Wednesday, February 3, 2016

WILDCAT ADVENTURES, June 1959: Part 2 – Shirley Kilpatrick, Pinup Model & She Monster…

THE ASTOUNDING SHE MONSTER (1957) poster by Albert Kallis 
One of the things I love about collecting, reading and researching men’s pulp adventure magazines from the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s is that I never know what kinds of pop culture treasures I’ll find in them.

As noted in my previous post here, the premiere issue of WILDCAT ADVENTURES, published in June 1959, is notable for having what is probably the first men’s adventure magazine cover painting done by the great Basil Gogos.

It also includes an abridged version of William Burroughs’ first novel JUNKIE, illustrated by the famous comics and CRACKED magazine artist John Severin.

But the cover painting is uncredited, the excerpt from JUNKIE was published under the pseudonym “William Lee,” and the Severin artwork for it is uncredited.

So I wouldn’t have known those facts without doing some research.

Recently, I decided to look into something else I saw in WILDCAT ADVENTURES #1 and got lost for hours connecting another series of dots.

It’s a “cheesecake” pinup photo spread featuring Shirley Kilpatrick.

It shows her in bathing suits and other modestly-revealing outfits in beachy settings, which led the editors to give the spread the, uh, clever title “SHAPE ASHORE.”

WILDCAT ADVENTURES, June 1959. Basil Gogos coverShirley’s name didn’t immediately ring a bell with me. I had to Google her.

When I did I discovered she had some quite interesting pop culture connections and credits.

You don’t learn about any of them in the text the WILDCAT ADVENTURES editors used for Shirley’s photo spread.

Like many of the short blurbs written for photos of pinup models in men’s magazines, most of that text is totally made up.

It claims Shirley recently came to the United States from Ireland, “but she loves learning new things and is fast becoming as American as anyone.”

In fact, as documented by the Internet Movie Database and elsewhere, Shirley was born in the USA as Shirley Jean Kilpatrick on November 16, 1932. (As I write this, she is still alive.)

Two things in the photo spread text that are close to the realm of reality are that she was “much in demand as a model” and wanted to be an actress. 

Shirley didn’t quite get to the top tier of glamour girl models. 

But from about 1954 to 1965 photos of her did appear in dozens of popular men's bachelor mags and men’s adventure magazines, including: ARGOSY, BATTLE CRY, BOLD, CAPER, CHICKS AND CHUCKLES, GALA, GENT, FIGURE QUARTERLY, FROLIC, HIGH, HI-LIFE, MALE LIFE, MALE POINT OF VIEW, MAN’S ADVENTURE, MAN’S CONQUEST, MAN’S LIFE, MERMAID, MODERN MAN, PICTURE SCOPE, RUGGED MEN, SCAMP, STARE and TEMPO.

In some of those photos Shirley has dark hair. In others she is blonde.

In WILDCAT ADVENTURES, June 1959, she has dark hair (described as red) and is given a full three-page spread.

WILDCAT ADVENTURES, June 1959 - Shirley Kilpatrick 1WILDCAT ADVENTURES, June1959 - cheesecake Shirley Kilpatrick 2pg WM

But perhaps the coolest thing about Shirley, which gives her cult cachet, is that she played the “She-Monster” in the totally gonzo Grade B (or maybe Grade Z?) horror film THE ASTOUNDING SHE MONSTER (1957).

It’s a flick that has to be seen to be disbelieved, involving a mashup of seemingly unrelated plot lines and characters.

One involves the kidnapping of a rich heiress by some third-rate, lowlife gangsters.

The other involves an alien (Shirley) who crash lands on Earth, wearing a form-fitting, glittery Spandex suit that shows off her ample curves.

Shirley’s other “alien” attributes are her eyebrows, which outdo those of STAR TREK’s Spock, plus the fact that she is radioactive and kills anyone she touches.

THE ASTOUNDING SHE MONSTER lobby card 2ATHE ASTOUNDING SHE MONSTER still frame

THE ASTOUNDING SHE MONSTER is one of the many classic cheesy science fiction and horror flicks released by American International Pictures (AIP).

