Thursday, April 9, 2015

The CRYPTOZOOLOGY ANTHOLOGY has been released – along with the Kraken!


I’m happy to announce that the lushly-illustrated, full-color paperback and hardcover editions of our CRYPTOZOOLOGY ANTHOLOGY are now available to order on Amazon.com – worldwide.

They are also available on Barnes & Noble and other major online bookstore sites.

A full color ebook version will be available in the near future.

The covers of all three formats feature artwork from a classic men’s adventure magazine story that’s included in all editions: “The Reckless Ones,” by the great Arthur C. Clarke.

It was originally published in the October 1956 issue of ADVENTURE and is proudly reprinted by us with the approval of the Arthur C. Clarke estate.

It’s one of Clarke’s “Tales from the White Hart” stories, which are known for their sly humor and surprise endings.

As Denver Gillen’s awe-inspiring illustration for the story shows, “The Reckless Ones” is about a giant squid, the aquatic monster that was once called “the Kraken.”

In 1957, Ballantine published a collection of Clarke’s White Hart stories. That book includes “The Reckless Ones” (under the title “Big Game Hunt”). But we suspect few modern readers, other than serious Clarke buffs, have seen it.

Most of the the other of classic men’s adventure stories about legendary land and sea monsters we chose for the CRYPTOZOOLOGY ANTHOLOGY have never been reprinted before in any form.

None have ever been reprinted in a book with all of the original artwork and photographs that were used for them when they appeared in men’s adventure magazines.

That – and the fact that men’s adventure magazines played a major, but little-known role in creating awareness and popular conceptions of Bigfoot, Sasquatch, the Loch Ness Monster and other legendary monsters – make the CRYPTOZOOLOGY ANTHOLOGY a unique addition to realms of books about both cryptozoology (the study of unknown or hidden animals) and post-WWII men’s pulp adventure magazines.

The book opens with an introductory chapter written by cryptozoology and film maven Dave Coleman. It’s titled “That Fondness for the Marvelous So Common to Mankind...” – a quote from an early nineteenth century report about the fascination many of us have for tales of mysterious monsters.

Among other things, Dave is the author of THE BIGFOOT FILMOGRAPHY, the authoritative guide to movies about man-like “Hominid cryptids”, as well as the eerie cryptid-themed novel ANCIENT LAKE.

He also recently launched the Roku Channel Acolyte Cinema, a cornucopia of cult films, quite a few of which are rarely-seen gems about Bigfoot, Sasquatch and other crypto creatures.

There is also additional contextual background provided throughout the book by me and my regular co-editor and publishing partner Wyatt Doyle, whose other recent projects include publishing a new edition of Josh Alan Friedman’s critically acclaimed book TELL THE TRUTH UNTIL THEY BLEED and co-writing the script for the Lionsgate horror film DEVIL MAY CALL with director Jason Cuadrado.

As usual, Wyatt did the graphic design work, as he did for our previous men’s adventure story anthologies: WEASELS RIPPED MY FLESH! and HE-MEN, BAG MEN & NYMPHOS.

I especially love the way Wyatt used the original artwork from the magazines in both the stories and the special “Archives” pages that show cryptozoology-related artwork from stories that aren’t in the anthology (but may be included in a future volume).

And, in a word, the artwork in the CRYPTOZOOLOGY ANTHOLOGY is awesome. We includes covers and interior art by many of the great illustration artists who worked for men’s adventure magazines, including: Stan Borack, Gil Cohen, Clarence Doore, Rafael DeSoto, John Duillo, Jack Dumas, Norm Eastman, Robert Engel, George Gross, Warren Knight, Mort Kunstler, Tom Lovell, John McDermott, John Pike and other talented illustrators.

I’ll focus on some of the stories in the CRYPTOZOOLOGY ANTHOLOGY in more detail in future posts on this blog. In the meantime, here’s a brief overview, using scans of actual pages in the book…

Scores of stories about the best-known Hominid cryptids – Bigfoot, Sasquatch, and the Yeti, or Abominable Snowman – appeared in men’s adventure magazines.

