Where the wild things are.
Above is the cover of New Texture’s 2012 book Weasels Ripped My Flesh!, which co-editor Robert Deis sent to us back in December. It took a while, but we finally finished reading it, and as expected, it’s a supremely satisfying compendium. All the tales were drawn from men’s adventure magazines of the 1950s, ’60s, and ’70s, and authors include Robert Silverberg, Lawrence Block, Jayne Dolinger, Walter Kaylin, and Mike Kamens, who wrote the improbable but now classic crazed weasels story after which this collection is named.
We were particularly gratified by Harlan Ellison’s presence in the form of his 1956 yarn “Death Climb,” in which an alpine guide is caught mid-ascent in a deadly dilemma—both halves of the wealthy but unhappily married couple he’s guiding up Mt. Keppler have secretly offered him money to push the other off the top. That story exemplifies what can be so fun about this type of fiction—the way it often begins with no set-up or preamble, in this case launching at high speed with the line, “It was either climb Mt. Keppler—or die.” Likewise the story ends sans denouement—the climax is quick and brutal.
Ellison has always been renowned for banging out stories quickly. This one feels quicker than usual—the femme fatale’s hair color even changes from blonde to auburn. But the fun factor more than compensates for that little slip. In addition to fiction you get (ostensibly) true stories such as “I Went to a Lesbian Party” by Joanne Beardon, “Eat Her… Bones and All,” as told to Bruce Jay Friedman, an interview with Godfather author Mario Puzo, and many other treats.
Along with He-Men, Bag Men & Nymphos, which is also from New Texture, Weasels Ripped My Flesh! gives us two of the best men’s magazine fiction anthologies on the market. New Texture also has other enticing items in its catalog, such as Chris D.’s Gun and Sword, an encyclopedia of Japanese gangster and pinku films. You can find out more at the New Texture blog or at the website Menspulpmags.com.
… 282-Page Global Escapism … 15 Stories … Flawless Fun …
One of the many treats we managed to procure over the holidays was the book above, entitled He-Men, Bag Men & Nymphos, which is a collection of writings by mid-century men’s magazine author Walter Kaylin, a regular contributor to Men, True Action, Man’s World, and a host of other publications. The collection was put together by Robert Deis, along with Wyatt Doyle of the publishing company New Texture, and the titles of the stories are men’s magazine gold that tell you everything you need to know about what's inside. Example: “The Nymph Who Leads an African Death Army.”
Deis had already been inspired enough by the old monthlies to launch the website menspulpmags.com, but teaming up with Doyle to publish the work of one of the form’s most fondly remembered writers bespeaks true devotion to the idea of literary preservation. Deis was actually kind enough to send us both this book and the 2012 book Weasels Ripped My Flesh!, but we’ll get to Weasels later.
He-Men is an incredibly entertaining collection consisting of both Wyatt’s globe-trotting fiction and his highly descriptive reporting. Sample title: “The Yank Who Survived the 3,000 Mile Death Trek from Stalingrad.” You get fifteen pieces total, all of them prime examples of the fast and furious men’s magazine style, each prefaced by covers and spreads from the issues in which they originally appeared, a nice touch that brings in art from the likes of Harry Schaare, James Bama and Mort Künstler.
While collecting vintage magazines offers the reward of discovering some good fiction, along with the highs inevitably come some serious lows. But with He-Men, Bag Men & Nymphos
Deis and Doyle have done the heavy lifting for everyone and pieced together a consistently engrossing slate of tales. Best title: “…108 Hour Mid-Ocean Ordeal … 500 Dead … 300 Still Afloat…” Highly recommended, and for more info check here