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Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Funny text and image juxtapositions on “stripped” men’s adventure magazine covers…

WORLD-OF-MEN-Oct-1964.-Cover-by-Walt[2]
I’d planned to take a few weeks off in September, but when Hurricane Irma hit the island where I live in the Florida Keys, it led to a much longer hiatus in posts on this blog than I expected.

I had no internet connection for weeks and, as I write this, I’m still living in a temporary rental home on the mainland. The good news is that my wife and I, and our three dogs and four cats are all OK. The damage to our house is fixable and my MAM collection is intact.

This week, my brain started to get back to aby-normal. Enough so that I’m ready to post here again, using a laptop I bought during my exile from the Keys.

I’ll start with a post I’d been planning to do about “stripped” men’s adventure mag covers, meaning covers that had the top quarter to third cut off. This was the standard way for newsstands and stores to indicate unsold copies of an issue.

Publishers offered refunds on any unsold copies to encourage newsstands and stores to carry their magazines. The cut-off tops of the covers were returned to the distributors and then sent back to the publishers for refunds. (The same system was used for comics.)

Magazines that had their covers stripped for refunds, sometimes called “3/4 covers,” were supposed to be thrown away or destroyed so they couldn’t be sold.

However, some sellers made a few extra bucks by selling them at a discount. I suspect they were also occasionally liberated from dumpsters by fans. At any rate, for one reason or another, copies of some stripped issues survived and show up on eBay every once in a while.

When I run across an example that make me chuckle, I copy the JPEG from the eBay listing. Over the years, I’ve collected quite a few.

Sometimes the juxtaposition of the text on the page that can be seen where the top of cover was cut off and what’s left of the cover create funny juxtapositions. In most cases, the text that’s revealed is from a full page print ad on the first page, a placement coveted by advertisers.

I’ve long thought that featuring some of my favorite stripped covers, accompanied by the scans of the original covers, would make a good post on my blog. So, here it is. (Finally.)

The first example, at top left, provides a side by side view of a stripped cover of WORLD OF MEN, October 1964 and an uncut cover.

BATTLE-CRY-Sept-1964-art-by-Syd-ShorThe cover painting, by Walter Popp, is one of many MAM covers showing Nazis threatening or tormenting scantily-clad babes.

Popp’s illustration shows two distressed damsels apparently being captured and being bound by several Nazis. The headline on the first page, revealed by having the top third of the cover cut off, shows the headline “YOU ARE UNDER ARREST.”

That headline and the subhead under it indicate the revealed page is an ad for a correspondence school course that supposedly prepares you for a law enforcement-related career.

The subhead entices readers by telling them “There's a Thrill in Bringing a Crook to Justice Through Scientific CRIME DETECTION!”

That juxtaposition of ad text and cover image struck me as pretty funny. Of course, as my wife often tells me, I’m easily amused. If you are, too, you might get a chuckle out of some of the other stripped cover reveals in this post. They include…

BATTLE CRY, September 1964 – The stripped cover shows an ad featuring Arthur Godfrey pitching the I.C.S. correspondence school. Its courses “made the impossible easy.” The juxtaposition suggests one of those things might be dangling distressed damsels over a huge tank of ice water. The cover art is by Sydney “Syd” Shores.

BLUEBOOK, February 1970 – This one has a terrific Vietnam War cover painting by Mel Crair showing a wounded, somewhat crazed-looking American soldier firing a machine gun and presumably mowing down enemy Viet Cong. The stripped cover reveals a headline for another correspondence school ad that says, a bit ironically given the cover image, “Look who’s smiling now!”

CHAMPION FOR MEN, August 1959 – In the stripped copy of this one, the gal who’s tied up seems to be wistfully thinking about a better career with a “GOOD SALARY” and a “FINE CAR. The cover painting is by Clarence Doore, one the artists featured in our latest anthology of men’s adventure magazine stories and artwork, I WATCHED THEM EAT ME ALIVE.

BLUEBOOK-Feb-1970-cover-by-Mel-CrairCHAMPION-FOR-MEN-Aug-1959-cover-by-C

MAN’S ADVENTURE, September 1958 – I can imagine the alligator thinking the ad headline revealed on the stripped cover applies to him: “Just Pick the Kind of Body YOU Want.” Does he prefer to eat the body of guy or the gal in the cover painting by Ted Lewin?

MAN'S EPIC, March 1970 – The ad text in the stripped cover says that you can get details on some interesting correspondence courses. If you imagine the headlines on the cover itself are among the courses offered, “trafficking in white slaves” sounds, er, interesting. The cover painting, which might be depicting the course in how to mistreat a “Maquis maiden,” was done by Mel Crair.

MANS-ADVENTURE-Sept-1958-Cover-by-TeMANS-EPIC-March-1970-cover-by-Mel-Cr[2]  

MAN’S LIFE, March 1970 – So, how do you “pass as a genius” anyway? You could try letting yourself be captured and tied up by a beautiful, barely-clothed femme fatale, as shown in this cover painting by Vic Prezio. OK, it’s not likely to indicate that you have a high IQ. But it might have other benefits, assuming you survive.

MAN'S STORY, August 1966 – “WE CHALLENGE YOU TO TOP THIS JOB!” … Obviously that doesn’t refer to being bound and tortured by Nazis. But in my imagination the headline revealed on this stripped cover could refer to the job of modeling for men’s adventure magazine artist Norm Eastman, who created the cover painting for this issue. Top men’s adventure magazine models like Steve Holland and my friend Eva Lynd, the model Eastman used for the distressed damsels in this and many other MAM cover paintings, actually made decent money for the times. And, Eva told me Norm was a sweet guy she always enjoyed posing for. (You can read more about Eva and Steve in the posts at this link.)

