Saturday, May 29, 2010

Inside MAN’S EXPLOITS: Vampire Vamps, Bill Ward “Good Girl Art” cartoons, and more...


Man’s Exploits was one of the men’s adventure magazines that earned the genre the nickname “men’s sweats.”

The “sweats” subset of men’s adventure mags tended to be very cheaply produced, badly edited and full of raunchy stories. Some were sleazy enough to be “under the counter” magazines.

Most of their stories and the illustrations and photos that went with them have sex-related angles, often with a hefty dose of S&M. 

I’m not into that kind of stuff in the real world.

But I do get a kick out of reading the campy, funny and interesting things I find inside the men’s sweat mags of the 1950s, 1960s and early 1970s.

For example, I am a fan of vampire yarns and the lead story in the September 1963 issue of Man’s Exploits“THE VICIOUS VAMPIRE VAMPS OF VERA CRUZ” — is a truly strange one. 

It’s promoted with this enticing editorial blurb:

“Chunks of flesh had been ripped from the sailor's blood-soaked corpse by sharp teeth, and in his throat was a gaping hole encircled with red that was NOT blood – but lipstick! Most incredible of all, each clue led straight toward the spoiled young wife of the wealthiest man in town, and her thrill-mad girlfriends.”

If that peaks your interest, you can read the entire story by clicking on this link and downloading it in PDF format. (Be sure to check out the wild vintage ads, too.)

Also of note in this issue are the two full-page “Good Girl Art” cartoons by artist Bill Ward (1919-1998), shown below.

Ward is best known as the creator of the busty, blonde cartoon character Torchy. He drew his first Torchy cartoon strips for the Army base newspaper at Fort Hamilton in Brooklyn, where he was stationed during World War II.

The Torchy strips became so popular with GIs that they were soon syndicated and appearing in other Army newspapers worldwide.

After the war, Torchy lived on for a while in comics published by the legendary publisher Everett M. “Busy” Arnold.

Like several other publishers of men’s adventure mags, such as Martin Goodman and Stanley Moore, Arnold published both comic books and magazines.

One of Arnold’s companies was Natlus, Inc., which published Man’s Exploits, Man’s Peril, Rage for Men and Wild. Other companies Arnold owned published various men’s pulp, girlie, true crime, detective and sports magazines.

In the bio Bill Ward wrote for his website, he said that before being drafted into the Army he’d done some work for Arnold’s comic book company Quality Comics — which published Will Eisner’s pioneering Spirit comics, Jack Cole’s Plastic Man, Reed Crandall’s Blackhawk and many other “Golden Age” comics.

After the war, Ward said Arnold sought him out again.

“I think it was around 1946 that Busy Arnold, Quality’s publisher asked me if I could do another story for Modern [one of the Quality comics] and did I have any ideas? I mentioned the fact that I had drawn a strip about a daffy blonde in the Army call ‘Torchy.’ He went for the idea, and I convinced him to let me ink it. At long last Torchy was in the comics. The strip was very popular, running in both Modern and Doll Man for about 3 years.”

Another thing that caught my eye in the September 1963 issue of Man’s Exploits was the two-page ad spread for Eros magazine, featuring a photo from one of Marilyn Monroe’s last photo sessions.

Eros was an infamous, short-lived soft porn magazine published by Ralph Ginzburg (1929-2006), the boundary-pushing entrepreneur who also published Avant Garde magazine and a series of erotica books.

The issue of Eros featured in the Man’s Exploits ad is the third of four issues that were published.

The fourth issue got Ginzburg indicted under federal obscenity laws and put an end to the now highly-collectible Eros. (I recently saw a complete set of all four issues in VG condition on eBay priced at $399.)

There are some other truly wild stories in the September 1963 issue of Man’s Exploits, including the one that goes with the Norm Eastman cover painting I featured in my previous post.

That story — titled “BULLWHIP BATTLE on the Dude Ranch for Divorcees” — is about a unique Western ranch where bored, rich babes go to indulge in some cowboy love and whip lashings.

