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

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

MISSION TO BERLIN – a great new book by former men’s adventure magazine writer Robert F. Dorr...

In addition to featuring great pulp art by many talented illustration artists, men’s adventure magazines published in the 1950s, the 1960s and 1970s featured stories by many notable writers.

One of my personal favorites is author Robert F. Dorr.

From the late 1950s to the mid-1970s, Bob Dorr wrote hundreds of stories for top men’s adventure magazines, such as STAG, MALE, MAN’S MAGAZINE, MAN’S WORLD, MEN, FOR MEN ONLY and BLUEBOOK.

He went on to become one of America’s top military historians. Over the past few decades, Dorr has written more than 70 non-fiction books and he’s still going strong.

His latest book is MISSION TO BERLIN: The American Airmen Who Struck the Heart of Hitler’s Reich.

It provides a fascinating look at World War II bomber pilots and crews and the huge American bombing mission over Berlin on February 3, 1945 — the largest bombing mission undertaken against a single target.

Men’s adventure magazines were heavily targeted to military veterans and Dorr has always been interested in military history. So it’s not surprising that many of the stories he wrote for those magazines are war stories.

However, he also wrote many other kinds of stories for the men’s pulp mags, ranging from adventure and spy stories to exposés and killer creature stories.

My recent nighttime reading included Bob Dorr’s new book MISSION TO BERLIN and two of his stories in magazines from my collection.

One of those stories — “BAYONET KILLER OF HEARTBREAK RIDGE” — is an interesting early example of his military history writing.

It’s about U.S. Army Sergeant Donn F. Porter, a real-life hero and Medal of Honor recipient who was killed during the Korean War.

Dorr’s story about Porter is the featured cover story on the October 1964 issue of MAN’S MAGAZINE. The terrific cover painting that goes with it is by artist Mel Crair. (If you’re interested in reading this true story, you can buy a high-resolution PDF copy for 99 cents by clicking this link to my Payloadz store.)

The other Bob Dorr story I read recently is a classic example of the pulp fiction adventure yarns he once wrote for men’s adventure magazines. It’s one of two stories featured on the cover of the March 1971 issue of FOR MEN ONLY.

On the cover, it’s called “I SURVIVED PERU'S SCORPION CULTISTS” and illustrated with a wild “scorpion torture” painting by artist Earl Norem.

On the inside, it’s titled “I WAS SEIZED BY PERU’S ‘SCORPION CULT’ TRIBE” and illustrated by the editors with a set of laughably unrelated stock photos of “natives” from several different continents, along with a pic of some guy in a cowboy hat. He’s supposed to be the “Yank adventurer” who told Bob Dorr this purportedly “true” — but obviously fictional — story.

(You can buy a high-resolution PDF copy of this classic pulp fiction yarn for 99 cents by clicking this link to my Payloadz store.)

It’s interesting to compare Bob’s writing back then with his writing today.

I see several common features all of his work, from his early men’s adventure stories to his most recent history books. He has a knack for describing locations and action in ways that impart a strong sense of place and make you feel like you’re there. He’s also good at making characters come to life — whether they’re real or fictional.

In a recent email, Bob told me:

“Part of my approach comes from my experience writing hundreds of articles for the men’s pulp adventure magazines. Many of those magazines staked their success on war stories that began with the event and used the event to fame and shape the person. Similarly, every one of the real men in MISSION TO BERLIN is changed forever by his experience so it only makes sense to use that experience as the backdrop for what happened to the person.” 

Bob’s detailed accounts of the experiences of various bomber crews in MISSION TO BERLIN are eye-opening and awe inspiring. They give you a real appreciation of how tough and scary it was to be a crew member on B-17 “Flying Fortress” or a B-24 “Liberator” bomber.

As Bob explains, heavy bomber crews “routinely waged war at altitudes three times higher than men had ever been in combat before, in a place where it was always cold, where the temperature could stay far below freezing for hours, and where the air outside the metal skin of their unpressurized aircraft was too thin for humans to breathe. Lose your oxygen and you could die. Lose the electrical connection to your light-blue (‘blue bunny’) F-2 four-piece heated flying suit and you could die.”

How cold was it? Bob notes that “one crewman had to tear his penis loose after it stuck fast to the frost-covered relief tube.”

