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Thursday, August 8, 2019

DEBUTING AT PULPFEST 2019: A guest post by Mike Chomko…


EDITOR’S NOTE: Mike Chomko is one of the founders and main organizers of the annual PulpFest convention that will held this year in Pittsburgh from August 15 to 18. Recently, Mike wrote a post for the PulpFest Facebook page and website that discusses some of the new books that will be debuting at PulpFest 2019 and events scheduled during the 3-day con. Thanks to Mike for allowing me to reprint his post here.

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DEBUTING AT PULPFEST 2019: An overview by PulpFest Programming Director Mike Chomko…

PulpFest has become a top venue for writers and publishers to roll out their newest titles. Following are some of the books that will be premiering at our 2019 convention…

Bob Deis and Wyatt Doyle — the editors and publishers of THE MEN’S ADVENTURE LIBRARY series — will have their latest book, POLLEN’S ACTION, at this year’s PulpFest. It collects the cream of the Samson Pollen’s high-octane action paintings for the men’s adventure magazines. They’ll also have a limited number of copies of EVA: MEN’S ADVENTURE SUPERMODEL. These are being produced exclusively for members of PulpFest. This special edition — predating the title’s wide release by several months — will look at actress, pin-up model, and men’s adventure magazine artist’s model Eva Lynd.

Interestingly, Eva often posed with Steve Holland — James Bama’s model for the Bantam DOC SAVAGE paperbacks — for the men’s adventure magazine cover and interior illustrations painted by both artists Al Rossi and Norm Eastman. After checking out their books, please don’t forget to catch Bob’s and Wyatt’s presentation ARGOSY, ADVENTURE and BLUE BOOK — The Men’s Adventure Pulps, a look at the metamorphosis of these “pulp giants” into men’s adventure magazines. It’s on Friday evening, August 16. [See a preview of the presentation in the posts here.]

The beautiful painting of Eva Lynd shooting a machine gun on EVA: MEN’S ADVENTURE SUPERMODEL was painted by Norm Eastman. It was originally created as the cover art for the December 1968 issue of NEW MAN. Eastman’s wild and often politically-incorrect cover paintings are among the most famous (and infamous) ever done for the men’s adventure magazines.

Age of Aces Books is a publisher of pulp fiction treasures with a keen eye for design. At this year’s PulpFest, Chris and David Kalb will be releasing two thrilling collections from the tattered pages of the air war pulps: Donald E. Keyhoe’s CAPTAIN PHILIP STRANGE: STRANGE DEATHS — their eighth collection to feature the so-called “Brain-Devil” of G-2 Intelligence — and THE X-GUN FLIGHTthe fourth volume in Ralph Oppemheim’s Three Mosquitoes series from Popular Publications’ BATTLE ACES.

Writer and editor Jonathan Sweet — the owner of Brick Pickle Media — will be representing new pulp publisher Airship 27 as their authorized agent at PulpFest. He’ll have a wide selection of their latest offerings including BULLDOG DRUMMOND: ON POISONED GROUND, DOMINO LADY, VOLUME 3, IKE MARS: BLOODY KEY (set in Pittsburgh), MARTY QUADE, PRIVATE DETECTIVE, and SHERLOCK HOLMES, CONSULTING DETECTIVE, VOLUME 13. Jonathan will also have his own book, THE BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO PULP FICTION: THE HEROES, THE VILLAINS AND THE WRITERS. Consider it the 101-level course on the pulp magazine writers, heroes, and villains that dominated popular entertainment in the first half of the 20th century.

Roger Alford is best known as the author of THE BLACK SPECTRE series. Featuring five gritty noir thrillers, the books effortlessly combine new pulp with a classic 1930s style. Inspired by the masked heroes of the great pulps, Alford’s series is published by Black Hood Press. Come meet Roger Alford in person Saturday afternoon, August 17, at PulpFest and let him introduce you to both THE BLACK SPECTRE and HOLLYWOOD NEWSHAWK. The latter is a new series detailing the exploits of Tom Miller, hardboiled reporter in 1940s Los Angeles. Roger will be releasing THE CITY BURNS AT NIGHT — the first book in the series — on August 13, just in time for PulpFest 2019. “When a mysterious firebug is loose in 1947 Los Angeles, adventurous reporter Tom Miller will have to risk everything to find the truth. Including his life!”

Bold Venture Press is a heroic little publishing company, specializing in quality editions of new and classic pulp fiction. Their publications span many genres — mystery, science fiction, horror, western, romance and humor. We’re pleased to welcome Audrey Parente and Rich Harvey back to PulpFest after an absence of some years. They’ll have copies of the latest issue of PULP ADVENTURES, more from pulp great Johnston McCulley, the newest adventure of The Twilight Patrol — “equal parts H. P. Lovecraft and G-8 and His Battle Aces” — and more. One of our nominees for the 2019 Munsey Award, Rich will also be saluting “A Century of Zorro” during our evening programming on Thursday, August 15.