MAN’S LIFE, March 1970, cover by Vic PrezioMAN'S STORY, August 1966, cover by Norm Eastman

If you’ve seen an example of a “stripped” men’s adventure magazine covers that made you chuckle, send me a photo or scan via email and I’ll feature it in an upcoming post.

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Men’s Adventure Magazines & Books Facebook Group and post them there.

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I WATCHED THEM EAT ME ALIVE:

Killer Creatures in Men’s Adventure Magazines

I WATCHED THEM EAT ME ALIVE, w contents

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

The John Whitlatch enigma solved: a guest post by writer & pulp maven Paul Bishop…

Paul Bishop blog post about John Whitlatch
EDITOR’S NOTE: A while back, I posted an interview here with a writer I’m a huge fan of and proud to call a friend: Paul Bishop. As I noted in that interview, Paul is an excellent and prolific novelist. His most recent novel is LIE CATCHERS, a highly-acclaimed police procedural with a special twist. Paul is also a veteran police detective, an editor and an indie publisher. On top of all that, he’s a serious action/adventure media maven who posts regularly about books, magazines, movies, TV shows, and people in the men’s adventure, Western, spy, mystery, and noir genres on his own blog, other sites, and in various men’s adventure-related Facebook groups, like the one associated with this blog and The Men's Adventure Paperbacks of the 70s & 80s group.

One of Paul’s recent blog posts focused on the novels of a mysterious writer named John Whitlatch. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, Whitlatch wrote a series of gritty action/adventure novels that have gained a cult following, partly because they feature terrific cover paintings by two artists who did hundreds of illustrations for men’s adventure magazines and novels, Norm Eastman and Mel Crair, and partly because they are bloody good reads.

Exactly who John Whitlatch was remained an enigma to those of us who are his fans — until recently. After doing some initial research and a post about Whitlatch on his blog, Paul was contacted by someone who knew Whitlatch and gave Paul more information than existed anywhere online. Armed with that info, Paul wrote a new, in-depth post summarizing what he’d learned. I immediately asked him if I could repost it here, along with higher resolution scans of the covers than I’ve seen online (using my own copies of the Whitlatch novels) and an interesting review of his first two books I found using my Newspapers.com subscription. Paul said “yes.” So, here it is. Thanks, amigo! And, thanks again for the great Afterword you wrote for our book collecting men’s adventure magazine artwork featuring bikers and motorcycle gangs, BARBARIANS ON BIKES.

WHITLATCH’S ENIGMA: BY PAUL BISHOP

Jon Whitlatch is an author whose name pops up regularly within men’s adventure series genre circles. Between 1969 and 1976, Whitlatch wrote eleven action novels, the first ten of which were published with a series of stunning covers. Lurid and garish, featuring outlaw bikers, big breasted babe in jeopardy, and tough heroes out for revenge, the covers of Whitlatch’s novels could just as easily have graced the covers of any of the titillating Men’s Adventure Magazines of the day.

In actuality, the stunning covers of Whitlatch’s books first ten books were painted by top Men’s Adventure Magazine artists Norm Eastman (Gannon’s Vendetta, Lafitte's Legacy, Tanner's Lemming, Frank T’s Plan, The Judas Goat), and Mel Crair (Morgan's Rebellion, Morgan's Assassin, Stunt Man's Holiday, Cory’s Losers. Men’s Adventure Magazine top model Steve HollandThe Face That Launched A Thousand Paperbacks—appears on several of the covers, adding to their collectability.

Unfortunately, Whitlatch’s last novel, Gannon’s Line, did not receive a similar instantly collectible cover. Instead, even though the small central illustration was by the great Robert Maguire, the cover design itself was generic and instantly forgettable.

While the covers of Whitlatch’s books are often the catalyst for men’s adventure readers to buy and collect them, the writing between the covers is uniformly terrific. While definitely in sync with the attitudes and mores of the time period in which they were written, Whitlatch’s tales of every day guys caught up in deadly circumstances never failed to thrill.

A Whitlatch hero is a man pushed beyond the reasonable boundaries of civilization and is forced to find a core of inner strength to overcome overwhelming odds—in other words, a guy who you can unabashedly root for as he takes on outlaw motorcycle gangs, voodoo cults, tin-pot Latin dictators, sadistic Japanese troops in the Pacific Theater, Renegade Indians, and other megalomaniac villains.

Paul-Bishop pic in libraryWhitlatch’s books are straightforward contemporary actioneers. Even when writing a Western (Iron Shirt) or a WWII Dirty Dozen style tale (The Judas Goat), the narratives are straight out of the men’s adventure genre. This is not to say they are cookie cutter or by the numbers plots. Whitlatch’s writing elevates the tropes of the genre with excellent action scenes. His heroes are not supermen, but rugged individuals who face their fears and have the courage to not lay down and die.

For many years Whitlatch himself remained an total enigma. When asked about Whitlatch, regular genre resources and gurus were forced to shrug their shoulders and admit to their mystification at the lack of information.

Usually, this little information about an author would indicate the use of a house owned pseudonym, with a number of authors penning the tales. But, this doesn’t appear to be the case with Whitlatch. Having read all eleven novels, the distinctive tempo and sentence structure make it clear they were written by the same person.

About twenty years or more ago, I tried tracking Whitlatch through his publisher. I was put in touch with Whitlatch’s agent who informed me Whitlatch was deceased. He did, however, provide me with a contact number for his family, warning me they would probably not want to be interviewed.

I eventually made contact with Whitlatch’s sister in Arizona, but while polite, she refused to impart any information. A strange situation, especially coupled with a tid-bit from mystery historian Al Hubin, which noted there had been no copyright renewals on Whitlatch’s titles. This raised the odd possibility of Whitlatch or his work being seen as an embarrassment to his family.

