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Our books on Amazon: the MEN'S ADVENTURE LIBRARY series...
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Saturday, October 29, 2011

An interview with Bruce Minney – Part 1

Bruce Minney is one of the most talented and prolific of the many great artists who created cover paintings and interior illustrations for men’s adventure magazines from the mid-1950s to the mid-1970s.

He’s not as widely known as some of the artists associated with the men’s pulp mag genre, such as Mort Kunstler, Basil Gogos, Gil Cohen, James Bama or Norman Saunders.

But he certainly deserves wider recognition.

Until recently, I knew very little about Bruce other than what’s in the brief bio included in Adam Parfrey’s book It's a Man's World: Men's Adventure Magazines, The Postwar Pulps.

It says: “Bruce Minney — A commercial artist who contributed to the Martin Goodman line [STAG, MALE, MEN, FOR MEN ONLY, etc.] as well as other publishers in the field in the fifties and early sixties, Minney excelled at historical subjects. He produced scores of paperback covers, with an emphasis on westerns and historical adventures, before retiring to become a fine-arts ceramicist.”

Contrary to what that thumbnail bio said, I knew that Minney had actually continued doing artwork for men’s adventure magazines into the mid-1970s.

But I didn’t know much more about him — or if he was still alive.

Then, a few weeks ago, I got an email from Bruce’s son-in-law, Tom Ziegler, husband of Bruce’s daughter Carole.

Tom had been looking around the Internet to see what was out there about Bruce and had noticed one of the recent posts I’d done about Bruce’s work here on MensPulpMags.com.

Tom told me Bruce was alive and well and living in Florida. He said Bruce was now retired from his second career as the creator of award-winning ceramic art and pots and was back to doing some painting again.

I asked Tom if he thought Bruce would be willing to do a phone interview with me. He said ‘yes,’ and graciously set it up.

A few days later I had the great pleasure of talking with Bruce Minney — one of my favorite artists.

Today, I’m posting the first of several posts that will provide a transcription of our conversation.

I started by asking Bruce where he was born and raised.

BRUCE: I was born in 1928 in Oakland, California. I grew up there and got married there to my high school sweetheart, Doris, and we had our daughter Carole there.

Did you go to an art school after high school?

BRUCE: Yes, I studied art at The California College of Arts and Crafts, which was near Berkeley. It’s now a campus of Cal U. They made it a university campus after I left. When I went there it was independent. I graduated from art school around 1950.

Did you focus on illustration art there?

BRUCE: Not at all. I wanted to be a fine artist. I wanted to sell paintings in galleries. But after four years, I realized it was very hard to make a living as a fine artist. So, I took a course at night on illustration. I did that for a year. There was a guy I met there who worked for an agency over in San Francisco, an art firm. All they did was art for advertising. Very commercial stuff, like drawing the ellipses on mayonnaise jar labels and that kind of thing. I remember he took four of us to his agency to evaluate our skills. But I guess I wasn’t good enough at drawing ellipses. [He laughs.] The other three guys got hired but not me. Of course, that turned out to be a good thing. I didn’t really want to be in that type of commercial art business anyway.

Is that when you decided you wanted to become an illustration artist?

BRUCE: Yes, but first I worked as a fireman. I was a fireman in Orinda, California for about three years. It was a good job for me at the time, because I worked one day and got two days off, so I had time to work on my art samples. You need samples when you want to become an illustrator. You go the art directors and show them your samples. And, if they like them, they’ll hire you for a job. So that’s how I spent my free time when I was a fireman in California. 

When did you head to New York and hook up with the men’s adventure magazine publishers there?

BRUCE: That was in 1955. My wife, Doris, and I put all of our possessions in the Plymouth, along with our 4-year-old daughter Carole, and drove to New York City.

A lot of the great illustrations artists lived in New York back then because that’s where most of the major magazine and book publishers had their offices. Is that why you picked New York?

BRUCE: Yes, I wasn’t sure I was going to get any illustration work there. But I wanted to try, so I went around and showed my samples to the art directors at various publishers and I finally got my first illustration job with Magazine Management, Martin Goodman’s company.

