Monday, July 25, 2011

The “missing” HorrorHound article captions – Part 1 (info for covers on p. 44)


Like many fans of vintage men’s adventure magazines, I’m also a fan of horror and science fiction.

The three genres have a lot in common. And, the connections they share go beyond the fact that they are all known for their fantastic imagery and imaginative stories that often feature killer creatures, evil fiends, scantily-clad damsels and envelope-pushing action and violence.

Many notable artists, publishers and writers who were involved in men’s pulp magazines were also involved in horror or sci-fi magazines, books, comics and movies.

Some of these connections are mentioned in an article I put together with men’s pulp art collector Rich Oberg for the July/August 2011 issue of the horror/sci-fi fan mag HORRORHOUND (issue #30).

It’s a brief history of men’s post-WWII adventure periodicals titled “THE WILD, WEIRD WORLD OF VINTAGE MEN’S ADVENTURE MAGAZINES.”

I wrote the text with contributions from HORRORHOUND’s Managing Editor Aaron Crowell (who was great to deal with and very knowledgeable).

Rich Oberg provided dozens of cover scans and photos of some of the original artwork he owns to illustrate the article. The layout the HORRORHOUND crew created with them is very cool.

However, due to space constraints, there simply wasn’t room for captions noting the dates of the issues shown or the names of artists who did the cover paintings for all of the images.

So, I’m going to fill in those blanks here on this blog, in a series of posts that identify the issues featured on each page of the article and the artists who painted each cover (when known). At the same time, I’ll provide a closer look at the covers and artwork by posting high resolution copies.

Today’s post starts with the first page of the HORRORHOUND article, which is on page 44 in the magazine.

The cover in the upper middle of that page is one of the most famous of all men’s adventure magazine covers. It’s the September 1956 issue of MAN’S LIFE, which I featured in a previous post here.

Wil Hulsey’s gonzo man vs. killer critters painting for that cover was inspired by the equally gonzo story inside “WEASELS RIPPED MY FLESH” — a title later immortalized by musician Frank Zappa, when he used it for a 1970 album by his group The Mothers of Invention.

Wilbur “Wil” Hulsey (sometimes mistakenly credited as “Will”), is one of my favorite men’s adventure artists. His cover for the September 1956 cover of MAN’S LIFE has special significance for me, since it was instrumental in getting me hooked on collecting and writing about men’s adventure magazines. (BTW, I offer a high-resolution PDF copy of that entire issue as a download in my Payloadz store.)

Rich Oberg and I have both tried to track down the original Hulsey “WEASELS RIPPED MY FLESH” painting, so far with no luck. And, I’ve never seen a photo of it anywhere. So, I decided to to create my own facsimile.

The image below, with the cover’s text removed using Photoshop, shows what Hulsey’s original painting would have looked like. (Close to it, anyway.)

A different MAN’S LIFE cover is shown at the top left of the first page of the HORRORHOUND article. That issue, published in November 1957, features another killer creature painting by Wil Hulsey, for the story “SPIDER MONKEYS TORE ME APART.” (Yep, even cute little spiders monkeys could be vicious killers in men’s pulp magazines.)

Below the bloodthirsty monkeys on that page is the cover of the January 1975 issue of MEN TODAY, showcasing the rarely-seen Nazi torture-by-bulldozer technique. (Artist unknown.)

In the painting on the next cover, MAN’S STORY, May 1966, the bad guys are Viet Cong. This one was done by John Duillo for the story “FIND THE KIDNAPED BEAUTIES OF THE VIET CONG TORTURE LAIR.”

Next up is the November 1955 issue of TRUE WEIRD, an unusual men’s adventure magazine that primarily focused on stories about monsters, ghosts and the supernatural. The cover painting is by Clarence Doore.

It shows Doore’s vision of the story “FISH WITH HUMAN HANDS ATTACKED ME!” (I think those man-fish were relatives of the Creature from the Black Lagoon.)

Second from the bottom is the October 1961 issue of MEN IN CONFLICT. The cover painting, by artist Vic Prezio, manages to combine two common men’s pulp mag cover themes: evil Commies and “snake menace.”

As noted in the HORRORHOUND article, Prezio also did cover paintings for the classic Warren horror magazines CREEPY, EERIE and FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND.