My introduction to Whitlatch originally came through his second published title, Morgan’s Rebellion. This was a great adventure tale. The all-American everyman Jamey Morgan finds himself falsely imprisoned in Central America. Desperate and alone, he takes it upon himself to escape, rally the scattered rebel forces, and overthrow the corrupt regime in order to get his life back and revenge on his wife and business partner.

This was great stuff! Morgan was a cool character with his archery background and his righteous American indignation. Whitlatch is hardly politically correct and he wears the Mad Man style male chauvinist label proudly—definitely a product of his time—but the guy could write a rousing adventure

Norm Eastman - GANNON'S VENDETTA, John Whitlatch (1969) MPMNorm Eastman - MORGAN'S REBELLION, John Whitlatch (1969) MPMNorm Eastman - TANNER'S LEMMING, John Whitlatch (1970) MPM

In 2009, I wrote about Whitlatch in a Forgotten Books post for my blog. At the time, in response to a blog post of his own, my buddy and prolific writer James Reasoner said, “You have to love the Internet.” In James’ case, his own blog post regarding a specific hardboiled author generated unexpected contact from one of the author’s surviving relatives.

In my case, several months after my post bemoaning the complete lack of information about John Whitlatch—beyond his novels and those lurid covers—I received a surprise email. It was from Bob Miller, a friend and former co-worker of Whitlatch’s who had somehow come across my original Whitlatch post. He offered to share information about the elusive author, whom he stated was a down-to-earth nice guy with a good sense of humor. I immediately scrambled to dial the provided phone and quickly found myself chatting with my informant.

Bob Miller told me he worked with Whitlatch in the 1960s when they were both claims adjusters for an insurance company working out of an office on Gower Street in Hollywood. Bob remained friends with Whitlatch, and was an ardent reader of his novels, until Whitlatch died in the late 1970s.

Apparently, Whitlatch was a force in the insurance business. He eventually became the head claims adjuster for All-State Insurance, working out of the company’s headquarters on Wilshire Boulevard in LA. Reportedly, he had a large, framed, picture of the All-State HQ building in Chicago hung on the wall behind his desk. The picture had a hand-drawn arrow pointing to one specific window in the building, which Whitlatch claimed was the office of the idiot I work for.

While working as a claims adjuster, Whitlatch also attempted to branch out into private business. For several years, he operated a self-service laundry on Ventura Boulevard—in the San Fernando Valley—with his wife, Geraldine. However, the business was forced into bankruptcy when long-term street repairs closed down easy access to the building.

Norm Eastman (I think), THE IRON SHIRT, John Whitlatch (1970) MPMNorm Eastman - THE JUDAS GOAT, John Whitlatch ( 1971) MPMNorm Eastman - LAFITTE'S LEGACY, John Whitlatch (1971) MPM

Crippled with a bad limp, Whitlatch didn’t let his physical infirmities keep him down. Miller remembers Whitlatch’s visits to the ranch where Miller’s father-in-law trained and bred horses. Whitlatch always managed to get around and showed an interest in everything.

During the time of his visits to the stables, Whitlatch began writing spec movie scripts. Miller’s father-in-law had contacts in the movie industry via several of the horse owners for whom he bred and trained. He allowed Whitlatch access to those contacts and, while Whitlatch never sold a script, he received encouragement and praise for his writing.

On one stable visit, Whitlatch witnessed Miller’s father-in-law putting Vicks Vapor Rub in a mare’s nose in order to get her to accept a foal that wasn’t hers. The Vicks worked to distort the mare’s olfactory senses so she couldn’t tell the foal wasn’t her own. Whitlatch was to later use the scene in one of his novels.

A perfectionist when it came to insurance work, Whitlatch was a taskmaster—never letting correspondence or reports leave the office until they were letter perfect. But while he found insurance work financially rewarding, he longed to quit and write full time.

Miller remembers the day Whitlatch called him full of excitement. He had just sold his first two novels. Pocket Books had given him a contract for two of his completed manuscripts and planned to publish both novels simultaneously—a first for the publishing house.

Norm Eastman - FRANK T'S PLAN, John Whitlatch (1972) MPMMel Crair - MORGAN'S ASSASSIN, John Whitlatch (1973) MPMMel Crair - STUNT MAN'S HOLIDAY, John Whitlatch (1973) MPM

Whitlatch eventually quit All-State to pursue his writing career. He had a handful of other novels published, but there was bad news on the horizon. Two years later, Miller received a phone call from his friend. Whitlatch told Miller he had been diagnosed with a brain tumor and had been given six month to two years to live.

Whitlatch’s final book, Shoot-Out At Dawn, was a non-fiction account of the deadly events at a remote Southern Arizona cabin in 1918. The book was written with Tom Power, one of the survivors of the clash. Whitlatch died shortly after it was published by Phoenix Books in 1981.

From other sources , it appears Whitlatch’s wife died sometime after 2005. The couple had no children. Clearly, Whitlatch will remain an enigma, but thanks to Bob Miller, those of us who have admired Whitlatch’s novels were finally given a glimpse into his background.

Usually, this little information about an author would indicate the use of a house owned pseudonym, with a number of authors penning the tales. But, this doesn’t appear to be the case with Whitlatch. Having read all eleven novels, the distinctive tempo and sentence structure make it clear they were written by the same person.

About twenty years or more ago, I tried tracking Whitlatch through his publisher. I was put in touch with Whitlatch’s agent who informed me Whitlatch was deceased. He did, however, provide me with a contact number for his family, warning me they would probably not want to be interviewed.