If you watch it (it’s online here), you may notice that it has the feel of an Ed Wood film like PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE. That’s not a coincidence. The director, Ronald V. Ashcroft, was a friend of Ed Wood. He also served as assistant director and sound man on some of Wood’s films. And, Ashcroft’s use of an announcer voiceover and recycled footage, and the weird plot and dialogue in THE ASTOUNDING SHE MONSTER are all very Woodesque.

Like most AIP films, THE ASTOUNDING SHE MONSTER was promoted with a poster that was, artistically, better than the movie. The painting and design were done by Albert Kallis.

AIP’s Sam Arkoff and James H. Nicholson used posters by Kallis and his colleague, the even better known artist Reynold Brown, to promote and pre-sell movies to theater owners and moviegoers before they were released – sometimes before they even went into production. If you look at the eye-popping posters by Kallis and Brown, it’s easy to see why that strategy often worked.

The poster Kallis did for THE ASTOUNDING SHE MONSTER is one of his best. It features an image of the She Monster in an alluring, dance-like pose with planets and flying saucers in the background and a small silhouette of one of her victims going up in radioactive flames at bottom right. It’s eye-grabbing and kind of proto-psychedelic.

Madeline Castle photo & Astounding She Monster poster by Albert KallisAbert Kallis in Cinefantastique, March 1988

Several web pages I found about the poster noted that the model Kallis used for the She Monster was not Shirley Kilpatrick. It was another, even more popular glamour girl from the ‘50s and ‘60s, Madeline Castle. One post, on the blog of artist Steven Derrick, shows the nude photograph of Castle that Kallis used for reference. I don’t know if Kallis took the photo or got it from a magazine, but it’s a real stunner.

Castle was PLAYBOY magazine’s “Miss October” in 1954. Photos of her appeared in scores of other bachelor mags and in men’s adventure magazines.

According to a post on the excellent Monster Brains blog and an article it shows from the March 1988 issue of CINEFANTASTIQUE magazine, Kallis worked as the Art Director for American International Pictures for 17 years.

During that time he created memorable posters for many AIP movies, including: I WAS A TEENAGE FRANKENSTEIN, ATTACK OF THE CRAB MONSTERS, INVASION OF THE SAUCER MEN, NOT OF THIS EARTH, THE SPIDER, IT CONQUERED THE WORLD, THE BEAST WITH 1,000 EYES, THE BRAIN EATERS, HOW TO MAKE A MONSTER, THE PHANTON FROM 10,000 LEAGUES, DAY THE WORLD ENDED, THE GIANT BEHEMOTH, THE ASTOUNDING SHE MONSTER, THE SHE-CREATURE and THE AMAZING COLOSSAL MAN. Here are just a few of my favorites…

ATTACK OF THE CRAB MONSTERS poster by Albert KallisI WAS A TEENAGE FRANKENSTEIN poster by Alex KallisTHE AMAZING COLOSSAL MAN poster by Albert Kallis

Kallis also collaborated with Reynold Brown on many posters, including the famed poster for ATTACK OF THE 50-FOOT WOMAN. According to CINEFANTASTIQUE, he was too busy to do that one himself, so he hired Brown to paint it.

Here’s one more dot that’s connected between Albert Kallis and a major national company. He was one of the co-founders of IHOP, The International House of Pancakes restaurant chain. 

Circling back to Shirley Kilpatrick, as the WILDCAT ADVENTURES text says, she did want to become an actress. But aside from THE ASTOUNDING SHE MONSTER, she only appeared in a two other movies according to her IMDB page. She had a small, uncredited role in the 1954 Western SILVER LODE. Five years later, she played a stripteaser in the film THE GENE KRUPA STORY, which starred Sal Mineo as Krupa.

Shirley had relevant experience for the latter.

In the mid-1950s, in addition to modeling for pinup photos, she worked a stripper in California strip clubs under the stage name “Celeste Kirk.” Columbia Pictures producer Phil Waxman caught her act and signed her to play the stripteaser in the KRUPA film.

Shirley Kilpatrick in THE GENE KRUPA STORY (1959) stillSUNSET STRIP VOL 1 DVDJack LaLanne & Shirley Kilpatrick

Shirley also seems to have appeared in at least one those short films that were sold through ads you see in the back of men’s magazines. It’s titled “Secrets Of A Paris Model” and is included in the video collection of old stripper and burlesque films SUNSET STRIP, VOLUME 1: VINTAGE STRIPTEASE & BURLESQUE SHORTS, 1926-1956.

