy of Sinister Cinema, comes the Armchair Fiction Library of pulp yarns. Mike will have several volumes from the publisher’s HORROR GEMS series — collecting great tales of the supernatural from WEIRD TALES and other sources — plus their Richard Shaver collections of Richard Shaver and a variety of science fiction and lost race classics.

Mike Chomko, Books — one of the leading purveyors of pulp reprint books and periodicals since the early 1990s — will also be representing Stark House Press at this year’s PulpFest. The publisher is planning several new titles for the convention, including the Fredric Brown 1953 classic, MADBALL. This short novel concerns “all manner of thieves, murderers, strippers, carnival barkers, knife throwers, drifters, fortune tellers, and others . . . all linked by greed.” Mike will also have a brand new anthology of 1950s noir fiction from Lion Books and THE BEST OF MANHUNT, featuring stories by David Goodis, Fredric Brown, Donald E. Westlake, Harlan Ellison, James M. Cain, Evan Hunter and many more.

Dog Star Books will have a PulpFest exclusive hardcover, lettered edition of Heidi Ruby Miller’s first novel AMBASADORA: MARKED BY LIGHT available for $40 during the convention. Both Heidi and artist Amy Gartley have signed a special interior page graced with one of Amy’s woodblock prints. Dog Star Books is also offering a package of the special edition book and a signed print from Amy for $50. If you’d like to pre-order your copy or package to pick up at PulpFest, please contact Heidi at heidirubymiller@gmail.com.

Christopher Paul Carey — the Director of Publishing at Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc.will have copies of the first hardcover edition of TARZAN AND THE VALLEY OF GOLD by Fritz Leiber. It’s part of the newly announced Edgar Rice Burroughs Universe. Chris will also have his own books — SWORDS AGAINST THE MOON MEN and THE GRANDEST ADVENTURE: WRITINGS ON PHILIP JOSÉ FARMER — and more. He will be moderating a panel on Burroughs on Friday and appearing as a “Contemporary Pulp: Writing Genre Fiction” panelist on Saturday.

2019 Munsey Award nominee Win Scott Eckert launched the first Wold Newton website in 1997. Since that time, he has written or co-written novels and short stories featuring characters such as Philip José Farmer’s Patricia Wildman, cult favorites Honey West and T. H. E. Cat, and classic properties such as The Green Hornet, Zorro, The Phantom, The Lone Ranger, The Green Ghost, Phileas Fogg, The Domino Lady, and Sherlock Holmes. Win will be selling copies of his latest novel, HUNT THE AVENGER, along with his other books at the Meteor House tables. On August 17, Win will be part of our “Contemporary Pulp: Writing Genre Fiction” presentation and one of the panelists on “Farmer of the Pulps: A Harvest of Influences,” presented by FarmerCon XIV. He will also be part of our author signings on Friday afternoon.

Please welcome Jim Dyer of Fenham Publishing to his first PulpFest. Jim is the grandson of C. M. Eddy, Jr., perhaps best known for his gruesome work, “The Loved Dead,” published in the May, June, July 1924 number of WEIRD TALES. Jim will be selling a collection of thirteen tales of classic horror, mystery, supernatural and fantasy, written by his grandfather. He’ll also have IN THE GRAY OF THE DUSK: A COLLECTION OF TYPEWRITTEN TREASURES, collecting the prose and poetry of his grandmother, Muriel E. Eddy. This volume is comprised of eight short stories and four poems that are a combination of mystery and the macabre, fantasy and the supernatural. Muriel’s tales will conjure up visions and imagery to captivate your imagination.

PulpFest is very pleased to welcome David and Daniel Ritter of First Fandom Experience to our 2019 convention. First Fandom Experience is a collaborative publishing project that aims to honor, preserve, and bring to life the experience of the pioneering fans who defined, drove, and grew science fiction in the 1930s and beyond. At PulpFest 2019, First Fandom Experience will be debuting the Deluxe Preview Edition of the forthcoming THE VISUAL HISTORY OF SCIENCE FICTION FANDOM. This special edition is a sample of the story of early science fiction fandom, told through the original artifacts of the time alongside historical commentary and an illustrated graphic novel segment.

John Bruening, co-publisher of Flinch Books, will have copies of his newly released second Midnight Guardian novel, THE MIDNIGHT GUARDIAN: ANNIHILATION MACHINE. John will also have copies of various Flinch Books anthologies on hand, including QUEST FOR THE SPACE GODS: THE CHRONICLES OF CONRAD VON HONIG and other titles. And be sure to catch John’s appearances at our “Flinch Fest” and “Contemporary Pulp: Writing Genre Fiction” panel, both on Saturday, August 17.