Mel Crair - CORY'S LOSERS, John Whitlatch (1973) MPMRobert Maguire - GANNON'S LINE, John Whitlatch (1976) MPMJohn Whitlatch & Tom Power, SHOOT OUT AT DAWN (1981) MPM

I eventually made contact with Whitlatch’s sister in Arizona, but while polite, she refused to impart any information. A strange situation, especially coupled with a tid-bit from mystery historian Al Hubin, which noted there had been no copyright renewals on Whitlatch’s titles. This raised the odd possibility of Whitlatch or his work being seen as an embarrassment to his family.

My introduction to Whitlatch originally came through his second published title, Morgan’s Rebellion. This was a great adventure tale. The all-American everyman Jamey Morgan finds himself falsely imprisoned in Central America. Desperate and alone, he takes it upon himself to escape, rally the scattered rebel forces, and overthrow the corrupt regime in order to get his life back and revenge on his wife and business partner.

Steve Holland & Eva Lynd art and photoThis was great stuff! Morgan was a cool character with his archery background and his righteous American indignation. Whitlatch is hardly politically correct and he wears the Mad Man style male chauvinist label proudly—definitely a product of his time—but the guy could write a rousing adventure

In 2009, I blogged about Whitlatch. At the time, in response to a blog post of his own, my buddy and prolific writer James Reasoner said, “You have to love the Internet.” In James’ case, his own blog post regarding a specific hardboiled author generated unexpected contact from one of the author’s surviving relatives.

In my case, several months after my post bemoaning the complete lack of information about John Whitlatch—beyond his novels and those lurid covers—I received a surprise email. It was from Bob Miller, a friend and former co-worker of Whitlatch’s who had somehow come across my original Whitlatch post. He offered to share information about the elusive author, whom he stated was a down-to-earth nice guy with a good sense of humor.

I immediately scrambled to dial the provided phone and quickly found myself chatting with my informant.

Bob Miller told me he worked with Whitlatch in the 1960s when they were both claims adjusters for an insurance company working out of an office on Gower Street in Hollywood. Bob remained friends with Whitlatch, and was an ardent reader of his novels, until Whitlatch died in the late 1970s.

Apparently, Whitlatch was a force in the insurance business. He eventually became the head claims adjuster for All-State Insurance, working out of the company’s headquarters on Wilshire Boulevard in LA.

Reportedly, he had a large, framed, picture of the All-State HQ building in Chicago hung on the wall behind his desk. The picture had a hand-drawn arrow pointing to one specific window in the building, which Whitlatch claimed was the office of the idiot I work for.

While working as a claims adjuster, Whitlatch also attempted to branch out into private business. For several years, he operated a self-service laundry on Ventura Boulevard—in the San Fernando Valley—with his wife, Geraldine. However, the business was forced into bankruptcy when long-term street repairs closed down easy access to the building.

Crippled with a bad limp, Whitlatch didn’t let his physical infirmities keep him down. Miller remembers Whitlatch’s visits to the ranch where Miller’s father-in-law trained and bred horses. Whitlatch always managed to get around and showed an interest in everything.

During the time of his visits to the stables, Whitlatch began writing spec movie scripts. Miller’s father-in-law had contacts in the movie industry via several of the horse owners for whom he bred and trained. He allowed Whitlatch access to those contacts and, while Whitlatch never sold a script, he received encouragement and praise for his writing.

On one stable visit, Whitlatch witnessed Miller’s father-in-law putting Vicks Vapor Rub in a mare’s nose in order to get her to accept a foal that wasn’t hers. The Vicks worked to distort the mare’s olfactory senses so she couldn’t tell the foal wasn’t her own. Whitlatch was to later use the scene in one of his novels.

A perfectionist when it came to insurance work, Whitlatch was a taskmaster—never letting correspondence or reports leave the office until they were letter perfect. But while he found insurance work financially rewarding, he longed to quit and write full time.

Miller remembers the day Whitlatch called him full of excitement. He had just sold his first two novels. Pocket Books had given him a contract for two of his completed manuscripts and planned to publish both novels simultaneously—a first for the publishing house.

Whitlatch eventually quit All-State to pursue his writing career. He had a handful of other novels published, but there was bad news on the horizon. Two years later, Miller received a phone call from his friend. Whitlatch told Miller he had been diagnosed with a brain tumor and had been given six month to two years to live.

John Whitlatch Review, Green Bay Press Gazette 1969 MPMWhitlatch’s final book, Shoot-Out At Dawn, was a non-fiction account of the deadly events at a remote Southern Arizona cabin in 1918. The book was written with Tom Power, one of the survivors of the clash. Whitlatch died shortly after it was published by Phoenix Books in 1981.

From other sources , it appears Whitlatch’s wife died sometime after 2005. The couple had no children. Clearly, Whitlatch will remain an enigma, but thanks to Bob Miller, those of us who have admired Whitlatch’s novels were finally given a glimpse into his background.

Here’s a brief look at what his men’s adventure novels are about, taken from the descriptions on the back covers…

GANNON'S VENDETTA (1969) “Do not forget, gentlemen—violence is the only thing they understand. If in doubt, kill.” … Recalling with hatred all the blood and pain these cycle creeps had caused him, Gannon described his enemy to the men who had come to help him. The animals on the hopped-up Harleys had raped Gannon's wife, torched his house, and then—after working him over—dumped him in the desert to die. They never expected Gannon to come out alive. This was the end of the long hunt--high noon at midnight. Gannon had followed the rat pack deep into Mexico. And now he was ready to do battle—their style.

MORGAN’S REBELLION (1969) “Prison made a man of Morgan. And the man became a legend.” … Jamey Morgan—a quiet California citizen—was arrested on a business trip to Central America. Accused of aiding a revolution he knew nothing about, Morgan was deprived of all diplomatic rights, branded an international renegade, and sentenced to hard labor. And so, the only way he could return to the United States was to overthrow the government that imprisoned him. He made the revolution his own. After escaping from prison, Morgan fled into the hills and joined the rebel forces. An experienced bowman, he trained and organized an extraordinary guerrilla troop—Los Arqueros, the Archers—fifty rugged men on horseback, armed with bows and explosive arrows. The exploits of this daring commando unit help bring a ruthless dictatorship to its knees—and brought fame, love, and fortune to Captain Jamey Morgan.

