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

Our books on Amazon: the MEN'S ADVENTURE LIBRARY series...
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Sunday, March 8, 2020

Andrew Nette & Iain McIntyre’s STICKING IT TO THE MAN – a must have for vintage paperback fans...


As I said in a previous post I wrote about pulp culture maven and novelist Andrew Nette, I am more than a little in awe of him.

In 2018, he took the study of vintage paperbacks into a new realm of academic analysis and excellence with his book about “Teensploitation” novels, GIRL GANGS, BIKER BOYS, AND REAL COOL CATS: PULP FICTION AND YOUTH CULTURE, 1950 TO 1980, co-edited with cultural historian Iain McIntyre.

It was one of the two best books I read that year. 

The other was a novel written by Nette: GUNSHINE STATE, a gritty, noir-flavored heist and revenge crime thriller set in Australia and Thailand.

Since then, Nette has continued to write posts on his PulpCurry.com blog, one of the coolest sites on the internet about pulp and noir style paperbacks, movies and TV shows.

He also wrote a critically-acclaimed study of the influential 1975 science fiction movie ROLLERBALL, published as part of the prestigious Constellations series of “Studies in Science Fiction Film and TV.”

Like GIRL GANGS, Nette’s latest book is an in-depth look at a subgenre of mid-20th Century paperbacks. Again, his co-editor is Iain McIntyre, author of intriguing books like TOMORROW IS TODAY: AUSTRALIA IN THE PSYCHEDELIC ERA, 1966-1970 and WILD ABOUT YOU!: THE SIXTIES BEAT EXPLOSION IN AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND. 

Their new book, published by PM Press, is STICKING IT TO THE MAN: REVOLUTION AND COUNTERCULTURE IN PULP AND POPULAR FICTION, 1950 TO 1980.

And, although Nette and McIntyre are Australian, they have a deep knowledge of both vintage paperbacks published in the United States and of the profound social changes taking place here from 1950 to 1980.

The subtitle of their new book is a shorthand description of the types of paperbacks it features.

But what’s covered in the more than 30 chapters and scores of sidebars and interviews inside is actually more wide-ranging than the subtitle suggests.

Most of the chapters focus on paperbacks written about or by people who were social outcasts or anti-establishment rebels of one kind or another: Hippies, Yippies, revolutionaries, gays and lesbians and other boundary pushers.

Of course, entertainment was the primary goal of the publishers who distributed these novels on shelves and spinner racks in bookstores, grocery and drug stores, bus stations, newsstands and almost any other venue where paperbacks could be sold.

Thus, as Nette and McIntyre note in their introduction, many of the books featured in STICKING IT TO THE MAN are “exploitation” style entertainment.

“Many, probably the majority, of the authors responsible for these novels had little if any connection to the movements or communities depicted in their fiction,” they explain. “In many cases, their portrayals were negative and inaccurate.”

But STICKING IT TO THE MAN also features books written by people who were in fact part — of or leaders of — social subgroups or organizations that were kicking against the pricks of straight society.

Those writers, the intro notes, “dealt with issues and communities few others in popular culture would touch, at the very least giving readers a sense that alternatives existed.”

Moreover, “even the books that are made up of the most reprehensible rubbish still provide an insight into the social mores, fears, and mind-sets of earlier times.”

Those comments by Nette and McIntyre could also be applied to the stories and articles in the men’s adventure magazines (MAMs) from the ‘50s, ‘60s and ‘70s that I collect and write about.

And, of course, there are other significant overlaps between the MAM realm and mid-20th Century paperbacks, including publishers, writers, artists and artist’s models who were involved in both.

STICKING IT TO THE MAN goes far beyond thumbnail descriptions of the novels it features by providing profiles of the authors and historical background that help place the books in their social context.

During the ‘60s and ‘70s, I was a young draft-age adult, a high school and college student, a Hippie and, for a while, a back-to-the lander living on a commune in rural Maine.

Though I moved on from having an “alternative lifestyle,” many of the experiences I had then are among my most vivid memories. They also had lasting effects on my tastes in books, music, movies and TV shows, and on my views about the world. I’m still particularly fascinated by the social history and media of those decades. So, the chapters about American books and writers featured in STICKING IT TO THE MAN had a particular resonance for me.