The cover at the bottom left corner of the first page of the HORRORHOUND article features a bat-filled painting that could definitely have been used on a poster for an old horror flick. It’s the June 1957 issue of MAN’S ACTION magazine. The artist was John Fay.

There are some more bloodthirsty flying mammals in the second cover on the bottom row, the August 1957 issue of TRUE MEN STORIES. This time they’re killer flying squirrels. (You didn’t know how bloodthirsty they were, didja?) The painting is another man vs. critter masterpiece by Wil Hulsey.

To the right of that Hulsey cover is another one by John Duillo. It’s an iconic Nazi bondage and torture scene on the cover of the February 1965 issue of MAN’S EPIC.

The cover in the middle at the bottom of page 44 is by Basil Gogos, the artist featured in my previous post (and some older ones).

As many horror fans know, Gogos created some the best cover paintings for Warren’s FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND, CREEPY and EERIE. If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you know that Gogos also did many cover paintings and interior illustrations for men’s adventure magazines in the 1960s and early 1970s.

The cover shown below from the HORRORHOUND article is the April 1960 issue of MAN'S ACTION. The exotic adventure cover painting by Gogos goes with the story inside “MY MELANESIAN BRIDE OF TERROR.”

Next is the cover of SIR! magazine’s annual “yearbook” for 1963. The artist who did the cover for this one isn’t identified. My guess is that it’s by Mark Schneider, a regular cover artist for SIR! and other magazines published by pioneering men’s adventure magazine publisher Adrian B. Lopez, such as SOUTH SEA STORIES, ACTION, ESCAPE TO ADVENTURE and MAN TO MAN.

The last men’s pulp mag cover shown at the bottom of page 44 of HORRORHOUND is ALL MAN, July 1961. It features an evil Nazi cover by Vic Prezio.

Next to that is a vintage comic cover from 1958: the CLASSICS ILLUSTRATED version of Mary Shelley’s novel Frankenstein. The cover painting was done by the legendary illustrator Norman Saunders, another artist whose work spanned the genres of horror, science fiction and men’s adventure magazines.

Saunders started as an early pulp magazine cover artist. He’s better known to many horror and science fiction fans for his paintings on the ultracool Mars Attacks trading cards published by TOPPS in the 1960s. As you know if you read this blog, Saunders also did many great covers and interior illustrations for men’s adventure magazines, from the early 1950s to the mid-1970s.

In upcoming posts, I’ll provide the issue and artist info about the covers shown on other pages of the HORRORHOUND article that Rich Oberg and I put together for the July/August 2011 issue.

In meantime, if you like this blog, check out our new MensPulpMags store on CafePress, which offers posters, t-shirts, and other items featuring covers from old men’s adventure magazines.

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

Here are a few examples of the t-shirts, posters, and other items you can buy in the Men’s Pulp Mags CafePress store


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Monday, July 18, 2011

Basil Gogos paintings from the Rich Oberg Collection…


Recently, men’s pulp art collector Rich Oberg and I were asked to put together an article about men’s adventure magazines for HorrorHound, a nicely-produced periodical about films, TV shows, books, comics and magazines in the horror and fantasy genres.

As noted in that article (published in the July/August 2011 issue of HorrorHound) and in some previous posts on this blog, a number of notable artists who are famous among horror fans also did covers and interior illustrations for the post-WWII men’s pulp adventure mags.

One of the greatest artists who worked in both arenas is Basil Gogos.

Gogos is most widely known for the movie monster cover paintings he created in the 1960s and 1970s for FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND and other horror/fantasy magazines put out by Warren Publishing.

More recently, Gogos gained new fans by doing horror-themed album covers for Rob Zombie, The Misfits and Electric Frankenstein.

What’s less well known is that Gogos also did many cover paintings and interior illustrations for men’s adventure magazines in the Sixties and Seventies.

These ranged from panoramic battle scenes and “Good Girl Art” to the gonzo bondage and torture scenes associated with the “sweat magazine” subgenre of men’s pulp mags.

While Rich Oberg and I were discussing what images to use in our HorrorHound article, he emailed me photos of a number of the original Basil Gogos paintings he owns.

Some of my favorites are featured in today’s post.

The Gogos painting at the top, showing an evil Nazi variation on waterboarding, was used on the cover of the April 1968 issue of NEW MAN magazine.