R. David Fulcher is the co-editor of SAMSARA, a small press magazine that has showcased the work of writers and poets for over a decade. An author of poetry, science fiction, fantasy, and horror fiction, his major literary influences include H. P. Lovecraft, Dean Koontz, Edgar Allan Poe, Fritz Leiber, and Stephen King. R. David is also a fan of horror films and will be selling THE MOVIES THAT MAKE YOU SCREAM! — a book new to PulpFest — as well as other work.

Lucina Press‘ second illustrated pulp story, ANCHOR: A STRANGE TALE OF TIME, will make its PulpFest premier at our 2019 convention. This time, author/illustrator, Sara Light-Waller, created a time travel/horror story in the manner of WEIRD TALES from the 1930’s. The book is lavishly illustrated with works in pen & ink, pencil, and scratchboard. The cover art is hand-painted. Light-Waller’s first pulp story, LANDSCAPE OF DARKNESS: A NOVELETTE OF THE SPACE PATROL , debuted at PulpFest in 2018. Sara Light-Waller will be reading from ANCHOR on Saturday afternoon, August 17. Come meet her in person at PulpFest 2019 and take a home copies of both of her science fiction thrillers.

Kurt McCoy is a West Virginia writer with a lifelong fascination for monsters, ghost stories, and folklore. He’ll be selling THE WEREWOLF’S HEART, a sequel to the very first werewolf film ever made. The story is a rousing pulp western horror tale about a gang of desperate outlaws who try to elude capture by hiding out on a haunted mountain. They are soon struggling to survive against a werewolf and the other dark spirits that dwell on Ghost Mountain. Kurt will also be offering his affectionate satire of classic beach horror movies, MONSTER BEACH PARTY. A 2019 nominee for a Rondo Hatton Classic Horror Awards, Kurt will be exhibiting at PulpFest 2019 with fellow writer Brad Braddock.

In his new historical thriller, ONCE A WORLD, Craig McDonald tells the story of teenage Hector Lassiter, an aspiring pulp author inspired by propaganda and a siren’s song of throbbing war drums. He lies about his age, mounts a horse, and storms across the Mexican border behind General “Black Jack” Pershing and George S. Patton to bring the terrorist and Revolutionary General Pancho Villa to justice. Soon, the still underage Hector is shipped off to the bloody trenches of France, fighting the so-called “War to End All Wars.” There he meets fellow novelists-in-waiting, John Dos Passos and Ernest Hemingway.

Craig McDonald is an award-winning novelist, journalist and editor. The HECTOR LASSITER series chronicles the exploits of a fictional BLACK MASK author and his encounters with such notable figures as Hemingway, Orson Welles, Ian Fleming, and Lester Dent. Visit PulpFest 2019 on Friday afternoon, August 16, to meet Craig McDonald and become a fan of Hector Lassiter’s adventures.

Meteor House will be releasing its newest title at PulpFest 2019.  Pick up your copy of the first hardcover publication of Philip Jose Farmer’s GREATHEART SILVER AND OTHER PULP HEROES, a collection of six stories inspired by the author’s life-long love affair with the pulps. Michael Croteau and Paul Spiteri will also be selling items from the author’s estate and works created by attendees of FarmerCon, returning to PulpFest for the ninth consecutive year.

Ed Hulse of Murania Press has decided to revive his much admired pulp journal, BLOOD ‘N’ THUNDER. He’ll have a brand new issue at PulpFest 2019, available in a smaller format and at a cheaper price, but with the same exceptional quality. The first issue will feature articles by Will Murray, David Saunders, Rick Lai, David Kalb, and Ed Hulse, himself. He’ll also have all ten volumes of the terrific Murania Press series, “Forgotten Classics of Pulp Fiction,” William Corcoran’s THE PURPLE EYE — the template for countless hero pulp stories of the 1930s — and two other recent fiction reprint collections, THE JOHNSTON MCCULLEY OMNIBUS and SATAN LIVES FOR MY LOVE. And don’t forget about Ed’s presentation on Thursday evening: “Hollywood Pulp — From Pulp Page to the Silver Screen.”

