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

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

Monday, August 30, 2010

MAN’S EXPLOITS magazine – turning exploits into exploitation from 1957 to 1963

The meaning of the word exploit depends on whether it’s a noun or a verb.

The noun exploit means a notable adventure or heroic act. But the verb exploit generally has a negative connotation. It implies mistreatment.

Man’s Exploits, published bimonthly from mid-1957 to mid-1963 by Everett M. “Busy” Arnold’s company Arnold Magazines, Inc., took both meanings of the word to extremes.

The cover painting for the story about Cinque and the Amistad that I featured in my previous post is just one example.

The first issue of Man’s Exploits, dated June 1957, started this classic men’s adventure magazine off with a bang. It has a truly great action cover painting and some wild stories.

In the cover painting, an agonized man is swimming on his back through ice floes, straining to pull a rope held by another guy on a raft.

There’s also a worried “Indian” babe on the raft, showing an amazing amount of cleavage given how cold the scene looks. (She must have been very warm-blooded.)

The adventure yarn this painting was done for — titled “HUMAN ANCHOR IN THE ICE PACK” — actually is about an exploit in the heroic sense.

The guy in the water bravely jumped in to try to haul the raft to shore and save his buddy and the girl. In the story, he succeeds — but there’s a twist. He makes it to the shore, then freezes. His body creates a frozen “human anchor,” allowing the other guy to pull the raft to land. Damn, that’s a manly exploit!

No artist credit is given for the painting. However, the date, the style and the shape of the woman’s face are clues pointing to pulp art legend Clarence Doore.

Subsequent Man’s Exploits covers moved on from heroic exploits to men’s pulp magazine versions of Blaxploitation, animal exploitation and sexploitation.

The eye-grabbing painting on the August 1957 issue shows a very scary-looking African witch doctor wearing a jawless human skull on his head, holding a bloody machete and drinking what seems to be liquid fire.

It goes with the story “I WATCHED THE FIRE DANCE OF HUMAN SACRIFICE.” But I can also envision a scenario in which it might work for another story in that issue, “Newest Cult: SEX AND STERILITY.”

The cover of the November ‘57 issue shows a bear and a bull ripping each other to shreds in a bullfighting arena.

Since I’m one of those oddballs who like animals more than most humans, I have a hard time with this one.

But if I look at it the way I look at monster-vs.-monster fight scenes in a sci-fi movie, I have to admit it’s kinda cool.

On the sexploitation front, Man’s Exploits was sort of an equal opportunity exploiter.

For example, in the scene depicted on the cover of the February 1963 issue, the bad guys are evil, sadistic Commies instead of evil, sadistic Nazis.

Specifically, they are evil, sadistic Red Chinese soldiers, using whips to torture female victims.

The unfortunate targets of the whipping are American-looking women who all (by an amazing coincidence) are gorgeous, busty and have perfect hair.

This cover painting goes with the story titled “The CITY OF LUST of RED CHINA’S BUTCHER GENERAL” — which is not quite as high on the gonzo meter as some other stories in that issue, like “MILLION $$ ORGY OF THE TEXAS CATTLE QUEENS” and “APHRODISIAC SCANDAL of the SEX-MAD INTERNS and the 63 PASSIONATE NURSES.”

The April 1963 issue of Man’s Exploits features male bondage and torture. (Is that reverse sexism?)

The cover painting on that issue shows three of “HITLER’S BLOOD-CRAZED AMAZONS” firing machine guns at American troops. (Yep, they are all gorgeous, busty and have perfect hair.)

Meanwhile, oblivious to the battle around her, one evil Nazi Amazon in the background is whipping a hapless, bloody male prisoner of war who’s tied to a post.

On a fashion note, the story says the Nazi babes are all wearing the special bosom-revealing uniforms designed by Hitler himself for Ilsa the She-Wolf.

OK, I made that part up.