Then there’s the anti-Commie yarn “CHIANG KAI-SHEK’S SUICIDE SQUAD OF NAKED GIRL RAIDERS.” According to the promotional subhead for that credibility stretching tale:

“Before advancing against Red outposts, the lushly-curved, almond-eyed raiders stripped off all their clothes. ‘The sight of beautiful, nude girls coming toward them spoils the enemy’s aim,’ it was explained to me. And, looking at this suicide corps of beauties, I could see it might...”

The illustration for another story — “We fought the KILL-CRAZY HELL PIRATES of the MALAY STRAIGHTS” — postulates a world where the pirates are beautiful, scantily-clad babes.

The story “I RESCUED 100 GIRLS FROM DICTATOR KASSEM’S HAREM!” at least has a tenuous connection to reality. It tells the story of a Yank who gets involved in the February 1963 revolution that overthrew the Iraq dictator Abdel Karim Kassem (aka Abd al-Karim Qasim).

Kassem was an Iraqi military officer who seized power in 1958. He apparently had some Commie pinko ideas, like redistributing land owned by rich Iraqis to impoverished farmers. And, when he got a little too cozy with Soviet Russia, the CIA encouraged the February 1963 coup by Saddam Hussein’s Ba’ath party. Kassem was killed in the revolt and the way began being paved for Saddam Hussein’s eventual rise to power.

Somehow the history books and other websites leave out the part about Kassem’s harem.

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

Further reading about Bill WardandGood Girl Art”…

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Man’s Exploits magazine gives us an imaginary look at, um, extreme bullfighting...


Last week, vintage men’s magazine expert Dr. David M. Earle posted a series of classic bullfight covers and interior illustrations on his men’s mag Facebook site.

Dr. Earle teaches courses in modernist literature at the University of West Florida and is the author of All Man! Hemingway, 1950s Men's Magazines, and the Masculine Persona.

All Man! recently won the Independent Book Publisher Association’s Grand Prize in the Literary Criticism category.

It’s also among the books I consider a must-read for anyone interested in vintage men’s magazines.

One of Dr. Earle’s Facebook posts about men’s mags and bullfighting noted:

“1950s popular culture was downright tauromaniacal, or crazy for the bullfight. And why not, it was the perfect blending of machismo, exoticism, and aficionado posture – all of which were central to the glorification of bachelor identity in mid-century America. In this sense, we can see the bullfight in the same light as the fascination for primitivism in tiki-culture and exotica music of Martin Denny and Esquivel.”

Earle’s series of bullfight posts reminded me of one of my own favorite bullfight-related covers from a men’s adventure magazine — the September 1963 issue of Man’s Exploits (Vol. 2, No. 4). The artist is uncredited and there’s no signature, but men's adventure art expert Rich Oberg confirmed to me that the cover painting is by Norm Eastman.

Man’s Exploits was published bi-monthly by Natlus, Inc. from 1957 to 1964.

Natlus also published several other men’s pulp mag periodicals, such Man’s Peril, Rage for Men (second series) and Wild (aka Wild for Men), as well as girlie, true crime and detective magazines.

The bloody babes in bondage on the September ‘63 cover of Man’s Exploits —  plus the fact that the contents page doesn’t even list any editors — suggests that it may have been an “under the counter” (UTC) magazine.

Indeed, some of the Natlus, Inc. magazines tended to be on the sleaziest, most sensationalistic and most misogynistic end of the magazine spectrum in the Sixties. (Check out the truly tasteless cover of the 1965 Natlus mag Naked Truth shown at right).

As wild as the artwork and stories may be in Man’s Exploits, its cheesecake photo spreads are relatively tame, as they were in most men’s adventure magazines of the 1950s and 1960s.

Women’s nipples or pubic hair were not usually shown in most men’s pulp mag photos of that era, and were often painted over with faux pasties or undies if they were visible in the original pictures.

Ironically, that’s one of the reasons why the genre faded away in the 1970s.

The men’s adventure magazines couldn’t compete for men’s attention with the increasingly anatomical, glossy photographs in the men’s slick magazines, like Playboy, Hustler, Penthouse and Oui — let alone with the flood of true pornographic magazines that became increasingly available in the Seventies.