Please welcome Brad Braddock — the award-winning author of MEMOIRS OF MURDER, a prequel to the 1932 film classic, WHITE ZOMBIE — to his first PulpFest. The award-winning author’s novel has been praised by Bela Lugosi scholars and fans of classic horror alike. His other published works include fiction and non-fiction based on folklore, history, and horror. Brad’s writing is sometimes serious, sometimes quirky, but always fun!

PulpFest marketing and programming director Mike Chomko will be exhibiting six new volumes in the Altus Press DIME DETECTIVE LIBRARY. He’ll also be selling a pair of Frederick Faust titles and three by H. Bedford-Jones, plus the third volume of L. Patrick Greene’s THE COMPLETE ADVENTURES OF THE MAJOR. Thanks to a special arrangement with publisher Matt Moring, Mike will also have the deluxe editions of Ray Cummings’ THE COMPLETE TALES OF THE SCIENTIFIC CLUB and Donald E. Keyhoe’s DR. YEN SIN: THE COMPLETE SERIES on hand for PulpFest 2019.

You’ll also be able to get copies of Camille Cazedessus’ long-running PULPDOM fanzine from Mike Chomko, Books. Started in 1989 as THE FANTASTIC COLLECTOR, it was retitled at the beginning of 1997. Now published online, Mike will have printed copies of PULPDOM ONLINE #15 – 23 and the H. Bedford-Jones classic, THE BUDDHA’S ELEPHANT.

Courtesy of Sinister Cinema, comes the Armchair Fiction Library of pulp yarns. Mike will have several volumes from the publisher’s HORROR GEMS series — collecting great tales of the supernatural from WEIRD TALES and other sources — plus their Richard Shaver collections of Richard Shaver and a variety of science fiction and lost race classics.

Mike Chomko, Books — one of the leading purveyors of pulp reprint books and periodicals since the early 1990s — will also be representing Stark House Press at this year’s PulpFest. The publisher is planning several new titles for the convention, including the Fredric Brown 1953 classic, MADBALL. This short novel concerns “all manner of thieves, murderers, strippers, carnival barkers, knife throwers, drifters, fortune tellers, and others . . . all linked by greed.” Mike will also have a brand new anthology of 1950s noir fiction from Lion Books and THE BEST OF MANHUNT, featuring stories by David Goodis, Fredric Brown, Donald E. Westlake, Harlan Ellison, James M. Cain, Evan Hunter and many more.

Dog Star Books will have a PulpFest exclusive hardcover, lettered edition of Heidi Ruby Miller’s first novel AMBASADORA: MARKED BY LIGHT available for $40 during the convention. Both Heidi and artist Amy Gartley have signed a special interior page graced with one of Amy’s woodblock prints. Dog Star Books is also offering a package of the special edition book and a signed print from Amy for $50. If you’d like to pre-order your copy or package to pick up at PulpFest, please contact Heidi at heidirubymiller@gmail.com.

Christopher Paul Carey — the Director of Publishing at Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc.will have copies of the first hardcover edition of TARZAN AND THE VALLEY OF GOLD by Fritz Leiber. It’s part of the newly announced Edgar Rice Burroughs Universe. Chris will also have his own books — SWORDS AGAINST THE MOON MEN and THE GRANDEST ADVENTURE: WRITINGS ON PHILIP JOSÉ FARMER — and more. He will be moderating a panel on Burroughs on Friday and appearing as a “Contemporary Pulp: Writing Genre Fiction” panelist on Saturday.

2019 Munsey Award nominee Win Scott Eckert launched the first Wold Newton website in 1997. Since that time, he has written or co-written novels and short stories featuring characters such as Philip José Farmer’s Patricia Wildman, cult favorites Honey West and T. H. E. Cat, and classic properties such as The Green Hornet, Zorro, The Phantom, The Lone Ranger, The Green Ghost, Phileas Fogg, The Domino Lady, and Sherlock Holmes. Win will be selling copies of his latest novel, HUNT THE AVENGER, along with his other books at the Meteor House tables. On August 17, Win will be part of our “Contemporary Pulp: Writing Genre Fiction” presentation and one of the panelists on “Farmer of the Pulps: A Harvest of Influences,” presented by FarmerCon XIV. He will also be part of our author signings on Friday afternoon.

Please welcome Jim Dyer of Fenham Publishing to his first PulpFest. Jim is the grandson of C. M. Eddy, Jr., perhaps best known for his gruesome work, “The Loved Dead,” published in the May, June, July 1924 number of WEIRD TALES. Jim will be selling a collection of thirteen tales of classic horror, mystery, supernatural and fantasy, written by his grandfather. He’ll also have IN THE GRAY OF THE DUSK: A COLLECTION OF TYPEWRITTEN TREASURES, collecting the prose and poetry of his grandmother, Muriel E. Eddy. This volume is comprised of eight short stories and four poems that are a combination of mystery and the macabre, fantasy and the supernatural. Muriel’s tales will conjure up visions and imagery to captivate your imagination.