And, those were just some of the basic dangers bomber crews faced even without being hit by enemy fire. Bob’s accounts of what crews faced when their bombers did get hit are jaw-dropping.

One of many examples is the story he tells about what happened when flak tore through the B-24 named Missouri Belle. Pilot Bob Vance “discovered that his right foot was essentially severed, attached to his leg only by tendons, and was jammed inextricably behind the seat of the wounded copilot.” Despite his injuries, Vance kept the Missouri Belle aloft long enough for his crew to bail out. He then ditched the plane in the English Channel. Amazingly, Vance survived and was picked up by British rescue boat. As he was pulled aboard, he said sardonically, “Don’t forget to bring my foot in.” It was still attached by a few tendons.

I recently posted an in-depth review of MISSION TO BERLIN on Amazon.com. The bottom line is this: if you’re interested in World War II or military aviation history, or if you just enjoy reading good history books, you should read Robert F. Dorr’s book MISSION TO BERLIN.

It’s a helluva ride. Just like Bob’s vintage men’s adventure stories.

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

Further reading: books by Robert F. Dorr…

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Ed “Emsh” Emshwiller’s UNTAMED magazine covers

If you’re a fan of vintage science fiction magazines and paperbacks from the 1950s and 1960s, you’ve almost certainly seen cover art by Ed Emshwiller (1925-1990), who often signed his illustration art as “Emsh.”

“Emsh” cover paintings appeared on the covers of many popular sci-fi mags, such as Amazing Stories, Astounding Science Fiction, Fantasy & Science Fiction, Galaxy, If and Infinity.

He also did dust cover art for science fiction hardbacks and cover paintings for sci-fi paperbacks, including some of the great Ace Doubles and the “Science Fiction Library” paperbacks published by Lancer Books.

During the Fifties and Sixties, Emshwiller also provided artwork to mystery and detective periodicals, like Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, and to at least six men’s adventure magazines, including Lion Adventures, Man’s World, See for Men, Sportsman, True Action and Untamed.

Some of my favorite Emsh cover paintings are those he did for the men’s adventure magazine Untamed.

Untamed was published bi-monthly from 1959 to 1960 by Magnum Publications, Inc., which also published two other short-lived men’s postwar pulp mags: Lion Adventures (1960) and True War (1956-1958).

Magnum was owned by Irwin Stein, who founded Lancer Books with Walter Zacharius in 1961.

Stein and Zacharius had previously been partners in publishing the sci-fi magazines Infinity and Science Fiction Adventures and the horror mag Monsters and Things.

Lancer Books published paperbacks in many genres, but is probably best known for its science fiction and fantasy books.

Lancer released the first paperback versions of Robert E. Howard’s Conan the Barbarian stories and a number of science fiction classics by Isaac Asimov, Jack Williamson, Robert Silverberg and many other top sci-fi and fantasy authors. (One of the artists who did covers for Lancer’s Conan series was John Duillo, whose men’s adventure magazine artwork was featured in a recent post on this blog.)

Lancer also published some great vintage erotica, such as Terry Southern’s notorious Sixties classic Candy and Ted Mark’s campy Man From O.R.G.Y. spies-and-sex series.

I believe the first cover painting Emshwiller created for Untamed is the one he did for the June 1959 issue (shown at the beginning of this post). It’s an over-the-top scene done for an equally OTT story: “Death Orgy of the Doomed Vice Queens.”

For the July 1959 issue of Untamed, Emsh painted a classic “Arab peril” cover. It shows a scantily clad, obviously thirsty damsel being menaced by a sheik carrying a bloody sword. Meanwhile, someone in the foreground is taunting the poor girl by pouring water onto the sand in front of her. (Now, that’s just nasty!) This Emsh cover painting goes with the story “Bessie Darling's Thirty-Hour Ordeal.”

The Emsh cover on Untamed’s November 1959 issue was done for a spicy underwater treasure tale titled “THE SINGAPORE SLUT AND THE SUNKEN TREASURE.” The painting Emsh created for that one shows a scuba diver using a strand of pearls to strangle a good-looking babe (presumably the “slut”).

Emshwiller also painted the covers for the final two issues of Untamed, published in January and March of 1960.

His painting for the January issue, featuring a tough-looking Latino mercenary, goes with the faux “true story” story “MEN WANTED — FOR ASSASSINS, INC. TOP PAY — HIGH RISK IN EXOTIC LANDS.”