In the next post, we’ll take a look inside the September 1963 issue of Man’s Exploits.

It has some incredibly over-the-top stories and art, plus some full-page cartoons by the famous cartoon artist Bill Ward, master of “Good Girl Art” (GGA) and creator of the legendary, sexy comics character Torchy.

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



Another interesting book by Dr. David M. Earle:

Re-Covering Modernism: Pulp, Paperbacks, and the Prejudice of Form

This fairly hard-to-find book focuses on the pulp magazines of the 1930s and lurid pulp paperbacks of the 1940s.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Real War magazine launches men’s pulp mags into space


Occasionally, some of the men’s adventure magazines of the 1950s and 1960s would put out special issues that had a theme.

For example, a while ago, I posted an entry about the premiere issue of Mr. America magazine, published in January 1953, which focused on the coming “Atomic Future.”

Another cool issue with a theme is the October 1958 issue of Real War magazine, Vol. 2, No. 2.

Real War was one of many classic men’s pulp mags published by Stanley Publications, a New York-based company owned by the notorious comics and magazine publisher Stanley Morse.

It was promoted as “A Magazine Devoted to the Interests of Fighting Men, Everywhere.”

Real War’s special October ‘58 issue was built around the theme “THE WAR IN SPACE!” It features some great artwork and stories about America’s expected future battles with evil Communist powers.

The glorious science fiction-style cover was done by Vic Prezio, a talented illustrator who provided cover and interior artwork for many men’s adventure magazines, as well as for horror mags like Famous Monsters of Filmland, comics and pulp paperbacks.

There’s more great artwork and some wild stories inside this issue of Real War

The two-part article “What Are Your Chances for Survival?” postulates two potential futures.

One is a nuclear war between “the Free World and the Communist Empire” in which “sixty to seventy million dead may be expected” during the first month alone.

“Women will be selling themselves for an apple — if it isn’t radioactive — and quiet little accountants will be murdering for a bottle of uncontaminated cola...Sardines and powdered milk will win the shapeliest starlets, and society girls will abandon luxurious country estates to move into a culvert with a man who has a can of Spam.”

The other possible future avoids nuclear Armageddon and leads to a more peaceful space race with the Commies. (I’m not sure which scenario sounded better to readers of Real War.)

“THE LAST G.I.” is an excellent but grim science fiction war story about a group of American soldiers struggling to survive in the middle of a nuclear battlefield.

It features a superb two-page illustration by Sid Shores (aka Syd or Sydney Shores), another fine illustrator of the era known for both his magazine and comic art.

Shores is probably most famous for his work on the “Golden Age” Captain America comics in the 1940s. But he continued to do pencil and ink work for Marvel Comics through the 1960s, as well as covers and interior illustrations for men’s adventure magazines.

The author of “THE LAST G.I.”, Lou Cameron, was a comics illustrator himself for a while in the 1950s. He went on to become a very successful and incredibly prolific novelist, writing well over 100 (maybe 200) mystery, suspense, action and adventure novels, noir-style pulps and Westerns, under his own name and several pseudonyms. Cameron is best known today for his gritty, adult Western novels. He’s the creator of the the Stringer series and wrote many of the books in the popular Longarm series, as Tabor Evans. As Ramsay Thorne, he wrote the spicy Renegade series, featuring the character Richard Walker, a soldier-of-fortune nicknamed “Captain Gringo.”

“WE DIED LIKE FLIES ON THE BEACH-HEADS OF SPACE” is another bloody sci-fi battle yarn. The “beach-head” in this case is a Commie space station, which American space marines are trying to take. This story is credited to Bill Becker. And, although it’s fiction, I think it’s by the journalist Bill Becker, who wrote many articles for the New York Times about nuclear weapons tests in the 1950s.

One of the wildest stories in the October 1958 issue of Real War is “The Sex Plan for the Breeding of Spacemen.”

It explains how the men and women needed for space travel and wars in space will require certain physical and psychological characteristics, such as “ability to withstand extremely rapid acceleration and deceleration” and “reduced size and weight.” So, American military leaders were already planning on “breeding them like cattle” using selective breeding techniques and high technology.