PulpFest is very pleased to welcome David and Daniel Ritter of First Fandom Experience to our 2019 convention. First Fandom Experience is a collaborative publishing project that aims to honor, preserve, and bring to life the experience of the pioneering fans who defined, drove, and grew science fiction in the 1930s and beyond. At PulpFest 2019, First Fandom Experience will be debuting the Deluxe Preview Edition of the forthcoming THE VISUAL HISTORY OF SCIENCE FICTION FANDOM. This special edition is a sample of the story of early science fiction fandom, told through the original artifacts of the time alongside historical commentary and an illustrated graphic novel segment.

John Bruening, co-publisher of Flinch Books, will have copies of his newly released second Midnight Guardian novel, THE MIDNIGHT GUARDIAN: ANNIHILATION MACHINE. John will also have copies of various Flinch Books anthologies on hand, including QUEST FOR THE SPACE GODS: THE CHRONICLES OF CONRAD VON HONIG and other titles. And be sure to catch John’s appearances at our “Flinch Fest” and “Contemporary Pulp: Writing Genre Fiction” panel, both on Saturday, August 17.

R. David Fulcher is the co-editor of SAMSARA, a small press magazine that has showcased the work of writers and poets for over a decade. An author of poetry, science fiction, fantasy, and horror fiction, his major literary influences include H. P. Lovecraft, Dean Koontz, Edgar Allan Poe, Fritz Leiber, and Stephen King. R. David is also a fan of horror films and will be selling THE MOVIES THAT MAKE YOU SCREAM! — a book new to PulpFest — as well as other work.

Lucina Press‘ second illustrated pulp story, ANCHOR: A STRANGE TALE OF TIME, will make its PulpFest premier at our 2019 convention. This time, author/illustrator, Sara Light-Waller, created a time travel/horror story in the manner of WEIRD TALES from the 1930’s. The book is lavishly illustrated with works in pen & ink, pencil, and scratchboard. The cover art is hand-painted. Light-Waller’s first pulp story, LANDSCAPE OF DARKNESS: A NOVELETTE OF THE SPACE PATROL , debuted at PulpFest in 2018. Sara Light-Waller will be reading from ANCHOR on Saturday afternoon, August 17. Come meet her in person at PulpFest 2019 and take a home copies of both of her science fiction thrillers.

Kurt McCoy is a West Virginia writer with a lifelong fascination for monsters, ghost stories, and folklore. He’ll be selling THE WEREWOLF’S HEART, a sequel to the very first werewolf film ever made. The story is a rousing pulp western horror tale about a gang of desperate outlaws who try to elude capture by hiding out on a haunted mountain. They are soon struggling to survive against a werewolf and the other dark spirits that dwell on Ghost Mountain. Kurt will also be offering his affectionate satire of classic beach horror movies, MONSTER BEACH PARTY. A 2019 nominee for a Rondo Hatton Classic Horror Awards, Kurt will be exhibiting at PulpFest 2019 with fellow writer Brad Braddock.

In his new historical thriller, ONCE A WORLD, Craig McDonald tells the story of teenage Hector Lassiter, an aspiring pulp author inspired by propaganda and a siren’s song of throbbing war drums. He lies about his age, mounts a horse, and storms across the Mexican border behind General “Black Jack” Pershing and George S. Patton to bring the terrorist and Revolutionary General Pancho Villa to justice. Soon, the still underage Hector is shipped off to the bloody trenches of France, fighting the so-called “War to End All Wars.” There he meets fellow novelists-in-waiting, John Dos Passos and Ernest Hemingway.

Craig McDonald is an award-winning novelist, journalist and editor. The HECTOR LASSITER series chronicles the exploits of a fictional BLACK MASK author and his encounters with such notable figures as Hemingway, Orson Welles, Ian Fleming, and Lester Dent. Visit PulpFest 2019 on Friday afternoon, August 16, to meet Craig McDonald and become a fan of Hector Lassiter’s adventures.

Meteor House will be releasing its newest title at PulpFest 2019.  Pick up your copy of the first hardcover publication of Philip Jose Farmer’s GREATHEART SILVER AND OTHER PULP HEROES, a collection of six stories inspired by the author’s life-long love affair with the pulps. Michael Croteau and Paul Spiteri will also be selling items from the author’s estate and works created by attendees of FarmerCon, returning to PulpFest for the ninth consecutive year.

Ed Hulse of Murania Press has decided to revive his much admired pulp journal, BLOOD ‘N’ THUNDER. He’ll have a brand new issue at PulpFest 2019, available in a smaller format and at a cheaper price, but with the same exceptional quality. The first issue will feature articles by Will Murray, David Saunders, Rick Lai, David Kalb, and Ed Hulse, himself. He’ll also have all ten volumes of the terrific Murania Press series, “Forgotten Classics of Pulp Fiction,” William Corcoran’s THE PURPLE EYE — the template for countless hero pulp stories of the 1930s — and two other recent fiction reprint collections, THE JOHNSTON MCCULLEY OMNIBUS and SATAN LIVES FOR MY LOVE. And don’t forget about Ed’s presentation on Thursday evening: “Hollywood Pulp — From Pulp Page to the Silver Screen.”