NEW MAN was a classic sweat mag that featured politically incorrect covers by a number of notable illustration artists, including Gogos, Norm Eastman and Norman Saunders.

According to DEVINE’S GUIDE TO MEN’S ADVENTURE MAGAZINES, NEW MAN was published from April 1963 to December 1971, initially by the Reese Publishing Company, then by Emtee Publications, Inc.

Reese and Emtee were both owned by B.R. “Bud” Ampolsk and Maurice Rosenfield (sometimes spelled Rosenfeld), two reportedly nice Jewish boys from New York who, ironically, helped popularize the famous/infamous Nazi bondage and torture subgenre of artwork and stories.

The male model Gogos used for the Nazi officer with the riding crop on the cover of the April 1968 issue of NEW MAN was Steve Holland. He was probably also the model Gogos used for the bald henchman who’s dunking the hapless distressed damsel.

As you may know if you’re a regular reader of this blog, Holland was a favorite model of many men’s adventure illustrators. But he’s probably best known as the model used by artist James Bama as Doc Savage for the Bantam paperback series.

In the excellent book about Basil Gogos by Kerry Gammill and J. David Spurlock, Gogos explained that he used Holland for most of the male figures in his men’s adventure mag artwork. In fact, to keep his costs down, Gogos would often shoot photos of Holland doing the poses for all of the men in a cover scene and then change the faces as he created the painting.

“Steve was a model that everyone used at the time,” Gogos recalled, “to the point where an art director said to me, ‘Can you choose somebody else? All your heroes look like him!’ So I had to use other models, too…and I had to change his face. But it’s experience that you pick up.”

You can recognize Holland as the injured Yank pilot in the cover painting shown below, which Gogos did for the December 1971 issue of MAN’S EPIC, another Ampolsk/Rosenfield magazine published from September 1963 to December 1972.

In many men’s pulp mag cover paintings, some brave American guy is protecting scantily-clad damsels from evil Nazis. In this one, the damsels are bravely fighting off the Nazis to protect the man. Of course, they’re scantily-clad anyway. (Hey, it’s a men’s pulp mag!)

Below are four more original paintings by Basil Gogos from the Oberg Collection, next to the magazine covers they were used on, including NEW MAN, July 1966…

…NEW MAN, June 1967…
…NEW MAN, December 1967…
…and MAN’S BOOK, August 1967. (MAN’S BOOK was yet another another Ampolsk/Rosenfield sweat mag, published from March 1962 to September 1971.)

In case you’re not familiar with the legendary horror mag paintings by Basil Gogos, here are a few examples of his FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND covers…

And, here are a couple of the cool album covers by Gogos: Rob Zombie’s Hellbilly Deluxe (1998) and Electric Frankenstein’s self-titled album (2005).

By the way, if you’re a fan of illustration art but haven’t seen Gammill and Spurlock’s book about Basil Gogos yet, do yourself a favor and buy it. It’s superb.

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

Some of the books on my recommended “must have” list…

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Part II of the MensPulpMags.com interview with Bill Devine, author of DEVINE’S GUIDE TO MEN’S ADVENTURE MAGAZINES…


Today’s post is Part II of my interview with Bill Devine, author of DEVINE’S GUIDE TO MEN’S ADVENTURE MAGAZINES. (Here’s a link to Part I.)

DEVINE’S GUIDE was the first — and, at present, is still the only — printed guide to men’s adventure periodicals published in the 1950s, 1960s and early 1970s. (A PDF version is now available as a download in the Payloadz store linked to this blog.)

The interview picks up here after Bill explained the backstory on his pioneering guide in Part I…

Bill, one of the interesting things you note in DEVINE’S GUIDE is that only a small percentage of men’s adventure magazines have survived. 

DEVINE: Yeah, I estimated that about 1% of the men’s adventure magazines that were published survived and that about 1% of those surviving copies are up for sale at any one time. I came up with that based on what I had seen available at shows, used bookstores and comic shops, compared with what average press runs were. If a men’s adventure magazine was selling 100,000 a month, which was an average press run for many of them, I estimated that about 1,000 still survive. And, out of that 1,000 surviving copies you probably wouldn’t be able to find more than about 10 copies for sale at any one time, somewhere. When they were published, men’s adventure magazines were throwaway publications. People didn’t keep copies thinking they’d be valuable some day. Most guys read them once and threw them in the trash. Luckily, some were stored away in warehouses and attics, but they’re only a tiny percentage of what was published.