But I also enjoyed the chapters on books involving social and political issues and movements in other countries, ranging from Australia and Africa to Canada. That’s not something you find in many other books about vintage paperbacks.

Indeed, STICKING IT TO THE MAN is not your typical book about vintage paperbacks.

It’s one that combines insightful paperback reviews with heavily-researched cultural and political history, pop culture history, and author profiles and interviews. And, it includes contributions written by more than 20 knowledgeable academics and other experts Nette and McIntyre recruited for the project.

Nette and McIntyre used a similar approach in GIRL GANGS and I loved that one. If anything, I love STICKING IT TO THE MAN even more.

I consider both must-haves for anyone who has an interest in vintage paperbacks — even if that interest is simply in discovering reading ideas. If you’re also interested in the social context of paperbacks published from the ‘50s to the ‘80s, they’re even more essential.

Nette and McIntyre titled their introduction: “A Total Assault on the Culture? Pulp and Popular Fiction during the Long Sixties.”

As they explain, the term “the Long Sixties” refers to the fact that “many of the key social and political trends associated with the era extended back into the previous decade and didn’t fully unfold until the mid-1970s.”

They note that those decades were not only a time of great social and political upheaval but also the heyday of paperback novels. And, they rightly point out the links between paperbacks and pre-‘60s pulp magazines, explaining: “This fiction, particularly in the fields of crime, erotica, thrillers, and romance, retained the approach of the 1930s magazine-based pulp: quickly written and produced for cheap thrills with a focus on action, titillation, and the sensational, and little expectation or view to posterity.”

One of the other things they say in the intro reinforces my feeling that their view of the paperbacks they write about is similar to my view of men’s adventure magazines published during the same decades.

Vintage paperbacks and MAMs both help illuminate many aspects of mid-20th Century culture.

But Nette and McIntyre never lose sight of two other key attributes of vintage paperbacks and MAMs: they were (and still are) a form of entertainment, and the cover art (and in the case of MAMs, the interior art as well) is often great.

“Most importantly,” they say in the intro, “the majority of the books covered within are entertaining. Some thrillingly so due to their fast-paced, action-packed, and unpredictable plots, chilling insights and heart wrenching pathos. Others are arresting and hilarious for all the wrong reasons...And then of course, there are the covers, of which we’ve included more than 350.”

The page scans in this post provide peeks at some of my favorite chapters in STICKING IT TO THE MAN. All of the chapters are brimming with information and insights about vintage paperbacks and writers. Your favorite chapters may — and likely will — vary, since the book covers many subgenres and locations.

One of my own faves was written by Nette: “Blowback: Late 1960s and ’70s Pulp and Popular Fiction about the Vietnam War.”

I have longstanding interest in novels set in the Vietnam War or involving Vietnam veterans and Nette covers some of the best, like Robert Stone’s DOG SOLDIERS (inspiration for the 1978 film WHO’LL STOP THE RAIN).

He also reviews lesser known American novels I didn’t know of, as well as Australian novels about Aussie soldiers who served in Vietnam and other Australians who were affected by the Vietnam War.

About 60,000 Australian soldiers, air force and navy personnel served in Vietnam between 1962 and 1972. So, it makes sense that there are Australian novels about the war. But until I read STICKING IT TO THE MAN, I was unaware of them.

In fact, Nette’s Vietnam chapter is a prime example of why STICKING IT TO THE MAN is such a must-read for fans of vintage paperbacks.

Whatever subcategories of vintage paperbacks you enjoy, you’ll learn about many others in those subcategories you never heard of or were dimly aware of — and discover some you’ll definitely want to read. In addition, you’ll likely learn things you didn’t know about the novels and authors you’ve read. And, you’ll find a lot of information about how the books and writers covered fit into, reflect or, in some cases, influenced the cultural changes that were happening in “the Long Sixties.”