The author of over sixty novels and assorted works, Will Murray will be selling copies from his various “The All-New Wild Adventures of . . .” series including DOC SAVAGE: MR. CALAMITY, THE SPIDER: THE DOOM LEGION, and KING KONG VS. TARZAN. Expect to see some of Will’s non-fiction books, too. Of course, he’ll be glad to sign your purchases. Will publishes his books under the Adventures in Bronze umbrella, in association with Altus Press. You’ll also get to meet Will at our Friday author signings, just outside the PulpFest dealers’ room. Additionally, he’ll be appearing as a “Contemporary Pulp: Writing Genre Fiction” panelist on Saturday afternoon.

Join us on Friday evening, August 16, for “The Key of Imagination: Pulp Television,” our sixtieth anniversary celebration of THE TWILIGHT ZONE. Nicholas Parisi will be discussing the creation and history of Rod Serling’s fantastic program and its relationship to the science fiction and fantasy pulps and digests. Before and after Nick’s presentation, stop by his table and pick up a copy of his excellent book, ROD SERLING: HIS LIFE, WORK, AND IMAGINATION. In great detail and including never-published insights drawn directly from Serling’s personal correspondence, unpublished writings, speeches, and unproduced scripts, Nicholas explores Serling’s massive body of work. You’ll also have an opportunity to meet Nicholas Parisi at our Saturday afternoon author signings, just outside of the PulpFest dealers’ room.

The recipient of the 2018 Horror Writers Association Specialty Press Award for outstanding horror, dark fantasy, and weird fiction, Raw Dog Screaming Press is dedicated to putting into print the highest quality literature from the fringe. Publishers Jennifer Barnes and John Lawson are attending PulpFest for the first time to celebrate sixteen years of publishing “fiction that “foams at the mouth.” In addition to selling their fine publications in our dealers’ room, Jennifer will be the hostess of the “Raw Dog Screaming Press Rapid-Fire Read & Sweet Sixteen Celebration” on Friday, August 16. On Saturday morning, join John at the “Dog Star Books Rapid-Fire Read & Sweet Sixteen Celebration.” Dog Star Books is the Raw Dog Screaming Press imprint for Science Fiction Adventure titles.

Please welcome audio artist Mark Redfield of Redfield Arts Audio to this year’s PulpFest. Mark is an actor, writer, artist and filmmaker. He’s also the publisher and editor of POE FOREVERMORE, a print magazine specializing in original horror, science fiction and mystery and detective short stories. Mark will have copies of his recent audiobooks including Mark Wheatley’s SONGS OF GIANTS: THE POETRY OF PULP, William Patrick Maynard’s THE TERROR OF FU MANCHU, and more. Sound designer, video editor, web designer, and actress Jennifer Rouse will also be appearing at PulpFest 2019.  Many thanks to Redfield Audio Arts for their very generous contribution for the convention’s 2019 hospitality suite.

Author Christopher Ryan is returning to his second PulpFest. Chris pens the novella-length adventures of Alex Simmons’ Blackjack. The character — first introduced in 1996 through a comic book miniseries — is an African-American soldier of fortune globetrotting during the turbulent 1930s. In addition to his Blackjack novellas, Christopher will have his award-winning Mallory and Gunner series, as well as other books. He’ll be accompanied by Blackjack creator Alex Simmons. As a PulpFest exclusive, Chris will be debuting a free 32-page excerpt from a new project, SANDS OF TIME. It’s a potential mystery series set on the Jersey Shore that combines Chris’s fast-paced storytelling and humor with a touch of . . . romance?

Pittsburgh’s Donald E. Simpson is the cartoonist/creator of the comic books MEGATON MAN, BORDER WORLDS, and BIZARRE HEROES. Don has taught workshops in cartooning and figure drawing for a number of years. He earned a PhD from the University of Pittsburgh in History of Art and Architecture in 2013. He’ll be selling copies of his dark and visionary graphic novel, BORDER WORLDS, a nice Kong-themed print, and more at his table at PulpFest 2019. Catch him near the Meteor House tables in our dealers’ room.

The author of the UTGARDA pulp adventure series, Joab Stieglitz has crossed his love for cosmic horror and fantasy and role-playing games into a Lovecraftian occult horror series that will appeal to pulp fans, Cthulhu Mythos acolytes, gamers, and horror movie fans in equal measure. The UTGARDA trilogy comprises three titles: THE OLD MAN’S REQUEST, THE MISSING MEDIUM, and THE OTHER REALM. The UTGARDA trilogy is a fast-paced, well-written supernatural thriller that channels H. P. Lovecraft’s and August Derleth’s Cthulhu Mythos in detailing the unspeakable entity that was unleashed upon the world in the 1920s by The Cabal. Come meet Joab Stieglitz in person Friday afternoon, August 16,  at PulpFest as he ushers UTGARDA into the 21st Century.

One of the highlights from PulpFest 2018 was the art show featuring the work of illustrator Mark Wheatley. Inducted into The Overstreet Hall of Fame in July 2017, Mark is a long-time Edgar Rice Burroughs fan and admirer of the work of Philip José Farmer. He’s also painted covers for Norvell W. Page’s THE SPIDER: SATAN’S MURDER MACHINES and AMAZON NIGHTS by Arthur O. Friel and, in collaboration with G. D. Falksen, created the book DOCTOR CTHULITTLE. How’s that for some top-notch pulp credentials?