The Emsh painting on the cover of the March 1960 issue was done for the Western yarn “HARPE’S LAST RIDE.”

That story title seems oddly dull for a men’s pulp mag, especially given Emshwiller’s racy painting. But the story itself is pretty wild. And, inside it’s promoted with a more typical pulpy subhead: “Robbery...murder...rape...no crime was too fiendish for Micijah Harpe and his brother. When he at last was caught, he died as he had lived — horribly.”

You can read more about artist Ed Emshwiller on David Saunders’ terrific website Field Guide to Wild American Pulp Artists. (David is the son of the legendary pulp artist Norman Saunders.)

Better yet, buy the book EMSHWILLER: INFINITY X TWO. It’s the definitive source on Ed and his wife, science fiction and fantasy author Carol Emshwiller.

EMSHWILLER: INFINITY X TWO was written by Luis Ortiz and published by his company Nonstop Press.

In case you missed it, I posted an interview with Ortiz a while ago. In addition to authoring the dual bio about the Emshwillers, Ortiz co-edited the excellent book CULT MAGAZINES: A to Z with the legendary science fiction fanzine publisher and erotic book editor Earl Kemp.

Nonstop Press also published the autobiography of writer Robert Silverberg, Other Spaces, Other Times: A Life Spent in the Future.

Silverberg is best known for his science fiction stories. But in the late 1950s and early 1960s he also wrote stories for men’s adventure magazines, under his own name and various pseudonyms. I’ll be featuring some of those little-known Silverberg gems in upcoming posts.

In the meantime, you can read an extended excerpt from EMSHWILLER: INFINITY X TWO in the April 2007 issue of Earl Kemp’s fascinating online ezine, eI.

If you’re a fan of vintage science fiction or vintage erotica or both (like me), you’ll love reading Earl’s ezines. Here’s a link to the main page.

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

Learn more about the people and topics in this post by buying one of these great books…

Saturday, June 18, 2011

GUSTO Magazine – featuring “HE-MAN ADVENTURES” and “The Big Bamboo”

GUSTO magazine — subtitled “HE-MAN ADVENTURES” — is a hard-to-find men’s adventure magazine published briefly in 1957 by Arnold Magazines, Inc.

That was one of several comics and magazine publishing companies founded by Everett M. “Busy” Arnold (1899-1974).

Starting in the 1930s, Arnold was a pioneer in the realm of newspaper comics and comic books.

In the 1940s and early 1950s, his Quality Comics company published many notable comics titles. Among the most famous were Will Eisner’s The Spirit and Bill Ward’s sexy Torchy comics.

In 1954, the hysteria created by Dr. Fredric Wertham’s book Seduction of the Innocent and the resulting censorship guidelines in the puritanical “Comics Code” killed off many previously successful comics, including several of Arnold’s best sellers.

The Comics Code essentially banned violence and any hint of sexuality in comic books. This squelched many popular horror, suspense and mystery comics — and led several major publishers of comics to move into the men’s adventure magazine market.

Among them were busy Arnold, Martin Goodman and Stanley Morse.

Arnold sold his comics properties to DC Comics in 1956 and founded Arnold Magazines, Inc. Through that company, he published various types of adult periodicals, including “true crime” and detective magazines, girlie photo and humor magazines and two men’s pulp mags: RAGE FOR MEN and GUSTO.

Another of Busy’s magazine companies, Natlus, Inc., published the men’s adventure magazines MAN’S PERIL, RAGE (a second incarnation of RAGE FOR MEN) and WILD (a.k.a. WILD FOR MEN).

GUSTO is one of several Arnold magazines that are now relatively rare and often pricey (when you can find them). Only three issues of GUSTO were ever published, dated October and December of 1957 and February 1958.

The cover paintings of all three issues are uncredited, but were probably done by Clarence Doore. Interior illustrations include some rare men’s adventure mag illos by Matt Baker, a pioneering African American illustration artist who is best known for his comic book art.

A key reason for GUSTO’s short life span was another form of censorship that Busy Arnold faced.

By today’s standards, the stories and cheesecake photos in GUSTO might be deemed “racy” at most.

But in 1957, the U.S. Postal Service decided that GUSTO’s contents were “dominated by material of an obscene, lewd, lascivious, indecent or filthy nature” and thus “are nonmailable matter and are not entitled to entry into the mails as second-class matter.”