The art director there was Larry Graber at that time, right?

BRUCE: Yes, Larry Graber. He came after Mel Blum. I never met Mel.

Larry helped launch the careers of many great illustration artists. A while ago, when I interviewed Mort Kunstler and talked to Gil Cohen, they both told me how much they liked and appreciated Larry.

BRUCE: Yes, Larry was a real great guy.

Mort told me Larry is still alive and living in New York. I’m hoping to do an interview with him eventually.

BRUCE: I was also helped by Eddie Balcourt. You ever heard of him?

Yes. In fact, there was an extensive article about Balcourt and the long list of artists he represented in Issue #32 of ILLUSTRATION magazine last year, written by the pulp art and paperback expert Gary Lovisi. It’s amazing how many great illustration artists Balcourt represented — you, John Leone, Robert Maguire, Rudy Nappi, Lou Marchetti, Bob Schulz, John Duillo and many others.

BRUCE: Yeah, Eddie represented just about everybody. And, he got me a lot of jobs.

How did you meet him?

BRUCE: My wife Doris actually looked him up and met him first. She thought I needed an agent, because I had gone around to the same art directors several times and didn’t get much work. Doris sought out Eddie and put me in touch with him. Eddie Balcourt really knew how to get work for artists. He knew all the art directors and made sure he bought them Christmas presents every year.

He’s still alive, still painting and living in New York now.

BRUCE: Yeah, I hear he’s still teaching some kind of class, watercolors I think. I didn’t know he was an artist at all when he represented me.

Was it Balcourt who got you in the door with Larry Graber at Magazine Management?

BRUCE: Yes, it was.

Do you remember the first assignment Larry gave you?

BRUCE: I do. It was a two-page spread of a hunter sitting on the back of a dead elephant and smoking a cigarette. That was the first one. Actually, I used Eddie Balcourt as the model for the hunter, because I’d just arrived in New York and didn’t know any models yet or any photographers. Eddie took me to see Robert Scott to do the photos. Do you know who he was?

Didn’t he do a lot of glamour girl photography back then?

BRUCE: Yes, and he also shot a lot of photos of models for illustrators. For my first assignment for Magazine Management, Robert Scott and I shot Eddie Balcourt sitting on a chair, which was supposed to be an elephant. And, that was my first job. It was a black-and-white two page spread. I don’t remember which magazine it was for. But Larry Graber must have liked it, because he gave me other work.

Did you do your painting in a studio that Balcourt had?

BRUCE: No. He just represented me. I’d go in and get jobs from him, come home with them and do them at home.

Did you meet publisher Martin Goodman?

BRUCE: No, I never met him, though I used his secretary as a model once. I don’t remember her name.

How about Bruce Jay Friedman, who was an editor at Magazine Management before he became a famous playwright and novelist, or Mario Puzo, who worked there as a writer and assistant editor before he made it big as the author of THE GODFATHER?

BRUCE: No, I never met either of those guys. They were on another floor from Larry, as I recall. But I did meet some of the other artists who worked for the Goodman magazines, like Jim Bama, Rudy Nappi and Charles Copeland. I remember Copeland and I went and had a martini at ten o’clock in the morning once. He liked his martinis.

Did you meet Mort Kunstler?

BRUCE: No, but I remember he called me once. He needed to borrow a book I had about German aircraft. He was doing a painting that had a very obscure German plane. I think it had twelve engines. [NOTE: It was probably a Dornier DO X.] He was doing a cover painting that had that plane in it and I was doing an interior illustration for the same issue. I don’t know where I found the book. It was all in Japanese. But it had one of those planes in there. Mort hadn’t been able to find anything on it anywhere else. So, I loaned him my book. As I recall, I finished my painting for that issue before he had his done.

You and Mort and the other men’s adventure magazine artists painted so many different kinds of people and scenes. Everything from battle scenes and Westerns, to exotic adventure and animal attack scenes, to images of beautiful women, which later came to be called “Good Girl Art.” What did you all use for references?

