Vintage Pulp Jun 29 2022
BAD GIRL WITH A GUN
The only thing that can stop her is a good guy with some gumption.


This issue of Adam magazine hit newsstands this month in 1973. The cover illustrates John P.Gilders' unusual story, “The Seventeenth Shot,” and the male character isn't really a good guy with gumption, but a meathead with entitlement. It's the type of story that could serve as an example in a women's studies class in order to show how only fifty years ago—and today, often—women were not presumed to have ownership of their bodies. One afternoon ambling around a Gold Coast beach town the main character Ral sees a woman in a fourth floor hotel window aiming a rifle toward a crowd on a boardwalk. She's cute, so he gets interested. He goes up to her room and shoves his way inside when she tries to keep him out. Importantly, he doesn't care about the gun. He cares about her beauty. He doesn't think the gun is real even for a moment, so he's not trying to be a hero—he's trying to get laid. Once inside the room he forcibly kisses the woman, and makes her submit to him sexually in that no-means-yes way familiar from so much old fiction and cinema.

Afterward, he learns that the woman, named Eva, is dry-shooting a man she claims had her family executed back in her home country. When she's mock-shot him sixteen times she plans to shoot him for real. The seventeenth shot, for seventeen dead relatives. Ral doesn't believe her for an instant, though he notes that the rifle is real. He eventually leaves, but returns the next day around the same time. He barges in again, gropes and sexually takes her again. This happens day after day, and at no point is it suggested to be rape. At no moment is Ral hinted to be a bad guy. Eva practices her shot, and Ral comes each day for some action, having convinced himself she likes him, rather than is tolerating humilation so that a plan she's had since she was a little girl won't be ruined.

Finally, on day seventeen, the day she claims she'll shoot the man for real, Ral decides to be proactive about Eva's presumed delusion, and instead of going to see her, intercepts the man she plans to kill. Ultimately his moronic meddling gets Eva killed, because Ral assumed there was no way, simply no way, she could be right about her target being a mass murderer. Gilders wrote the story unironically, an archetypal dismissal of a woman's words, with tragic results. It boils down to: Well, your so-called genocidal maniac seems like a regular guy to me, so you must be crazy. Ral is not portrayed as bad, only a little dense. His forcing himself upon Eva is just him being a normal, red-blooded male. This is another reason we enjoy mid-century fiction—because as times change, meanings often change too. “The Seventeenth Shot” is rife with meaning it was never intended to have, exemplifying on multiple levels why so many women are pretty well fed up with male attitudes.

There's another story, an excellent one, that touches on sexism and male attitudes, and does it deliberately. It's J. Edward Brown's, “Thunder Maid,” and it deals with a highly competitive golfer whose private club takes in its first woman member—who later ends up matched against him in the final of the yearly club championship. He so hates the woman for her alleged intrusion into male territory that he plots to have her killed during the competition. He can't count on mundane means, because he might get caught, so he resorts to Polynesian magic—the intervention of the titular Thunder Maid, as summoned by a local shaman. Yeah, it's a bizarre story premise, but it works. Brown tells the tale hole by hole, all eighteen of them, building suspense as the weather turns, rain comes, and bizarre occurrences tilt the match this way and that. His opponent Anita is Polynesian. Was our sexist narrator the only one who resorted to magic? It sure seems at times like Anita has a little something extra in her bag too.

All in all, we'd say this issue is one of the more successful examples of Adam we've acquired. The art was nice, the fiction was fun for differing reasons, and most of the factual stories were legitimately interesting. We did a fast count and it seems like this is the seventy-fifth issue we've uploaded into our website. We also have thirty-nine more we haven't scanned yet. Oh yes, we've been busy little pulpsters. And we almost scored six more issues, but the guy selling them didn't want to be bothered with shipping internationally, so he took far less money—less than half what he'd have gotten from us—to sell his stack locally. We really wanted those, but that's life. Will we ever get our stack completely uploaded? It's not a question that needs an answer. We'll upload as many as we can. The same goes for our books and all the rest. There's no goal. The end is however far we happen to get. We have thirty-one scans below, and those other seventy-four issues of Adam in the website for you to enjoy. The greatest men's magazine in the history of Australia will return.
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Vintage Pulp May 7 2022
YOU NEED ONLY AXE
Bad news, I lost the key. But before I was a kidnapper I was an orthopedic surgeon, so foot reattachment is no problem.


