British adventure magazine takes readers to the ends of the Earth.
The British men’s adventure magazine The Wide World debuted in 1898 and lasted all the way until 1965. That’s not quite National Police Gazette or Argosy longevity, but it’s still very good. During that entire time, a span encompassing two global conflagrations and various economic fluctuations, it failed to print only four issues—including once when a German aerial bomb flattened its pre-press facility.
The magazine’s founder was George Newnes, who also published The Strand Magazine, Tit-Bits and other titles. With The Wide World he hit upon an audacious marketing gimmick—he assured readers that every word in the magazine was true, and made “Truth Is Stranger than Fiction” the publication’s slogan. This claim was hot air, of course, but that idea—and the conceit that adventurers were a sort of global club that owed allegiance to one another—helped make the magazine a success among readers who considered themselves men of the world, or longed to be.
A strong focus on exotic lands and inscrutable dark-skinned inhabitants resistant to the white man’s ordained incursions likewise played well with readers, as Britain’s colonial era evolved into a post-colonial one. That makes The Wide World a repository of some ugly attitudes, however the magazine also managed such feats as being the first publication to report the death of Butch Cassidy in Bolivia, and publishing stories by many literary notables. Above and below you see a collection of covers, nicely rendered in pulp style by various artists.
, South Africa
, New Zealand
, The Wide World
, Butch Cassidy
, George Newnes
, magazine art
The Male capacity for violence.
Above is a Mort Kunstler cover for Male painted for the January 1965 issue. Kunstler was famed for his war panoramas, as we’ve discussed before, and if you click his keywords below you’ll see several more martial covers from him that we’ve shared. Inside Male you also get art from Charles Copeland, Samson Pollen, and Gil Cohen. The model feature is Susan Radford, who is described as a starlet but who we’d never heard of. Turns out it wasn’t just us. We checked the usual databases and found no mention of Radford anywhere, so it seems Male editors were premature in dubbing her a major riser.
Male focused on all kinds of violent adventures, but especially those dealing with warfare. This issue has four war stories dealing with the Soviet Union, China, and the Nazis, but the most notable entry is South African author Anthony Trew’s gripping Two Hours to Darkness, published here as booklength fiction. The tale is described in the contents as “the nightmarish spine-tingler that will be the movie blockbuster of 1965,” but it looks like Male was wide of the mark again, because no film based on the book was ever released. So Trew had to settle for selling a measly 3.5 million copies of the novel in sixteen languages, the hack. We have a dozen scans below.
, Two Hours to Darkness
, Mort Kunstler
, Charles Copeland
, Samson Pollen
, Gil Cohen
, Susan Radford
, Anthony Trew
, magazine art
Survival of the fittest—or just the person with the gun.
This issue of Australia’s Adam published in December 1971 has a rather nice cover illustrating a story by Adam Greenhill entitled “Nightmare in Timor.” We see the moonlit moment when the villains try to kill the hero, but need to make it look as if he’s been hacked to death by Timorese tribesmen. The girl, named Violet in the tale, plans to shoot the protagonist only in the unlikely event he survives the fight.
One thing about these 1970s Aussie writers is that they use the nearby lands of Timor, Malaysia, the Philippines, et al. to good effect, setting many stories in the jungles of those countries. The best writers do more than simply depend on exotic locales. They manage to slip in details that bring the settings to life, such as quirks of language, protocols of interpersonal interaction, or the fare in local markets and restuarants.
American writers from the same period didn’t seem as interested in their own exotic neighbors such as Guatemala, Belize, etc., although Mexico figures somewhat prominently in U.S. pulp, as well as in film noir. In any case, Adam remains our favorite men’s magazine, and the many stories set in mysterious Asian lands are a major reason. We have twenty-nine scans below to bring your 2014 to a pleasant end.
Well, yes miss, usually we line up a group of similar participants, but six-foot blondes don’t exactly grow on trees.
Above, a nice cover of Master Detective from December 1953 with art by the always brilliant Barye Phillips. The magazine launched in 1924, but this is the earliest cover we’ve shared. We’ll dig a bit and see what we can find going back into the 1940s and earlier. By 1954 the covers became considerably more text heavy, which makes nearly blank examples like this worth looking for. We’ll see what we find.
