When Mafia thugs take on Oklahoma roughnecks it's an oil or nothing battle to the death.
We finally picked up a new scanner and life is good again. You may have noticed the difference in recent uploads. No moire patterns. No weird rainbows. All clean. You may also have noticed the website looks a bit different. We were making some changes over the holidays and got caught in the middle, but we'll finish everything as soon as we can and get it all working properly again. We know, we know. We're really slow with this stuff. But we'll get there.
Meanwhile, today we have for your enjoyment an issue of Australia's Adam magazine, published this month in 1972 with a cover illustrating Martin Rudyard's tale “The Mafia Oil Stakes,” about an organized crime cartel trying to take over a group of Oklahoma oil fields. Most of the owners sell out, but one stubborn cuss refuses, and sabotage followed by violence soon results. The climactic fight takes place against the backdrop of an oil well conflagration. A femme fatale is at the root of all this craziness, and her name is Angela Fierce. Sometimes writers try a little too hard, don't they?
The inside cover star, just above, is Lois Mitchell, someone we've been meaning to feature. She was a popular glamour model during the ’70s, and appeared in copious amounts of high quality images shot by men's magazine contributors Ron Vogel, Edmund Leja, and others. The photo appearing here is new to the internet as far as we can tell. We have thirty-some scans of today's Adam, forty-eight other issues inside the website, and about thirty more we plan on sharing down the line.
War is hell, but being a prisoner of war can be worse.
This January 1959 copy of Stag is an example of the joys of collecting old magazines. We bought it for three dollars, but it's being auctioned on Ebay right now for $100. Mort Kunstler handles the cover chores, illustrating Edward Newman's story “The P.O.W.s Who Broke Out of Rat Hell Stockade,” which deals with a group of Union soldiers during the U.S. Civil War who tunneled their way out of Richmond's Libby Prison. The story is true. The escape was one of the most successful breakouts of the war. The escapees were highly motivated due to the fact that Libby Prison was a hellhole that generated high mortality rates due to abuse, starvation, exposure to severe weather, and terrible overcrowding.
A contemporary newspaper had this to say: “They are huddled up and jammed into every nook and corner; at the bathing troughs, around the cooking stoves, everywhere there is a wrangling, jostling crowd; at night the floor of every room they occupy in the building is covered, every square inch of it, by uneasy slumberers, lying side by side, and heel to head, as tightly packed as if the prison were a huge, improbable box of nocturnal sardines.” Inside Stag is art from James Bama, Kunstler again, Joe Little, Al Rossi, and Bruce Minney. You also get model/actress Irène Tunc, who was Miss France of 1954 and appeared in about thirty films during a three-decade film career. All this and more below, in twenty-three scans.
Update: we got the following e-mail from James N:
The cover of Stag, January 1959 was painted by James Bama. The credit to Mort Kunstler as printed in the magazine was an editorial error. Bama has confirmed this. For the sake of historical accuracy it would be nice if you changed your Jan. 9, 2017 post to reflect Jim Bama's true credit.
We've talked a lot about how official credits can be wrong, so we're inclined to believe the cover was mistakenly attributed by editors because we already know they were human and made these types of goofs. But the process of collecting and curating vintage art offers the chance to get things right. So we're calling this cover a Bama, and thanks to James N. for taking the effort to write us.
When in doubt just shoot everybody.
Above is a really nice cover for an issue of Australia's Adam magazine published this month in 1969. The art illustrates John Dean's story “Aces High,” which is about an undercover operative trying to take down an organized crime kingpin. His way in is a Casino Royale style high stakes poker game, where he's surprised to find that his girlfriend is the arm candy of the kingpin. In the final shootout the girlfriend helps the agent take out the crooks, and we and the boyfriend learn that she's also an agent working undercover—deep undercover—to set up the crooks for the police. We've read better. We've read worse. We'll give Dean credit for deftly working the titillation angle of the girlfriend repeatedly bedding the kingpin so that he would thrust fully in her—er, we mean trust fully in her.
Normally when we share an Adam we make thirty or forty scans. This one, however, came to us in something close to unread condition. Not a crease to be found anywhere. Because scanning involves flattening a magazine, which naturally brings about creases, we decided not to reduce this one's value. That means we have only the cover and few interior images for you. Sorry about that. And our scanner is a little balky of late too. It's six years old, so it's probably a case of that engineered obsolescence thing electronics companies do but which we're supposed to believe they don't. Sure. Anyway, we have dozens of other copiously scanned issues of Adam elsewhere in the website. Try a few of our favorites, here, here, and here, while we pick up a new scanner.
Wild time leaves man with splitting headache.
The cover of this September 1970 issue of Australia's Adam magazine illustrates W. A. Harbinson's story “The Swinging Hep-Cat,” in which a man and woman spend most of their brief marriage fighting. He eventually strangles her. Or thinks he does. She actually survives and he only learns of this fact in jail from the cops who arrested him, as they laugh about it and reveal that she's fled for Paris—and the arms of another man. Much of the fiction in men's adventure magazines is disposable, for lack of a kinder term. We love it, of course. Men's magazine fiction would be nothing without hack writing. But Harbinson actually shows some skills in “The Swinging Hep-Cat,” as well as a muscular style. A sample:
We fought considerably during those early days of our marriage, bouts of most regal proportions, plates, knives, hair-brushes and antiques flying across the bedroom on fierce winds of abuse, she raging naked against the French windows in full view of the tourists below, me crouching back toward the door wondering how to tackle this bitch who had eaten my peace—a farce, a pantomime, a lunatic performance on both sides, always dissolving in the bed.
Or this little description:
Francisco Antonio D'Costa Pegado, a glorious dark beast of a man, rich as sin, tight as a drum, an incredible neurotic lover.
We checked after finishing the story, fully expecting Harbinson to have an extensive bibliography and we were right. He's written several dozen novels, mostly sci-fi, under his own name and that of Shaun Clarke. Not every good wordsmith manages to carve out a strong career—or any career, for that matter—so we were pleased Harbinson did well, because he actually knows how to use language in a way that brings it to three-dimensional life. At least he did in “The Swinging Hep-Cat.” He's still around and was last published in 2012, but we'll probably mine his earlier material, his stuff from the 1970s. We have high hopes. Elsewhere in Adam is fiction from Jack Ritchie, Austrian actress Senta Berger on the table-of-contents page, and plenty of cartoons. We have twenty-eight scans below, including a mega Berger in the final panel for your enjoyment.
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
1968—Olympic Committee Suspends Carlos and Smith
The U.S. Olympic Committee suspends African-American track & field athletes Tommie Smith and John Carlos for saluting the crowd with raised, gloved fists during a medal ceremony at the Mexico City games. The salutes represented the black power and civil rights movements in the United States. Both athletes also received their medals shoeless to represent black poverty.
1933—Capone Sentenced to Prison
Chicago organized crime boss Al Capone is convicted of income tax evasion after all other attempts to tie him to an assortment of crimes, from the mass murder of the St. Valentine's Day Massacre to widespread violations of the Volstead Act, fail. He is sentenced to eleven years in federal prison and, cut off from the outside world while on Alcatraz Island, his power is finally broken.
1964—China Detonates Nuke
At the Lop Nur test site located between the Taklamakan and Kuruktag deserts, the People's Republic of China detonates its first nuclear weapon, codenamed 596 after the month of June 1959, which is when the program was initiated.
1996—Handgun Ban in the UK
In response to a mass shooting in Dunblane, Scotland that kills 16 children, the British Conservative government announces a law to ban all handguns, with the exception .22 caliber target pistols. When Labor takes power several months later, they extend the ban to all handguns.
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