TANNER'S LEMMING (1970) TANNER—the man who single-fistedly quashed a student takeover and tongue-lashed its leaders into silence at a turbulent school-board showdown. TANNER—the man who had never flown a plane, yet took the stick when a pilot died in midair and landed safely. TANNER—the man whose blunt business sense had won him a place in a Senator's inner circle. TANNER—had he blown a hole in the heart of the man millions of Americans revered? Had he killed Senator Stanton? Could he have been the assassin?

THE IRON SHIRT (1970) Vengeance! Jonathan Fontaine swore it...in the smoking remains of his homestead, over the charred, mutilated body of his young daughter. He had gone East but now was back in Arizona with a specially equipped rifle. And he had a fresh lead on the Indian—the one who had worn a necklace of human fingers and The Iron Shirt...

LAFITTE'S LEGACY (1971) Jean Larue returns the newspaper said...The last of the Latittes had come back from Arizona to visit his dying grandfather. But enemies lay in wait, blocking his way with fallen trees, terrorizing his wife with poisonous snakes, signaling their malice with voodoo dolls. Someone wanted the old treasure map that was his legacy. But his adversaries had not reckoned with the pirate blood that was also part of Lafitte's legacy. He would tight with all the guile and guts, tenacity and ingenuity that had made his legendary ancestor the terror of the bayou.

Paul Bishop, writer editor publisherTHE JUDAS GOAT (1971) Life had made them hard...The army made them mean! The attack squad...Hand-nicked from the entire U.S. World War II army, they were a unique company. Twelve men led by a lieutenant, as able as he was arrogant, and a sharp, seasoned sergeant who was militantly silent about his past. Twelve fighters. among them an ugly man, a black man, an old World War I scout, a southern redneck, and a mountain climber. They were a strange assortment, but they had several things in common—They were tough and tenacious...and they didn't care too much about living. To the General they were the army's answer to the marines. To the Colonel they were a crack team...the best he could assemble. To the lieutenant they were animals. And by the time their brutal training had ended they were killers.

FRANK T’S PLAN (1972) Frank T. Dodge had a plan for revenge and it called for more than seeing a man dead… His daughter had been murdered...Frank T. had a painful score to settle. And his chance came when a jury freed the accused man, Martin Ballard. Lusting for vengeance, Frank T set out on a daring hunt to bring his prey back alive. But there was another group of desperate men who wanted Ballard dead. To get his man, Frank T would face death and terror with only his guts to get him through.

MORGAN'S ASSASSIN (1973) They called him “El Arquero”... The history books said bows and arrows had gone out years ago. But nobody had told James Morgan. Armed only with his great longbow, he had led a revolution that freed a Central American nation from tyranny. His men were all arqueros, or archers, but he was the only one called “El Arquero.” Now, back in the States, Morgan received another call for help—from the F.B.I. This time it was to foil an assassination attempt that everyone else seemed powerless to stop. But then he discovered that he was next on the assassin's list. It was kill or be killed—and as Morgan stalked his man, he discovered he was up against the most diabolical political conspiracy America had ever seen. To defeat it, the arqueros would have to march again...

STUNT MAN'S HOLIDAY (1973)  Max Besh was one tough apache. They shouldn't have gotten him mad. Max Besh, movie stunt man arid full-blooded Apache, was having quite a vacation in Las Vegas. He'd wan six grand at the crap tables and he'd gotten himself a curvy young dancer for companionship. Next thing he knew, he was looking down the barrel of a .38 and somebody was riding off with the cash and the girl. What the kidnappers didn't realize was nobody pulls that kind of trick on Max Besh. They eluded police and crossed the Mexican border, but they couldn't shake the angry Indian on their trail. Even if it took a shootout, Max Besh was going to get his money and his woman back—in that order.

CORY'S LOSERS (1973) When Cory had been stuck with that had murder rap, some of the town's solid citizens had moved in and taken everything he had. Now it was seven years later, and Cory was back with a score to settle. Meanwhile, his enemies had become the most powerful, ruthless men in town. They knew Cory was coming, and they were ready for him. But Cory had friends—the losers who, like him, had been taken by the big honchos. Together, they were going to make things pretty hot for those crooked bastards...

GANNON'S LINE (1976) John Gannon had settled into the life he wanted as foreman of the Holguin Rancho, south of Sonora. But powerful people in Washington had singled him out to lead a band of men and horses into the scorching Baja desert. His mission: to locate in that inferno of sand and sun the secret base of an espionage ring—and to crush the sadistic genius who masterminded it.

EDITOR’S POSTSCRIPT: When I scanned the paperback covers for this post, I noticed a connection between the John Whitlatch novels and men’s adventure magazines that I hadn’t noticed before. As Paul Bishop noted in his post, most of the novel covers were done by two top MAM artists, Norm Eastman and Mel Crair. Eastman and Crair both used the great male model Steve Holland as main characters for their Whitlatch covers, as they often did for their men’s adventure mag illustrations. When I scanned the cover of LAFITTE'S LEGACY, painted by Norm Eastman, it struck me that the gal getting nuzzled in the bottom left corner of the cover looked a lot like my friend Eva Lynd, who was both an artist’s model and pinup photo model back in the day. In fact, she was one of Eastman’s favorite female models for his men’s adventure art. I emailed a scan of the LAFITTE'S LEGACY cover to Eva and she confirmed that Norm had used a reference photo of her for the nuzzled gal. As I’ve discussed in other posts on this blog, Eva often posed together with Holland for reference photos taken by Eastman and another artist who did many MAM and paperback illustrations, Al Rossi. To read and see more about Eva Lynd and Steve Holland together, click this link.