Here are some of my own other favorite chapters in the book (in addition to the intro and the Vietnam War chapter)…

“‘Up Against the Wall, Motherfucker!’ The Yippie Literaries” and “Lithe, Lusty, and Liberated: ‘Pulp Feminism,’” both written by contributor Bill Osgerby;

“Canadian Carnage: Quebecois Separatism through the Lens of Men’s Adventure Novels” by Iain McIntyre and “Shafted: On Ernest R. Tidyman and the Makings of Shaft” by Michael A. Gonzales;

“All Our Heroes Are Dead: Fictional Vigilantes of the Seventies” by David James Foster and “Lone Wolf: The Vigilante Novels of Barry N. Malzberg” by Andrew Nette; and,

Black Samurai, Marc Olden” by Andrew Nette and “The Cool, the Square, and the Tough: The Archetypes of Black Male Characters in Mystery and Crime Novels” by Gary Phillips.

Those examples just scratch the surface of what’s in STICKING IT TO THE MAN. It’s an amazing feat of collaborative research and writing and on my list of the best books about books I’ve ever read.

Nette and McIntyre have already announced plans for their next project: a book that will feature cutting-edge science fiction paperbacks. The title is DANGEROUS VISIONS AND NEW WORLDS: RADICAL SCIENCE FICTION, 1960 TO 1985. When it’s released, I’ll be buying it.

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.

Related reading: Books by Andrew Nette and Iain McIntyre…


Monday, February 10, 2020

PAPERBACK FANATIC: ISSUE #43 – another must have issue...


As you can tell from my previous posts about vintage paperback expert and pop culture historian Justin Marriott, I’m a bit in awe of him. He’s incredibly knowledgeable and incredibly prolific. He currently publishes six different, terrific fanzines and writes a large percentage of the articles in them.

The oldest, first published in 2007, is THE PAPERBACK FANATIC, a wide-ranging publication about various types of vintage paperbacks from the ‘50s, ‘60s and ‘70s and the writers, artists, editors and publishers who created them.

In the years since them, Justin has launched five additional fascinating, lushly-illustrated fanzines: THE SLEAZY READER, which covers the “sleaze paperback” subgenre; PULP HORROR, covering books and other media in the realm of horror and the supernatural; MEN OF VIOLENCE, the first fanzine to focus on vintage men’s action/adventure novels and magazines; MONSTER MANIACS, a fanzine devoted to vintage horror comics and magazines; and, HOT LEAD, a new zine about Westerns that Justin created with Paul Bishop.

Paul is a novelist, pulp fiction historian, blogger and publisher I’ve also written about in previous posts here. In recent years, he has added Western novels, movies and TV shows to his realms of knowledge. During the past couple of years, he has co-edited three books about them: 52 WEEKS • 52 WESTERN NOVELS, 52 WEEKS • 52 WESTERN MOVIES, and 52 WEEKS  • 52 TV WESTERNS. And, he recently launched the new website about Westerns SixGunJustice.com and a weekly Six Gun Justice podcast.

For PAPERBACK FANATIC: ISSUE #43, a special focusing primarily on Fawcett’s classic Gold Medal paperbacks, Justin enlisted Paul and two other vintage paperback experts I admire a lot, Christopher Eric Compton and Tom Simon, creators of the popular Paperback Warrior book website and podcast.

He also included an article by his long-term collaborator and fellow paperback maven, Rob Matthews, an interview with my co-editor of the Men’s Adventure Library book series, Wyatt Doyle, and a set of “Book Bonus” men’s adventure magazine scans I provided.

The Gold Medal Books line was created in 1950 by Fawcett Publications. Before that, paperbacks were softcover editions of hardcover books. Fawcett was a pioneer in publishing paperback originals. Its Gold Medal line attracted many of what are now considered to be the best pulp fiction writers of the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, as well as many top illustration artists.

Fawcett and its subsidiaries also published magazines, including two top tier men’s adventure magazines (MAMs) — TRUE and CAVALIER.

"Book Bonus" versions of many Gold Medal books were often featured in those mags and in MAMs created by other publishers, such as Martin Goodman’s Magazine Management company (ACTION FOR MEN, FOR MEN ONLY, MALE, MAN’S WORLD, MEN, STAG, etc.).

Another overlap between Gold Medal and the MAM genre is the fact that some Gold Medal novelists made extra money writing stories for MAMs.