Fans of pre-World War II pulp magazines might recognize the name of the author of this piece — Thorp McCluskey.

McCluskey started out writing for horror pulps like Weird Tales and his old stories have been included in a number of more recent horror pulp anthologies. His yarn “While Zombies Walked” from the September 1939 Weird Tales is said to have been the basis for the 1943 film Revenge of the Zombies with John Carradine, Gale Storm and Bob Steele. And McCluskey’s description of decaying zombies in that story sound a lot like they look in the Romero Living Dead movies.

Another story in the “War in Space” issue of Real War focused on “The PROBLEMS of the  SOLDIER IN SPACE.”

You know, problems like “What sort of battle tactics will our forces employ on the moon?” And, more importantly, how will our soldiers in space endure “without recreation or women?”

As explained by writer Lawrence Elliott(who later became a regular contributor to Reader’s Digest and authored a series of biographies about famous people):

“One solution is now being trial-ballooned to the dominant question — man’s sex drive, which can’t just be shut off without inviting mass homosexuality or worse. What is it? Simply to send women along with men to the moon. Here again, the problems are many — both social and logistical — but it may well be that this answer is the only one if we’re to win the battle for space.”

Meanwhile, back on earth, no issue of a men’s adventure magazine was complete without some cheesecake photos. In the “War in Space” issue of Real War, there’s an eye-catching spread titled “OUT OF THIS WORLD.”

A blurb under the photos tells us:

“The future may bring war — or peace. But regardless of which it’ll be, no matter what other changes take place in the next decades, one thing will remain constant — a man’s admiration for the opposite sex. For taking it all together, if that, the most important portion of our lives should ever be lost, what would there be left to fight for?”

Wait a minute!

Does that mean that if there were nothing left to fight for, there might be peace — but we’d all be gay?

Damn! I guess that’s why real men love war — and Real War magazine.

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

Here are just a few of the pulp paperbacks written by Lou Cameron under his own name or pen names…

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

“I FOUGHT CASTRO’S CUTTHROAT GUERRILLA SQUAD” – Evil Cuban Commies, Part 3


Since I started this blog last year, I’ve had the pleasure of interviewing three notable authors who once wrote stories for men’s adventure magazines: Harlan Ellison, Walter Kaylin and Robert F. Dorr.

The legendary science fiction author Harlan Ellison has written hundreds of magazine stories, but only a few were for men’s pulp mags. (He has graciously allowed me to offer digital reprints of two of his “lost” men’s adventure stories.)

Walter Kaylin and Robert F. Dorr each wrote hundreds of stories for men’s adventure magazines, primarily for the classic periodicals published by Martin Goodman’s Magazine Management company, such as Male, Man’s Magazine, Men, Stag and For Men Only.

Bob Dorr, who became a top military historian after the demise of the men’s adventure genre in the 1970s, recently emailed me an update about his latest history book, Hell Hawks!

Hell Hawks! documents the bravery and sacrifices of American P-47 Thunderbolt fighter pilots and crews during World War II.

I first mentioned this book in a post I did about Bob last December, when I reprinted his great Korean War story “Charge of the Mad Machine Gunner,” from the January 1967 issue of Man’s Magazine.

In the months since then, Hell Hawks! has become something of a phenomenon. More than 24,000 copies have been sold and it’s in its ninth print run. A Hell Hawks! website has been set up at www.HellHawks.org.

The Hell Hawks Facebook Group, maintained by Bob and his co-author, former U.S. astronaut Thomas D. Jones, now has over 500 members. And, Hell Hawks! was recently featured on the prestigious Year in Defense website.

When I got Bob’s recent email, I was in the middle of writing my first post about the “evil Cuban Commie” subgenre of covers and stories in men’s adventure magazines.

It reminded me that Bob had written a classic “evil Cuban Commie” story years ago, titled “I FOUGHT CASTRO’S CUTTHROAT GUERRILLA SQUAD.”

It was published in the April 1970 issue of For Men Only and it’s an excellent example of the creativity that went into giving “true” stories in men’s adventure magazines a semblance of reality.