Above is another vibrant cover for Adam magazine, this one from May 1968, uncredited as always but painted by Phil Belbin or Jack Waugh. The pair did the bulk of the illustrations for the magazine, but it's not possible—for us, at least—to determine who was responsible for which pieces, because they worked in a similar style. On the occasions Belbin bothered signed something it wasn't only as himself—sometimes he signed as Duke, Pittsburgh, Humph, or Fillini. Waugh, as far as we know, was always Waugh. We've now uploaded more than seventy issues of Adam (we haven't done an actual count for a couple of years) and we'd say signatures appear on maybe one of every ten illustrations. Waugh's scrawl pops up here in the art for the H.M. Tolcher story, “Prize Sucker.”

The cover illustrates the Joachim Heinrich Woos story, “The Danger Behind,” which is is about a man walking through the woods at the exact moment some rural cops and a heavily armed posse are looking for men who robbed a bank. The robbers shot the guards and several police. Blinded by a lust for revenge, the mob mistakes the innocent hiker for one of the killers and chases him over hill and dale with the intent to end his life. He escapes by rowboat only to drift downriver and run into one of the real crooks, who's chained up a hostage and has bad ideas as well as an evil temperament. It's a decent story from Woos, who also wrote for Pocket Man, Argosy, Off Beat Detective Stories, Adventure, and Manhunt. We have thirty-three scans below.
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Vintage Pulp Apr 3 2022
THE DISORDER OF THINGS
Looks like neither of us values tidiness or organization, so that's cool.


Ben Ostrick, who signed his work J. Oval, painted this 1963 Pan Books cover for Sloan Wilson's 1960 novel A Sense of Values. Ostrick was an amazing artist, with a colorful and harmonious style that Pan used to good effect on scores of covers. We wrote way back that he was British, but a few online sources say he was actually Australian. We'll dig into that at some point and see if we can figure it out. In the meantime, we have two small collections of his work, here and here. You should have a look.

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Vintage Pulp Mar 21 2022
KILLER NIGHT
No one's gonna save you from the beast about to strike.


Burt Lancaster as a doomed boxer named Ole Anderson, shot dead one night by a couple of hit men, is a seminal character in film noir. He epitomizes the major characteristic of the genre, that of a person caught in dangerous circumstances beyond their control. He's so caught he never tries to run or defend himself. He lets the killers shoot him. We didn't spoil anything by telling you that—Anderson is dead ten minutes after the movie opens. Using Ernest Hemingway's short story of the same name as a starting place, The Killers takes a typical endpoint for a film noir and flips the timeline around so that the drama becomes finding out why Anderson suffered such a hopeless demise. Sunset Boulevard would pull the same trick later in visionary fashion by having the dead character actually narrate the movie. We've shown you several posters for The Killers, but this one made for the Australian market is, well, killer. Compare it to the U.S. promo here. The movie premiered in Australia today in 1947.

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Vintage Pulp Jan 29 2022
THE A TRAIN
It's always fun to take a trip with Adam magazine.


This issue of our favorite men's magazine Adam was published this month in 1977 with a cover illustrating J. Edward Brown's story, “Tramway to Nowhere.” This is an interesting tale. It's about a smalltown trolley line that runs out to a secluded beach. People won't ride the train after dark because it's supposedly haunted by dead soldiers. We've never encountered a supernatural story in Adam, and this isn't one either. Cleverly, it turns out that the trolley is being used by criminals who dress as soldiers to keep the legend alive and scare folks away. They're searching the beach each night for a lost treasure. Our hapless protagonist stumbles upon the plot, and that's the very night the local police decide to raid the train. When the gunfire starts our guy almost loses his shit thinking he's being attacked by ghosts, but he soon sees that it's a regular old shootout, cops against robbers. Fun concept, and a pretty good story.

There's more in Adam, as always. We were drawn by the story about old cruise liners. The author talks about various decommissioned or lost ships such as the French behemoth the SS Normandie, and laments the fact that the age of luxury ship travel has passed, but we see cruise ships chugging past our balconies most days of the week, some of them incredibly large. In fact, the world's largest, the Symphony of the Seas, was in dry dock here last year. While the Normandie was three-hundred thirteen meters long and had twelve decks, the Symphony is three-hundred sixty-one meters long, with seventeen decks holding twenty-restaurants, twenty-six bars, nineteen pools, two rock climbing walls, a nine-deck high zip line, and a helipad.