Despite best efforts the perpetrator remains unknown.
We’re sharing this hyperviolent true crime magazine front because the art resembles that from yesterday’s post of Tom Palmer covers for The Crime Machine. Crime Does Not Pay has no art credits, so we can’t be sure who painted the covers, but we doubt it’s Tom Palmer because, while similar in mood, Crime Does Not Pay is more cartoonish. Artists' styles evolve, of course, and a couple of years separate the two magazines, but we still doubt it's the same guy. We checked every site online that deals in these sorts of publications and none of them had a name. We also have two full issues of Crime Does Not Pay and there are definitely no art credits anywhere inside, and the pieces are unsigned to boot, so we don’t even have a pair of initials or some illegible scrawl to work from. So the above cover art—brilliant and ingenious—remains uncredited. See the other three examples of Crime Does Not Pay here, here, and here.
Up in the sky, look! It’s a bird! It’s a plane! No, it’s superhunk!
Serving as something of a flipside to yesterday’s post, today we have some excellent examples of the beefcake art of George Quaintance. As we mentioned before, Quaintance’s work seems to be growing more popular all the time, and these examples were going for $150.00 and up. That makes us appreciate even more the Quaintance we got for five dollars during our U.S. trip in 2012. Your Physique was launched by bodybuilder Joe Weider when he was fourteen, which makes any plans we have for the future seem pretty unambitious by comparison. These issues date from 1946 and 1947, which were the only years Quaintance did covers for the magazine. Typically, he illustrated actual bodybuilders, and you can see their names on the covers. You may also notice an interesting juxtaposition of the Empire State Building in panel seven. Quaintance's love of the male form emanates quite strongly from these masterworks, not just because of their technical brilliance, but because of the dominant scenarios some of the figures are placed within—for example, flying above or striding across the planet. The top cover was in pretty bad shape, necessitating some restoration work in Photoshop, but the others are untouched.
Twelve leading causes of headaches and bodily pain.
The National Police Gazette devoted much of its space to boxing. Above you see twelve pages, some originals and some reprints, from its monthly feature the Gallery of Champions. Of course, Jimmy Carter, at top, later went on to become president of the United States. Really a remarkable story.
, Jimmy Carter
, Max Schmeling
, Joe Louis
, Billy Papke
, Georges Carpentier
, Jess Willard
, Packey McFarland
, Ezzard Charles
, Jack O’Brien
, Jack Dempsey
, Henry Armstrong
, magazine art
Way down Argentine way Bogart fronts the era’s definitive detective novel.
Leoplán was an Argentine magazine published by Ramón Sopena’s eponymous company Editorial Sopena from 1934 to 1965. This issue features a complete Spanish language reprint of Dashiell Hammett’s The Maltese Falcon and is fronted by a nice Manuel Olivas painting of Humphrey Bogart and the bird. It’s from 1949.
, Editorial Sopena
, The Maltese Falcon
, El halcón maltés
, Ramón Sopena
, Humphrey Bogart
, Dashiell Hammett
, Manuel Olivas
, magazine art
, film noir
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
1933—Hitler Becomes Chancellor
Adolf Hitler is sworn in as Chancellor of Germany in President Paul Von Hindenburg's office, in what observers describe as a brief and simple ceremony. Hitler's first speech as Chancellor takes place on 10 February. The Nazis' seizure of power subsequently becomes known as the Machtergreifung.
1916—Paris Is Bombed by German Zeppelins
During World War I, German zeppelins conduct a bombing raid on Paris. Such raids were rare, because the ships had to fly hundreds of miles over French territory to reach their target, making them vulnerable to attack. Reaching London, conversely, was much easier, because the approach was over German territory and water. The results of these raids were generally not good, but the use of zeppelins as bombers would continue until the end of the war.
1964—Soviets Shoot Down U.S. Plane
A U.S. Air Force training jet is shot down by Soviet fighters after straying into East German airspace. All 3 crew men are killed. U.S forces then clandestinely enter East Germany in an attempt to reach the crash but are thwarted by Soviet forces. In the end, the U.S. approaches the Soviets through diplomatic channels and on January 31 the wreckage of the aircraft is loaded onto trucks with the assistance of Soviet troops, and returned to West Germany.
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