BRUCE: Well, for one thing, you kept a filing cabinet full of clipped art. You would look through magazines and cut out pictures and file them under some topic. I had files full of old World War II stuff and uniforms and landscapes and mountains and scenes from different countries and girls and all kinds of stuff.

Did you also use reference books from libraries?

BRUCE: Yes, in addition to using things from my files, I would go to the New York Public Library. They also had a picture section there, and you could borrow the pictures. When I had an assignment, I would go through all of the images I could find in my files or at the library, then draw a few sketches of a possible illustration and then take it in to Larry Graber or whichever art director I was working with, and he’d OK it. Then, then I’d shoot models. For men, I used Steve Holland a lot.

It seems like all of the New York illustration artists loved using Steve Holland in the ‘50s, ‘60s and ‘70s. He was the model for hundreds of magazine illustrations back then, especially men’s adventure mags, and for scores of paperback covers — most famously, Jim Bama’s DOC SAVAGE cover paintings, of course.

BRUCE: Yes. He was great to work with. Did you know Steve was a handball addict? He played handball all the time. And, amazingly, he smoked about two or three packs of cigarettes a day.

I didn’t know that. Steve died in 1997. I think he was 72 at the time.

BRUCE: Yeah, I’m surprised he lived so long. I also remember Steve wanted to be an illustrator himself. He used to bring me illustrations he did, his samples. They were pretty good, but he went crazy on the clothing. Too many wrinkles. He painted every wrinkle he saw. I also used Shere Hite as a model.

She was another favorite model of many men’s adventure artists, before she became famous for writing her “Hite Report” books on female and male sexuality.

BRUCE: That’s right. I remember that Shere didn’t care whether she was nude or not, when she posed. Most girls would charge you more to pose nude, but not Shere Hite. She didn’t care. She didn’t seem much interested in anything. Then at one point she started handing out questionnaires on sex to all the guys she met, which she later used for one of the books she wrote.

Did you fill out one of her sex questionnaires?

BRUCE: No, for some reason, she never gave me one. [He laughs.] In fact, I was kinda hurt about that, ‘cause I used her a lot as a model.

Any other models you remember?

BRUCE: Sheba Britt. Spelled B-R-I-T-T. That’s was her stage name, I think. She was also an actress. A soft porn star.

Oh yeah, according to her entry on IMDB, she went by various names in her movies and did quite a few soft porn flicks.

BRUCE: I also used Lisa Karan a lot.

Lisa Karan and Shere Hite were also favorite models of artist Norm Eastman.

BRUCE: They were both beautiful. Lisa had kind of a big honker, but when you looked at her straight on she was great.

I think Lisa may have used other names, too, like Sheba Britt did. I got an email a while ago from a guy who saw a photo of Lisa on my blog and sent me a scan of a cheesecake photo spread in the April 1960 issue of MAN’S DARING that featured a mode who looked just like Lisa Karan, but she was credited as Lisa Kamish. Did you use Robert Scott to take all of your model photos?

BRUCE: Well, eventually I did my own. Using Robert Scott got too expensive. But the artist Rudy Nappi, who also did a lot of illustrations for men’s adventure magazines, taught me how to do my own photos. He belonged to a studio with a bunch of other artists. They didn’t paint there, but they shot their model photos there. One day, I was talking to Rudy about how expensive Scott was getting and he told me I should shoot my own pictures. I said “I don’t know how.” And, he said “I’ll teach you. You ought to develop your own pictures, too.” And, I said I didn’t know how to do that either. He says “I’ll teach you.” And he did, he taught me all that.

That was really a nice thing for him to do.

BRUCE: Yes, it was. I remember another interesting story about Nappi. One day he took the bus into New York. And, as he’s riding along, a guy got on and held up the bus driver and took the bus money. But, unbeknownst to the thief, Rudy took his picture. Then he gave it to the cops and they caught the guy and arrested him.

That’s funny. I’m a big fan of Nappi’s work, too.