So from our point of view, the age of luxury morphed into the age of ridiculous excess. Seriously, you need to see some of these ships to believe them. Most are far bigger than any hotel in town. We don't imagine traveling on one would be fun aside from the drinking, though we've never taken a cruise, so we don't really know. But generally, the idea of being with a thousand people whose idea of luxury is flashing lights, ringing bells, mass-cooked food, and pool water tainted with toddler pee scares us. We know—that makes us sound like snobs, but we're not. If we were snobs we wouldn't be collecting all these rare mags and sharing them with you. We're more-the-merrier type people. Except when todder pee is involved. We have forty-plus scans below.
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Intl. Notebook Jan 16 2022
ANNUAL CELEBRATION
Man Junior rings in the new year Down Under style.


We've shared a few issues of Australia's Man and Man Junior magazines. Like all men's publications they featured the combination of fact and fiction, sport and adventure, humor, and alluring women. And like many men's magazines, they published annuals—year-end or year-beginning collections of the best of the previous 365 days. That's what we have for you today—Man Junior's annual for 1965. It avoids any possibility of intellectual enrichment by focusing only on the primal—lust and laughs. Stripped down to nothing but glamour photos and cartoons, the magazine lays bare the fact that text is mere legitimization, a means of de-perving the visual content. Who'd buy an annual if it contained only dubious reporting and short stories? Not many people, we'd wager. These mags were all about the id. We have plenty of that below, with thirty scans. They comprise lovely women such as Betty Brosmer, Christine Aarons, and, in the final panel, June Wilkinson. The cartoons are beautifully colorful, if only occasionally successful as humor. We have more coming from Man and Man Junior in the future.

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Vintage Pulp Jan 14 2022
JUST A POSITION
I've been working on some fresh runway poses. I call this one: sociopathicool.


Above: a cover for Australian author Neville Jackson's, aka Gerald Glaskin's 1965 novel No End to the Way. What you see here is a 1967 edition from the British publisher Corgi. This is a significant book, one of the first novels with gay themes to be widely available in Australia. It wasn't legal to mail into the country, so Corgi, the legend goes, flew it in aboard chartered planes to skirt the law.

Plotwise what you get here is a drama about Ray and Cor, two men who meet in a bar and form a relationship that becomes committed, and seems aimed toward permanence—which is exactly when their most serious challenge arises in the form of a bitter ex-lover. This ex is determined to ruin what Ray and Cor have built, up to and including slander, career damage, and more.

We were quite interested in the cover art because Corgi was a mainstream publisher, and with this bright yellow effort they gave this controversial book the full court press. The push, the art, and the quality of the story worked—it was reprinted at least twice, and in fact was Jackson's/Glaskin's best selling book. He was an eclectic and fairly prolific writer, so maybe we'll run across him again later. There's a good bio hereNow we're going to work on that pose.
 
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Vintage Pulp Dec 16 2021
SOMMER IN AUSTRALIA
Hi, this is Elke calling from Down Under. Can I speak to my agent? There's been a trademark infringement.


As usual the Aussie publishing company Horwitz has used a film star on one of its book covers—this time German goddess Elke Sommer on the front of 1959's Terror Comes Creeping. She was a favorite of theirs—we've seen her on four covers, including this one, and we've speculated that they're all unlicensed, for reasons discussed here. This one stars Carter Brown's, aka Alan G. Yates's franchise sleuth Danny Boyd, who's hired by a woman named Martha Hazelton who thinks her father is killing off his children—with her next in line—in order to avoid losing his dead wife's inheritance. The father, when confronted by Boyd, says that insanity runs in the family and his daughter is paranoid and probably nuts. It certainly seems that way when Boyd meets his client's loopy, danger obsessed little sister, but of course matters soon begin to look far more complicated than they seemed at first. On one level it's amazing Carter Brown sold something like 120,000,000 books, because his work is not special. But on the other hand it's fast, sometimes funny, and hits the right notes for detective novels. So maybe his success isn't so strange after all. We'll probably read another, because we have a few.
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Vintage Pulp Nov 23 2021
JUNIOR LEAGUE
What it lacks in maturity it makes up for in exuberance.