At PulpFest 2019, Mark will have copies of his recently released book, SONGS OF GIANTS. Discover all the romance, the secret fears, and the unknown and surprising cosmos in poems written by Robert E. Howard, Edgar Rice Burroughs, and H. P. Lovecraft. Each poem has been lovingly illustrated, capturing the essence of words set down as long as a century ago. Mark Wheatley has brought these poems to life with a fine line illustration style inspired by the early, classic, golden age illustrators. He’ll also have some of the original art from SONGS OF GIANTS on display at the convention.

With SEVENTH SENSE, Lamont Award winner John Wooley teams up with pulp collector and author Robert A. Brown for an epistolary tale, set in 1939. It concerns a worker for the WPA Folklore Project who uncovers unspeakable horrors in the hills of Arkansas. Among those praising SEVENTH SENSE for its evocation of old-school pulp-style horror is online reviewer Chad Calkins: “Recently finished reading a series of WEIRD TALES stories before devouring this book, and it felt like I never left.” If that’s not enough, ask PulpFest marketing and programming director Mike Chomko what he thought of the book.

Published by Babylon Books. SEVENTH SENSE is the first volume in a trilogy. You’ll be able to pick up copies of John’s book at John McMahan’s dealer tables and during our author signings on Saturday, August 17, near the entrance to our dealer’s room. And be sure to catch John’s PulpFest presentation, “Dashiell Hammett and the Detective Story,” on Friday evening.

Last of all, Ben and Tracy Eller will be bringing World of Strange to PulpFest 2019. The Ellers create T-shirts and other fantastic apparel featuring vintage comic book covers, science fiction motifs, Cthulhu-inspired artwork, and pulp magazine covers. They’ve appeared at Dragon Con, Wonderfest, and other pop culture conventions over the last few years. Click here to check out the cool PLANET STORIES video from their website.

Some of the creators listed above will be part of our “New Fictioneers Readings” on Friday and Saturday, while others will be signing books near our dealers’ room entrance or participating in panels and presentations. For more information, check out our programming schedule by clicking the button found at the top of our home page. Or click here to link to our 2019 mobile schedule. And don’t forget to look for the “New Fictioneers Readings” banner at the convention.

So what are you waiting for? Book a room for three nights and register now for “Summer’s AMAZING Pulp Con.” If you would like a reservation at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Pittsburgh – Cranberry, please call 1-800-222-8733. Be sure to mention PulpFest in order to receive any convention special deals that may still be available.

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Below are the current books in our Men's Adventure Library series. We'll be announcing the release of several new books, including EVA LYND: MEN'S ADVENTURE SUPERSTAR, very soon...…

Saturday, July 13, 2019

ARGOSY, ADVENTURE & BLUE BOOK: Top pulps that became top men’s adventure magazines

The 2019 PulpFest convention will be held in Pittsburgh from August 15th to 18th.

PulpFest is a descendant of the pioneering PulpCon that used to be held in my home state of Ohio.

It’s one of the biggest and best annual pulp-related conventions in the country.

Last year, Mike Chomko, one of the tireless PulpFest organizers, invited Wyatt Doyle and I to make a presentation there.

We also had a table where we sold and signed books from our growing Men’s Adventure Library series.

My previous posts on this blog provided an overview of our 2018 PulpFest presentation.

We’ll be at PulpFest again this year, selling books — including several new releases.

We’ll also be making another presentation.

This one is about how the pioneering pulp magazines ARGOSY, ADVENTURE and BLUE BOOK evolved into men’s adventure magazines (MAMs) after World War II.

Here’s a summary of what we’ll be saying and a look at some of the overhead slides we’ll be using...

Some fans of classic pulp magazines have an issue with the term “pulp” being applied to anything except the pulp mags published during the first half of the 20th Century.

But if we put debates over terminology aside, it’s clear that “pulp DNA” is evident in other magazine genres that followed. You know it when you see it.

One of the clearest examples is the men’s adventure magazine genre that emerged in in the late 1940s, flourished in the ‘50s and ‘60s, then faded away in the 1970s.

In fact, three of the top pulp magazines that pioneered the pulp genre and had the largest circulations and longest runs in the classic pulp format also pioneered the men’s adventure magazine genre and had among the largest circulations and longest runs in that realm.

Those magazines are ARGOSY, ADVENTURE and BLUE BOOK.

ARGOSY is generally considered to be the first pulp magazine.

But it didn’t start as a true pulp in the strictest sense of the term applied later.

When it was first created by Frank Munsey in 1882, under the title THE GOLDEN ARGOSY, it was essentially a dime novel style “story newspaper” for school age kids.

After several years of less than stellar sales, Munsey realized that juvenile readers soon outgrew what they read as children.

Moreover, since kids of that era had comparatively little money to spend, a publication targeted to them didn’t attract a lot of advertisers.

