The MEN’S ADVENTURE QUARTERLY #9—the “Croc Attack” issue, Preview – Part 2

My previous post here was Part 1 of an in-depth preview of the MEN’S ADVENTURE QUARTERLY #9, the “Croc Attack” issue. MAQ #9 reprints classic men’s adventure magazine stories and artwork that feature crocodile and alligator attacks and, as you’ll see below, includes several special articles.

Yes, that’s me holding a copy of MAQ #9 and mimicking the guy in the cover painting.

The image was painted by the great pulp, men’s adventure magazine and paperback cover artist George Gross. It was first used on the cover of MAN’S ILLUSTRATED, November 1955. You can see all of George’s amazing MAM covers in the book GEORGE GROSS: COVERED., which I co-edited with my Men’s Adventure Library book series co-editor Wyatt Doyle.

I’m currently working with my MAQ co-editor, Bill Cunningham, on MAQ #10. It will feature classic men’s adventure magazine stories and artwork about the Vietnam War.

I’ll be posting a preview of that after it’s published in February 2024. For now, if you haven’t read MAQ #9 yet, here’s a look at some more of what you’re missing…

The story “Curse of the Crocodile,” reprinted from MAN’S ACTION, June 1961 goes beyond the realm of a standard action/adventure tale into the realm of horror fantasy. I can imagine it as an episode of THE TWILIGHT ZONE. I think it would be a great one.

The plot mixes two old tropes associated with “native” people—witchcraft and the process used to shrink heads.

You can read more about the latter in the story “I Helped Shrink a Human Head” in the MEN’S ADVENTURE QUARTERLY #4, written by the legendary female adventurer, writer and model Jane Dolinger.

The story “Blood for the Crocodile,” from MAN’S LOOK, October 1961 is about an African “Crocodile Cult.” That cult is imaginary, as is the name of the supposed writer. There was a real “Leopard Men” cult in Africa, involving men dressed in leopard skins who murdered people for religious and political reasons. However, as far as I can tell, there were no similar groups of African killers who dressed up in crocodile skins—except in fiction.

Dangerous men dressed as crocs show up in several comics I know of, including Dell’s TARZAN comic series and Gold Key’s KORAK, SON OF TARZAN. There’s also a 1972 issue of the Danish Tarzan comic series, TARZAN ABERNES KONGE (“King of the Apes”) that has a cover showing Tarzan strangling a guy in a croc costume.

One of two exclusive guest articles in the MEN’S ADVENTURE QUARTERLY #9 is “Men’s Adventure Magazines Down Under.” It was written by our Australian friend Andrew Nette. Andrew is both a pulp culture historian and a novelist.

He’s the co-editor, with Iain McIntyre, of three books that are must-haves for fans of vintage paperbacks. My favorite is GIRL GANGS, BIKER BOYS, AND REAL COOL CATS: PULP FICTION AND YOUTH CULTURE, 1950 TO 1980. Andrew has also written two excellent novels featuring a hardboiled character named Chance, GUNSHINE STATE and ORPHAN ROAD, both of which I highly recommend.

Although most men’s adventure magazines were published in the US, there were some Australian MAMs that were similar to, and sometimes borrowed from American MAMs. Andrew’s article in MAQ #9 is the first overview of Aussie MAMs ever published and I’m proud that we were able to include in MAQ #9.

The second exclusive guest article in MAQ #9 is an in-depth overview of movies that feature killer crocodiles and alligators. It was written by another Australian friend of ours, John Harrison. John is a widely published movie maven, whose commentaries about films are included in a number of special DVD editions and in pop culture magazines like CINEMA OF THE 70S, CINEMA OF THE 80S and many others. He’s also the author of HIP POCKET SLEAZE (a guide to vintage soft porn paperbacks), REEL WILD CINEMA, and WILDCAT! THE FILMS OF MARJOE GORTNER.

You probably know some of the movies John reviews on his MAQ #9 article, but I’m sure you’ll discover others you haven’t seen by reading it.