There’s a rumor floating around on cult movie websites suggesting that Shirley Kilpatrick was also the actress Shirley Stoler, who had a starring role in THE HONEYMOON KILLERS, smaller roles in a couple dozen other films, and played Mrs. Steve in the PEE-WEE’S PLAYHOUSE TV series. In a word, that rumor is false.

Here are a few of additional pop culture dots connected to Shirley Kilpatrick…

In 1956 she was crowned “Miss Bay Beach” and promoted by George Bruce, a then famous Van Nuys salon-gym operator. Among other things, he had her pose for publicity shots sitting on the shoulder of famed muscleman and fitness trainer Jack LaLanne.

Coming up, a look at some more lost pulp treasure buried in the first issue of WILDCAT ADVENTURES.

For now, let’s pay our last respects to the poor She Monster, who, alas, did not make it back to her home planet…

THE ASTOUNDING SHE MONSTER still 06b

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Related reading, viewing and swag…

Friday, January 15, 2016

WILDCAT ADVENTURES premieres with an artistic and literary bang in June 1959...

WILDCAT ADVENTURES, June 1959. Basil Gogos cover
WILDCAT ADVENTURES was one of several classic men’s adventure magazines published by Robert C. Sproul, through his company Candar Publishing, sometimes misspelled as “Candor” by sources like the 1960 book WHO’S WHO IN MAGAZINE DISTRIBUTION.

Sproul launched Candar after working for several other publishing companies, including Hearst, Pocketbooks, Dell and Ace.

His first men’s adventure magazine, MAN’S ACTION, debuted in 1957.

The following year he launched his best-known creation, the illustrated humor magazine CRACKED.

CRACKED was inspired by – and a spunky competitor of – William Gaines’ MAD.

Sproul’s men’s adventure magazines, which eventually included MAN’S ACTION, WILDCAT ADVENTURES, MAN’S DARING and MAN’S TRUE DANGER, were inspired by the growing success of the men’s adventure genre in the late 1950s and early 1960s.

His entry in the 1960 WHO’S WHO IN MAGAZINE DISTRIBUTION (shown below) noted that Sproul also published WEB DETECTIVE STORIES (a detective mag that started out as the science fiction magazine SATURN), the humor mags COLLEGE LAUGHS and FRENCH CARTONS, and IDEAL CROSSWORDS.

The Candar men’s adventure magazines were relatively low-budget periodicals compared to the pioneering top tier MAMs, like ARGOSY, CAVALIER, TRUE and SAGA, or the classic mid-tier MAMs, like Magazine Management’s “Atlas/Diamond” magazines, ACTION FOR MEN, FOR MEN ONLY, MAN’S WORLD, MEN, STAG, TRUE ACTION, etc.

They are more akin to the Reese and EmTee “sweat magazines,” like MAN’S BOOK, MAN’S EPIC, MAN’S STORY, MEN TODAY and WORLD OF MEN.

But that’s not such a bad thing if you’re a true men’s adventure magazine fan.

Like the Reese and EmTee mags, Sproul’s MAMs featured many terrific cover paintings and interior illustrations.

They also included pulpy stories and articles that are generally fun to read and often quite good.

The premiere issue of WILDCAT ADVENTURES, Volume 1, No. 1, published in June 1959, is a prime example.

The cover painting for that issue was done, almost certainly, by the great Basil Gogos.

Robert Sproul in WHO'S WHO IN MAGAZINE DISTRIBUTION (1960)CRACKED #1, March 1958. Cover by Bill Everett

Gogos is, of course, widely known and even revered for the cover paintings he did for FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND, the flagship magazine published by James Warren.

Naturally, that’s the artwork primarily featured in the must-have book about Gogos written and complied by Kerry Gammill and J. David Spurlock, FAMOUS MONSTER MOVIE ART OF BASIL GOGOS.

One reason it’s a must have for readers of this blog is that it also includes an excellent chapter about Basil’s work for men’s adventure magazines.

In fact, Basil actually did more cover and interior illustrations for men’s adventure magazines than he did for FAMOUS MONSTERS and other Warren horror mags.