In December 1888, Munsey renamed his tabloid THE ARGOSY and began featuring fiction stories targeted to adults. That version sold better.

In October 1896, Munsey began publishing THE ARGOSY in a magazine format with all fiction stories.

This sold even better but lacked two final elements of classic pulps: “pulp” paper and painted covers.

The December 1896 issue was the first printed on the rough wood pulp paper that gave the “pulps” their name.

The painted cover element was added in October 1905, making THE ARGOSY the template for the classic pulp magazine.

ARGOSY continued in that basic format, with a couple of changes in size and name, until the late 1930s.

In the years leading up to World War II, ARGOSY began to include some news-style articles and other true stories along with fictional fare.

Some of those stories are about Adolf Hitler and the Nazis, their persecution of the Jews, and the threat they posed to the world.

These foreshadowed the iconic evil Nazi stories and covers that became common in the post-World War II men’s adventure magazine genre.

When World War II broke out, ARGOSY began a slow but steady metamorphosis toward the men’s adventure magazines format.

Basically, it was a “proto-MAM phase.”

Fiction stories by top pulp writers were still a major element of the magazine.

But true and fictional war stories about the fight against the Nazis and Japanese became more common, as did other types of true or fact-based stories.

For example, the August 1942 issue (which has an evil Jap cover) includes articles about Gen. Douglas MacArthur and American war heroes, a fiction story by Leslie Charteris about his popular character “The Saint,” and an installment of the serialized publication of Gypsy Rose Lee’s “G-String Murders.”

In 1942, ARGOSY was sold to Popular Publications, the publisher of ARGOSY’s long-time chief competitor, ADVENTURE magazine.

The editors of Popular Publications continued ARGOSY’s metamorphosis toward the MAM format.

At the time, ADVENTURE was also undergoing a transformation from a classic pulp mag to a men’s adventure magazine and both were pioneering the MAM genre.

ADVENTURE was launched in 1910 and soon became one of the top pulps.

It helped solidify the pulp format of fiction stories penned by talented pulp writers, and painted covers and black-and-white line drawing artwork created by great pulp artists.

Eventually, ADVENTURE eclipsed ARGOSY in popularity and by the mid-1930s was the best-selling pulp.

Like ARGOSY, ADVENTURE morphed into a men’s adventure magazine after World War II.

In April 1953, it went from digest size to 8 ½” x 11” and included new types of stories and interior art.

On the cover, the subhead “THE NEW MAGAZINE OF EXCITING FICTION AND FACT” was added under the title.

In October 1953, that was changed to “THE MAN’S MAGAZINE OF EXCITING FICTION AND FACT.”

Another top pulp magazine that morphed into a men’s adventure magazine was BLUE BOOK.

It started out as THE MONTHLY STORY MAGAZINE in 1905.

It was renamed THE MONTHLY STORY BLUE BOOK MAGAZINE in 1906.

From then until 1952, it had various titles with the words BLUE BOOK as the constant factor.

During World War II, BLUE BOOK changed from digest size to standard 8 ½” by 11” magazine size and started including fact-based articles along with its pulp fiction yarns.

In 1951, it began being touted on the cover as BLUE BOOK, the “Magazine of Adventure in Fact and Fiction.”

In February 1952, it was renamed BLUEBOOK, one word instead of two, with the subtitle “Adventure in Fact and Fiction,” and became more of a men’s adventure magazine than a pulp.

By October 1960, that transformation was completed by a new owner, and the magazine was renamed BLUEBOOK FOR MEN.

In their transformation to full blown MAMs, ARGOSY, ADVENTURE and BLUEBOOK kept key parts of their pulp DNA: most notably their painted covers and pulpy action and adventure stories.

But they added several other elements that crystallized into the classic men’s adventure magazine format in the early 1950s.

One was heavy dose of true (or at least fact-based) stories about wars, crimes, scandals, news events and other topics of interest to men.

Another was painted interior illustrations and photographs rendered as halftones, as opposed to the line drawing artwork in classic pulps.

They also added a third key part of the MAM recipe: photos of attractive models and actresses wearing swimsuits, lingerie or less.

These “pinup photos” — aka “cheesecake photos” or “glamour girl” photos — were already common in other magazines targeting men during World War II, including the U.S. Army’s own weekly magazine YANK, men’s mags like ESQUIRE.

Indeed, as the MAM genre was taking shape in the ‘50s, pinup pics were common in almost all men’s magazines, as well as in various other types of periodicals.

From a sales standpoint, the metamorphosis of ARGOSY, ADVENTURE and BLUEBOOK and the rise of the MAM genre in the Fifties made a lot of sense.

Their targeting and content fit the times.

MAMs especially targeted military veterans, of which there were many: 16 million male WWII vets, 5.7 million Korean War vets, and millions more Vietnam era vets.

During the 1950s, the classic pulp mags began to fade away and the men’s adventure magazine genre took off.

During the ‘50s and ‘60s, more than 160 men’s adventure magazines were launched.

Like pulp magazines, some were short lived.

Some lasted years.

