|Vintage Pulp||Jan 15 2023|
Don't worry! I'm going to get the three of you out of there!
Our girlfriends—affectionately PI-1 and PI-2—rolled their eyes at this one, and why wouldn't they? We did too, but we work with what we're given, and we certainly couldn't ignore the fact that this January 1969 Adam magazine features a cover of a woman whose gravity defying breasts are directly in the center of the art. Men's magazines, those concoctions of macho fantasy set to print, are inherently sexist, but we are mere documentarians of mid-century art, literature, and film—and crime, and weirdness, and sex—in the various forms they take. This one is a particularly eye-catching example.
While literary magazines published prestige fiction, men's mags like Adam carried on the pulp tradition, giving authors without highbrow leanings opportunities to expose their work to wide audiences. Without the efforts of such publications, modern literature might look very different. Stephen King, for example, published many of his early stories in Gallery, a middle-tier smut monthly nobody would have mistaken for Playboy. Speaking of which, Playboy published early works from Ian Fleming, Ursula K. Le Guin, and even serialized the entirety of Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 in 1954, a year after its initial publication landed with a thud.
As far as we know Adam didn't produce any major writers except James Lee, aka Jim Aitchison, whose Mr. Midnight books were recently made into a series now streaming on Netflix. But failing to graduate lots of future bestselling authors doesn't change what Adam was—a publication that aimed for mass male appeal by merging all the elements of what was once known as pulp. Those elements included mystery, crime, war, exotic adventure, risqué humor, and a dose of relatively tame sexual content. We have all that and more below in thirty-plus scans, and something like seventy-eight issues of Adam embedded in our website.
AustraliaAdam MagazinePlayboyGallery MagazineMr. MysteryJ. Edward BrownJames LeeJim AitchisonStephen KingIan FlemingUrsula K. Le GuinRay BradburyJack Waughmagazine artnudityliterature
|Vintage Pulp||Jun 29 2022|
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.
|Vintage Pulp||Jan 29 2022|
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.