The author of over sixty novels and assorted works, Will Murray will be selling copies from his various “The All-New Wild Adventures of . . .” series including DOC SAVAGE: MR. CALAMITY, THE SPIDER: THE DOOM LEGION, and KING KONG VS. TARZAN. Expect to see some of Will’s non-fiction books, too. Of course, he’ll be glad to sign your purchases. Will publishes his books under the Adventures in Bronze umbrella, in association with Altus Press. You’ll also get to meet Will at our Friday author signings, just outside the PulpFest dealers’ room. Additionally, he’ll be appearing as a “Contemporary Pulp: Writing Genre Fiction” panelist on Saturday afternoon.

Join us on Friday evening, August 16, for “The Key of Imagination: Pulp Television,” our sixtieth anniversary celebration of THE TWILIGHT ZONE. Nicholas Parisi will be discussing the creation and history of Rod Serling’s fantastic program and its relationship to the science fiction and fantasy pulps and digests. Before and after Nick’s presentation, stop by his table and pick up a copy of his excellent book, ROD SERLING: HIS LIFE, WORK, AND IMAGINATION. In great detail and including never-published insights drawn directly from Serling’s personal correspondence, unpublished writings, speeches, and unproduced scripts, Nicholas explores Serling’s massive body of work. You’ll also have an opportunity to meet Nicholas Parisi at our Saturday afternoon author signings, just outside of the PulpFest dealers’ room.

The recipient of the 2018 Horror Writers Association Specialty Press Award for outstanding horror, dark fantasy, and weird fiction, Raw Dog Screaming Press is dedicated to putting into print the highest quality literature from the fringe. Publishers Jennifer Barnes and John Lawson are attending PulpFest for the first time to celebrate sixteen years of publishing “fiction that “foams at the mouth.” In addition to selling their fine publications in our dealers’ room, Jennifer will be the hostess of the “Raw Dog Screaming Press Rapid-Fire Read & Sweet Sixteen Celebration” on Friday, August 16. On Saturday morning, join John at the “Dog Star Books Rapid-Fire Read & Sweet Sixteen Celebration.” Dog Star Books is the Raw Dog Screaming Press imprint for Science Fiction Adventure titles.

Please welcome audio artist Mark Redfield of Redfield Arts Audio to this year’s PulpFest. Mark is an actor, writer, artist and filmmaker. He’s also the publisher and editor of POE FOREVERMORE, a print magazine specializing in original horror, science fiction and mystery and detective short stories. Mark will have copies of his recent audiobooks including Mark Wheatley’s SONGS OF GIANTS: THE POETRY OF PULP, William Patrick Maynard’s THE TERROR OF FU MANCHU, and more. Sound designer, video editor, web designer, and actress Jennifer Rouse will also be appearing at PulpFest 2019.  Many thanks to Redfield Audio Arts for their very generous contribution for the convention’s 2019 hospitality suite.

Author Christopher Ryan is returning to his second PulpFest. Chris pens the novella-length adventures of Alex Simmons’ Blackjack. The character — first introduced in 1996 through a comic book miniseries — is an African-American soldier of fortune globetrotting during the turbulent 1930s. In addition to his Blackjack novellas, Christopher will have his award-winning Mallory and Gunner series, as well as other books. He’ll be accompanied by Blackjack creator Alex Simmons. As a PulpFest exclusive, Chris will be debuting a free 32-page excerpt from a new project, SANDS OF TIME. It’s a potential mystery series set on the Jersey Shore that combines Chris’s fast-paced storytelling and humor with a touch of . . . romance?

Pittsburgh’s Donald E. Simpson is the cartoonist/creator of the comic books MEGATON MAN, BORDER WORLDS, and BIZARRE HEROES. Don has taught workshops in cartooning and figure drawing for a number of years. He earned a PhD from the University of Pittsburgh in History of Art and Architecture in 2013. He’ll be selling copies of his dark and visionary graphic novel, BORDER WORLDS, a nice Kong-themed print, and more at his table at PulpFest 2019. Catch him near the Meteor House tables in our dealers’ room.

The author of the UTGARDA pulp adventure series, Joab Stieglitz has crossed his love for cosmic horror and fantasy and role-playing games into a Lovecraftian occult horror series that will appeal to pulp fans, Cthulhu Mythos acolytes, gamers, and horror movie fans in equal measure. The UTGARDA trilogy comprises three titles: THE OLD MAN’S REQUEST, THE MISSING MEDIUM, and THE OTHER REALM. The UTGARDA trilogy is a fast-paced, well-written supernatural thriller that channels H. P. Lovecraft’s and August Derleth’s Cthulhu Mythos in detailing the unspeakable entity that was unleashed upon the world in the 1920s by The Cabal. Come meet Joab Stieglitz in person Friday afternoon, August 16,  at PulpFest as he ushers UTGARDA into the 21st Century.