Do you think your estimate of 1% of surviving copies being up for sale still applies nowadays, given that it’s easier to sell and find old magazines on eBay and other websites?

DEVINE: Yes, eBay and the Internet made it easier to find the 1% that’s out there and probably brought out some more issues. I think it brought out some copies that were stored away in attics, at least in the beginning of the eBay era about 10 years ago, when people realized they could sell things like old magazines on eBay. In the past couple of years, with the bad economy, a lot of items put on eBay aren’t selling or aren’t selling for as much as they did five or ten years ago. So, now there isn’t as much incentive for people who are just cleaning out their attics to put up a few men’s adventure magazines for sale even they find some.

What kind of prices were copies of vintage men’s adventure magazines going for when you wrote DEVINE’S GUIDE?

DEVINE: At shows and flea markets in the late 1990s, average prices were about $3 to $5 apiece for copies that were all complete and in good condition. Some knowledgeable people would know certain covers, like the Nazi covers, could be priced higher. Those would sell for $20 or $30 back then. And, first issues — volume one, number one of a title — sold at a premium, too. For whatever reason, people like a first issue. They’d sell for $10, $20 or $30.

What trends have you seen in prices for men’s adventure magazines since eBay started?

DEVINE: When eBay was first getting big, especially in 1999 and 2000, you’d see some of the magazines, like an issue with a nice Norm Eastman Nazi cover, go for $150 to $200 dollars. So, eBay was especially great for sellers at the time, about ten years ago. There were many people who had never seen men’s adventure magazines. All of a sudden eBay made the magazines more accessible and gave sellers access to more buyers. So, you would get bidding wars between two or three collectors who’d see an issue and think ‘I gotta have that.’ Next thing you knew, the bid was $200. But today, in this economy, you don’t see many prices go that high. The magazines I’ve been selling are generally going in the range of $20 to $30.

I’ve noticed a similar trend on all kinds of vintage magazines, not just men’s pulp mags. For example, prices were higher about ten years ago for issues of magazines like PLAYBOY from the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s.

DEVINE: Yes, I also think that applies to many antiques. There was a flurry of greater availability and higher prices on some things in the early years of eBay. In the late ‘90s, when I wrote the guide, that was the start of the upward trend on prices for men’s adventure magazines. It kind of peaked around 2002 and then leveled off. We’ll probably see higher prices again when the economy improves. Even now, if you have several people bidding against each other on an issue, it could go anywhere. But if you have only one buyer watching an issue, it may sell at the opening price, which could be anywhere from a buck or two to twenty or thirty bucks.

It seems like the Nazi covers and other bondage and torture covers still get a premium.

DEVINE: Yeah, they do. There may be more people looking for them. Bondage as a subject has been around a long time in movies and was in the original pup magazines. There are always people who will buy those covers. There are always people who will buy issues with ‘Good Girl Art,’ especially the ones with damsel in distress cover paintings. Things like that. There are also people who are into military aviation art. If you put up an issue with a military aviation scene on the cover, there are certain fans who will want it.

Do you have any favorite artists or favorite types of cover?

DEVINE: I have some artists I especially like — Norm Eastman, Mort Kunstler, Al Rossi. There were a lot of good artists working for men’s adventure magazines, it’s hard to pick just a few. Bruce Minney is also one of my favorites. He did good interior illustrations and covers. Earl Norem is another one. I actually found a Reader’s Digest that had Earl Norem illustrations. He worked for Reader’s Digest in the 1990s. I picked up a collection of Reader’s Digest magazines and started looking through them and saw some good art and said ‘Oh wow, this is Earl Norem!’ In terms of subjects, I guess especially like some of the GGA [Good Girl Art] covers with women in them and some of the military aviation covers.

You’re also a comics collector and expert and in DEVINE’S GUIDE you wrote about the connections between comic books and men’s adventure magazines.

DEVINE: There were a lot of connections, including artists who worked for both genres and publishers who were both major publishers of comics and men’s adventure magazines. One of the best known examples is the connection between Marvel Comics and the great Atlas/Diamond men’s adventure magazines, like FOR MEN ONLY, MALE, MEN and STAG. They were all published by Martin Goodman [under the umbrella of his Magazine Management company]. Goodman companies also put out paperbacks, the Lion Publishing series. Goodman’s companies would fill the newsstands with magazines, comic books and paperbacks. They were prolific, especially in the ‘40s and ‘50s. Martin Goodman also had a big line of all-fiction pulp magazines starting in the ‘30s. Other early comics publishers like ‘Busy’ Arnold and Stanley Morse also published a lot of men’s adventure magazines after the Comics Code came in.