Many of those illustrations were for the Candar MANs.

The first men’s adventure cover showing Basil’s signature that I know of is WILDCAT ADVENTURES, June 1960. That one is a gonzo scene that goes with the story “BESTIAL ORGY OF THE HAIRY AINU.”

Basil Gogos at 2015 Shock Pop Comic Con, Photo by Linda ToubyFAMOUS MONSTER MOVIE ART OF BASIL GOGOSWILDCAT ADVENTURES, June 1960. Cover by Basil Gogos

There are a couple of earlier unsigned WILDCAT ADVENTURES covers that look like the style Basil used for some of his exotic adventure MAM covers. The first one is the cover of WILDCAT ADVENTURES #1.

It shows a white-robed Arab wielding a scimitar on a rearing black horse, doing battle with a white guy holding a similar sword.

In the foreground, a scantily-clad damsel in distress looks on with bated breath and heaving breasts.

WILDCAT ADVENTURES, June 1959. Basil Gogos artworkThe painting goes with the story inside titled “I FOUGHT THE WHITE SLAVERS OF THE MIDDLE EAST” credited to Dave Cameron. (That’s either a pseudonym or the name of a writer who wrote nothing else that I could find.)

My art collecting friend Rich Oberg, who owns the largest collection of original men’s adventure magazine artwork in the world, including many by Basil Gogos, told me he is almost certain Gogos did the cover painting for the premiere issue of WILDCAT ADVENTURES.

Recently, I’ve been corresponding with Basil, in preparation for an interview with him that will be posted on this blog in the near future.

I asked Basil whether he knew if he painted it.

He said he believes he did and it clearly looks like his work to him.

Given that, Rich Oberg’s opinion and my own eyeball ID, I’m 99% sure it’s a Gogos cover.

But Basil used several different styles in his men’s adventure work and 1959 was a long time ago.

So, in the absence of his signature, even Basil isn’t 100% certain.

As is typical in men’s adventure magazines, the cover painting was reused in black-and-white for the initial 2-page spread for the story it was done for.

WILDCAT ADVENTURES, June 1959. Basil Gogos artwork with gagOne unusual thing about this story is that half is told in the first person by distressed damsel and half is told by the hero who saves her after she is captured by Arab slavers.

Another unusual thing is that a cropped image of the damsel was altered when it was reused as a small illustration on the fourth page of the story.

The Art Director for WILDCAT ADVENTURES, Sol Brodsky, had a cloth gag painted over her mouth and ropes painted onto her wrists to make the image go with a scene in the story.

The caption says: “I was bound and gagged and I couldn't scream to save myself.”

It was common practice to use cropped pieces of the main illustration on the jump pages where stories are continued. But the cropped images were usually used as is, not altered. 

Assuming the cover for the first issue of WILDCAT ADVENTURES was painted by Basil Gogos (which I do), it was one of the first – maybe the first – of more than a hundred men’s adventure magazine illustrations he did from the late 1950s to the mid-1970s.

Another story in this issue is notable for being an excerpt from the first novel written by a man who would become a very famous (and infamous) author.

However, you wouldn’t know that unless you knew its literary history.

The story is credited to “William Lee” on the contents page and, due to a typo, to “Willam Lee” on the initial 2-page spread.

It’s a “Booklength Bonus” titled “JUNKIE.”

And, yes, it is indeed an excerpt from the legendary, semi-autobiographical novel JUNKIE by William S. Burroughs – who was indeed a serious heroin addict in the 1940s and 1950s.

WILDCAT ADVENTURES, June 1959. William Burroughs Junkie (as William-Willam Lee) WMWILDCAT ADVENTURES June 1959, William Burroughs Junkie as William Lee

The small print under the title in the magazine notes that it comes from the 1953 Ace edition of JUNKIE, which was the first publication of the novel.

It was part of Ace Double D-15, a classic two-sided paperback that featured JUNKIE on one side and NARCOTIC AGENT, by Maurice Helbrant, on the other.

WILDCAT ADVENTURES, June 1959. William Burroughs Junkie (as William-Willam Lee) 3 WMThat edition also credited JUNKIE to “William Lee.”