One of the highlights from PulpFest 2018 was the art show featuring the work of illustrator Mark Wheatley. Inducted into The Overstreet Hall of Fame in July 2017, Mark is a long-time Edgar Rice Burroughs fan and admirer of the work of Philip José Farmer. He’s also painted covers for Norvell W. Page’s THE SPIDER: SATAN’S MURDER MACHINES and AMAZON NIGHTS by Arthur O. Friel and, in collaboration with G. D. Falksen, created the book DOCTOR CTHULITTLE. How’s that for some top-notch pulp credentials?

At PulpFest 2019, Mark will have copies of his recently released book, SONGS OF GIANTS. Discover all the romance, the secret fears, and the unknown and surprising cosmos in poems written by Robert E. Howard, Edgar Rice Burroughs, and H. P. Lovecraft. Each poem has been lovingly illustrated, capturing the essence of words set down as long as a century ago. Mark Wheatley has brought these poems to life with a fine line illustration style inspired by the early, classic, golden age illustrators. He’ll also have some of the original art from SONGS OF GIANTS on display at the convention.

With SEVENTH SENSE, Lamont Award winner John Wooley teams up with pulp collector and author Robert A. Brown for an epistolary tale, set in 1939. It concerns a worker for the WPA Folklore Project who uncovers unspeakable horrors in the hills of Arkansas. Among those praising SEVENTH SENSE for its evocation of old-school pulp-style horror is online reviewer Chad Calkins: “Recently finished reading a series of WEIRD TALES stories before devouring this book, and it felt like I never left.” If that’s not enough, ask PulpFest marketing and programming director Mike Chomko what he thought of the book.

Published by Babylon Books. SEVENTH SENSE is the first volume in a trilogy. You’ll be able to pick up copies of John’s book at John McMahan’s dealer tables and during our author signings on Saturday, August 17, near the entrance to our dealer’s room. And be sure to catch John’s PulpFest presentation, “Dashiell Hammett and the Detective Story,” on Friday evening.

Last of all, Ben and Tracy Eller will be bringing World of Strange to PulpFest 2019. The Ellers create T-shirts and other fantastic apparel featuring vintage comic book covers, science fiction motifs, Cthulhu-inspired artwork, and pulp magazine covers. They’ve appeared at Dragon Con, Wonderfest, and other pop culture conventions over the last few years. Click here to check out the cool PLANET STORIES video from their website.

Some of the creators listed above will be part of our “New Fictioneers Readings” on Friday and Saturday, while others will be signing books near our dealers’ room entrance or participating in panels and presentations. For more information, check out our programming schedule by clicking the button found at the top of our home page. Or click here to link to our 2019 mobile schedule. And don’t forget to look for the “New Fictioneers Readings” banner at the convention.

So what are you waiting for? Book a room for three nights and register now for “Summer’s AMAZING Pulp Con.” If you would like a reservation at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Pittsburgh – Cranberry, please call 1-800-222-8733. Be sure to mention PulpFest in order to receive any convention special deals that may still be available.

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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.

Below are the current books in our Men's Adventure Library series. We'll be announcing the release of several new books, including EVA LYND: MEN'S ADVENTURE SUPERSTAR, very soon...…

Saturday, July 13, 2019

ARGOSY, ADVENTURE & BLUE BOOK: Top pulps that became top men’s adventure magazines

The 2019 PulpFest convention will be held in Pittsburgh from August 15th to 18th.

PulpFest is a descendant of the pioneering PulpCon that used to be held in my home state of Ohio.

It’s one of the biggest and best annual pulp-related conventions in the country.

Last year, Mike Chomko, one of the tireless PulpFest organizers, invited Wyatt Doyle and I to make a presentation there.

We also had a table where we sold and signed books from our growing Men’s Adventure Library series.

My previous posts on this blog provided an overview of our 2018 PulpFest presentation.

We’ll be at PulpFest again this year, selling books — including several new releases.

We’ll also be making another presentation.

This one is about how the pioneering pulp magazines ARGOSY, ADVENTURE and BLUE BOOK evolved into men’s adventure magazines (MAMs) after World War II.