“We Fought Monster Crocodiles” from MAN’S EXPLOITS, December 1963 is a tale about an American, his girlfriend and their African guide, who get surrounded and attacked by dozens of big crocs. There’s a lot of action and suspense in the story, but it has an unexpectedly humorous ending. Sadly, the interior illustration for the story and the cover art for the MAN’S EXPLOITS it originally appeared in are uncredited.

The artists involved in the next story—“My Hand-to-Jaw Death Duel with a Croc” from FOR MEN ONLY, November 1970—are both well known to MAM fans. Mort Künstler did the cover and the late Bruce Minney did the interior illustration.

I’ve had the honor of interviewing them both for my blog. My interviews with Mort led to the book MORT KÜNSTLER: THE GODFATHER OF PULP FICTION ILLUSTRATORS, which I co-edited with Mort and Wyatt Doyle.

My interview with Bruce helped inspire Minney’s son-in-law, Tom Ziegler, to publish a book featuring his MAM artwork, BRUCE MINNEY: THE MAN WHO PAINTED EVERYTHING.

The “Death Duel” story is not a typical MAM man vs. beast yarn. It has the flavor of a noir film and is one of my faves in this issue of the MAQ.

Like all MAQ issues, MAQ #9 has a “Gal-Lery” photo feature. This issue’s Gal-Lery  features two once well known pinup models who have a link to the 1957 movie THE ASTOUNDING SHE MONSTER. One is Shirley Kilpatrick, who starred as the titular alien character in that cult science fiction film. Shirley’s acting career never quite took off, but “cheesecake” photos of her appeared in dozens of men’s bachelor and adventure magazines.

Like most AIP films, THE ASTOUNDING SHE MONSTER was promoted with a poster that was, artistically, a lot better than the movie. It was painted by Albert Kallis, who created many posters for films released by American International Pictures and, oddly, also co-founded the International House of Pancakes.

The model Kallis used for the She Monster shown in the poster was not Shirley Kilpatrick. It was Madeline Castle, another, even more popular mid-20th century glamour girl. Madeline was PLAYBOY magazine’s “Miss October” in 1954. Over the next two decades, photos of her appeared in scores of other bachelor mags and in many men’s adventure mags. She was a top tier pinup model.

Although most of the MAM stories in MAQ #9 are fiction, “The Worst Horror Story of World War II” from STAG, November 1971 is fact based. It’s about the bloody Battle of Ramree Island that took place in 1945, as Allied troops tried to retake the island as part of the “Burma Campaign” in the South Pacific near the end of the war. During that battle, a group of nearly 1,000 beleaguered Japanese soldiers tried to tramp through a muddy mangrove swamp to evade American troops. Unfortunately for them, the swamp was full of big saltwater crocodiles.

There have been various accounts of what happened during this real life death trek. All say that many—or at least some—of the Japanese soldiers were killed an eaten by crocs during their desperate retreat through the swamp. The extent of the slaughter became legendary and eventually led to an entry in the GUINNESS BOOK OF WORLD RECORDS.

According to that entry it set a record for the “Most human fatalities in a croc attack?” There’s a question mark after the word “croc” in that headline because the exact number of Japanese soldiers killed by crocs on Ramree has been disputed.

The MEN’S ADVENTURE QUARTERLY #9 is available on Amazon worldwide in a full color print edition, a lower cost black-and-white “Noir” edition, and a full color Digital Replica ebook edition that’s free to Kindle Unlimited members. In fact, you can get all back issues of the MAQ on Amazon in those three editions. You can also get the color print edition and all past MAQ issues directly from me, with free shipping, via my online bookstore.

Thanks again to Bill Cunningham, John Harrison, and Andrew Nette for collaborating with me to make MAQ #9 another outstanding issue. I’ll be announcing the release of MAQ #10 here soon. In the meantime, click this link or the image below to see a cool video preview of MAQ #9 posted by vintage media maven Jules Burt on his popular “Collections and Unboxings” YouTube channel.