BRUCE: I think as the men’s adventure magazines started to decline Rudy did book covers, like I did. A lot of the men’s adventure guys did dust covers for hardback books and cover paintings for paperbacks. Some went on to become famous Western painters, like Jim Bama. I never did Western art, but I did a lot of book covers.

Did Eddie Balcourt get you hooked up with the book publishers?

BRUCE: No, after a few years with Eddie, I got to know a lot of the art directors and publishers and I started representing myself. I did all kinds of book covers. Everything from Harlequin romance covers and Lone Ranger books to the Horatio Hornblower series.

This is the end of Part 1 of my interview with Bruce Minney.

Here’s a link to Part 2. And, here’s a link to Part 3.

UDPATE: After I posted this interview, Tom Ziegler published a terrific, lushly illustrated book about Bruce and his artwork, titled BRUCE MINNEY: THE MAN WHO PAINTED EVERYTHING. It’s a must-have for any fan of men’s adventure magazines.

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

Related and recommended reading…

Monday, October 17, 2011

Classic evil Nazi covers by Basil Gogos, Norm Eastman and Norman Saunders (Part 3 of the “missing” HORRORHOUND captions)

A while ago, I started a series of posts about the article that men’s pulp art and magazine collector Rich Oberg and I put together for HORRORHOUND magazine, published in the July/August 2011 issue. (Issue #30.) 

The 6-page article, which gives a brief history of men’s adventure magazines and discusses the connections between that genre and the horror and fantasy genres, is very nicely illustrated.

It shows dozens of cover paintings and cover scans from Rich’s collection.

However, there wasn’t room in the piece to print captions providing the issue dates and artist information for each image.

So, I decided to provide the “missing caption” info here on our blog in a series of posts, along with larger, higher resolution copies of the paintings and covers used in the article.

In case you missed it, here’s a link to the first post, about the paintings and covers shown on the first page of the article (page 44 in the magazine).

And, here’s a link to the second post, about the images shown on the second page.

Today’s post focuses on the third page (page 46 in the HORRORHOUND issue).

That page features some classic examples from the lurid, highly controversial (and highly collectible) Nazi bondage and torture subgenre of men’s pulp mags — the subgenre that helped generate the term “sweat magazines.”

The cover paintings shown are by three of the best known artists whose work appeared regularly on and in men’s adventure magazines in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s: Basil Gogos, Norm Eastman and Norman Saunders.
Going clockwise from the top left, the first image is a photo of the original painting used on the cover of the August 1967 issue of MAN’S BOOK.

It was painted by Basil Gogos.

As you may know if you’re a fan of illustration art, Gogos is most widely known for the cool monster paintings he created for horror magazines like FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND, CREEPY and EERIE.

The painting used on the cover of EERIE #30 (1968), shown at the bottom right hand corner of our HORRORHOUND article, is a classic example.

The best overview of Basil’s monster artwork can be found in the excellent book by Kerry Gammill and J. David Spurlock, FAMOUS MONSTER MOVIE ART OF BASIL GOGOS.

It also includes a couple of very interesting chapters about the work Gogos did for men’s pulp mags.

In fact, Gogos probably did as many or more cover paintings and interior illustrations for men’s adventure magazines than he did for horror mags.

You can find many examples of his men’s pulp art in previous posts on this blog. (I’m particularly fond of the “Good Girl Art” cover paintings he did for the genre.)

The next two paintings and covers on the third page of our HORRORHOUND article are by the artist that’s most commonly associated with the infamous Nazi cover subgenre, Norm Eastman.

The first image is the cover of the June 1968 issue of MAN’S STORY.

Next to the cover scan is a photo of Eastman’s original painting.

The cover painting goes with the story inside “HELPLESS MAIDENS OF THE NAZIS’ TIMELESS CASTLE OF MADNESS AND HORROR.”

However, in my imagination, they could also have been used for some of the other gonzo stories in this issue, such as “DRUG AND PASSION CRAZED COEDS – OUR CAMPUS DISGRACE” or “HOW TO MASTER TODAY'S SEX OBSESSED WOMAN” or “BEHIND THE SCENES WITH A SEXPLOITATION CAMERAMAN.”