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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.

John Whitlatch novels on Amazon

Sunday, August 13, 2017

A Men’s Adventure Magazines & Books Facebook Group Update...

Men's Adventure Magazines Facebook Group
Back in 2010, I created a Facebook group as a spinoff of this blog. It’s called the Men’s Adventure Magazines & Books Group.

Given the sometimes politically incorrect content in the men’s adventure realm, I made it a “closed group” that requires members to ask to join, as opposed to a public group that allows anyone to see the posts.

Year by year, the group has grown steadily.

It now has more than 2,100 members from all over the world, including fans of men’s adventure mags, early pulp mags, vintage illustration art, action/adventure novels and related genres.

In recent years, such Facebook groups have tended to become more popular and more widely viewed than serial blogs like MensPulpMags.com, and I’ve found myself following that trend.

My posts here have become less frequent. I generally use the blog for in-depth posts.

But I post daily in the Men’s Adventure Magazines & Books Facebook Group.

Each day, there are also posts by other members of the group, a diverse bunch that includes casual fans, hard core collectors, and an amazing number of talented artists, writers and indie publishers.

In case you’re not a member of the group yet, I invite you to join us.

Below are some examples of posts that were shared there in the past week...

Wayne Keil, owner of Hooked on Books, an Illinois bookstore that also offers thousands of used and collectible books on Amazon, recently posted a photo of a cool original painting by Mort Kunstler.

Wayne had noticed that the painting had just been listed for sale by Taraba Illustration Art, one of the best sources for original 20th Century illustration art.  

The Taraba folks knew the Kunstler painting had been used in an issue of STAG for a story titled “MY LIFE WITH NEW GUINEA’S AMAZON WOMEN,” but didn’t know which issue it appeared in.

Because I have an extensive digitized database of men’s adventure magazine contents pages, I was able to ID the issue as STAG, September 1957.

Then I posted a scan of the two-page spread from that issue.

STAG - 1957 09 Sept - Mort Kunstler art bbSTAG - 1957 09 Sept - Mort Kunstler REV WM bb

A couple of other cool Mort Kunstler paintings were recently posted in the group by my buddy Craig Clements. Craig is a major collector of original men’s adventure magazine artwork, especially work by Kunstler and Earl Norem.

Every once in a while, Craig sells off some of the MAM paintings he owns on eBay so he can free up space or raise cash to buy new ones. He is currently selling two Kunstler paintings I particularly love.

One is a totally gonzo classic showing a waterborne gang of hellraisers racing along in motorboats. It was used on the cover of MALE, August 1968 and goes with the story inside titled “I RIDE WITH THE OUTBOARD RAVAGERS.”   

MALE - 1968 08 Aug - art by Mort Kunstler WM bbMALE - 1968 08 Aug - cover by Mort Kunstler WM bb

Craig’s second recent post in the Facebook group shows another Mort Kunstler piece he’s currently offering on eBay.

It’s a bank robbing bikers gang scene originally used on the cover of FOR MEN ONLY, February 1966.

As Craig noted in his post, it happens to be one of the covers featured in our book BARBARIANS ON BIKES, a visual archive of men’s adventure mag covers and interior illustrations featuring bikers and motorcycle gangs.  

FOR MEN ONLY - 1966 02 Feb - Mort Kunstler art bbFOR MEN ONLY - 1966 02 Feb - Mort Kunstler cover bb

Our group member who goes by the nickname Johnny Begood and is an expert on vintage “Good Girl Art” from men’s magazines, recently posted a shot of a gorgeous painting by artist Victor Olson that’s up for sale on eBay.

It was used in ADVENTURES FOR MEN, June 1959 for the story “THE STRANGE MATING OF TERENCE O'LEARY.”

ADVENTURES FOR MEN, June 1959 - art by Victor Olson bbADVENTURES FOR MEN, June 1959 - Victor Olson art bb

Speaking of strange mating, another recent post that gave us a chuckle was made by group member Kevin Delaney, an actor and voice talent pro for movies, TV shows and video games who has worked on many cool projects. (See his page on the Internet Movie Database here.)

Kevin posted a scan of an ad for “Life Size Go-Go Girls” from the September 1971 issue of MAN’S ACTION. For a mere $3, one of those lovely love dolls could have been yours!

That ad elicited a string of quips and comments, including one by Patrick Ford, a comics art expert who runs an interesting group about Marvel Comics called THE MARVEL METHOD.

Patrick posted a link to a UK Daily Mail article about a Japanese businessman who claims “he has finally found happiness by having an intimate relationship with his love doll Saori.” Yep, that’s the guy taking his, er, girlfriend shopping in a women’s clothing store in the photo below.

MAN'S ACTION - 1971 09 Sept - Go Go girl doll ad bbSenji Nakajima and his doll Saori 01bb

In another recent post in our FB group, member Chuck Sycamore, a vintage pulp mag and illustration art maven in Chicago, posted photos of something neither he nor I had ever seen.

It’s a subscription flyer for TRUE magazine from around 1952 or 1953 that has a cool Tom Lovell illustration on one side and a pitch to potential subscribers on the other.

Lovell’s painting, which was used for a story in the July 1952 issue of TRUE, shows a group of nude women being attacked by a huge tiger.

TRUE subscription ad insert c. 1952 , Tom Lovell artTRUE subscription ad insert c. 1952 bb

Our member Thomas Clement recently posted another MAM illustration featuring a tiger. Thomas is the creator of the awesome American Art Archives illustration art site. (BTW, the eBay store run by his wife Christiane Thomas offers many vintage magazines for sale.)

