|Vintage Pulp||Dec 23 2020|
You two stop fighting. I don't love either of you. I only sleep with you for the body heat.
We have another issue of Adam magazine today, the sixty-sixth example of this Aussie treasure we've uploaded to our website, with a cover illustrating Ken Welsh's tale, “A Friend in Greed.” Welsh has done well in the past, but not this time. In the story, a couple of thieves who are sent by a mastermind to perform risky robberies, only to receive a minimal slice of the take as payment, decide to cheat their boss, but immediately turn on each other. This happens thanks to the liberally shared sexual favors of a femme fatale, as seen in the cover art. In the story she didn't wear a tiger-striped minidress, but we appreciate the artistic license. Unfortunately, “A Friend in Greed” is short on tension and scant on effort, hardly worth the illustration. We can't believe this is the same Welsh who wrote the excellent “Dirge for Darling.”
The highlight of the issue turned out to be Jules Archer's, “The Wildest Gun in the West.” It's supposed to be a factual story, and tells how two cowboys with a grudge to settle worked together to dig a grave seven feet deep, four feet wide, and eight feet long, then dropped into the hole to have a close-quarters knife fight to the death. The idea was that neither would have to bother burying the other after the fight. Just push some dirt in and leave. Easier said than done, since both are wounded before the matter is settled, but indeed one cowboy is left behind while the other rides back to town, pretty much naked because he had to use his clothes as bandages. Did it really happen? Well the word “fact” is used loosely in these men's adventure magazines, but we guess anything is possible when it comes to the old west. Thirty-plus scans below.
|Vintage Pulp||Feb 17 2020|
He promised her a smashing time on safari but this was nothing like she had in mind.
Adam magazine's covers are nearly always the same—two to four people and a pivotal action moment. This front from February 1970 is a typical example. It shows an unfortunate hunter learning that elephants sometimes won't simply stand still and let you shoot them through the heart so you can turn their tusks into paperweights. The nerve, really. The painting is great. It's probably by Jack Waugh, but it's unsigned, so there's no way to know. He did sign a couple of the interior panels, though. The cover was painted for Ken Welsh's story, “Dirge for a Darling,” which deals with a woman on safari who wants her hunting guide to kill her rich, alcoholic husband. Risky, but when you stand to inherit fifty million dollars, what's a little risk?
We try to avoid spoilers, but since you're never going to have a chance to read this obscure story, we'll just tell you what happens. The husband is a terrible guy, and he spends his days shooting badly at wildlife, and his nights drinking himself into a stupor. The fact that he's always insensate by dark is what allows the wife to start bedding the hunter right in camp in the first place. Once the hunter has been convinced to do the job, he realizes he must devise a foolproof yet suspicion free murder. He plans and schemes for days, looking for an angle, and finally tells the wife he has an idea, but the less she knows the better. Her job is to convincingly play the grieving widow when it happens, so for the sake of realism it's better if she's in the dark.
One morning the hunter comes to fetch the husband for a foray into the bush. Elephants are near. Today is the day the husband will finally get a big tusker. But the husband is hung over like never before. He wants a trophy, but can't possibly go shooting. He asks the hunter to bag an elephant for him. As the cover depicts, the hunter gets trampled to death. When the news comes to camp, the husband smiles evilly. The hangover had been an act. He'd discovered his wife's affair and, while she and her lover were otherwise occupied, had filed down the firing pin on the hunter's rifle. The gun didn't work when needed, resulting in a squashing.
The husband has a celebratory drink and forces his wife—who hates liquor—to join him. The husband cramps, convulses, and dies in excruciating pain. The wife realizes the hunter's foolproof murder method was to poison her husband's beloved liquor in such a way as to make authorities think it had been a bad batch. Then she cramps, convulses, and dies in excruciating pain too. The story ends: “It was all very sad when you considered the talent of those involved, but there it was. The principals, no doubt, went to hell. The $50,000,000 went to charity.” We've read a lot of Adam stories, and this was one of the more entertaining efforts. We have numerous scans below, with Claudine Auger in the second panel, and more Adam coming soon.