According to an excellent in-depth post about the history of JUNKIE by Jed Birmingham, on the RealityStudio site for collectors of Burroughs’ work, the novel appeared under a pseudonym “in order to protect his family from the embarrassment of their son’s drug addiction and lifestyle.”

Some observers have noted that the novel’s portrayal of homosexuality was as or even more controversial than its depiction of drug users and dealers, even though the scenes describing the protagonist’s homosexual trysts are described in a dry, matter-of-fact way that falls far short of graphic pornography as we think of it today.

Nonetheless, it wasn’t until 1977 when Penguin published the first edition of JUNKIE credited under Burroughs’ real name.

Of course, Burroughs eventually became a worldwide celebrity and copies of the Ace Double edition of JUNKIE are now extremely hard to find.

They’re also expensive. The last one I saw on Amazon was priced at $355. High quality copies are selling for even more than that on Abebooks.com.

The most recent edition of the novel updated the spelling of the title to JUNKY and doesn’t have the kind of great illustration art favored by those of us who are junkies for vintage paperbacks and magazines.

The cover painting used for the 1953 Ace edition of JUNKIE was done by artist Al Rossi.

In addition to doing paperback covers, Rossi did scores of illustrations for men’s adventure magazines in the 1950s and 1960s. (Click this link to see some great MAM artwork by him featuring my favorite model and pen pal Eva Lynd.)

JUNKIE (1953) by William Burroughs (as William Lee), Ace Double D-15. Art by Al RossiJUNKIE & NARCOTIC AGENT, Ace Double D-15 (1953). Art by Al Rossi

Copies of the first issue of WILDCAT ADVENTURES are not quite as pricey as the original Ace Double edition of JUNKIE. But they are, if anything, harder to find. I paid over $100 for mine.

The artwork used for the “Booklength Bonus” version of JUNKIE in WILDCAT ADVENTURES is quite dramatic and quite good. Unfortunately, it’s not credited, and I was unable to identify the artist by sight in this case.

There is an artist signature, of sorts: the initials J and S inside an oval, creating what art collectors call a monogram.

The same artist signed a good number of other illustrations in Candar magazines with that monogram. But his identity has long been a mystery to me.

To try to solve this mystery, I recently posted a close-up of the monogram in the Men’s Adventure Magazines Facebook Group, which includes many members who have in-depth knowledge about vintage magazines and illustration art.

It wasn’t long before I had the answer.

Member Clark Dimond, a writer, musician and former editor of magazines for both Candar and Magazine Management, said he thought it looked like the work of artist John Severin, who did many illustrations for Robert C. Sproul’s CRACKED magazine.

Severin is also well known for his artwork for EC and Marvel comics, and the illustrations used for the WILDCAT ADVENTURES verion of JUNKIE deifntely have a comics vibe.

Artist John Severin's JS monogram signatureJohn Severin w his comic artwork

Then, in another comment in the Facebook group, illustration art collector David O’Dell, part of whose collection I have featured in previous posts here, told us that Severin had used the JS monogram as his signature for some of the artwork he did for CRACKED.

Mystery solved! Man, I love the hive mind we have in the MAM Facebook group!

WILDCAT ADVENTURES ran in the men’s pulp adventure magazine format from June 1959 to August 1964.

Starting in January 1965, the name was changed to just WILDCAT, cover paintings were replaced with photos of semi-nude women and the contents drifted into full-fledged porn territory. It continued in on that format until January 1976.

Personally, I prefer its glory days as a men’s pulp mag.

For fans of that genre, WILDCAT ADVENTURES is a classic that is well worth collecting and the first issue is one of the best and most sought after.

I’ll provide a look at some of the other pulpy treasures that issue contains in my next post here.

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

Related reading and viewing…

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Earl Norem artwork in our HE-MEN, BAG MEN & NYMPHOS story anthology…


I’ve been sidetracked lately, working with my publishing partner Wyatt Doyle to put together two new books in our Men’s Adventure Library series, which currently includes WEASELS RIPPED MY FLESH!, HE-MEN, BAG MEN & NYMPHOS and the CRYPTOZOOLOGY ANTHOLOGY.

If you’re a regular reader of this blog or a member of our Men’s Adventure Magazines Facebook Group, you’ll be among the first to know when those books are available.