The tiger illo posted by Thomas is from WILDCAT ADVENTURES, June 1960. The cover painting for that issue was done by Basil Gogos and is one of my faves. It goes with the wild story inside “BESTIAL ORGY OF THE HAIRY AINU.”

The tiger artwork is uncredited and unsigned, but looks like it was done by Charles Fracé, who started out as a magazine illustrator and ended up as a wildlife artist.

It was used for the story “THE DEADLY CARGO OF THE BRAZEN HUSSY.” That one is not included in our new book of “killer creature” stories and artwork I WATCHED THEM EAT ME ALIVE, but it would fit right in.

Wildcat Adventures - 1960 06 June - maybe Charles Frace bbWILDCAT ADVENTURES, June 1960. Cover by Basil Gogos

As a side note, my publishing partner Wyatt Doyle and have been pleased by the reviews that book has been getting from people we highly respect.

One recent review was posted by Ron Fortier on his Pulp Fiction Reviews blog. Ron is a legendary comics and “New Pulp” writer, editor and publisher, so we were quite proud to read his positive review. If you don’t know Ron’s work, check out the website of his Airship 27 publishing company. One of the latest Airship 27 offerings, titled TALES FROM THE HANGING MONKEY (Vol. Two), is clearly an homage to classic adventure pulp and a TV show you may recognize.

We also got a nice review from John Navroth, Editor of the great MONSTER WORLD MAGAZINE blog. And, we got a 5-star Amazon review from Dan Leo, author of the mind-blowing serial novel RAILROAD TRAIN TO HEAVEN.

We’re big fans of Ron, John and Dan, so it’s a pleasure and honor to get positive reviews from them.

Killer Creatures ad - 02TALES FROM THE HANGING MONKEY, Vol Two

One of my own recent posts in the Men’s Adventure Magazines & Books Facebook Group was a scan of a story in ARGOSY, December 1963.

The story is about Captain Paul Boynton, a real life adventurer who (among other things) invented a floating rubber suit that was like a cross between a modern diving drysuit and a kayak. He used it to paddle across the English Channel and down various rives in America and Europe in the 1870s and 1880s.

I love ARGOSY’s full-color interior illustration by George Gross showing Boynton and his suit. For an in-depth account of Boynton’s adventures, get the book, ROUGHING IT IN RUBBER. It has nothing to do with love dolls.

ARGOSY - 1963 12 Dec - George Gross illo WMRoughing It In Rubber book

If the posts above look like things you’d enjoy, but you’re not yet a member of the Men’s Adventure Magazines & Books Facebook Group, click this link to group’s main page, then click the “Join Group” button.  We usually respond to requests the same day.

Fair warning: we screen out people who appear to be fake Facebook entities or whose timeline posts peg them as likely trolls or jerks. And, sorry kids, the group is limited to adults.

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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.

Thanks to John Navroth, Editor of the great MONSTER MAGAZINE WORLD blog
for his review of our book collecting “killer creature” stories & artwork
from vintage men's adventure magazines, I WATCHED THEM EAT ME ALIVE.
Click this link or the image below to read the complete review.

Monster Magazine World Review graphic

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Who will inherit the Earth? Turtles, of course! I read it in STAG, Nov. 1961…

STAG, Nov 1961, Out of This World WM2 
I’m a big fan of turtles in real life. I’m also a big fan of the surreal “killer turtles” stories and artwork found in some of the men’s pulp adventure magazines published in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s.

We’ve featured some examples of gonzo turtle yarns and illustrations in several books in our Men’s Adventure Library series, including our latest offering, I WATCHED THEM EAT ME ALIVE.

Recently, a cool little item about turtles in the monthly “OUT OF THIS WORLD” Department in the November 1961 issue of STAG caught my attention.

“OUT OF THIS WORLD” is kind of a combination of news bytes, historical factoids and Robert Ripley’s “Believe It or Not,” illuminated with small, uncredited illustrations.

Many men’s adventure magazines had regular sections like it.

They often tend to get overlooked since they’re not as flashy as the cover paintings and interior illustrations or the feature stories.

But, personally, I find them to fascinating, entertaining and (dare I say it?) educational.

Most things in the “OUT OF THIS WORLD” Department that appeared in STAG are true or at least largely based on facts.

For example, I learned from the first mini-article in the “OUT OF THIS WORLD” Department in STAG, November 1961 that Benjamin Franklin was “the first American to tinker with the possibility of execution by electrocution.”  

It explains: “By using a set-up consisting of six Leyden jars, he was able to utilize the electrical current from the jars to snuff out the lives of chickens, lambs and a 10-pound turkey.”

Yes, that really is true. I checked.

Franklin did experiments in which he killed animals using electrical charges stored in Leyden jars, the 18th Century version of batteries.

There are some intriguing additional details about this dubious distinction in an article on the POPULAR SCIENCE magazine website.

It cites a report about Franklin’s critter-zapping experiments published by the famed British scientist William Watson. Watson noted that Ben’s attempt with the turkeys didn’t succeed initially.

“The turkies, though thrown into violent convulsions and then lying as dead for some minutes, would recover in less than a quarter of an hour,” Watson said drily, seemingly oblivious to the animal cruelty this implied.

But Ben was persistent. With a bigger shock, he did manage to kill a 10-pound turkey. And, Franklin boasted to Watson that “birds killed in this manner eat uncommonly tender.”

Don’t try it at home, folks. As the POPULAR SCIENCE article also explains, Franklin electrocuted himself during one of those experiments. Just not fatally.