The Hominid cryptids stories we chose, like others in the book, either have historical significance in the realm of cryptozoology lore or are especially good men’s adventure magazine yarns, or both.

For example, the first story in the book is “Wild Giants of British Columbia.” It was written by Canadian Indian Reserve Agent and teacher Arthur A. Dunn, the man who actually coined the term “Sasquatch.”

It was published as a true account of stories local Indians told him about Sasquatch in the September 1948 issue of SIR!, when that magazine was paving the way for the men’s adventure genre that took full form in the 1950s.

Other stories exemplify popular portrayals of famed Hominid cryptids over the next few decades.

There’s “I Stalked the Yeti!” from MAN’S MAGAZINE, February 1953, “A Man From Another Age” from MAN’S ILLUSTRATED, August 1959 and “I Encountered the Abominable Snowman” from RAGE, September 1960.

Those are all ripping yarns (in more ways than one) that portray the Abominable Snowman as a dangerous man-killer.

At the other end of the spectrum is “The Stone Monster” by A.M. Lightner (the pseudonym of science fiction writer and naturalist Alice L. Hopf), from ARGOSY, November 1963. It features a more peaceful Yeti who befriends a human when they are trapped together in an ice crevasse and must work together to free themselves.

Several other stories focus on the American relatives of Sasquatch and the Yeti. Two of them are action/adventure style stories: “Hunt for the Half-Man, Half-Ape of North America” from MEN, November 1969 and “Face to Face With the Ape-Man Monster of Tennessee” from MAN’S WORLD, October 1973.

Another, from MALE, August 1970, has special significance for cryptozoology buffs. It’s titled “Incredible Monster-Man Sightings in the U.S.”

It was written by John A. Keel, the famous (and somewhat infamous) author of a series of popular books about strange creatures, UFOs and paranormal subjects.

Keel is best known for his 1975 book, THE MOTHMAN PROPHECIES, the which inspired (among other things) the spooky 2002 film starring Richard Gere and a recent episode of the TV series MONSTERS AND MYSTERIES IN AMERICA.

Yet another story we included that has historical significance is “Monster Bird That Carries Off Human Beings!” by Jack Pearl, from the May 1963 issue of SAGA.

If you Google that story you’ll find that it is widely credited with generating modern awareness of legends about a huge flying cryptid called the Thunderbird and for inspiring a wave of other stories and books about giant birds.

Some cryptozoology mavens, like Loren Coleman, have theorized that the Mothman monster was a Thunderbird. (Loren – one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, a prolific author and founder of the International Cryptozoology Museum – is not related to our co-editor Dave. But they are friends and Dave includes some enlightening quotes by Loren in his introduction to our new book.)

Not all of the creatures featured in our CRYPTOZOOLOGY ANTHOLOGY are warm blooded. We also included stories about giant lizards, sea monsters and lake creatures.

One is “‘Fish’ With Human Hands Attacked Me!” from the November 1955 issue of TRUE WEIRD.

TRUE WEIRD was one of the idiosyncratic men’s adventure magazines published by the enterprising bodybuilders and publishers Joe Weider and his brother Ben Weider (the “Brothers of Iron”).

As befits the name of the magazine, “‘Fish’ With Human Hands Attacked Me!” is portrayed as a true historical account. It’s also truly weird. And, the cover painting that goes with it, by Clarence Doore, is totally gonzo.

Two other stories we included about giant reptiles are rip-snorting action/adventure yarns.

One is a kaiju style tale about a resurrected dinosaur who is encountered by a hapless oil drilling crew. Titled “The ‘Thing’ at Dutchman’s Rig,” it comes from the November 1958 issue of the obscure men’s adventure mag SHOWDOWN.

Another, “MacDonald’s Nightmare Safari,” from MAN’S CONQUEST, August 1959, features huge man-eating lizards, savage natives who worship them, an Indiana Jones type adventurer and (naturally) a sexy and eventually scantily-clad babe.

The paperback and hardcover editions of our CRYPTOZOOLOGY ANTHOLOGY also include a special “hidden” story that’s not listed in the Table of Contents. We decided that was fitting, since cryptozoology is literally the study of unknown or hidden animals. (Derived from the Greek words crypto, meaning unknown or hidden, zo meaning animals, and ology, meaning “the study of.”)