A second-class mailing permit allowed a publisher to use low postage rates for a magazine. Without that, it was financially impractical to mail a magazine to subscribers.

Ad revenues were an important supplement for men’s adventure magazines, but not a main source of income like they were for the slick, high end men’s magazines like Playboy. Men’s pulp mags generally needed both newsstand sales and subscriptions to stay in business for more than a few issues.

Typically, if the second class mailing permit for a men’s pulp magazine was denied or revoked by the Postal Service, the publisher would stop publishing it. That’s what happened to GUSTO.

The rationale the Postal Service used to deny a second-class mail permit to GUSTO is summarized in a USPS hearing report issued in November 1957. It provides a fascinating glimpse into the prudish “moral standards” of the Fifties.

For example, one of the articles in the October 1957 issue of GUSTO that Postal Service officials viewed as “obscene” is about the lyrics in Calypso music.

The article is a somewhat tongue-in-cheek exposé about a “shocking” fact: some Calypso music lyrics are even more sexually suggestive than those in the rock ‘n’ roll music that Elvis Presley sang!

The title of the story is a classic example of the sensationalistic headline writing that is typical in men’s adventure magazines: “CALYPSO: IS IT PORNOGRAPHY IN HI-FI?”

The story itself is a significantly less sensationalistic than the title suggests.

There’s no foul language. No photos of naked island girls or of American Calypso fans at an orgy. Nothing like that. (Damn!)

Yet the diligent bureaucrat who investigated GUSTO for the Postal Service decided that this story violated USPS obscenity regulations.

Why? Because it quoted some of the sexually suggestive lyrics it was discussing (duh!), like the chorus from the popular Calypso classic “The Big Bamboo”:

       “The big bamboo grows good and long.
        The big bamboo it grows always strong.
        The big bamboo grows straight and tall.
        And the big bamboo pleases one and all.”

Yeah, sure, those lyrics are “sexually suggestive,” in a witty and humorous way.

But was GUSTO’s article about Calypso music really “obscene, lewd, lascivious, indecent or filthy” as the Postal Service report concluded?

Uh, no.

It is, however, an interesting cultural artifact, especially for fans of vintage Calypso music and the history of censorship in America (like me).

You can check it out for yourself by buying a copy of the WEASELS RIPPED MY FLESH! anthology.

It’s one of the classic men’s adventure magazine stories included in that book.

In an upcoming post here we’ll take a closer look at the Postal Service report about Gusto and at some of the other stories and photos from Gusto that the USPS report deemed to be “obscene.”

In the meantime, make yourself a rum punch, mon.

Sit back and relax, imagine yourself on some beautiful Caribbean beach and click on the video at left to hear a classic 1950s recording of “The Big Bamboo.”

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

An Exclusive Authorized Digital Reprint


This hard-to-find, out-of-print guide was published in late 1998 by collector Bill Devine. It provides information on dates of publication, circulation, publishers and artists for magazines in the men’s adventure genre. Today, print copies of DEVINE’S GUIDE are scarce and expensive. Bill and I are now making a searchable, PDF copy available to readers of this blog for $9.99.

Click this link to buy DEVINE’S GUIDE TO MEN’S ADVENTURE MAGAZINES via Payloadz.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Syd Shores, Mel Crair, evil Nazis, crawling death and man killing nymphos...

My previous post featured some great “sweat magazine” style cover paintings by the legendary comics and magazine artist Sydney “Syd” Shores, from the collection of my friend Rich Oberg, the world’s foremost collector of men’s adventure magazine art.

The over-the-top painting at the top of this post is also from Rich’s collection.

It shows a Nazi officer getting ready to burn the heaving chest of a barely-clad babe with a red-hot, swastika-shaped branding iron, as two of his henchmen hold her down.

The officer looks like Steve Holland, an extremely popular male model used by many men’s adventure artists. (He was also the model James Bama used for Doc Savage on the covers of the the Bantam paperback series.)

This painting was used on three different men’s pulp mag covers.

It first appeared on the cover of the the January 1965 issue of ALL MAN, then on the August 1967 issue of REAL MEN and finally on the October 1973 issue of TRUE MEN STORIES.