But I’d swear the exposés in the April ‘63 issue of Man’s Exploits about the “SCANDAL OF THOSE ‘HYPNO-KICK’ PARTIES!” and the “BIZARRE RITUALS of the SADISTIC COLLEGE CUT-UPS!” are true stories.

I think I went to some parties like that when I was in college back in the Sixties.

*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *   *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *

Comments? Questions? Corrections? Post them on the Men’s Adventure Magazines Facebook Group.

A new reading recommendation…

For the Boys: The Racy Pin-Ups of World War II

Another book by Max Allan Collins, author of the Taschen book Men's Adventure Magazines

Thursday, August 26, 2010

The story of Cinque and the Amistad – done men’s pulp magazine style

In the politically incorrect, sensationalized realm of vintage men’s adventure magazines, “true” stories based on historical facts usually had some angles and embellishments you don’t find in other sources.
Case in point: the men’s pulp mag version of the story of Cinque and the Amistad that I’m featuring in this post.

As you know if you saw Steven Spielberg’s movie Amistad (1997), Cinque led a famous rebellion of African slaves on the Spanish ship La Amistad in 1839.

They killed the ship’s captain and cook with the sugarcane machetes they found on board and took over the ship.

Cinque then ordered the remaining crew members to sail back to Africa, but they tricked him and ultimately sailed into Long Island Sound.

On August 26, 1839, the Amistad was seized by U.S. officials. This led to a widely publicized court case over the status of the Africans on the ship.

Under the hairsplitting law at the time, it was legal to own slaves who were already enslaved (and their children) but illegal to transport more Africans to the Americas as “new” slaves.

On March 9, 1941, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the Amistad captives had been transported illegally. As a result, they were freed and returned to Africa.

The January 1958 issue of the men’s adventure magazine Man’s Exploits (Vol. 1, No. 4) includes a story about Cinque and the Amistad that’s based on these historical events.

But, of course, like any story published in a men’s pulp magazine, it’s a bit spicier than what you’d read in a mainstream magazine. And, Man’s Exploits was among the spiciest of the men’s pulp mags.

It was published by Everett M. “Busy” Arnold.

Busy was one of several early comic book publishers who moved on to men’s magazines and adult humor magazines after the 1954 Comics Code prohibited any blatantly violent or sexy images or storylines in comic books.

Through his companies Arnold Magazines and Natlus, Inc., he published a number of classic men’s pulp mags, including Gusto (which was banned by the U.S. Postal Service), Man’s Peril, Rage, Rage for Men and Wild for Men.

The Cinque story in the January 1958 issue of Man’s Exploits is promoted with a bloody (and bloody good) painting on the cover. It shows Cinque holding a bloody machete and a busty, nude African babe in the background.

The artist is uncredited, though I’m pretty sure it’s by the great pulp artist Clarence Doore.

Inside, the story is illustrated with stock photos that essentially have nothing to do with Cinque and the Amistad. But they were undoubtedly cheap (or free) — and they showed some black people.

I especially like the photo of the black guys in the boat. Obviously, it’s not the Amistad. Just some “natives” in a little fishing boat.

Busy Arnold apparently figured that was close enough for a low budget men’s pulp mag.

Of course, no men’s pulp mag story would be complete without an enticing blurb written by the editor. The blurb on the second page of this story, next to the boat guys, says:

“The captain led the nude slave to his cabin for what he thought would be an hour of dalliance. But the mighty Cinque swung his machete — and turned it into an hour of death!”

Yep, it’s over the top. It’s sleazy. It’s classic men’s pulp!

By the way, check out the historic illustration shown below.

It’s from a book about the Amistad captives published in 1840.

And, even though it’s not quite as bloody as the cover painting used on Man’s Exploits, I think Busy Arnold would have liked it.

*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *    *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *  

Comments? Questions? Corrections? Post them on the Men’s Adventure Magazines Facebook Group.

Related reading and viewing…

Saturday, August 21, 2010

A tip of the hat to Tom Brinkmann and his BAD MAGS...