The story is credited as being written “by E.D. ‘Jack’ Griffin as told to Robert F. Dorr.”

Take a look at the upper left corner of the wonderfully pulpy two-page illustration created for the story by artist Earl Norem, which depicts the supposed author fighting with a Castro clone, while a well-endowed, well-armed babe in a brassiere mows down some other Commies in the background.

Inset next to the babe with the big automatic rifle you’ll see a small photo that is purported to be a shot of Griffin “as photographed by newsmen in Guatemala City.”

Above the photo, the words “True Adventure” are printed.

Of course, Jack Griffin didn’t exist. The photo is probably some friend of the editor or a stock photo. And, the adventure yarn the story relates about “A Yank Troubleshooter’s Savage Ordeal” is a product of Robert F. Dorr’s imagination.

This story fits into the “evil Cuban Commie” subgenre, but is actually set in Guatemala, at a time when Cuban-trained communist rebels were trying to overthrow the country’s government. In the story, the Red guerrillas are led by a Fidelista nicknamed “El Diablo,” a nasty piece of work who had “done his apprenticeship under Castro and Che Guevara.”

Although Bob Dorr made up the story, he adds to the “true” story illusion by including some real historical facts.

For example, he mentions that:

“…the Communists’ terror campaign had included the murder of two U.S. military attaches in Guatemala City on January 23, 1968, and…the Reds had wantonly assassinated our ambassador, John Gordon Mein, only a few months later.”

The killings of the two Americans in January 1968 and the subsequent assassination of U.S. Ambassador Mein did, in fact, occur.

And, Fidel Castro and Che Guevara were indeed encouraging revolution and training rebels in Guatemala and other Latin American countries.

Bob Dorr knew more about such things than the typical men’s adventure magazine writer. He served as a U.S. Foreign Service officer in various countries for nearly 25 years, from 1964 to 1989.

In those years, Bob wrote magazine stories in his spare time. The men’s adventure magazines were one of his best markets. But he also wrote stories for other genres – including stories for the True Confessions genre, which were often written by male writers using a woman’s pen name. (Harlan Ellison told me he also wrote some stories for the confession mags under female pseudonyms.)

After “retiring,” Bob Dorr became a full-time writer, specializing in nonfiction military history and aviation articles and books. (To learn more about Bob and his work, check out his bio on Wikipedia.)

I’m a big fan of Bob’s old men’s adventure stories and his history books.

I especially enjoyed Hell Hawks! and encourage you to get a copy.

In the meantime, you can read his ripping Cold War action yarn “I FOUGHT CASTRO’S CUTTHROAT GUERRILLA SQUAD” by clicking on this link to download it in high resolution PDF format, complete with the original artwork by Earl Norem and vintage ads.

It’s a story that has some classic noiry-pulpy elements that you won’t read in Bob’s history books – like this description of the Guatemalan muchacha that fights El Diablo and his Commie guerrilla band alongside the hero of the story:

“She was really something, braced there with that pistol, wearing nothing above the waist but a black bra. Why hadn’t I ever asked her up to my apartment? She was a damn sight more woman than some of the easy-make barflies I’d met along the neon-lit ‘strip’ in Guatemala City...But this was no time to be meditating on sex.”

Oh, what the hell. Let’s ponder that image and meditate anyway…

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Comments? Questions? Corrections? Want to see more men’s pulp mag cover art? Visit the Men’s Adventure Magazines Facebook Group.

Friday, May 7, 2010

“SQUIRM IN HELL, MY LOVELY MUCHACHA!” – Evil Cuban Commies, Part Two


The post-WWII men’s adventure magazines had a love-turned-to-hate relationship with Cuba.

In the 1950s, when Cuba was run by dictator Fulgencio Batista, with a little help from his friends in the American Mob and American government, the men’s pulp mags published goggle-eyed travel pieces and sexposé style articles touting Havana’s glitzy casinos, sex shows, brothels and women.

There was even an occasional sympathetic news item or story about the Cuban rebels up in the mountains.

Villainous Cuban sadists torturing DIDs (damsels in distress) weren’t featured on the covers — yet.