I had originally included a photo of this painting in my previous post about Syd Shores, along with the painting below, which was used on the cover of the August 1963 issue of the men’s adventure magazine WAR CRIMINALS.

The WAR CRIMINALS painting shows an officer who I think is Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels in the foreground. In the background, a distressed damsel wearing a bra, panties and a garter belt is being tormented by a bald Nazi henchmen and an officer who also looks to be modeled on Steve Holland.

In my previous post, I had credited both paintings to Syd Shores.

Then I got an email from a very knowledgeable reader of this blog who noted that they looked like Mel Crair paintings to him. So, I decided to remove them from the post until I had a chance to talk to Rich Oberg about them.

What he told me provides some insight into how hard it can be to determine which artist created certain men’s pulp illustrations.

Many cover paintings and interior illustrations in men’s adventure mags went uncredited in the magazines and unsigned by the artists. That’s the case with the two paintings in question.

An expert like Rich and serious fans of the genre can often look at a magazine and recognize the the artist who did the cover painting or some interior illo fairly easily, even when it’s unsigned and uncredited. But not always.

As Rich explained to me, sometimes you need a close look at the original painting to ID the artist. Then you can see nuances in the brush work or other small details that provide telltale clues — things you can’t see by looking at JPEGs of the paintings or covers or even by looking closely at the magazine covers.

In addition, there are sometimes written notes on the front or back of the illustration boards that were used for most men’s adventure magazine art. Those notes can provide information you couldn’t otherwise know.

“The unsigned painting used for WAR CRIMINALS does look like some of the paintings Mel Crair did for men’s adventure magazines,” Rich said. “However, Crair typically used a distinctive horizontal brush stroke that feathered the edges a little. When I got that painting, I took a close look and I didn’t see those brush strokes. The brush style look more like Shores. Then, when I looked on the back, I saw ‘Syd Shores’ clearly written in very old-looking pencil, along with other notations that look like they were made long ago when the painting was used. So, I think it probably is a Shores painting.”

“There’s no artist name written anywhere on the Nazi branding painting,” Rich continued, “but Shores is my best guess that one, too. I know it was done for ALL MAN at a time when Syd Shores was doing other covers for that magazine. Also, when I look at that painting up close and personal and compare it to others by him and Mel Crair, it looks more like Shores than Crair to me.”

Like most artists who worked for men’s adventure magazines that were published the 1950s, 1960s and early 1970s, Shores did interior illustrations as well as cover art.

At left is a cool science fiction style illo he did for a story by Lou Cameron in the October 1958 issue of REAL WAR, an unusual space-themed issue that I featured in a previous post here.

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

Interestingly, like Syd Shores, Cameron worked as a comic book artist in the 1950s.

He went on to become a prolific writer whose stories appeared in many men’s adventure magazines. But he’s best known as a novelist.

In fact, Cameron wrote more than 100 novels, maybe as many as 200, ranging from mystery, suspense, action and adventure novels to noir-style pulps and Westerns. Some were published under his real name and some under pseudonyms. (Check out the lists of Cameron novels on the Fantastic Fiction site and on the great Mystery*File blog, written by Steve Lewis.)

I’ll close this post with two of my favorite Syd Shores interior illustrations: his snake-filled illo for the story “CRAWLING DEATH” in the March 1958 issue of MAN’S ADVENTURE and his babe-filled illo for the story “THE MAN KILLING NYMPHOS OF BALI,” in the October 1961 issue of MEN IN CONFLICT.

This kind of men’s adventure pulp art may not be “classy,” but it sure is classic…

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

New and forthcoming books for fans of pulp art and pulp fiction…

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Legendary comics artist Syd Shores also did some wild men’s “sweat magazine” covers…

Most people who are familiar with artist Sydney “Syd” Shores (1913-1973) think of him as a comic book artist. And, indeed, he was one of the greatest comic book artists of the Golden Age and Silver Age of comics.

His professional art career started at Timely Comics, the pioneering comic book publishing company that morphed into Marvel.

Timely was founded in 1939 by publisher Martin Goodman, who later published many of the best men’s adventure magazines under the banner of his Atlas/Diamond line and the umbrella company Magazine Management. (Magazines like ACTION FOR MEN, FOR MEN ONLY, KEN FOR MEN, MALE, MAN’S WORLD, MEN, MEN IN ACTION, REAL LIFE and STAG.)