Vintage men’s adventure magazines were pretty wild compared to the mainstream magazines published during the 1950s, 1950s and 1970s.

Some were deemed to be “pornography,” which forced them to be sold “under the counter” and meant they could be denied mailing permits by Postal Service bureaucrats. (See my previous post about Gusto magazine.)

From today’s perspective, men’s adventure mags are politically incorrect for various reasons, but they aren’t really porn. In fact, compared to what’s on magazine racks, TV and the Internet nowadays, they are quite tame.

However, there were other types of magazines published during Fifties, Sixties and Seventies that were wilder than the men’s pulp mags.

Those are the ones writer and artist Tom Brinkmann is particularly knowledgeable about.

Brinkmann has compiled a portion of his encyclopedic knowledge in two books that I heartily recommend: BAD MAGS 1 and BAD MAGS 2.

The first edition of BAD MAGS 1, published by Headpress in 2008, is now sold out, but you can still find used copies on Amazon.com and eBay. BAD MAGS 2 was published by Headpress in 2009. Both use the subtitle “THE STRANGEST, MOST UNUSUAL, AND SLEAZIEST PERIODICALS EVER PUBLISHED!”

Brinkmann also maintains the excellent BAD MAGS website. And, on top of that, he’s a talented artist and the co-author and publisher of a long list of underground “comix” and zines.

In his BAD MAGS books and on his website, he sorts the magazines he features into categories by topic and publisher.

Several of his categories include covers and interior spreads from men’s adventure magazines.

For example, one of the sections in BAD MAGS 1 and on his website is Outlaw Riders (Hell’s Angels and other motorcycle gangs). In that, Brinkmann includes a classic WORLD OF MEN cover (March 1968), with a painting by the legendary pulp artist Norm Eastman.

WORLD OF MEN was one of the risqué men’s pulp magazines published by B.R. “Bud” Ampolsk and Maurice Rosenfield (spelled Rosenfeld by some sources), owners of the Reese and EmTee publishing companies.

The Reese and Emtee mags — which include MAN’S BOOK, MAN’S EPIC, MAN’S STORY, MEN TODAY, NEW MAN, REAL COMBAT and WORLD OF MEN — are especially famous/infamous for their Nazi bondage and torture covers, most of which were painted by Eastman. But they also featured quite a few BDSM-flavored covers that used motorcycle gangs, juvenile delinquents and hippies as the bad guys who were threatening or torturing the damsels in distress, instead of Nazis.

Below I’ve posted some covers from other sections of Brinkmann’s BAD MAGS books and website. (BTW, these are actually among the milder covers. Buy the BAD MAGS books or go to the website to see the raunchier ones.)

From the Mondo Bizarro Adult Slicks section, here’s the cover of the Summer 1967 issue of the hippie nudist magazine ANKH LIFE SYMBOL, plus the first issue of BLAST OFF! — an unusual sci-fi-porn mag. The green alien babe on the BLAST OFF! cover is the softcore porn actress known as Malta. The guy she’s kissing is the legendarily well-endowed porn movie star John C. Holmes (aka “Johnny Wadd”).

Here are a couple of covers from magazines Brinkman features in his section about the pulpy sex and sleaze stories written by “Edw. D. Wood, Jr.” And, yes, it is very same late, great Ed Wood who directed those Grade Z film classics like Plan 9 from Outer Space. The magazines WEIRD SEX TALES and HORROR SEX TALES are just two of the many outré adult mags that published stories by Wood in the 1960s and 1970s.

Next are covers from two of the magazines included in Brinkmann’s Sexploitation Film Slicks section. The first, CINEMA SIZZLERS, features a still from the Russ Meyer cult film Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! (That’s star Tura Satana on the cover.)

Next to that is the cover of the premiere issue of the ADAM FILM QUARTERLY, an offshoot of ADAM magazine, the men’s bachelor slick. (Play those big ass bongos, man, the topless hippie chick is diggin’ it!)