Before the Comics Code of the mid-1950s essentially banned sexy or violent images in comics, many comics readers were young men in their twenties and thirties and a lot of the comics covers looked like men’s adventure magazine covers.

DEVINE: That’s right. During the 1940s and 1950s, young soldiers were major customers for both comics and men’s adventure magazines. It was an overlapping audience. In the 1950s, most of the guys who read men’s adventure magazines were probably in their twenties or early thirties and many were veterans of World War II or the Korean War. As vets from the Second World War and Korea got older, the demographics of the magazines changed. In the 1950s, men started reading them in their twenties, then continued reading them the 1960s when they were in their thirties. By the mid-1970s, I think a lot of men who started out reading men’s adventure magazines stopped reading them and switched to something else. And, younger guys in their twenties and thirties were into other things in the Seventies. I think that probably accounts for why a lot of the magazines died off in the 1970s.

They were also competing more with the girlie slicks and true porn mags at that point. They tried to compete and it just didn’t work.

DEVINE: No, it didn’t. When you look at some of the late men’s adventure magazines from the mid-1970s, like late Seventies issues of STAG and FOR MEN ONLY, they weren’t anything special to anybody. They were missing the marketplace. They weren’t quite giving the readers what HUSTLER was, and they weren’t holding on to their original readers who wanted to read war stories.

In the 1940s and 1950s, before the Comics Code, there were a lot of action, adventure, horror and war comics with covers that have scenes much like those on men’s adventure magazines. They had “Good Girl Art” style covers, bloody war scenes, even bondage and torture scenes.

DEVINE: True, though the art was a little bit simpler. They weren’t painted covers, not lush paintings, like the digest pulps and men’s pulp mags had. They were line drawings that were colored. But Golden Age comics of the ‘40s and early ‘50s had a lot of covers that were similar to the digest pulps and men’s adventure magazines. Especially during World War II, some of the comics had Nazis or Japanese soldiers torturing women, and there would be Captain America and Bucky or some other hero coming to the rescue. Very sensational. [See the examples shown in this previous post about Syd Shores, who was both a comics and men’s adventure artist.]

The men’s adventure magazines published in the 1950s don’t have many Nazi bondage and torture covers. The Nazi covers seemed to become popular in the 1960s. Do you have any theories on why?

DEVINE: In part I think it’s because there was a general surge of interest in Nazis in the ‘60s. There were famous Nazis who were finally being captured, like Adolf Eichmann. I remember his capture in 1960 and his trial in 1961 made a lot of news. The search for Nazi war criminals was a big thing. Where is Martin Bormann? He’s in Paraguay or someplace. Where’s Josef Mengele? Things like that. So, the men’s adventure magazine publishers, especially the ones that published the ‘sweat mags’ like MAN’S STORY, ALL MAN and others had a lot of the Nazi covers and stories that were sensationalizing all this. On newsstands, you would see a newspaper with the latest news about the Eichmann trial and near that was a men’s adventure magazine with a cover showing some Nazis torturing scantily clad women. Eventually, those types of covers ran their course. Now, they’re popular collectors’ items and there’s still a big audience for things about Nazis in general.

Of course, the covers with evil Nazis are very politically incorrect. But, as you mentioned, many readers of men’s adventure magazines were American military veterans. So, despite what some critics say, I don’t buy the theory that the magazines were “glorifying” Nazis or that the readers identified with them.

DEVINE: They didn’t. The Nazis were portrayed as evil. You don’t identify with an evil Nazi, you identify with the hero that’s going to save the damsel in distress from the Nazi.

When you wrote the Guide back in the late 1990s, you estimated there were about one hundred to two hundred serious collectors of men’s adventure magazines in the U.S. Do you think there are more now?

DEVINE: I’d say now there are maybe three hundred or four hundred serious collectors. And, there are always some new people starting up collections.

Do you have any tips for someone who wants to start a new collection from the ground up?