During my recent trip to Rich Oberg’s home in Tennessee, I was awed by the number of highly-valuable Eastman paintings he owns.

It was also cool to see the rare photos of Norm that Rich took when he visited the artist in 2003 and 2004 (like those I showed in my previous post about Rich’s collection).

The next cover on the third page of the HORRORHOUND article features one of most over-the-top and gruesome cover paintings Eastman ever created. (Which is saying a lot.)

It shows a crazed Nazi doctor, dubbed “DOKTOR HORROR” in the story’s title, preparing to saw off the right arm of a gorgeous blonde who’s dressed like a lingerie model.

She is shackled to an “operating table” covered with a blazing red sheet that helps show off her scantily-clad body.

Herr Doktor (whose face is modeled on Eastman’s own) is apparently doing an evil experiment that involves replacing the woman’s arm with the arm of the understandably unhappy gorilla in the background.

The ape’s severed arm is being brought to the demented doc by the Nazi soldier in the foreground.

This nightmarish painting was used on the cover of the September 1964 issue MAN’S STORY.

During his career, Eastman actually did many different types of scenes for men’s pulp mags, for other magazines and for paperback books (including romance novel covers for Harlequin).

But he probably did more outré Nazi bondage and torture cover paintings than anyone else.

Ironically, he did the majority of them for “sweat mags” published by two Jewish publishing entrepreneurs, B. R. “Bud” Ampolsk and Maurice Rosenfield (sometimes spelled Rosenfeld).

Their publishing companies, Reese and EmTee, put out some of the most lurid men’s adventure magazines, such as MAN’S BOOK, MAN’S EPIC, MAN’S STORY, MEN TODAY, NEW MAN and WORLD OF MEN.

Eastman once discussed his work for Ampolsk and Rosenfield in a rare interview that was published in the original 2004 edition of the Taschen book MEN’S ADVENTURE MAGAZINES (the soft cover edition with the scorpion attack cover).

Unfortunately, that interview, with comics and magazine art expert George Hagenauer, is missing from the 2008 edition of the book (the hard cover edition with the snake attack cover).

Eastman told Hagenauer that he started working for Ampolsk and Rosenfield (spelled as Rosenfeld by Hagenauer) around 1959.

    “I sort of stumbled...into Reese,” Eastman recalled, “which was just starting a new men’s adventure magazine. I was under contract there for a long time. The editor was Bud Ampolsk and it was owned by Maurice Rosenfeld. 

     They both lived in a Jewish neighborhood in midtown Manhattan. Ben Harvey was the art director — he was just learning when I came along. Ampolsk was a very relaxed guy. Rosenfeld was also a nice guy. They gave me the feeling that you weren’t really doing these dirty little books.

     Ampolsk and I would meet over the covers and talk about what we were going to do. Over time, I made a whole list of torture methods. Starting with fire, water, stretching, ice, and electricity, we'd go through the list and come up with something that we hadn’t done before.

     Ampolsk once told me in all seriousness that we had never done anything that the Nazis hadn’t actually done. They were all detailed in files in Washington somewhere.

     I don’t know if he was fibbing to make me continue doing the covers or what, but it did make me feel a little better about doing them...I never saw the story before I illustrated it. Ampolsk was the idea man on the covers, so he looked after getting the stories written after we had settled on a cover image.”

At the bottom left of the third page of the HORRORHOUND article is a Nazi B&T painting by Norman Saunders, one of the greatest pulp artists of the 20th Century.

Saunders gained his initial fame as an illustrator doing cover art for all-fiction digest pulp magazines in the 1930s and 1940s.

After the those pulps faded away in the 1950s, he painted hundreds of covers and interior illos for men’s postwar pulp adventure magazines. He also did many paperback book covers.

And, of course, among science fiction fans, he’s famous for the cool paintings he created for the Mars Attacks trading cards published by Topps in the early 1960s.