Above you see a cover of the Australian magazine Man Junior, which hit newsstands Down Under this month in 1963. An offshoot of Man magazine, it came from K.G. Murray Publishing, along with Adam, Pocket Man, Eves from Adam, Cavalcade, Man's Epic, et al. The Murray empire, run by Kenneth G. Murray, came into being in 1936, and the company's various imprints lasted until 1978—though the entire catalog was bought by Consolidated Press in the early 1970s. We've seen nothing from K.G. Murray that we don't love, so we'll keep adding to our stocks indefinitely. Or until the Pulp Intl. girlfriends finally revolt, which should take a few more years. Speaking of which, it's been a few years since our last Man Junior, but its positives and negatives are still intimately familiar to us. On the plus side, the fiction and true life tales are exotic and often good, and on the negative side the humor doesn't usually hold up, though the color cartoons are aesthetically beautiful.

Of all the stories, the one that screamed loudest to be read was, “The Hair-Raisers,” by Neville Dasey, which comes with an illustration of a bearded woman. It's an absurd, legitimately funny story about a con man who accidentally invents a hair growing tonic, which he then unintentionally splashes on his date's face. By the next morning she has a beard, which proves the tonic works, but the con man lost the magic liquid when he stilled it, and he ends up losing the formula to create it. But everyone ends up happy—the con man earns a contract that pays him regardless of whether he can recreate the formula, and his date ends up marrying the owner of the hair restoration company. We weren't clear on whether the formula wore off, or she had to shave regularly. Either way, the story is meant to be silly and it certainly achieves that goal. Twenty-eight panels below, and more from Man Junior herehere, and here.

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Vintage Pulp Nov 12 2021
NIGHTS IN RED SATIN
What happens next could be great or terrible, depending on how well you distinguish subtle shades of color.


Since we just saw Cleo Moore why not bring her right back? Here she is on the front of Carter Brown's Slaughter in Satin, 1954, from the Australian publisher Horwitz. We've long documented this publisher's usage of minor celebrities on its covers, and pondered whether it was copyright infringement. What caught our eye about this example, besides Moore, was the typesetting. Notice how the “s” in the title disappears into Moore's red jammies, so at first glance it reads as, “Laughter in Satin,” which is almost an opposite outcome from slaughter, like the difference between being lain or slain. Probably when the book was first printed the two shades of red stood out from each other more. Or maybe this visual trick was intentional. Or maybe it was a miscalculation that couldn't be repaired. We'll never know. See the other Moore here, and see the celeb Horwitz covers by clicking here and scrolling. 

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Next Page
History Rewind
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
July 07
1949—Dragnet Premiers
NBC radio broadcasts the cop drama Dragnet for the first time. It was created by, produced by, and starred Jack Webb as Joe Friday. The show would later go on to become a successful television program, also starring Webb.
1973—Lake Dies Destitute
Veronica Lake, beautiful blonde icon of 1940s Hollywood and one of film noir's most beloved fatales, dies in Burlington, Vermont of hepatitis and renal failure due to long term alcoholism. After Hollywood, she had drifted between cheap hotels in Brooklyn and New York City and was arrested several times for public drunkenness and disorderly conduct. A New York Post article briefly revived interest in her, but at the time of her death she was broke and forgotten.
July 06
1962—William Faulkner Dies
American author William Faulkner, who wrote acclaimed novels such as Intruder in the Dust and The Sound and the Fury, dies of a heart attack in Wright's Sanitorium in Byhalia, Mississippi.
July 05
1942—Spy Novelist Graduates from Spy School
Ian Fleming, author of the James Bond novels, graduates from Camp X, a training school for spies located in Canada. The character of Bond has been said to have been based upon Camp X's Sir William Stephenson and what Fleming learned from him, though there are several other men who are also said to be the basis for Bond.
1989—Oliver North Avoids Prison
Colonel Oliver North, an aide to U.S. president Ronald Reagan, avoids jail during the sentencing phase of the Iran-Contra trials. North had been found guilty of falsifying and destroying documents, and obstructing Congress during their investigation of the massive drugs/arms/cash racket orchestrated by high-ranking members of the Reagan government.
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