DEVINE: Do some networking with existing collectors. Make it known that you’re looking to buy. Watch eBay constantly. Be prepared to spend a lot of money. As time passes, this stuff becomes harder to get.

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This is the end of my interview with Bill Devine. Thanks again to Bill for doing the interview and for all the pioneering research he did about men’s adventure magazines.

Come back soon to read my interview with the legendary artist Mort Künstler…



DOWNLOAD A DIGITAL COPY OF
DEVINE’S GUIDE TO MEN’S ADVENTURE MAGAZINES

This hard-to-find, out-of-print guide 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.

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

Monday, July 4, 2011

An interview with Bill Devine, author of DEVINE’S GUIDE TO MEN’S ADVENTURE MAGAZINES…


I first got into collecting vintage men’s adventure magazines in 2003, after I read one of the two must-have books about the genre, IT’S A MAN’S WORLD by Adam Parfrey, which was published that year. (The other must-have book is Taschen Publishing’s MEN’S ADVENTURE MAGAZINES, which features the art and magazine collection of Rich Oberg, who is now a friend of mine and a collaborator on this blog.)

In the back of Adam Parfrey’s book there’s a condensed version of a publication titled DEVINE’S GUIDE TO MEN’S ADVENTURE MAGAZINES.

This condensed version provides a list of more than 130 men’s adventure periodicals and key facts about each, such as the publishers and dates of publication. After seeing it, I decided to try to find a copy of the complete DEVINE’S GUIDE.

It took me years to find one and it was expensive to buy. But by that time I was hooked on collecting men’s pulp mags and to me it was worth it.

DEVINE’S GUIDE is the first — and, at present, still the only — guide to men’s adventure periodicals. It was written and printed in the late 1990s by a collector of comics, vintage magazines and antiques from Bath, Maine named Bill Devine.

The print version includes a lot of interesting information that’s not in the condensed version published in IT’S A MAN’S WORLD.

In addition to key facts about each magazine, the print version includes several sections Devine wrote about the history of men’s adventure magazines. It also includes a long list of artists who did cover paintings and interior illustrations for the genre, with notes on the titles they worked for most frequently.

After I finally found a copy of DEVINE’S GUIDE and read it, I was awed by the incredible amount of research that had clearly gone into creating it.

A few months ago, I decided to track down Bill Devine and talk to him about his guide. After some initial conversations, I asked Bill if he’d be willing to make a digital version of DEVINE’S GUIDE available to readers of this blog as a joint venture and if he’d do an interview with me.

He said ‘yes’ to both requests.

You can now download a PDF copy of the complete DEVINE’S GUIDE TO MEN’S ADVENTURE MAGAZINES via my Payloadz store. (Half of the $9.99 cost helps keep this blog alive, so for fan of men’s pulp mags there are two good reasons to buy a copy.)

I’m posting the phone interview I did with Bill here in two parts. The first part, transcribed below, focuses on how he came to write his guide...

Bill, thanks a lot for talking with me. I used to live in Maine myself. Is that where you grew up?

DEVINE: Yes, I lived in Bath, Maine as a kid in the 1950s. Then my family moved to the suburbs of Boston and I spent my teenage years there. I moved back to Maine about 15 years ago. I’m actually living in the house that I lived in back in the Fifties. It remained in the family and got handed down to me.

We’re about the same age. When I was a teenager in the Sixties I was only dimly aware of men’s pulp mag. Were you into them back then?

DEVINE: Not as much as I would be later. My dad was a veteran and a collector of World War II  souvenirs and he brought some men’s adventure magazines home occasionally. Not the ones with the Nazi bondage covers. He liked the titles like MALE, MEN and FOR MEN ONLY, the Atlas/Diamond group titles that had a lot of World War II stories and came under the umbrella of Martin Goodman’s Magazine Management company.

Did you notice men’s adventure magazines on the newsstands in the Sixties?

DEVINE: When I was young teen in Boston I bought comics at newsstands. They were at a kid’s level. The men’s magazines, the sweat mags, were always at a higher level, so I never really noticed them that much. I remember seeing them more at barber shops. When you got a haircut at the barber shop in those days there were often a lot of men’s adventure magazines laying around for customers to read. So, you’d be sitting down for a half hour waiting for the barber to cut your hair, reading those magazines. That was probably my biggest early exposure to them, in barber shops.

When did you start collecting them?

DEVINE: Well, in my teen years, I started collecting comic books. When I graduated high school I started to notice Playboy and other men’s magazines. That’s when I started seeing all the great covers on the men’s adventure magazines. So I’d buy some occasionally and read them. I didn’t save them in the beginning. It wasn’t until the late ‘70s and early ‘80s that I started seeing them at the comic book shows and realized that people were paying big money to collect them — well, big money back then, which was only two or three dollars.

You were a serious comics collector?

DEVINE: Oh yeah, very serious and I still have a collection. I was partly inspired to collect men’s adventure magazines after meeting David T. Alexander, who founded the legendary American Comic Book Company in Los Angeles with Terry Stroud in 1970. I remember I went out there with a friend of mine to the San Diego Comics convention and we spent a couple of days at David’s house, with him and Terry Stroud. They had a house in the hills of old Studio City and their house was full of old comic books and vintage magazines, including a lot of old men’s adventure magazines. It was just a treasure trove of stuff to look through.

As you probably know, David is in Tampa now and has the David T. Alexander Collectibles “Culture and Thrills” website. That site, and his store on eBay, are two of the best places to find high quality copies of men’s adventure magazines.
DEVINE: Yeah, they always had the goods, the prime comic books, the Golden age stuff, and the men’s adventure magazines and other men’s magazines from the 1950s and 1960s. They had stuff that nobody else had.

My copy of DEVINE’S GUIDE is the 1998 edition. The introduction says that at that point you had been collecting men’s adventure mags for about 15 years.

DEVINE: I may have had some before that. I remember there was one comic book dealer who showed up in Boston in the early 1970s who had 30 or 40 copies for a couple of bucks each. I thought they were great so I bought all he had. That’s when I started to put together a collection and realize how many different titles there were. I started looking for them at that point.

The intro says you stared working on your guide after you got a big collection from an estate.

DEVINE: There used to be a bookstore and newsstand I went to in Boston in the Seventies called Corn Hill Magazines. The owner’s name was Larry Rideout. By the 1990s, the store had closed and he was getting old. He was just setting up in flea markets. But he still had this incredible warehouse full of old books, comics and magazines. I used to go to his warehouse on Saturdays to find stuff for my collection. Then, I started selling for him on consignment at the comic book shows. In 1996, he passed away unexpectedly and I still had a bunch of his comics and magazines, but his brother said to just keep them. That’s how I ended up with about six or seven hundred men’s adventure magazines all at once, which increased my collection about fivefold. About that time, I moved back to Maine and started writing the guide. I was doing mail order then. Selling comics and magazines full time. I also had baseball cards and other collectibles.

How many editions of DEVINE’S GUIDE did you do?
DEVINE: There was a preview copy in 1997. Then there was a 1998 edition that had some updates based on things I had learned.

You printed the copies yourself?

DEVINE: I typed the pages up on my computer and printed out a master. Then I went to Staples and Xeroxed all the inside pages. I made about a hundred sets of inside pages at a time. I made the covers in color on a color photo copier I had. I would put together 20 or 40 complete copies at a time and use different magazines on the covers of each set, so there are probably about 10 different covers. I sold them by mail order and sold a few wholesale orders to some stores. When it was time to print another batch, I’d put together another a new cover with a different assortment of magazines on the front.

Do you know how many copies you published?

DEVINE: I’ve lost track but I think about 450 to 500 copies.

Well, I have a treasure then.

DEVINE: Yeah, I guess you do. I keep meaning to reprint it. But the original computer I had all the data on got trashed, so all the data is gone. I’d have to start from scratch all over again.

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This is the end of Part I of my interview with Bill Devine. Here’s a link to Part II.

If you don’t want to spend years trying to find an original copy of DEVINE’S GUIDE TO MEN’S ADVENTURE MAGAZINES, like I did, you can buy the PDF copy Bill Devine has allowed me to make available in the MensPulpMags.com virtual newsstand.

Your purchase will also help keep this blog alive, since Bill shares the profit 50/50 with MensPulpMags.com.

1998 Devine's Guide coverDOWNLOAD A PDF COPY OF
DEVINE’S GUIDE TO MEN’S ADVENTURE MAGAZINES

     This hard-to-find, out-of-print guide 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 or the image above to buy a complete PDF copy of DEVINE’S GUIDE TO MEN’S ADVENTURE MAGAZINES.

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