Brinkmann’s Occult Sex section includes the highly collectible April 1957 issue of SATAN magazine shown below, with my favorite vintage pinup model Bettie Page on the cover. The cover next to Bettie features the photo Brinkmann used for the cover of BAD MAGS 1. It’s a shot of model Mona Evertsen, from the the fall 1966 issue of the quarterly magazine BLACK MAGIC.

Brinkmann’s Violent World section includes a number of interesting “true crime” and detective magazines and shock tabloids. But my favorite covers are the painted covers of the magazine CRIME DOES NOT PAY (done by an uncredited artist). CRIME DOES NOT PAY is one of the many magazines published by the legendary pulp sleaze publishing entrepreneur Myron Fass.

Some of the CRIME DOES NOT PAY cover paintings remind me of classic bondage and torture covers common on men’s pulp magazines, especially the two below.

There are hundreds of other cool cover scans, photos, interior spreads and vintage ads in Tom Brinkmann’s BAD MAGS books and on his website.

I am a big fan of his work — including his art, comics and zines. You can check some of the latter out on the Poopsheet Shop comics and art site. Here are a couple of smashing examples of Brinkmann’s artwork…

At some point, I hope to get an interview with Tom Brinkmann for this website. For now, I’ll just give him a tip of the hat for his talent and for the yeoman’s work he’s done researching weird and wild vintage magazines.

Kudos and thanks, Tom!

*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *    *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *  

Comments? Questions? Corrections? Post them on the Men’s Adventure Magazines Facebook Group.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Reefer madness from SPUR magazine – “GANGI: Hell Smoke of the Caribbean”

From 1956 to 1961, a men’s adventure magazine titled Rugged Men was published by Stanley Publications, Inc., one of the magazine companies owned by former comics publisher Stanley Morse.

In 1959, perhaps as a marketing experiment, the title was temporarily changed.

That year, it was published under the provocative name Spur, with the subtitle “TRUE ADVENTURE FOR RUGGED MEN.”

Only four or five issues of Spur were published before the magazine went back to being called Rugged Men.

Today, copies of Spur are relatively hard to find and often pricey when you can find them.

But they are indeed worth finding — if you’re into campy retro stuff. 

For example, the September 1959 issue of Spur (Vol. 2, No. 8) features a great cover painting that combines elements of several iconic men’s pulp mag themes: exotic adventure, a “white queen of the jungle” and male bondage — with a hint of torture or sex to come (or both).

No artist credit is given for this cover painting on the contents page.

However, it goes with the “white queen” story inside titled “THE SHE-WOLF OF HALMAHERA” and the interior illustrations for that story are credited to Paul Gorenson, who I believe is probably the Canadian illustrator Paul Goranson (1911-2002).

Some of the other “true adventure” stories in this issue of Spur also have cool vintage illustration art, such as “The Spanish Prisoner and the Crooked Doll” and “I RAN A WOMAN’S PRISON.” (Credited to artists Bill Smith and Charles Oberman respectively.)

There’s also a nice cheesecake photo spread featuring Madeline Castle, a popular pinup model in the Fifties and early Sixties era who was the Playboy “Playmate of the Month” in October 1954.

But there’s a story in the September 1959 issue of Spur that made me smile even more than I did when I saw Madeline.

It’s a classic Reefer Madness-style photo essay and exposé about marijuana with the colorful title “GANGI: Hell Smoke of the Caribbean.”

The text in this story says the events shown took place in an unnamed country in Central America, where they call marijuana “gangi” (apparently a variation of the Jamaican term “ganja”).

According to author and photographer Charles Mason, this is a killer weed in more ways than one.

“It’s not just that it’s habit-forming,” he says, “or that in the long run it will kill you. It’s that the need for it becomes so great that an addict will do anything just to get some. And by anything, I mean anything, up to and including murder.”

Want to know more? OK.