Moreover, some of the best artists who did paperback cover art for Gold Medal and other mid-20th Century paperback publishers produced cover art and interior illustrations for men’s adventure mags.

That brings up one of the things I especially admire about Justin Marriott’s fanzines. Whenever he’s able to ID the cover artist for a book, he names them in the cover scan captions.

This is not only significant to me because I’m an illustration art fan. It’s also significant from a paperback history perspective, since cover art was often a main reason why people bought paperbacks in the ‘50s, ‘60s and ‘70s, before (sadly) publishers started depending on the use of staged or stock photos and big-ass text on their covers.

PAPERBACK FANATIC ISSUE #43 starts out with the Paperback Warrior duo’s reviews of some of their favorite Gold Medal novels, including: THE SPECIALISTS (1969) by Lawrence Block; MADBALL (1961) by Fredric Brown; BACKWOODS TRAMP (1959) by Harry Whittington; DRIVE EAST ON 66 (1961) by Richard Wormer; COLOR HIM DEAD (1963) by Charles Runyon; ONE FOR HELL (1952) by Jada M. Davis; TEARS ARE FOR ANGELS (1952) by Paul Connolly; and, DEVIL IN DUNGAREES (1960) by Albert Conroy.

Books in that article feature cover art by several great artists who did both paperback covers and artwork for MAMs, most notably Mitchell Hooks, Robert McGinnis and Barye Philips.

The next article in this issue, “THE DARK INVADER,” is Paul Bishop’s fascinating look at the books and troubled life of writer Gil Brewer.

Brewer became one of Gold Medal’s star authors in the ‘50s. Unfortunately, his career was derailed by alcohol and mental illness in the ‘60s. Even after that, he kept churning out crime and “sleaze” paperbacks, TV tie-in novels and magazine stories, under his own name and pseudonyms. He died in 1983 at age 60, due to the health impacts of long-term alcoholism. By the way, the smaller cover on the page shown at right below is Brewer’s novel THE GIRL FROM HATEVILLE (1958) and is one of the early paperback covers done by Samson Pollen, whose original men’s adventure magazine paintings are featured in our books POLLEN’S WOMEN and POLLEN’S ACTION.

In the following article, aptly titled “BREWER’S DROOP,” Justin Marriott discusses novels Brewer wrote under pseudonyms in the 1970s, as his physical and mental health declined.

Next is “BREWER IN MAMs,” a set of scans of “Books Bonus” adaptations of Brewers novels in men’s adventure magazines from my collections. Like most other such book adaptations in MAMs, they feature cool artwork.

The examples of MAM versions of Gil Brewer novels in PAPERBACK FANATIC: ISSUE #43, include three with artwork by the great paperback cover and MAM illustration artist Charles Copeland: “BACKWOODS TEASE,” from MEN, February 1964, a version of Brewer’s novel BACKWOODS TEASER (1960); “KILLER’S LOVE SLAVE,” from MEN, September 1966, a condensed version of THE HUNGRY ONE (1966); and, “HOUSE OF CAPTIVE WOMEN,” from MALE, January 1957, a condensed version of A KILLER IS LOOSE (1954).

Two examples feature artwork by the equally great paperback cover and MAM illustration artist, Gil Cohen, who went on to become of the world’s top military aviation artists. As noted in the interview I did with him for this blog, Gil is especially known to action/adventure paperback fans as the main cover artist for the first 200 novels in the Executioner/Mack Bolan series created by Don Pendleton. (As I write this, we are nearing the release date for a new book in our Men’s Adventure Library series that will showcase Gil’s original cover paintings for that series.)

The MAM “Book Bonus” stories with Gil Cohen illos shown in PAPERBACK FANATIC: ISSUE #43 are “MY MURDERER MY LOVER,” from MEN, August 1960, a condensed version of Gil Brewer’s novel ANGEL (1959), with the artwork credited to Gil’s occasional pseudonym, Dave Jordan, and “THAT FRENCH ST. WOMAN,” from MAN’S WORLD, February 1964, a short version of Brewer’s 13 FRENCH STREET (1951).