Others – including the MAM versions of ARGOSY, ADVENTURE and BLUEBOOK – lasted for decades.

ARGOSY continued in the basic men’s adventure magazine until 1979, but switched to photo covers in the 1960s and steadily increased its focus on stories about UFOs, the supernatural, celebrities and monsters.

In fact, through the ‘50s and ‘60s, MAMs played a significant role in popularizing monster lore, which lead to our book collecting such stories, the CRYPTOZOOLOGY ANTHOLOGY.

ADVENTURE continued until 1971. However, in 1967, it switched to mostly photo covers and in the final years had as many pinup and ultimately nude photo spreads than action/adventure stories inside.

Oddly, the last few issues were a failed attempt to return to a more classic pulp-and MAM-like format.

BLUEBOOK FOR MEN ran until May 1975. It kept the basic MAM format.

But in the final years, it included more (and racier) pinup photos inside and more sexposés. It also began recycling content — even reprinting some entire issues.

When I started collecting men’s adventure magazines in earnest about 10 years ago, I noticed that there were many books featuring classic pulp magazine stories and artwork.

But there were no recently-published anthologies of MAM stories and few books that featured MAM artwork by top MAM illustrators.

That’s the niche Wyatt Doyle and I are working to fill with our Men’s Adventure Library series.

We started with the WEASELS RIPPED MY FLESH! story anthology, which features stories by and interviews with some of the notable writers who once wrote for men’s adventure magazines, such as Lawrence Block, Jane Dolinger, Harlan Ellison, Bruce Jay Friedman, Walter Kaylin, Ken Krippene, Mario Puzo Robert Silverberg and Walter Wager.

We now have a dozen books in the series and more coming this year.

Our two latest books, POLLEN’S WOMEN and POLLEN’S ACTION, feature original men’s adventure magazine artwork by the great Samson Pollen.

One of our forthcoming books, debuting at PulpFest, is about Eva Lynd.

If you’re a fan of vintage men’s mags or a regular reader of this blog, you know that Eva was both a popular pinup photo model and a men’s adventure magazine artist’s model, as well as an actress.

Wyatt and I view her as a MAM supermodel, like the male model Steve Holland, who Eva often modeled with in reference photo sessions for artists like Norm Eastman and Al Rossi.

That’s reflected in the title we gave to the book: EVA LYND: MEN’S ADVENTURE SUPERMODEL.

If you make it to PulpFest this year, please stop by our table to say “hi” and check it out.

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Comments? Corrections? Post them on the Weasels Ripped My Book Facebook Page, email them to me,
or join the
Men’s Adventure Magazines & Books Facebook Group and post them there.

Related reading…

Thursday, June 20, 2019

“Men’s Adventure Magazines and the Art of War” – a PulpFest presentation (Part 2)...

My previous post on this blog reprinted the first half of the presentation I made with my publishing partner Wyatt Doyle at last year’s PulpFest.

In case you don’t know about it, PulpFest is one of the biggest and best annual pulp-related conventions in the country.

Since the theme for that year’s presentations was “The Pulps at War,” we put together a set of overheads about the war stories and artwork in men’s adventure magazines and the thematic, artistic and literary DNA they share with the pre-World War II pulp magazines.

In the second half of the presentation, I spent some time talking about the men’s adventure mag BATTLE CRY.

When it was launched by Stanley Publications in December 1955, it was specifically designed to appeal to veterans of World War II and the Korean War and active duty servicemen.

As explained by Managing Editor Harry Kantor his introduction to the issue: “Somewhere on these pages, you’ll find something that interests you. That concerns you. A shot of your old outfit. A battle you fought in. A buddy you lost contact with. We’re trying to make this the postwar YANK. We’re trying to make this YOUR MAGAZINE.”

In fact, military veterans and servicemen were the key target audience for most of the scores of men’s adventure magazines launched in the 1950s.

There were about 20 million of them at the time.

As noted by vintage magazine expert David M. Earle, author of the excellent book ALL MAN!: HEMINGWAY, 1950s MEN'S MAGAZINES AND THE MASCULINE PERSONA, men’s adventure magazines were not merely a source of entertainment for those men.

In an interview I did with David several years ago, he told me:

“The end of the war was obviously a happy time, but also a very traumatic time: a difficult shift to a postwar economy, pressures of suburbanization, the simple difficulties of readjusting, and even the difficulty of expressing, to your family and yourself, the experience of war. Men’s adventure magazines like BATTLE CRY featured stories by and about vets, soldiering, battle. They offered columns for reuniting with former war buddies. They returned men to the camaraderie of soldiering, but in a safe place. The stories about war provided a text and narrative for vets to identify with. This is one of the important parts of healing for PTSD, hence why ‘rap sessions’ were implemented for vets returning from the Vietnam War. Audie Murphy, the World War II hero who became a famous actor, wrote an amazing story about this for BATTLE CRY in 1956 that was instrumental in breaking the previous taboo about discussing war-related mental problems.”

Earle also had some interesting insights about some more extreme aspects of men’s adventure magazines, like the animal attack yarns featured in our book I WATCHED THEM EAT ME ALIVE and the now very politically incorrect Nazi bondage and torture stories and covers.

