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

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.


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.


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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Killer Creatures in Men’s Adventure Magazines