The special limited edition hardcover version includes even more bonus artwork and an additional story – a wild “true story” from HIS magazine about 300-lb. ape-human hybrids created to fight in wars for Communist countries and tested during the Korean War.

The page scans shown in this post only provide a partial look at what you’ll find in our CRYPTOZOOLOGY ANTHOLOGY. We think it’s a worthwhile addition to the body of literature about both cryptozoology and men’s adventure magazines. Of course, it’s also just damn cool, if I do say so myself.

If you buy a copy and agree, we hope you’ll post a review on Amazon or B&N, or on the pages of one of the cryptozoology Facebook pages, such as MONSTERS, MYSTERIES & MAYHEM.

We’d also love to read your comments about the book on our Men’s Adventure Library Page or in Men’s Adventure Magazines Facebook Group.

In the meantime, as cryptozoology buffs say, keep it Squatchy!

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

Books from the CRYPTOZOOLOGY ANTHOLOGY team members…

Saturday, February 28, 2015

The Florida Pulp AdventureCon, from the perspective of a men’s adventure fan…

 

When my men’s adventure magazine mentor Rich Oberg and I heard that there would be a bunch of issues from the legendary Napa Collection and some original men’s adventure artwork at the inaugural Florida Pulp AdventureCon in Fort Lauderdale on February 22, we had to go.

And, we’re both very glad we did.

As noted in my previous post here, the Florida Pulp AdventureCon was organized by Rich Harvey and his partner Audrey Parente, organizers of the long-running PulpAdventure Con in New Jersey.

For me, the fun started the night before the Con.

Rich, his lovely wife Holly and I were invited to dinner by a fellow collector we know who lives in Southeast Florida.

As MAM buffs know, Rich owns the largest collection of original men’s adventure artwork and magazines in the world. It’s been featured in two great books: Taschen’s MEN’S ADVENTURE MAGAZINES and Adam Parfrey’s IT’S A MAN'S WORLD: MEN'S ADVENTURE MAGAZINES, THE POSTWAR PULPS.

The Florida collector we had dinner with owns one of the world’s most complete collections of the earlier pre-World War II pulp fiction magazines.

He was also instrumental in bringing the Napa Collection of men’s adventure magazines to Heartwood Auctions. And, he owns some awesome vintage illustration artwork.

Since he prefers to keep a low public profile, I won’t name this particular über collector.

But I will show a couple examples of the men’s adventure treasures we saw at his house.

One was a cover painting by Norm Eastman that was used for the cover of BLUEBOOK, October 1966.

The female model used for the machine gun-toting babe in that painting was my pen pal and favorite glamour girl Eva Lynd.

The guy in the background is Eva’s frequent modeling partner Steve Holland, the model for James Bama’s iconic Doc Savage paperback covers and countless other cover and interior illustrations done for paperbacks and men’s magazines.

Another treasure we saw that night was Norm Eastman’s original painting for MAN'S BOOK, October 1965.

I don’t know who the model was for the poor scantily-clad damsel who is simultaneously being pierced by bamboo stakes and whipped by an evil North Korean soldier. But the model for the Korean was Norm himself. (He often used his own face for the bad guys in his cover paintings.)

That MAN’S BOOK issue epitomizes the type of men’s adventure magazine that give bunched panties to people on the “correct” end of the politically correct spectrum. Along with other mags published by the Reese and EmTee companies (MAN’S EPIC, MAN’S STORY, MEN TODAY, NEW MAN, WORLD OF MEN, etc.) and by similar low-budget publishers, MAN’S BOOK is the kind of “lurid” mag that led the entire MAM genre to be dismissed and dissed and lumped together (quite, er, incorrectly) under the derogatory term “sweat magazines.”