“All of the men’s adventure mags featured stories about men facing extreme situations.” Earle noted. “In addition to battle stories, there were other themes of men in extreme situations – men vs. animals, Nazis, nature, etc. Some of those may now appear ridiculous, but at the same time such fantastic situations make traumatic reality codifiable. One can deal with the tensions of the real world in a safe fantasy world of fiction. In the 1890s, adventure romances by authors such as H. Rider Haggard, Bram Stoker, and A. Conan Doyle, were incredibly popular because they allowed readers to deal with the tensions created by urbanization, industrialization, scientific advances, and globalization. Something similar was going on in America in the 1950s and this is one reason why men’s adventure magazines were so popular.”

Many men’s adventure mags, including BATTLE CRY, got even wilder and crazier in the ‘60s and ‘70s. But certain elements remained common.

Most kept the tradition of using painted covers and continued to publish at least some war stories in almost every issue.

Of course, war stories were also common in the pre-WWII pulp fiction magazines. But many MAM war stories tend to be grimmer, grittier, bloodier than war stories in the pulps.

Moreover, unlike war stories in pulp mags, almost all of which are fiction, roughly half or more of the war stories in MAMs are non-fiction or fact-based stories that are portrayed as true.

That’s one of the key differences between these related genres.

Men’s adventure magazines had a mix of fiction stories and fact-based non-fiction articles and news columns.

MAMs also perfected the art of creating fictional stories that were portrayed as being true.

In fact, many war, action and adventure stories in men’s adventure magazines are faux true stories – fictional stories that are touted as true in headlines and subhead, written as if they were true, and dressed up with photographs that are portrayed as actual photos of the characters, scenes and events in the stories.

A lot of the best fiction stories in MAMs are war stories that are based on or reflect real firsthand experiences of veterans.

Some are high-quality fiction stories or condensed versions of novels written by top writers, such as:
- Pierre Boule, author of BRIDGE OVER THE RIVER KWAI;
- Joseph Heller, author of CATCH-22;
- Norman Mailer, author of THE NAKED AND THE DEAD;
- Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., author of SLAUGHTERHOUSE-FIVE;
- Mario Puzo, author of THE GODFATHER; and,
- Robert F. Dorr, author of dozens of popular military aviation and history books.

In fact, for many professional writers, as well as for many illustration artists, men’s adventure magazines were an important source of basic or supplemental income. And, many good writers, like Puzo and Dorr, wrote war stories specifically for MAMs.

They were a consistent element of the MAM genre, from the late ‘40s to the genre's demise in the late ‘70s.

Most MAM war stories are about World War Two and Korea.

But there were also many about the Civil War, some about World War One, and some about colonial wars, especially those in Middle East countries that involved the Foreign Legion (which was also a popular topic of many early pulp magazines).

It’s also worth noting that, from the mid-‘60s to the late ‘70s, MAMs were one of the few men’s mag genres that regularly published stories about the Vietnam War that tended to be either clearly supportive of the war or at least highly respectful of the sacrifices and bravery of the men and women who served in that war, in the same manner the stories about World War Two and the Korean War did.

In my opinion, some of the best war stories in men’s adventure magazines in men’s adventure magazines about the Vietnam War, the Korean War and World War Two were written by Robert F. Dorr.

As I noted in a post I wrote shortly after Bob passed away in 2016, he wrote hundreds of stories for various men’s adventure magazines.

After that genre faded away, he went on to become one of the top military aviation journalists and historians in the world.

He wrote thousands of articles that were published military and aviation periodicals and history magazines, and nearly 80 military aviation history books.

I had the good fortune of getting to know Bob several years before he died.

Wyatt Doyle and I had the honor of working with him to publish an anthology of his war and adventure stories from men’s adventure magazines. It’s titled A HANDFUL OF HELL, after one of the stories in the book.

That story is about Air Force Staff Sergeant Henry "Red" Erwin. It was first published in the men's adventure magazine CLIMAX, in October 1962.

As Bob Dorr explains in the story, Erwin saved the lives of his fellow B-29 crew members during the major firebombing mission over Japan on April 12, 1945. During the mission, a phosphorous bomb ignited prematurely while still inside the plane.

Erwin picked up the white-hot, flaming bomb — a literal handful of hell — and managed to shove it out of the plane. He was horribly burned in the process, but survived. For that incredible act of bravery, he was awarded the Medal of Honor.

If you want to read some of the best true war and fictional stories written for MAMs or any other genre, I highly recommend the Dorr anthology. Wyatt and I dedicated our 2018 PulpFest presentation to Bob.

This year’s, PulpFest will be held in Pittsburgh from August 15th to 18th this year. We’ll be there selling and signing books. We’ll also be doing another presentation that I’ll provide a look at it in a future post.

If you come, please stop by the Men’s Adventure Library table and say ‘hi.’

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Comments? Corrections? Post them on the Weasels Ripped My Book Facebook Page, email them to me,
or join the
Men’s Adventure Magazines & Books Facebook Group and post them there.

Related reading…