Here, along with scans of each page and some close-ups of the photos, is the “shocking” story of...

*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *

GANGI: Hell Smoke of the Caribbean!!!

Their name is Gangi, ours is marijuana.

Whatever it’s called, it’s dope

*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *

Text and photos by Charles Mason

I TOOK THESE pictures somewhere south of Yucatan and north of the Canal Zone.

I’m not saying where, because I intend to go back there, and you can spend time in jail for the possession of gangi.

I was peacefully looking around the town of X when a fellow I’ll call Antonio, because that’s not his name, told me he knew two beautiful girls, and it would only cost me about $1.25 in U.S. currency to meet them.

I told him I wasn’t interested, but bought him a drink. During our little talk.

I decided he used marijuana, and I told him I’d buy him, and his girl friends, all the gangi they could smoke, and all the rum they could drink, if I could get pics of them and their “smokes.”

I could have been a cop or any kind of agent, but it looked good to him, and he agreed.

I was introduced to the two girls, whom we’ll call Rosa and Felice (for the same reason we named their friend Antonio), and they got down to business.

Anyone but a dope addict would have been insulted that I preferred photography to their charms.

But these girls were too far gone to have any normal female pride. All they wanted was their gangi, and that, of course, is its greatest danger.

It’s not just that it’s habit-forming, or that in the long run it will kill you.

It’s that the need for it becomes so great that an addict will do anything just to get some. And by anything, I mean anything, up to and including murder. Theft, to get money for gangi, is not at all unusual.

Marijuana, or gangi, is a common weed. It grows almost anywhere in the tropics, and does well on vacant lots in Los Angeles, Chicago and New York.

It’s hard enough for the narcotics people to try to stamp out cocaine derivitives which have to be imported, but it’s almost impossible to stop the use of a domestic weed like marijuana.

That’s why I wanted to take these pictures. It’s not that I’m a moralist, or anything, but I wanted to show the readers of Spur just how dopey people get from dope.

Rosa, Felice and Antonio, as I’ve said, didn’t mind.

After they got started, they wouldn’t have minded if I’d set off an atomic bomb — as long as it didn’t interfere with their trip to joyland.

They ate a little, and drank a bit, but not very much — and then went for their reefers like a baby for its milk.

And they were just as accustomed to the stuff and needed it just as much. I got my pictures, and I got sick breathing in the stuff and watching them.  ■

*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *

Want to see some more wild men’s pulp mag stories about drugs? Click here…

Have comments, questions or corrections? Post them on the men’s pulp mag Facebook Group.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

UNTAMED magazine takes us to the “Lusty Island of Lost Women”

As you can tell from some of my previous posts, I am a big fan of the vintage men’s adventure magazine Untamed and an aficionado of pulp art, pulp fiction and campy movies.

That makes my tattered copy of the April 1959 issue of Untamed (Vol. 1, No. 2) a triply cool treasure.

Or maybe quadruply cool, since the wild (really wild) Western cover painting for this issue was done by Armand Weston (1932-1988).

Weston was quite a multi-talented guy.

He did cover art for men’s pulp magazines and poster art for movies, most notably one of the posters for The Sting II.

He also did paperback book cover art, including covers for Lancer Books — whose co-founder was Irwin Stein, owner of Magnum Publications, Inc., the company that published Untamed magazine.

In addition, Weston was a movie director, scriptwriter and producer in the 1970s and early 1980s.

Most of his movies were kinky adult films, such as Defiance of Good (1975) and The Taking of Christina (1976), or outright hardcore porn.

He also directed a couple of risqué horror films, including The Nesting (1981) with John Carradine. (Check out Weston’s full credits on IMDB.com.)

Inside the April 1959 issue of Untamed there are some great pulpy stories that are still amusing to read today.

One is the campy Western tale that Armand Weston’s cover painting goes with, “The Cowboy and the Dance Hall Floozie” (in which the “floozie” gets her revenge on the drunken varmint who is threatening her with his gun belt in the painting).