Here’s a summary of what we’ll be saying and a look at some of the overhead slides we’ll be using...

Some fans of classic pulp magazines have an issue with the term “pulp” being applied to anything except the pulp mags published during the first half of the 20th Century.

But if we put debates over terminology aside, it’s clear that “pulp DNA” is evident in other magazine genres that followed. You know it when you see it.

One of the clearest examples is the men’s adventure magazine genre that emerged in in the late 1940s, flourished in the ‘50s and ‘60s, then faded away in the 1970s.

In fact, three of the top pulp magazines that pioneered the pulp genre and had the largest circulations and longest runs in the classic pulp format also pioneered the men’s adventure magazine genre and had among the largest circulations and longest runs in that realm.

Those magazines are ARGOSY, ADVENTURE and BLUE BOOK.

ARGOSY is generally considered to be the first pulp magazine.

But it didn’t start as a true pulp in the strictest sense of the term applied later.

When it was first created by Frank Munsey in 1882, under the title THE GOLDEN ARGOSY, it was essentially a dime novel style “story newspaper” for school age kids.

After several years of less than stellar sales, Munsey realized that juvenile readers soon outgrew what they read as children.

Moreover, since kids of that era had comparatively little money to spend, a publication targeted to them didn’t attract a lot of advertisers.

In December 1888, Munsey renamed his tabloid THE ARGOSY and began featuring fiction stories targeted to adults. That version sold better.

In October 1896, Munsey began publishing THE ARGOSY in a magazine format with all fiction stories.

This sold even better but lacked two final elements of classic pulps: “pulp” paper and painted covers.

The December 1896 issue was the first printed on the rough wood pulp paper that gave the “pulps” their name.

The painted cover element was added in October 1905, making THE ARGOSY the template for the classic pulp magazine.

ARGOSY continued in that basic format, with a couple of changes in size and name, until the late 1930s.

In the years leading up to World War II, ARGOSY began to include some news-style articles and other true stories along with fictional fare.

Some of those stories are about Adolf Hitler and the Nazis, their persecution of the Jews, and the threat they posed to the world.

These foreshadowed the iconic evil Nazi stories and covers that became common in the post-World War II men’s adventure magazine genre.

When World War II broke out, ARGOSY began a slow but steady metamorphosis toward the men’s adventure magazines format.

Basically, it was a “proto-MAM phase.”

Fiction stories by top pulp writers were still a major element of the magazine.

But true and fictional war stories about the fight against the Nazis and Japanese became more common, as did other types of true or fact-based stories.

For example, the August 1942 issue (which has an evil Jap cover) includes articles about Gen. Douglas MacArthur and American war heroes, a fiction story by Leslie Charteris about his popular character “The Saint,” and an installment of the serialized publication of Gypsy Rose Lee’s “G-String Murders.”

In 1942, ARGOSY was sold to Popular Publications, the publisher of ARGOSY’s long-time chief competitor, ADVENTURE magazine.

The editors of Popular Publications continued ARGOSY’s metamorphosis toward the MAM format.

At the time, ADVENTURE was also undergoing a transformation from a classic pulp mag to a men’s adventure magazine and both were pioneering the MAM genre.

ADVENTURE was launched in 1910 and soon became one of the top pulps.

It helped solidify the pulp format of fiction stories penned by talented pulp writers, and painted covers and black-and-white line drawing artwork created by great pulp artists.

Eventually, ADVENTURE eclipsed ARGOSY in popularity and by the mid-1930s was the best-selling pulp.

Like ARGOSY, ADVENTURE morphed into a men’s adventure magazine after World War II.

In April 1953, it went from digest size to 8 ½” x 11” and included new types of stories and interior art.

On the cover, the subhead “THE NEW MAGAZINE OF EXCITING FICTION AND FACT” was added under the title.

In October 1953, that was changed to “THE MAN’S MAGAZINE OF EXCITING FICTION AND FACT.”

Another top pulp magazine that morphed into a men’s adventure magazine was BLUE BOOK.

It started out as THE MONTHLY STORY MAGAZINE in 1905.

It was renamed THE MONTHLY STORY BLUE BOOK MAGAZINE in 1906.

From then until 1952, it had various titles with the words BLUE BOOK as the constant factor.

During World War II, BLUE BOOK changed from digest size to standard 8 ½” by 11” magazine size and started including fact-based articles along with its pulp fiction yarns.

