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
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
2011—Elizabeth Taylor Dies
American actress Elizabeth Taylor, whose career began at age 12 when she starred in National Velvet
, and who would eventually be nominated for five Academy Awards as best actress and win for Butterfield 8
and Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
of congestive heart failure in Los Angeles. During her life she had been hospitalized more than 70 times.
1963—Profumo Denies Affair
In England, the Secretary of State for War, John Profumo, denies any impropriety with showgirl Christine Keeler and threatens to sue anyone repeating the allegations. The accusations involve not just infidelity, but the possibility acquaintances of Keeler might be trying to ply Profumo for nuclear secrets. In June, Profumo finally resigns from the government after confessing his sexual involvement with Keeler
and admitting he lied to parliament.
1978—Karl Wallenda Falls to His Death
World famous German daredevil and high-wire walker Karl Wallenda, founder of the acrobatic troupe The Flying Wallendas, falls to his death attempting to walk on a cable strung between the two towers of the Condado Plaza Hotel in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Wallenda is seventy-three years old at the time, but it is a 30 mph wind, rather than age, that is generally blamed for sending him from the wire.
2006—Swedish Spy Stig Wennerstrom Dies
Swedish air force colonel Stig Wennerström, who had been convicted in the 1970s of passing Swedish, U.S. and NATO secrets to the Soviet Union over the course of fifteen years, dies in an old age home at the age of ninety-nine. The Wennerström affair, as some called it, was at the time one of the biggest scandals
of the Cold War.
The federal penitentiary located on Alcatraz Island in San Francisco Bay closes. The island had been home to a lighthouse, a military fortification, and a military prison over the years. In 1972, it would become a national recreation area open to tourists, and it would receive national landmark designations in 1976 and 1986.
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