That all changed with the end of the Cuban Revolution, which put Fidel Castro in the dictator’s seat in 1959.

Castro turned Cuba into a Communist thorn in America’s side, a Cold War enemy just 90 miles away from Key West.

In the black and white worldview of men’s pulp magazines, that put Fidel and his Commie pinko comrades in the same category as the Nazis, Japs, Gooks and Russkies.

So, in the 1960s, bearded Fidelistas showed up on covers as evil, torturing fiends, in scenes similar to those in the genre’s iconic Nazi bondage and torture covers.

As explained by Max Alan Collins in the Taschen book, Men's Adventure Magazines In Postwar America:

Men’s adventure magazines loved to target Fidel Castro’s Cuba, bombarding our isolated neighbor through extreme covers and stories. Ironically enough, prior to Castro’s victory in 1959, many ran stories about the valiant revolutionaries fighting to overthrow Fulgencio Batista y Zaldivar and his oppressive regime. Once Castro won, however, the magazines took offense at his actions – not so much his summary execution of the worst of Batista’s torturers, but his decision to go socialist and close many mob-owned Cuban brothels.

This political turnaround was not unique to men’s adventure magazines. America not only gave shelter to Batista Cubans, but began training them to retake the country. Castro had also tossed out American organized crime, which controlled most vice and the casinos in Cuba. A reader did not need to go to the sweat magazines to find anti-Castro propaganda: one mainstream publisher issued a spy novel titled Assassinate Castro. Even President John F. Kennedy, a Playboy reader not likely to sample the sweat magazines, caught the anti-Castro bug; liberals were not immune.

In my previous post, I showed several wild examples of what I’ve dubbed the “evil Cuban Commie” cover subgenre, done by the pulp art masters Norman Saunders and Norm Eastman.

Some more evil Cuban Commie covers are shown in this post. They include issues with cover paintings by Eastman and two other great cover artists and illustrators, Syd Shores and Bob Schulz.

Most covers in this subgenre depict sadistic, uniformed men torturing scantily-clad DIDs in bondage.

Of course, that’s a famous (and infamous) formula on men’s pulp mag covers, whether the men are evil Nazis, evil Japs, evil natives, or evil Commies.

The June 1964 issue of Man’s Story, with its cover painting by Norm Eastman, also features one of those classically campy cover story headlines: “SQUIRM IN HELL, MY LOVELY MUCHACHA!”

On some other covers shown in this post, the damsels have turned the tables and are dishing out the pain to bearded Cuban Reds.

Their cover art goes with stories that also have nice pulpy headlines like:

“THOSE COMMIE KILLING JOY-GIRLS OF THE BAY OF PIGS.” (Man’s Daring, September 1963. Artist uncredited.)

“‘KILL FIDEL CASTRO -- OR DIE!’ GIRL GUERILLAS WHO TERRORIZE THE CUBAN REDS” (Man’s Peril, August 1963. Artist uncredited.)

“TERROR! How those CUBAN HELL CATS SCARE FIDEL CASTRO'S GANG!” (Man’s Peril, September 1964. Cover by Norm Eastman.)

Now that’s vintage “grrl power.”

Viva la Contra-Revolución!

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Comments? Questions? Corrections? Want to see more men’s pulp magazine cover art? Visit the Men’s Adventure Magazines Facebook Group.

If you’re interested in Cuba in the 1950s and the Cuban Revolution, here are two books I highly recommend:

Havana Nocturne: How the Mob Owned Cuba and Then Lost It to the Revolutionby T.J. English

Havana Before Castro: When Cuba was a Tropical Playgroundby Peter Moruzzi.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Men’s pulp magazines take on Fidel Castro and his evil Cuban Commie comrades

Recently, I finally got around to watching director Steven Soderbergh’s controversial movie Che, starring Benicio del Toro.

I think it’s an interesting movie that’s worth seeing, though I can understand why it sparked protests by Cuban-Americans in Miami.

It takes a relatively sympathetic view of Fidel Castro, his right hand man Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara, and the Cuban Revolution that toppled dictator Fulgencio Batista on New Year’s Day in 1959 — and eventually led to Cuba’s continuing Communist dictatorship under Fidel and his brother Raul.