In 1951, it began being touted on the cover as BLUE BOOK, the “Magazine of Adventure in Fact and Fiction.”

In February 1952, it was renamed BLUEBOOK, one word instead of two, with the subtitle “Adventure in Fact and Fiction,” and became more of a men’s adventure magazine than a pulp.

By October 1960, that transformation was completed by a new owner, and the magazine was renamed BLUEBOOK FOR MEN.

In their transformation to full blown MAMs, ARGOSY, ADVENTURE and BLUEBOOK kept key parts of their pulp DNA: most notably their painted covers and pulpy action and adventure stories.

But they added several other elements that crystallized into the classic men’s adventure magazine format in the early 1950s.

One was heavy dose of true (or at least fact-based) stories about wars, crimes, scandals, news events and other topics of interest to men.

Another was painted interior illustrations and photographs rendered as halftones, as opposed to the line drawing artwork in classic pulps.

They also added a third key part of the MAM recipe: photos of attractive models and actresses wearing swimsuits, lingerie or less.

These “pinup photos” — aka “cheesecake photos” or “glamour girl” photos — were already common in other magazines targeting men during World War II, including the U.S. Army’s own weekly magazine YANK, men’s mags like ESQUIRE.

Indeed, as the MAM genre was taking shape in the ‘50s, pinup pics were common in almost all men’s magazines, as well as in various other types of periodicals.

From a sales standpoint, the metamorphosis of ARGOSY, ADVENTURE and BLUEBOOK and the rise of the MAM genre in the Fifties made a lot of sense.

Their targeting and content fit the times.

MAMs especially targeted military veterans, of which there were many: 16 million male WWII vets, 5.7 million Korean War vets, and millions more Vietnam era vets.

During the 1950s, the classic pulp mags began to fade away and the men’s adventure magazine genre took off.

During the ‘50s and ‘60s, more than 160 men’s adventure magazines were launched.

Like pulp magazines, some were short lived.

Some lasted years.

Others – including the MAM versions of ARGOSY, ADVENTURE and BLUEBOOK – lasted for decades.

ARGOSY continued in the basic men’s adventure magazine until 1979, but switched to photo covers in the 1960s and steadily increased its focus on stories about UFOs, the supernatural, celebrities and monsters.

In fact, through the ‘50s and ‘60s, MAMs played a significant role in popularizing monster lore, which lead to our book collecting such stories, the CRYPTOZOOLOGY ANTHOLOGY.

ADVENTURE continued until 1971. However, in 1967, it switched to mostly photo covers and in the final years had as many pinup and ultimately nude photo spreads than action/adventure stories inside.

Oddly, the last few issues were a failed attempt to return to a more classic pulp-and MAM-like format.

BLUEBOOK FOR MEN ran until May 1975. It kept the basic MAM format.

But in the final years, it included more (and racier) pinup photos inside and more sexposés. It also began recycling content — even reprinting some entire issues.

When I started collecting men’s adventure magazines in earnest about 10 years ago, I noticed that there were many books featuring classic pulp magazine stories and artwork.

But there were no recently-published anthologies of MAM stories and few books that featured MAM artwork by top MAM illustrators.

That’s the niche Wyatt Doyle and I are working to fill with our Men’s Adventure Library series.

We started with the WEASELS RIPPED MY FLESH! story anthology, which features stories by and interviews with some of the notable writers who once wrote for men’s adventure magazines, such as Lawrence Block, Jane Dolinger, Harlan Ellison, Bruce Jay Friedman, Walter Kaylin, Ken Krippene, Mario Puzo Robert Silverberg and Walter Wager.

We now have a dozen books in the series and more coming this year.

Our two latest books, POLLEN’S WOMEN and POLLEN’S ACTION, feature original men’s adventure magazine artwork by the great Samson Pollen.

One of our forthcoming books, debuting at PulpFest, is about Eva Lynd.

If you’re a fan of vintage men’s mags or a regular reader of this blog, you know that Eva was both a popular pinup photo model and a men’s adventure magazine artist’s model, as well as an actress.

Wyatt and I view her as a MAM supermodel, like the male model Steve Holland, who Eva often modeled with in reference photo sessions for artists like Norm Eastman and Al Rossi.

That’s reflected in the title we gave to the book: EVA LYND: MEN’S ADVENTURE SUPERMODEL.

If you make it to PulpFest this year, please stop by our table to say “hi” and check it out.

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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.

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