The time spent working on our new book has led to a long gap in posts here on the MensPulpMags.com site.

I plan to get back to doing posts here on a more regular basis now.

My last posts focused on men’s pulp adventure mag artwork by the great illustration artist Earl Norem, who died this past June.

As noted in one of those posts, several stories in our men’s adventure story anthology WEASELS RIPPED MY FLESH! feature great artwork by Norem, such as his interior illustrations for the “Book Bonus” version of Mario Puzo’s THE GODFATHER, in the August 1969 issue of MALE magazine.

HE-MEN, BAG MEN & NYMPHOS, Walter Kaylin anthologyThere are also some terrific Norem illustrations in our HE-MEN, BAG MEN & NYMPHOS story collection, which focuses on the wild action and adventure yarns written by Walter Kaylin.

My favorite is Earl’s duotone illo for Kaylin’s story “SURF PACK ASSASSINS,” originally published in MALE, August 1967.

That cool duotone shows the four members of the Surf Pack Assassin gang surfing in to attack a target.

Their target is relaxing on the beach, surrounded by bodyguards, thinking he is safe.

Natch. Nobody expects the Surf Pack Assassins!

Nor would anyone expect to see a surfer firing a 50-caliber machine gun mounted on the front of his board. (Don’t try it yourself, folks. The Surf Pack Assassins are trained professionals.)

Earl Norem also did a second duotone and several small black-and-white illustrations for this story.

The second duotone shows one of the female pack members, Molly, trying to lure the main character, an undercover government agent named Dick Billings, into the gang’s multi-purpose hearse.

“This is a fine old hearse,” Molly says, literally twisting Billings’ arm. “Now let’s put a little life into it…” (Ya think she had to twist very hard?)

In one of Norem’s B&W illustrations for the story, another female pack member named Maggie demonstrates that she can’t really fly.

The other two B&W illos Norem did for the story are action scenes. One shows an explosion. The other shows a pack member surfing toward Billings with a big ass knife, hoping to cut his throat.

Earl Norem did second set of illustrations for another Walter Kaylin story in HE-MEN, BAG MEN & NYMPHOS titled “MEET OUR TERMS OR WE DESTROY 500 MILLION PEOPLE.”

Walter wrote that one under his common pseudonym Roland Empey.

It’s a long, almost novella-length yarn and, to my knowledge, it’s the only alternate history science fiction story featuring Nazis to appear in a men’s adventure magazine. Norem’s artwork for the two-page opening spread is especially awesome.

In the story, a group of Nazis soldiers and scientists who have remained hidden in a secret base under the arctic ice pack for decades suddenly emerge and threaten the world with the nuclear warhead missiles they have developed.

By coincidence, Robert F. Dorr, one of Walter Kaylin’s fellow men’s adventure writers, recently wrote an alternate history science fiction story featuring Nazis that I highly recommend: HITLER’S TIME MACHINE.

Dorr and Kaylin both wrote hundreds of stories for the classic men’s adventure mags published by subsidiaries of Martin Goodman’s Magazine Management company, such as ACTION FOR MEN, FOR MEN ONLY, MALE, MAN’S WORLD, MEN, STAG and TRUE ACTION.

There’s one final Norem illustration in HE-MEN, BAG MEN & NYMPHOS. It’s one of my favorite whimsical men’s adventure paintings by Earl.

It was used for the humorous story “TODAY THEY CALL HIM FATHER ITALY,” originally published in FOR MEN ONLY, March 1975.

Why was the main character called “Father Italy”? Well, there’s a hint in the subtitle: “He Was the Only Male P.O.W. In a Female Prison Compound.”

The Earl Norem illustrations shown here just give a taste of the great men’s adventure magazine artwork and stories you’ll find in HE-MEN, BAG MEN & NYMPHOS. It’s chock full of manly, pulpy stuff.

If you haven’t bought a copy yet and are a reader of this blog, I’ll give you a 25% discount (that’s $5) if you buy it direct from me on eBay. Just add a note to let me know you saw the discount offer on MensPulpMags.com when you check out and I’ll send you back a rebate via PayPal. Here’s a link to my listings on eBay –> http://bit.ly/SubtropicBob-eBay 

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

Related reading: books featuring artwork by Earl Norem…