Paul Bishop’s second article in this issue, “THE OTHER MARLOWE,” is about Dan J. Marlowe. Marlowe was another hugely talented, highly troubled writer who wrote many classic hard-boiled novels for Gold Medal and crime, soft core porn and young adult novels for other publishers.

The title “THE OTHER MARLOWE” refers to the common confusion between Dan Marlowe and Stephen Marlowe, a popular writer of mystery and science fiction novels, and Raymond Chandler’s fictional Private Investigator Philip Marlowe.

As Paul explains (and as recounted at length in Charles Kelly’s biography of Marlowe, GUNSHOTS IN ANOTHER ROOM), Dan J. led a genuinely strange life. He was friends and a writing collaborator with convicted bank robber and former member of the FBI's Most Wanted list, Albert F. Nussbaum. He was into strange sexual fetishes. He also suffered from recurring migraines and amnesia. Despite those and other personal issues, Marlowe was a talented writer and his novels are revered by many vintage crime and mystery aficionados, especially his series featuring the amoral thief and bank robber Earl Drake.

In his article, Paul notes why two of the best-loved novels among Marlowe fans are the Drake novels THE NAME OF THE GAME IS DEATH (1962) and OPERATION ENDLESS HOUR (1969).

The next article by Justin Marriott delves into the third of the top three fan favorite Marlowe novels, THE VENGEANCE MAN (1966). This is not a Drake novel. Indeed, the lead character, Jim Wilson, is even more amoral than Drake. He’s a murderer who kills his wife and a sociopath who winds his way through a small town full of back-stabbers, nymphomaniacs, and other sociopaths.

That’s followed by Rob Matthews’ article about one of Gold Medal’s lesser-known crime novelists, Charles Williams. It sheds light on why other top crime writers consider Williams to be one of the best. In fact, as Rob notes, acclaimed novelist and anthologist Ed Gorman once wrote “if you’ve never read Charles Williams then you’ve never read American noir’s most important neglected writer.”

Rob includes what may be the first complete Charles Williams bibliography, a daunting task given the many variant titles of his novels that have been published over the years.

 

Next, Justin Marriott provides an overview of the paperback cover of Robert McGinnis, one of the most famous of all American illustration artists. Justin picked 26 covers McGinnis did for Gold Medal paperbacks, arranged in chronological order and accompanied by overviews of each novel.

That’s followed by Justin’s reviews of five novels by one of the most famous Gold Medal writers, John D. MacDonald, best known for his hugely popular Travis McGee series. For the article, Justin picked THE DAMNED (1952), DARKER THAN AMBER (1968), YOU LIVE ONCE (1956), DEAD LOW TIDE (1953), and THE EXECUTIONERS (1958), the novel that was adapted as the classic film CAPE FEAR in 1962 (and remade in 1991). 

I give Justin himself a gold medal for the final entry in PAPERBACK FANATIC: ISSUE #43. It’s an interview with the head of the New Texture book and CD publishing imprint, Wyatt Doyle, my co-editor for and graphic designer of the books in our Men’s Adventure Library series.

In the interview, Wyatt discusses our two latest books. The most recent is our book featuring original men’s adventure magazine paintings by one of the greatest illustration artists who worked for that genre — and any other — Mort Kunstler. It’s titled MORT KÜNSTLER: THE GODFATHER OF PULP FICTION ILLUSTRATORS. You can read more about that one and see a preview in my previous post at this link.

Not long before we published the book showcasing Mort’s MAM artwork, we published EVA: MEN’S ADVENTURE SUPERMODEL. It focuses on the life of the legendary artist’s model, pinup photo model and actress Eva Lynd. You can read more about that book in the post here and see a video preview here.

Thanks to Justin for his continued support for our indie publishing efforts and congrats on another great issue of THE PAPERBACK FANATIC.

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.

Related reading…

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

MORT KUNSTLER: THE GODFATHER OF PULP FICTION ILLUSTRATORS – a look at our latest book...


For the Men’s Adventure Library book series I co-edit and publish with Wyatt Doyle, via his New Texture imprint, 2019 was a banner year.