STAG, Nov 1961, cover by Gil CohenSTAG, Nov 1961, Out of This World feature WMSTAG - 1961 11 Nov - Ben Franklin turkey story

Another fact-based mini-article in this example of “OUT OF THIS WORLD” is about a hero of a different kind, Jose Mendoza Lopez. Lopez was a Mexican-born American soldier who received the Medal of Honor for his bravery during the bloody Battle of the Bulge in World War II.

Using a heavy Browning M1919 machine gun, Lopez killed over 100 Nazi soldiers during that battle, more than any other American soldier did in WWII. In doing so, he saved the lives of many fellow soldiers who were pinned down by a German assault, allowing them to withdraw.

As the STAG piece explains:

STAG, Nov 1961, Jose Lopez “Although he was a member of Co. M, he and his machine gun were assigned to cover Co. K’s right side. Sizing up the desperate situation, he grabbed his heavy machine gun and lugged it to a shallow hole that only covered him up to his hips. His first burst cut down 10 Germans. Ignoring a barrage from an advancing enemy tank, he quickly trained his gun on a group of soldiers trying to encircle him—getting 25. Dazed by an artillery attack that dropped shells all around him, he was still able to see additional Nazis corning in from his right in an effort to outflank him. Again he dragged his gun to another, not so vulnerable position. Before he could set up his gun, he was bowled over by the concussion of a near miss, but he immediately reset his gun and kept on firing. Singlehandedly, he held off the massive German drive until Co. K could complete its withdrawal…For his extreme heroism—above and beyond the call of duty—PFC Lopez was awarded the nation’s highest tribute: The Congressional Medal of Honor.”

There are many articles about Lopez online, including a cool page about him on the “Badass of the Week” website. But I first learned about him from the brief piece in STAG

Some of the mini-articles in STAG’s “OUT OF THIS WORLD” sensationalized or stretched the facts. Some were based on legends.

Some combined fact and legend, like this one in the the November 1961 issue. 

“BORROW YOUR TEETH, PLEASE? — One of the most incredible stories to come out of the Yukon territory concerns a man who had all of his teeth extracted. A short while later, while out on a bear hunt, the toothless gentleman was lucky enough to bring down a fine specimen. Unable to eat the tasty meat of the bear, because without teeth it was impossible for him to chew, the hungry hunter proceeded to carve a set of teeth for himself out of the dead bear's now-useless fangs. Not only did he enjoy his meal, but he became a legend in the north country for having eaten the bear with its own teeth.”

With some Googling, I found that this is based on stories about Erwin A. “Nimrod” Robertson, a hardy Mainer who headed to Alaska during the Klondike Gold Rush.

Nimrod did make dentures using “incisors from a Dall sheep, premolars from a caribou, and molars from a bear.” But the legend about him eating the bear that supplied the molars is just that—legend.

Another little story in the OOTW Department in STAG, November 1961 says:

“FOR WHOM THE BELLS TOLLED — When King Louis XV of France passed away, the bells in the Cathedral of Toul pealed for 40 consecutive days and nights. The terrific vibrations set up by the constant ringing actually weakened the bell tower to such an extent that it continued to sway on its own. The swaying caused the bells to keep ringing for almost 21 years or more.”

That whopper is obviously contrary to the laws of physics. But, again, it probably wasn’t concocted by STAG, just repeated. It seems to be a legend that was floating around, at least in the 1960s. I found it in an old Ripley’s-like column titled “REALLY?” in a newspaper published in 1965.

I WATCHED THEM EAT ME ALIVE, p8 & 9 WMThere’s also this little oddity in the November 1961 “OUT OF THIS WORLD”:

“BIRTH AFTER DEATH — Probably the most macabre coincidence on record is the case of the Knoxville, Tennessee, woman who married three times. With each husband she had a child. Yet, each of her children came into this world after its father had died.”

Maybe true. Maybe not. I didn’t bother to Google that one.

The piece I liked best in the OOTW Department in STAG, November 1961 is about turtles.

In this case, it’s not one of the wild “killer turtle” stories we’ve featured in some of our books.

It’s a bit of speculation about what animal is likely to survive in the event of a nuclear apocalypse.

It says:

“WHO WILL INHERIT THE EARTH? — If any living thing on this earth is going to survive man's tampering with nuclear explosions, put your money on the turtle. For one thing, it's been able to keep going strong for at least 60,000,000 years. It lives in every part of the world and in such varied habitats as the middle of a desert or at the bottom of the sea. Turtles have been frozen into blocks of ice for months at a time, yet have been defrosted back to life. With no ears, they can hear the approach of friends or enemies, long before they arrive, by the vibrations set up. They have no voices, yet they can whistle and be heard 40 feet away. They are toothless, but the ridges in their mouths can shear off a man's finger as cleanly as a razor. And if you think they are slow, they can actually swim through the ocean at 20 miles an hour. Protected by a fantastic shell into which they can crawl at the sign of danger, turtles average about 150 years of life and probably have lived for as long as 500 years. Having outlived the giant dinosaurs, and having adapted to everything this earth has thrown at them over the last 60,000,000 years, it's a good bet some of the 300 species of turtle will be around long after man—as we know him—is gone.”

From what I can tell, most of those turtle factoids are true. And, in 1965, the Cold War was in full swing and the U.S. and Soviet Union were stockpiling and testing more and bigger nuclear weapons to use against each other. So, the threat of a radioactive Armageddon was viewed as almost inevitable reality.

Luckily, World War III hasn’t happened…yet.

But if it ever does, I hope the turtles do inherit the earth. Humans won’t deserve it.

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

     
Click this link
or the image below to order our latest full-color
collection of men’s adventure magazine artwork and stories,
the first
in our new, lushly-illustrated “Men’s Adventure Library Journal” series...
 

I WATCHED THEM EAT ME ALIVE:

Killer Creatures in Men’s Adventure Magazines

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