The Saunders painting shown here was used on the cover of the March 1970 issue of WORLD OF MEN.

It goes with the story inside titled “SCREAM TO THE LASH’S SONG, MY SWEET.” (Or was it “WHAT KIND OF PASSION MATE IS BEST FOR YOU”? Nah, just kidding.)

There are many examples of his artwork from various decades on the awesome Norman Saunders website, maintained by his son David Saunders.

I also highly recommend David’s terrific book about his father’s career, simply titled NORMAN SAUNDERS.

That book and Gammill and Spurlock’s the book about Basil Gogos are must-haves for fans of vintage illustration art, along with the Taschen book that features Rich Oberg’s collection.

Coming soon: part one of an interview Bruce Minney, one of the top men’s adventure magazine artists. He’

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

Further reading…

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Visiting Rich Oberg, the Dean of Men’s Adventure Magazines...

Recently, I had the great pleasure of visiting men’s adventure magazine art expert and collector Rich Oberg at his home in Tennessee.

Original artwork and magazines from Rich’s collection are featured in the book that helped inspire me to write this blog — Taschen publishing’s MEN’S ADVENTURE MAGAZINES. (Full title: Men’s Adventure Magazines in Postwar America, The Rich Oberg Collection.)

That lushly-illustrated overview of the men’s adventure genre was first published in softcover format in 2004, then reprinted in a hardcover edition in 2008.

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, the now out-of-print 2004 softcover edition of the Taschen book, with the “scorpion torture” cover, is larger in size than the current 2008 hardback, which features a “snake menace” scene on the cover.

The 2004 edition also includes some chapters and illustrations that were left out of the 2008 edition. (Most notably missing are vintage magazine and comic expert George Hagenauer’s fascinating interview with artist Norm Eastman, the grand master of the politically incorrect Nazi bondage and torture cover paintings and a chapter showing many covers in that outré subgenre.)

So, my recommendation to men’s pulp mag fans is to buy both the current hardcover version and the increasingly hard-to-find 2004 edition, if you can find a used copy on Amazon or elsewhere.

A couple of years ago, not long after I created MensPulpMags.com, Rich Oberg noticed it and contacted me by email.

I emailed back and asked him to do an interview with me by phone.

He graciously agreed. And, during the course of our initial conversations we discovered that we had a lot of things in common in addition to a passion for men’s adventure magazines and pulp art.

Rich soon became my men’s pulp art mentor. He also became my collaborator on this blog and the Men’s Adventure Magazine Facebook group associated with it, as well as on projects like the recent article we created about men’s pulp mags for HORRORHOUND magazine.

It’s always fun to get new images from Rich to post here on the blog and to see him drop by to make comments or post photos of the artwork he owns in our Facebook group. (Below are a few of the terrific Walter Popp paintings Rich posted there last week, while he was on vacation.)

Since our first contact, Rich and I have come to view each other as good friends — though until recently our contact was all by phone and email.

Then a few weeks ago, by chance, I had an excuse to be in Memphis, not far from where Rich lives. He invited me to stay at his house for the night.

Thus, finally, we got to meet face to face, and I got a first-hand look at his huge, amazing collection of men’s adventure artwork and magazines.

More precisely, I got a look at part of his collection. In one visit, I only had time to see a portion of the hundreds of original paintings and thousands of magazines Rich owns.

Rich has what is literally the world’s largest collection of the original artwork used as cover paintings and interior illustrations by the men’s adventure magazines published in the 1950s, 1960s and early 1970s.

He also has the world’s largest — and probably the only near complete — collection of the magazines themselves.

There are jaw-droppingly cool, framed paintings by famous men’s adventure artists hanging on almost every wall of his large brick home, where he lives with his beautiful fiancée Holly.

But Rich keeps most of his treasures in what he calls his “art room.”

There, in wide, museum-style wooden drawers that cover nearly two whole walls, Rich stores hundreds of original men’s adventure paintings on illustration board.
On another wall are shelves containing the men’s adventure magazine issues that the original paintings stored in the “art room” were used on or in. (Rich keeps thousands of other men’s adventure mags in a separate building.)