In January, we published POLLEN’S ACTION: THE ART OF SAMSON POLLEN, our second book showcasing original men’s adventure magazine (MAM) artwork by artist Samson Pollen. The first book we did with Sam before he passed away in December 2018 was POLLEN’S WOMEN.

In 2019, we also published a lushly-illustrated book focusing on the career of the legendary artist’s model, pinup model and actress Eva Lynd, titled EVA: MEN’S ADVENTURE SUPERMODEL.

Shortly after it was released, Eva was invited to be the Special Guest of Honor at the 2020 PULPFEST convention in August. (Wyatt and I will be there with her, signing and selling books, so if you’re able to come to Pittsburgh, stop by and see us.)

During the summer and fall of 2019, we worked with the great illustration artist Mort Künstler, his daughter Jane Künstler, President of Kunstler Enterprises, and Mort’s archivist Linda Swanson on an art book featuring classic men’s adventure magazine cover and interior paintings Mort did during the first major phase of his long career.

That book, titled MORT KÜNSTLER: THE GODFATHER OF PULP FICTION ILLUSTRATORS, is now available on Amazon in the US and worldwide. It’s also available on the Barnes & Noble website and via the Book Depository site, which offers free shipping to anywhere in the world.

And, you can buy a copy signed by Mort himself via his official website.

In the store section of Mort’s site, you can also buy high quality prints of some of the original MAM paintings featured in the book, as well as many other books, calendars, prints and collectibles that feature his artwork.

Nowadays, Mort Künstler is most widely known for the art he produced in the decades after the men’s adventure periodicals faded away and disappeared from newsstands in the late 1970s.

Around the time MAMs were becoming extinct, he began a new phase of his career doing historical artwork.

In the late ‘70s, he made a splash with Western paintings sold by fine art galleries.

Then, in 1982, a commission from CBS-TV to do artwork for the mini-series, THE BLUE AND THE GRAY, led to a period in which he focused on Civil War paintings. It wasn’t long before he became the most-collected and best known Civil War artist in the country.

Mort went on to do many paintings depicting scenes from throughout American history. And, as noted in the biography on his website, he came to be called “the premier historical artist in America.”

However, as Mort himself explains in an extensive interview with him in our new book, he honed his craft and made his living early in his career by doing cover paintings and interior illustrations for men’s adventure magazines.

Most of that artwork was done for the “Atlas/Diamond” line of MAMs published by Martin Goodman’s Magazine Management company and its subsidiaries (FOR MEN ONLY, MALE, MAN’S WORLD, MEN, STAG, etc.).

In fact, Mort created hundreds of awe-inspiring cover paintings and interior illustrations for the Goodman MAMs, as well as for other top mags in that genre, such as ARGOSY and TRUE.

The new book we created with him showcases over one hundred of his original MAM paintings.

The text includes a preface by Stephanie Haboush Plunkett, Deputy Director & Chief Curator of the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Massachusetts and an introduction by Michael W. Schantz, Ph.D., Executive Director of the Heckscher Museum of Art in Huntington, New York.

We borrowed the title for the book from the title Michael gave to the special exhibit of Mort’s men’s adventure magazine paintings that was on display at the Heckscher Museum in the fall of 2019.

As explained by displays in the show — and by Michael and Mort in the front matter section of the new book — the use of the term “Godfather” reflects the fascinating links between Mort and writer Mario Puzo, author of the blockbuster novel THE GODFATHER.

From the late 1950s to the late-1960s, before THE GODFATHER made Puzo famous, he worked as a regular writer and sometimes as Associate Editor for the Magazine Management MAMs Mort Künstler did artwork for.

In fact, Mort created illustrations for dozens of the war and action/adventure stories Puzo penned for those magazines, which he often wrote under the pseudonym Mario Cleri. And, because Mort was so good and had such a vivid imagination, the editors sometimes had Mort paint action-filled scenes first — then had Puzo write stories to go with them.

When THE GODFATHER was published in 1969, Martin Goodman bought the right to publish a “Book Bonus” version in the August 1969 issue of MALE. Naturally, Mort was tapped to create the cover for that issue. And, when the Literary Guild edition of THE GODFATHER was published that summer, Mort was hired to create the artwork for the Guild Bulletin announcing it.