Shores was one of the first staff members at Timely, along with comic book legends Joe Simon, Jack Kirby and a nephew of Goodman’s named Stanley Lieber (soon better known as Stan Lee).

Shores worked as a penciller, inker and cover artist on comics featuring some of the most enduring comic book characters, such as Captain America, The Human Torch and the Sub-Mariner, and on scores of others now known mostly to comics aficionados.

From the early 1940s to the late 1950s, he was one of the most popular and prolific artists in the comics industry.

Then, in the late ‘50s, Shores and other comics artists found themselves with little or no work, due to a severe downturn in the comic book market. The downturn was caused by several factors. One was the hysteria over sex and violence in comics created by Dr. Fredric Wertham and his book Seduction of the Innocent, which led to witch-hunt-like Congressional hearings and to the prudish “Comics Code” of 1954.

The Comics Code essentially banned violence and gore, “Good Girl Art” showing sexy women, and any hint of sexuality in comic books. This forced many popular horror, suspense and mystery comics out of business.

It also led several major comic book publishers — such as Goodman, Stanley Morse and Everett M. “Busy” Arnold — to move into the men’s adventure magazine market.

Many pioneering comics artists who faced hard times because of the comics downturn began working for men’s adventure mags in the mid- to late-1950s. Syd Shores was one of them.

From around 1957 to 1968, he did scores of great cover paintings and interior illustrations for many different men’s adventure magazines.

In 1968, when the comics industry started rebounding, Shores went back to doing comic book artwork, which he called his “first love.” He continued doing comics art, primarily for Marvel, until his death from a heart attack in 1973.

Shores did various types of illustrations during his men’s adventure magazine period. Some fall into the notorious (and popular) “sweat magazine” subgenre — the subset of men’s adventure magazines that regularly featured images of beautiful, barely-clad woman or hunky he-men being tortured by Nazis or some other evil fiends.

The original Syd Shores painting at the top of this post, owned by men’s pulp art collector and friend of this blog Rich Oberg, is a sweat mag classic. It’s a wildly-creative painting of two distressed damsels in matching red bikinis, tied with rope onto German mines bobbing in the ocean.

The use of good men’s adventure illustrations on (or in) two or more men’s adventure magazines was common. This Shores death-by-mine painting was used on the cover of ALL MAN in May 1964, then again on the cover of the May 1967 issue of MAN’S ADVENTURE.

Another cringe-inducing fate awaits the bra and underwear model in the Syd Shores cover painting below, used on the September 1965 issue of ALL MAN.

Take a close look at the background and you’ll see that the Nazi bastards are putting women into a large mold, pouring molten gold on them and turning them into golden statues.

Syd Shores didn’t do as many evil Nazi B&T covers as some men’s adventure artists, such as Norm Eastman. But the ones he did do are among my favorite Shores covers. Below are a couple of other classics.

The Shores cover painting on the September 1964 issue of ESCAPE TO ADVENTURE shows two hapless, heavily-cleavaged women tied to stakes somewhere in the North African desert, where Allied troops fought German Field Marshal Erwin Rommel during World War II.

The original Shores cover painting next to that, with two women who look like models from a Fredericks of Hollywood catalog chained to the wall, was used on the cover was sold in 2009 on the Heritage Auctions site. It was used on the cover of the August 1966 issue of MAN’S PRIME.

It’s interesting to compare some of the men’s sweat magazine covers Syd Shores created in the 1960s with the comics covers he created in the 1940s and 1950s. As you can see from the following examples — all of which were drawn by Shores — violence, bondage, torture and buxom babes were common features of many Golden Age comics prior to the buzz-killing Comics Code.


Because of Dr. Wertham and the Comics Code, the fragile minds of America’s children were protected from seeing such images on comic books, for a while.

Of course, CAPTAIN AMERICA continued and is now bigger (and bloodier) than ever. Many other “controversial” Golden Age comics that featured suggestively violent or sexy artwork — such as THE BLONDE PHANTOM, LORNA, THE JUNGLE GIRL and BATTLE BRADY — didn’t survive.

But their deaths helped fuel the rise of men’s adventure magazines, in more ways than one.

I’m guessing that’s not an outcome Dr. Wertham expected.

Coming up in the next post here: more great men’s adventure and comics artwork by Syd Shores.

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

Further reading about Golden Age comics and comics artists…