As we entered the room, Rich said something that I’m pretty sure nobody else in the world could say: “I have over 700 paintings here by over 50 different men’s adventure magazine artists. Whose stuff do you want to see first? Norm Eastman? Mort Kunstler? Norman Saunders? Basil Gogos? Someone else?”

After I got over the shock of realizing just how much men’s pulp art there was in Rich’s “art room,” we spent hours going through the drawers, looking at paintings by famous and lesser-known artists who worked for men’s adventure magazines.

We started with some of the artists Rich knew were among my favorites: Eastman, Kunstler, Saunders, Gogos, Gil Cohen and Bruce Minney.

We went on to drawers full of paintings by many of the other great artists who worked for men’s adventure magazine, such as James Bama, Stanley Borack, L.B. Cole, Mel Crair, Rafael DeSoto, Clarence Doore, John Duillo, George Gross, Hugh Hirtle, Will Hulsey, Earl Norem, Samson Pollen, Walter Popp, Vic Prezio, Mark Schneider, Bob Schulz and Syd Shores.

I was, in a word, awed. I was seeing original artwork used on the covers and inside pages of hundreds of the men’s pulp mags I love. And, yes, the paintings are even cooler than they appear in photographs published online or in books.

I also got to see rarities like photos Rich took of Norm Eastman and his wife Jane when he visited them at their home in Lompoc, California, a few years before Norm died in 2007.

Some of the photos show Norm working to recreate several long lost cover paintings as a special favor to Rich, such as the wild, iconic Nazi bondage and torture scene used on the February 1966 issue of MAN’S STORY.

By the time I went to bed, my mind was completely blown.

I had seen a treasure trove of men’s adventure paintings that few people had ever seen in real life, other than the artists who did them, the art directors and editors at the magazines they were used in and, years later, a handful of collectors who owned them before Rich.

Amazingly, there has never been a major museum show of men’s adventure art, like there has been for earlier pulp digest magazine cover paintings. And, only a small percentage of the artwork Rich Oberg owns has been shown in photos published in books or online.

In fact, I think more examples of original artwork from his collection have appeared here on MensPulpMags.com and the Men’s Adventure Magazines Facebook group than anywhere else.

As a small token of thanks, when I visited Rich I gave him a t-shirt I had custom made for him via CafePress.

It features one of his favorite John Duillo cover paintings on the front and the magazine cover it was used for on the back. (MAN'S ACTION, June 1969.)

Rich reciprocated by giving me an issue of MAN’S MAGAZINE he knew I’d been searching for — the February 1954 issue, featuring an exotic adventure painting that helped create the men’s adventure magazine genre. (The artist is uncredited, but Rich told me he’s 99% sure it was done by artist Mark Schneider.)

It was part of a legendary cover painting vs. cover photo market test.

I’d first read about it in another great book that features some of the original paintings owned by Rich Oberg — IT’S A MAN’S WORLD by Adam Parfrey. (Full title: It’s a Man’s World: Men’s Adventure Magazines, the Postwar Pulps.)

For this seminal market test, half of the February 1954 copies of MAN’S that were printed had the exotic adventure painting on the cover.

The other half featured a photo of Eve Meyer taken by her husband, the popular glamour girl photographer and erotic film pioneer Russ Meyer.

I owned a copy of the photo version of that issue, but I didn’t have the hard-to-find version with the painted cover. So, getting a copy of it from Rich was another special benefit of going to visit him.

In an upcoming post, I’ll discuss how the results of MAN’S painting vs. photo market test helped determine the history of the men’s pulp mag genre.

In the meantime, if you want a t-shirt like the one that was custom made for Rich Oberg, or other items featuring classic men’s adventure art, check out my MensPulpMags store on CafePress.

Your purchases will help keep this blog alive — and give you some things to wear or show off that I’ll bet nobody else in your neighborhood has.

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

Some of the t-shirts, posters and other items
you can buy in the Men’s Pulp Mags CafePress store