Last November, Wyatt and I traveled to New York to see Mort at his home in Oyster Bay. While there, we met his wife — and favorite female model — Deborah Künstler.

We used her image from one of Mort’s paintings on the front cover of MORT KUNSTLER: THE GODFATHER OF PULP FICTION ILLUSTRATORS. It’s part of a lush blue duotone painting he created for a spy story in STAG, April 1958.

While we were visiting with Mort and Deborah, we also had our first in person meeting with Jane and Linda.

To top it all off, we got a guided tour of the exhibit of Mort’s MAM artwork at the beautiful Heckscher Museum from Michael Schantz.

We’re extremely grateful to Jane and Linda for all the work they put in to help us create the new book and to Mort for giving us his blessing and sharing his memories with us for the text. With their input, and the insightful introductory text provided by illustration art experts Plunkett and Schantz, we created one helluva cool book — the first to focus on Mort’s MAM art.

This post provides a look at some pages from it. The featured artwork is shown in full-color, full-page spreads. We decided to keep those pages text-free, so each painting can be viewed and appreciated in itself as a piece of art. An appendix in the back of the book provides a list of where each painting appeared.

As you can see from the first two examples shown below, Mort did some terrific Civil War paintings for MAMs long before his later Civil War art phase. At left is the painting he did for the cover of STAG, October 1956. Next to that is his cover art for MEN, September 1957.

At right is the full blue duotone painting with the image of Deborah that we chose for the cover of the book. It was used for an interior illustration in the April 1958 issue of STAG.

Below at left is Mort’s cover painting for STAG, December 1959. It goes with a World War II a story inside about a B-24 crew.

The wild and crazy boat attack scene next to that is one of my favorite Mort Künstler paintings for a Cold War story. It was used on the cover of MALE, July 1960.

The Mort Kunstler illustration showing Bigfoot was used for a story in the March 1960 issue of TRUE and is well known to fans of cryptozoology lore. It’s one of the images we included in our book collecting MAM stories and artwork about Bigfoot, Sasquatch, the Loch Ness Monster and other legendary creatures, the CRYPTOZOOLOGY ANTHOLOGY.

The first painting in the pages shown below was used on the cover of STAG, May 1963. It goes with a classic story by Walter Kaylin about the ill-fated crew of the USS Indianapolis, many of whom were killed by sharks after their ship was sunk by a Japanese submarine in 1945. You may recall that incident being described in the movie JAWS by Robert Shaw’s character Quint, who said he was one of the crewmen who survived. Kaylin’s story about the USS Indianapolis is included in our anthology of his great MAM stories, HE-MEN, BAG MEN & NYMPHOS.

If you’re an action/adventure movie fan, you almost certainly recognize the suave-looking guy surrounded by the bevy of beauties in the second image below. It’s Mort’s portrait of Sean Connery as James Bond, in a painting he did for the cover of the June 1965 issue of MALE.

The depiction of the Japanese Zero being shot down by an American P-40 Warhawk fighter is Mort’s painting for the cover of STAG, December 1965. It goes with the fact-based story “Yank Ace Who Battled the Japs Over Pearl Harbor,” one of the classic war stories by writer and military historian Robert F. Dorr we included in our anthology of his MAM stories, A HANDFUL OF HELL.

The alluring gal in the pool below at left is one of two paintings by Mort featured in inset panels on the cover of STAG, April 1967.

The exotic adventure painting next to that was used on the cover of STAG, June 1968.

Mort’s creatively composed painting at right was used on the cover of MEN, June 1969. Magazine Management Art Director Larry Graber, who Mort talks about in the book, would sometimes tell artists where to leave blank areas for text in their illustrations. Larry’s instructions for this example would have been interesting to hear.

I’ll be posting more pages from the book on this blog and in our Men’s Adventure Magazines & Books Facebook Group in the weeks ahead.

In the meantime, if you buy a copy of the book and enjoy it, I hope you’ll post a positive review of it on Amazon or Goodreads, or on a blog or website you write. Reader reviews are extremely important for indie publishers like Wyatt and me.

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.

Related reading…