My favorite story from this issue was written with tongue firmly planted in cheek. It’s titled “Island of Lost Women” inside, though the coverline (cover headline) pumps it up a notch by calling it “Lusty Island of Lost Women.”

It’s a comic version of one of those iconic stories about sex-starved women on tropical islands that were common in men’s adventure magazines of the 1950s, 1960s and early 1970s. This one has a twist, as suggested in the subhead on the first page:

“There were 15 of them—all beautiful, naked...and lost from civilization for eight years. ‘Teach us how to make love,’ they said, and turned Paradise into Hell!”

The “Island of Lost Women” yarn was written by Mike Farrell. He is obviously not the actor from M*A*S*H. But I couldn’t find any info about him online, so it may be a pen name.

The illustrations for the story were painted by the sci-fi, comics and pulp mag artist Leo Morey, who did a lot of interior illos and cover paintings for Untamed magazine.

I think “Island of Lost Women” is pretty funny. You should check it out for yourself by clicking this link to download the entire story in PDF format. Enjoy!

*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *

Comments? Questions? Corrections? Post them on the Men’s Adventure Magazines Facebook Group.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

The Men’s Adventure Magazines Facebook page

Some months ago, as an experiment, I created a Men’s Adventure Magazines page on Facebook to go with this blog.

I wanted to try it out as an alternative to having comments on the blog, because commenting on Facebook is easier and it allows people to post photos and images — such as magazine cover scans and artwork.

I wasn’t sure what would happen.

But, to my happy surprise, the Facebook page has attracted quite a few readers of the blog and generated a number of interesting discussions.

The other day, for example, a knowledgeable collector of men’s pulp mags named Pete Medina put a post on the Facebook page asking for help in finding a particular magazine cover.

He was intrigued by an original Mort Kunstler cover painting featured in the great book about men’s adventure mags, It's a Man's World, and wanted to know if anyone could post a cover scan of the magazine the painting was used for.

The Kunstler painting Pete described (on page 227 of the book) shows a wild helicopter battle above the Empire State Building.

It was used on the August 1970 issue of For Men Only, for the featured fiction story inside titled “THE DAY THEY CAPTURED THE EMPIRE STATE BUILDING.”

I don’t own that issue anymore, but I do have JPEG of the cover.

So, I posted it on the Facebook page in response to Pete’s query.

Not long after that, American Art Archives founder Thomas Clement chimed in.

As noted in the previous entry on this blog, Thomas and his wife Christiane are collectors and sellers of — and experts on — vintage magazines, including men’s adventure mags.

Thomas added to the Facebook discussion by posting a JPEG of the interior illustration used for the Empire State Building story, noting that it was done by artist Bruce Minney.

Then, Rich Oberg added another visual treat.

Rich is literally the world’s biggest collector of the original artwork used for men’s adventure magazines published in the 1950s, 1960s and early 1970s.

One of the paintings he owns is the original Mort Kunstler painting used for the August 1970 issue of For Men Only. So, Rich posted a high resolution photo of that painting on the Facebook page.

That series of interactions with other fans and experts is the kind of thing I was hoping would happen when I created the Facebook page. And, for me, it’s great fun.

If you like this blog but haven’t visited the Facebook page yet, check it out. You might enjoy it, too. And, you never know who will drop by.

In addition to the folks mentioned above, some of the other notable people who have joined in discussions on the Facebook page include: veteran men’s adventure magazine writer Robert F. Dorr; the comics and magazine expert and co-author of the book Men’s Adventure Magazines, George Hagenauer; the talented writer and musician Josh Alan Friedman, who (among many other things) was a key contributor to the book It’s a Man’s World; and, author and publisher Wyatt Doyle, whose New Texture company published Josh Alan’s new book, Black Cracker.

To check it out and join in, click this link to the Men’s Adventure Magazine Facebook page.

See you there.

*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *