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Our books on Amazon: the MEN'S ADVENTURE LIBRARY series...
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Sunday, February 26, 2012

More artwork by Norm Eastman, Basil Gogos, Norman Saunders and Earl Norem (Part 4 of the “missing” HORRORHOUND captions)


It’s only natural that many fans of the vintage men’s adventure magazines are also fans of horror mags, movies and books.

So, when I was asked to write an article about men’s pulp magazines for the excellent horror/sci-fi magazine HORRORHOUND, I was happy to comply.

My friend and collaborator Rich Oberg provided dozens of cover scans and photos of some of the original artwork he owns to illustrate the piece.

It’s titled “THE WILD, WEIRD WORLD OF VINTAGE MEN’S ADVENTURE MAGAZINES” and was published in HORRORHOUND issue #30.

The article is six pages long — appearing on pages 44 to 49 in the magazine.

The layout, created under the direction of Aaron Crowell, Managing Editor of HORRORHOUND, turned out great.
However, due to space constraints, the images had to be fairly small and there simply wasn’t room for captions noting the names and dates of the magazines.

So, every once in a while, I’ve been doing posts here that provide nice, big JPEGs of the covers and paintings shown on each page of the article, along with the “missing” caption information.

In previous posts on MensPulpMags.com, I’ve focused on Page 44, Page 45 and Page 46.

This post features the covers and paintings on page 47.

As I mentioned in the article, the most notorious — and most sought after — men’s adventure magazines are those that feature Nazi bondage and torture cover paintings, like the one shown here at top left. (In the HORRORHOUND article it’s at the bottom right corner of page 47.)

It was painted by Norm Eastman, one of the grand masters of the Nazi B&T “sweat magazine” subgenre, and was originally used on the cover of the August 1964 issue of MAN’S EPIC.

MAN’S EPIC is a classic sweat mag published by Emtee Publications, Inc. from September 1963 to October 1973 (as documented by Bill Devine in his indispensable reference work DEVINE’S GUIDE TO MEN’S ADVENTURE MAGAZINES).

Several other artists who worked for men’s adventure magazines are probably better known to many horror fans than Eastman, but not for their men’s adventure illustrations.

For example, most true horror fans know who Basil Gogos is because of the amazingly cool cover paintings he created for the classic Warren horror/fantasy magazines FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND, CREEPY and EERIE in the Fifties and Sixties.

They are are the focus of the book FAMOUS MONSTER MOVIE ART OF BASIL GOGOS by Kerry Gammill, which I highly recommend.

Horror fans may also know of the more recent album covers Gogos did for Rob Zombie (who wrote the introduction to Gammill’s book) and for the bands Electric Frankenstein and The Misfits.

But younger horror fans may not know that in the 1950s, 1960s and early 1970s, Gogos regularly did cover paintings and interior illustrations for men’s adventure magazines.

Some were sweat mag-style bondage and torture scenes, like the one below (shown at the top left of page 47 in the HORRORHOUND article).

That painting looks like it could have been used on a poster for a Seventies slasher movie. And, it is from the same era.

It was on the cover of the November 1972 issue of WORLD OF MEN (another Emtee mag, published from March 1963 to July 1972).

Basil Gogos also did many other types of cover paintings and interior illos for the post-WWII men’s pulp magazines.

They included some less lurid “Good Girl Art” (GGA) and everything from Western scenes to rip-roaring battles scenes, like the MAN’S CONQUEST cover shown above. (MAN’S CONQUEST ran from June 1955 to February 1972. It was published by Hanro Corp., a Sterling Group company, during it’s first decade, then by Q.M.G. Magazine Corp.)

The outstanding snake attack cover painting at center left on page 47 of the HORRORHOUND article is another treasure from Rich Oberg’s collection.

It was painted by Norman Saunders and used on the cover of the July 1956 issue of MAN’S LIFE.

MAN’S LIFE was published from November 1952 to November 1974, first by Crestwood Publishing, then by Stanley Publications.

In the Fifties, MAN’S LIFE regularly featured killer creature covers. (The most famous example is the iconic “WEASELS RIPPED MY FLESH” cover.)

Norman Saunders is one of America’s greatest illustration artists.

He did many superb cover paintings for all-fiction pulp magazines published in the 1930s and 1940s.

But he’s especially known to horror and science fiction fans for the wild paintings he created for the Mars Attacks trading cards published by Topps in the 1960s. (They later inspired the 1996 Tim Burton movie). If you’re a reader of this blog you probably know that, from the early 1950s to the the late 1960s, Saunders was also one of the most popular men’s adventure magazine artists.

To see an awesome gallery of his illustration art from various genres, check out the official Norman Saunders website.

It’s maintained by his son, the artist and art historian David Saunders.

David’s book about his father’s work, simply titled NORMAN SAUNDERS, is a must-have for anyone who likes vintage illustration art.

Artist Earl Norem created the artwork featured at the upper right corner of page 47 in the HORRORHOUND article.

That femdom masterpiece — showing a pair of Japanese dominatrix P.O.W. camp guards riding American prisoners — was used on the cover of the May 1963 issue of MAN’S LIFE.

From the late-1950s to the mid-Seventies, Norem did hundreds of cover paintings and interior illustrations for men’s adventure magazines.

But most horror and fantasy fans are more familiar with the great cover paintings he did for Marvel Comics, particularly those he did for THE SAVAGE SWORD OF CONAN comic books.

There’s a nice example of one of Norem’s many Conan covers at the bottom left corner of page 47 of the HORORHOUND article. (It’s the cover of Issue #110, published in March 1993.)

In upcoming posts, I’ll provide a closer look at the artwork and covers used on the final two pages of the HORRORHOUND article I put together with Rich Oberg.

In the meantime, you can now read the entire article for yourself. With the permission of HORRORHOUND editor Aaron Crowell, I’m now making it available as a free download in high-rez PDF format.

To download the article, click this link to my Payloadz store, then click on the “THE WILD, WEIRD WORLD OF VINTAGE MEN’S ADVENTURE MAGAZINES.”

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

Related reading…

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Some rarely seen John Duillo artwork from the Rich Oberg Collection…


A couple of years ago, I created a Men’s Adventure Magazines Group on Facebook to provide a place where other fans of the genre could discuss the magazines, writers and artists and post their own favorite cover scans and interior illustrations.

Since then, more than 200 people have joined the group and it has taken on a life of its own. It’s now a lively forum with regular posts.

The posts include images, trivia and message trails that provide a unique resource, tapping the knowledge and collections of art experts, magazine collectors, artists, writers and fans from around the world.

Recently, I realized that many readers of this blog may not be aware of the Facebook group or may simply have an aversion to Facebook.

So, I decided to provide occasional updates here about some of the interesting discussions, artwork, covers, people and trivia that show up on the Facebook group.

One of the regular visitors and contributors to the Men’s Adventure Magazines Facebook Group is the world’s foremost expert on men’s adventure magazine art, Rich Oberg. Rich owns hundreds of original cover paintings and interior illustrations that were used in men’s pulp mags. He also owns thousands of the magazines, probably the most complete collection in existence.

A portion of Rich’s collection is featured in the Taschen Publishing book MEN’S ADVENTURE MAGAZINES, which Rich created with writers Max Allan Collins and Steven Heller and vintage magazine and comic art expert George Hagenauer.

But Rich has a lot more that’s not in the book and often posts photos of original paintings and cover scans from his collection on the wall of the Men’s Adventure Magazines Facebook group.

Many of them have probably never been posted anywhere else on the Internet. Some are photos of original artwork previously seen only by the artists and the art directors of the magazines the paintings appeared in or by a handful of art dealers and aficionados.

Equally cool is the fact that Rich enjoys responding to posts, questions and requests by other members of the Facebook group.

For example, a while ago a reader of MensPulpMags.com sent me a scan of the right half of the gonzo image shown at the top of this post. The part he sent me showed the legless Nazi hunchback pointing out a huge shark in a tank to three iconic scantily-clad damsels in distress who are bound to a stake.

At the bottom of the illustration there’s a small caption that says “She screamed as the tentacles reached for her” — but there are no tentacles in sight on that single page.

It was clearly one half of a two-page spread. However, the reader who sent it to me didn’t have a shot of the other page and didn’t know what magazine the illustration came from.

He did note (and I agreed) that the illustration looked like it was done by artist John Duillo.

I posted it in the Men’s Adventure Facebook group and asked if anyone knew what it came from. A while later Rich Oberg responded.

In his post in the Facebook group, Rich confirmed that the illustration was by Duillo and noted that it came from the August 1963 issue of MAN’S BOOK. (MAN’S BOOK was one of the “sweat mag” style men’s adventure magazines. It was published from March 1962 to June 1963, initially by Reese Publishing then by Emtee Publications, both owned by publishers B.R. “Bud” Ampolsk and Maurice Rosenfield.)

Rich also posted the full two-page spread, which is for the story “SOFT BRIDE FOR THE SLITHERING MONSTER FROM HELL.”

It shows the tentacles the caption refers to. They belong to a huge squid in a tank next to the shark. One of the legless Nazi hunchback’s henchman is getting ready to feed the squid a hapless damsel for lunch.

I called Rich and asked if he owned the original painting for that wild scene.

He said no. However, he reminded me, he does own a lot of other great original John Duillo interior illos.

He then proceeded to treat me and other members of the Men’s Adventure Magazine Facebook Group by uploading a series of photos of some of the Duillo interior artwork he owns.

Most of these original paintings had never before been shown publicly until Rich Oberg posted them in our Facebook group.

With Rich’s permission, I’m now making them even more widely available by posting them here on MensPulpMags.com.

Lately, Rich has been uploading a lot of other rarely seen men’s adventure artwork from his collection on our Facebook group. I’ll repost more examples of those in future entries on this blog.

If you want to check them out in the meantime, head on over to the Men’s Adventure Magazine Facebook Group.

It’s a closed group, so you have to “request” to join. But anyone who is interested (and who doesn’t post anything annoying or offensive) is welcome to join.

Hope to see you there...

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

Essential reading for fans of vintage men’s magazines and illustration art…

Friday, February 10, 2012

BIG ADVENTURE magazine – featuring a Snake-eating Geek, Satanist Love Cults, Donalda Jordan and more...


There were several notable premieres in the realm of mainstream pop culture during the month of September 1960.

The musical IRMA LA DOUCE debuted on Broadway. Marilyn Monroe’s movie LET’S MAKE LOVE was released. And, the TV shows MY THREE SONS and THE FLINTSTONES premiered on ABC.

Meanwhile, a bit outside the mainstream and to much less notice, the first issue of BIG ADVENTURE magazine appeared on newsstands.

Or, at least, it appeared on those newsstands that were willing to publicly display “sweat magazines,” the subgenre of men’s adventure mags that regularly featured cover paintings of nearly (but not quite) naked women and men being menaced or tortured by evil Nazis (or by evil Japs or Commies, bloodthirsty natives, psychopaths, Satanists or some other fiends).

The September 1960 issue of BIG ADVENTURE, Vol. 1, No. 1, is a classic example of this outré subgenre.

The uncredited cover painting (which I’m pretty sure is by artist Vic Prezio) was later used on the October 1962 issue of BATTLE CRY, another classic men’s adventure magazine.

It shows a hot female Nazi in a cleavage-revealing uniform, caught in the act of whipping a bleeding male prisoner of war who’s chained to the wall of a dungeon-like room.

In the background, a tommy-gun toting American GI is coming to the rescue. It looks he’ll have to shoot it out with the evil Nazi babe, since she’s grabbing her Luger as he’s coming down the steps.

But we’ll never know except in our own imaginations.

There isn’t actually any story inside the September 1960 issue of BIG ADVENTURE that goes with the cover painting.

It’s an over-the-top scene that was created purely to compete for the eyeballs of men who bought sweat mags at newsstands.

And, though there’s no story with a scene like the one shown on the cover, there are some equally wild, pulpy tales inside.

One of my favorites is “THE DIRTY TASTE OF BLOOD,” an amazingly well-written faux “confession” story about a female carnival geek who bites the heads off snakes.

“Now, remember folks — to the eye this will appear to be a normal fifteen-year-old girl. Some of you might even call her pretty. We try our best, but we can’t guarantee that she’ll keep her clothing on. She was captured naked and detests the garments of civilization. So I must warn any of you who would be upset by the sight of a naked woman not to go inside. For this strange child has the full-grown, mature body of a woman-although her mind is that of a wild beast.”

That’s the barker’s pitch to get rubes to pay to see her. Of course, she’s not 15 and she’s not feral. She’s a professional carny freak.

I also especially like the story “SHE-WOLF OF TRANSYLVANIA.”

It features a gorgeous Rumanian babe who enjoys killing Communists with her trained wolves and pursuing other types of unusual fun. As the editor’s description on the contents page puts it: “Blood, hate and death were the keys to her passion.”

I actually think most of the other fiction stories in the premiere issue of BIG ADVENTURE are also above average for a men’s sweat magazine, including: “LOVE SLAVE TO THE KREMLIN CREW,” “ROPE ME A TIGER,” “NOTHING TO DO BUT DIE” and “THE HOT-HOUSE HUSSIES WHO SAVED THE FLEET.”

Their style is a bit outdated and they’re sexist by today’s standards.

But they aren’t crap. They’re entertaining, mildly sexy and/or violent pulp fiction short stories written by competent writers. Most, I suspect, were written under pseudonyms, with tongue often planted in cheek.

There are also some historically interesting exposes in the same issue. One is about the Sixties phenomenon of Satanist swinger love cults (“SEX, SIN AND SATANISM”). One is about the high number of high school kids being killed and maimed in team sports due to shoddy equipment, lax rules and overzealous coaches (“SLAUGHTER IN THE SCHOOL YARD.”) Another is an ahead-of-its-time piece about the modern chemical and biological weapons being developed by the Pentagon and the Kremlin (“THE SECRET POISON THAT’S MEANT FOR YOU”).

There’s only one cheesecake photo spread in the September 1960 issue of BIG ADVENTURE, but it’s a doozy: a four-page spread featuring Donalda Jordan.

Donalda, a fetching and well-endowed redhead, was a popular men’s mag model from the mid-1950s to the mid-60s. Many of her classic cheesecake photos were taken by boobmeister Russ Meyer. So, as you can probably guess, the title used for her spread in BIG ADVENTURE “LIFE BEGINS AT 40” — does not refer to Donalda’s age.

BTW, I recommend BIG ADVENTURE magazine pretty highly to anyone who is interested in men’s adventure magazines and non-mainstream Sixties pop culture.

It was published by Matclif Publications, Inc., which also published SAVAGE ADVENTURE.

Only five issues of Big Adventure were published between September 1960 and June 1961. Today, copies are hard to come by and often a bit pricey if you can find them.

Of course, for only $2.99, you can download a high-resolution PDF copy of the entire September 1960 issue of BIG ADVENTURE from my slowly-growing virtual newsstand on Payloadz.com.

It’s growing slowly because it takes a long time to scan in a whole issue. And, I’m an old fart who doesn’t do anything too fast anymore. How old? Well, bub, I was 10 when the premiere issue of BIG ADVENTURE was published. Do the math.

But, as you can tell from my taste in reading material, I’m still unrepentantly juvenile at heart.

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

Further reading for fans of vintage glamour girl photography…