Back in the late 1950s and the early days of Castro’s regime, there were some sympathetic stories about Fidel and his Cuban rebels in men’s adventure magazines, as there were in the mainstream media.
In 1959, Errol Flynn even made a so-bad-it’s-good men’s adventure style movie that portrayed Castro and his guerrillas as as heroic freedom fighters, called Cuban Rebel Girls.

It co-starred ol’ wicked Flynn’s teenage girlfriend Beverly Aadland. 

Not long after Cuban Rebel Girls bombed at the box office, Flynn died from liver disease and Castro soon began playing footsie with Nikita Khrushchev and the Soviet Union.

“El Jefe” declared himself a Communist. In 1962, he let the Soviets put nuclear missiles in Cuba, creating the “Cuban Missile Crisis” that nearly resulted in a nuclear war.

So you won’t find sympathetic stories about Castro and his revolution in men’s adventure magazines from the 1960s and 1970s.

As noted by Adam Parfrey in his great book about the genre, It's a Man's World:

“Men's adventure magazines increased their circulation during the height of those uneasy days known as the Cold War. The magazines themselves helped disseminate Cold War code words, issuing anxiety, paranoia, Red Threat, and Yellow Peril every month, though it did so in many issues with a Terry Southern sort of satirical exaggeration. Fidel Castro replaced Nazi and Jap with his own variety of sadistic torture of very white American women, peppered with suggestive Spanish commentary.”

Men’s adventure art expert and collector Rich Oberg owns the original paintings done for some of the best examples of over-the-top evil Cuban Commie covers created for men’s pulp mags. Recently, Rich sent me photos of several of them and, with his kind permission, I’m posting them here.

One of the most famous (or infamous) is the the cover painting Norman Saunders created for the November 1964 issue of New Man magazine.

It shows a leering Castro lookalike getting ready to burn the heaving breast of a scantily-clad white woman with a Cuban cigar. In the background, his comrades are subjecting two other hapless damsels to other forms of bondage and torture. It’s a gonzo scene that goes with the gonzo story inside, “SLAVES OF SIN FOR CASTRO'S TRAVELING TORTURE MASTER.”

New Man was published from 1963 to 1971 by the Reese and Emtee companies, owned by B. R. “Bud” Ampolsk and Maurice Rosenfield (spelled Rosenfeld by some sources).

Ampolsk and Rosenfield put out of some of the most outlandish men’s pulp mags, such as Man's Book, Man’s Epic, Man’s Story, Men Today, New Man and World of Men. Their envelope-pushing periodicals helped inspire the term “men’s sweats,” a slang name for the men’s adventure magazine genre.

Another classic evil Cuban Commie cover painting, also by Norman Saunders, is on the the September 1965 issue of New Man. It’s even further out than the November ‘64 example. So is the title of the story it was done for: "KISS THE SKULL OF DEATH, MY BEAUTIFUL MUCHACHA!"

Rich Oberg also sent me a photo of the original cover for an evil Cuban Commie cover by another favorite artist of Ampolsk and Rosenfield, Norm Eastman, who did most of the famous Nazi bondage and torture cover paintings used on Reese and Emtee magazines.

Eastman’s evil Cuban Commie painting adds two classic S&M touches, chains and whipping. It was for a story with the awesomely outré title "WATCH HER DIE SCREAMING, GRINGO DOG!"

(Clearly, these kinds of images and stories are totally politically incorrect. And, if you’re unable to appreciate the campiness of such cultural artifacts you should not be reading this blog.)

By the way, there’s a previous post on this blog about one of my favorite Fidel Castro stories from a men’s pulp mag.

It was published in the December 1965 issue of Adventure magazine and is titled “CASTRO’S BEST-KEPT SEX SECRET.” 

It supposedly explains how a sex-related event in 1948 turned Castro into a megalomaniacal madman and ultimately resulted in the Cuban Revolution.

If you haven’t read that one yet, click this link to download the entire story in PDF format.

It’s a classic.

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Comments? Questions? Corrections? Visit the Men’s Adventure Magazines Facebook Group.