Of course, to people like me and Rich Oberg, there’s not only nothing wrong with those old gonzo “sweat mags.” We love ‘em. We view them as them as cool descendants of the earlier periodicals called “weird menace” or “shudder” pulps. And, it amazes us that, in an era when the novel 50 SHADES OF GREY is a bestseller and many popular movies and TV shows regularly feature bondage, torture and other things that are far more extreme than the typical images and stories in men’s adventure magazines, the “sweat magazine” subgenre of MAMs still elicits shock and derision.

One of our other dinner companions the night before the Con – Stephen D. Korshak – has similar views. Stephen owns the internationally-renowned Korshak Collection of “imaginative” illustration art. Paintings from his amazing collection are featured in several beautifully-produced illustration art books.

My favorite is THE ALLURING ART OF MARGARET BRUNDAGE, which he co-authored with the renowned comics and illustration art expert, author and publisher J. David Spurlock. Brundage was a rare female pulp artist who did some of the best cover paintings for WEIRD TALES and other pulps in the 1930s.

We saw copies of many such pulps on display at the Pulp AdventureCon the next day and J. David Spurlock was a special guest there that day.

On his table he had copies of the many books he has written and published about comic and illustration artists. My favorite is FAMOUS MONSTER MOVIE ART OF BASIL GOGOS, which Spurlock co-edited with Kerry Gamill. It includes a chapter about the cover paintings and interiors Basil did for men’s adventure magazines in the 1950s and 1960s, which range from intense battle scenes to alluring “Good Girl Art.”

Spurlock also brought along some nice artwork to sell – including “comp” sketches Gogos did for his men’s adventure work.

The first Florida Pulp AdventureCon was not a large show. But as the presence of Spurlock suggests, the quality of the vendors and items was high.

In fact, among the dozen other major vendors were some of the top vintage comic, magazine and illustration mavens in the country.

For example, in addition to being the organizer of the Florida and New Jersey Pulp AdventureCons, Rich Harvey is the founder of the Bold Venture publishing company. Bold Venture publishes a growing array of anthologies of both classic pulp stories and “new pulp” and Rich brought copies along for the table he and his partner Audrey Parente had at the Con.

Audrey is also a pulp fiction expert who has penned books about a pair of towering figures in that genre, writers Theodore Roscoe and Hugh B. Cave.

Two of the best sources of vintage magazines in the world – including men’s adventure magazines – also had tables at the show: DTA Collectibles, owned by pioneering comics and vintage magazine maven David T. Alexander and Heartwood Auctions, which Rich Harvey works for on a part time basis. David is a legendary figure in the realms of both vintage comics and vintage magazines and, among other things, is the coiner of the term “Good Girl Art” (GGA, for short). That handy term for images of scantily-clad babes is now applied to comic and cartoon art and illustration art used for magazines, paperbacks, calendars and other purposes.

The DTA and Heartwood tables both featured rows of classic pulp mags in great condition and those were the big draws, just like they are at venerable pulp cons like the Windy City Pulp and Paper Convention and Pulpfest.

But my focus was seeking out some of the scarcer men’s adventure-related offerings that often show up at pulp cons. And, there were some great MAM treasures there to be had.

The Heartwood Auctions folks had brought along some boxes full of men’s adventure magazines from the Napa Collection, the amazingly pristine stash of men’s adventure mags found several years ago in a “secret” room in a house in California.

I’ve been buying issues from the Napa Collection for a while now via the Heartwood website to fill holes in my collection. At the Con, I snagged a couple more that I had missed.

One is a mint condition copy of MAN’S WORLD, August 1958, with an awesome exotic adventure cover painting by Mort Kunstler. MAN’S WORLD is one of the classic Atlas/Diamond group of mags published by one of Martin Goodman’s Magazine Management subsidiaries. (In 1958, Olympia Publications was listed as the publisher of MAN’S WORLD.)

Like almost all Atlas/Diamond magazines, this issue is full of rousing action and adventure stories, illustrated by some of the best mid-20th illustration artists who worked for the men’s magazines and paperbacks. For example, it includes superb interior duotones by Mort Kunstler and Tom Ryan

…and by the equally talented illustration artists Al Rossi and Samson Pollen.

The other Napa Collection issue I bought is a pristine copy of MAN’S ADVENTURE, January 1961, a men’s adventure mag published by comics pioneer Stanley Morse, through his Stanley Publications company.

The issue I bought features a wild chain gang scene, with a busty blonde prison boss whipping one of the hapless prisoners. No artist credit is given for the cover painting, but I’m pretty sure it was done by artist Mel Crair.

Most of interior art in that one is not quite as good as in MAN’S WORLD. But there is one illo in it that’s very notable for who it’s done by: John “Jack” Schoenherr. Schoenherr actually did quite a few illustrations for men’s adventure magazines, but they are far less known than his work for science fiction magazines, most significantly the memorable cover and interior paintings he did for Frank Herbert’s series of DUNE novels, starting with their serialization in ANALOG magazine in the early 1960s.

The Heartwood Auction folks also brought along some nice original men’s adventure paintings to sell. My friend Rich Oberg bought several to add to his huge and still growing collection. (He now has more than a thousand original MAM cover and interior illustrations.)

At a nearby vendor table I met author and historian Nicky Wheeler-Nicholson. Her grandfather was Major Malcolm Wheeler-Nicholson, the founder of DC comics who brought Superman to the public. Among other things, Nicky was selling a collection of adventure yarns the Major wrote for pulp magazines before he became a comics publisher, titled THE TEXAS-SIBERIA TRAIL.

At another table, pulp maven, pop culture historian and archeologist Jeffrey Shanks was selling pulp magazines, vintage paperbacks and copies of his pulp-related books. I bought a signed copy of his latest, ZOMBIES FROM THE PULPS, the first-ever collection of zombie stories published in classic pulp mags like WEIRD TALES, DIME MYSTERY and TERROR TALES decades before the modern boom in Zombie movies and TV shows began.

Jeffrey was also gracious enough to sell me a hard-to-find copy of TRUE, December 1959 that he had.

That issue is hard to find because it includes a historic story about Bigfoot, published before he was called Bigfoot. It’s titled “The Strange Story of America's Abominable Snowman” and was written by cryptozoology pioneer Ivan T. Sanderson, with art by Louis Glanzman.

In a few weeks, my co-editors Wyatt Doyle and Dave Coleman will be publishing our CRYPTOZOOLOGY ANTHOLOGY – the third book in the Men’s Adventure Library series. It includes a baker’s dozen of classic men’s adventure magazine stories about Bigfoot, Sasquatch, the Loch Ness monster and other legendary creatures. The “pre-Bigfoot” Bigfoot story from the December 1959 issue of TRUE will likely appear in a second volume of classic crypto-critter tales, which we’re already starting to plan for. (Thanks, Jeffrey!)

Vendors at Pulp AdventureCon also included some other notable pulp mavens who, along with Jeffrey Shanks, have dubbed themselves the “Southern Pulpsters” in the Facebook group where they hang out online.

One was writer, editor and graphic designer William Lampkin. William was a key contributor to one of the most long-running and authoritative online sources about pulp magazines, ThePulp.Net. He is the author of the Yellowed Perils blog, the first of ThePulp.Net’s Pulp.Blogs, and founded ThePulp.Net’s precursor, .Pulp, in 1996.

Another table at the Con was manned by Michael R. Hudson, CEO and President at Sequential Pulp Comics. Michael is both a comics and pulp expert and a mover-and-shaker in the realm of “new pulp” (a.k.a. “neo pulp”). Under his guidance, Sequential has published a series of highly-acclaimed graphic novels, written and illustrated by top players in that realm. He also recently wrote the novel MY NAME IS NOBODY, which is based on the original screenplay by Ernesto Gastaldi for the famed 1973 spaghetti western.

In fact, I’d say one of the things that really impressed me about the Florida Pulp AdventureCon was how many talented and knowledgeable people were there, both as vendors and as viewers.

I was also struck by the camaraderie and friendliness of the Southern Pulpsters vendors at the Con, and by their willingness to share information about pulps, artwork, publishing and other topics with relative newbies like me.

It was great fun and I was happy to hear Rich Harvey confirm that he and Audrey already planning next year’s Florida Pulp AdventureCon. I’ll be there.

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

Related reading…

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