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It's a Man's World: Men's Adventure Magazines, The Postwar Pulps Hardcover – May, 2003
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From Publishers Weekly
Alternately called "adventure magazines" and "armpit slicks," publications like True West, American Manhood and Challenge for Men enjoyed their heyday from the early 1950s through the early '70s. With their campy cover paintings of men at war, hunks on horseback and buxom women, these magazines gave blue collar workers "warnings, how-to's, and comforting memories of wartime." For Parfrey, they're worth looking at today because "they tell us so much about American working-class fears, desires and wet dreams." Parfrey intersperses this collection of full-color reproductions with essays by contributors on subjects ranging from exotica and "the sadistic burlesque" to the Cold War. The essays will be helpful to readers trying to make sense out of such images as UFOs closing their clamp-like hands around fretting females with their shirts unbuttoned (from Peril: The All Man's Magazine), and a burly, shirtless man straddling a flagpole flying a torn American flag (from Climax: Exciting Stories for Men).
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
...(Feral House has) brought the socially incompatible flotsam back to us in a wonderful book, IT'S A MAN'S WORLD. -- Robert Williams
...stunning historical evidence of the convoluted sexuality lurking in our epic archetype of the Real, True and All Man. -- Carlo McCormick, Senior Editor, Paper
Top customer reviews
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I am afraid I may have seriously overestimated the amount of men's magazine original cover art that still exists, if these books that are supposed to be compendiums of the art of this group of magazines that still exists, and done by persons who are the experts in the field, with access to all the original art that is out there.(And I am starting to believe all the articles I read with interviews from the original artists who say they threw all their work away years ago!) In fact it appears that only Kunstler saved his art, and possibly Beecham and Eastman. Eastman is however, apparently still doing commissions of old covers so I am not sure about the history of those pieces, as I see copyright symbols showing up on some of his work now, and I saw him doing redrawing work for Rich Oberg, and even Kunstler is "re-doing" or "retouching" his older works, as I see multiple notice on Heritage auctions saying Kunstler has done this, along with the fact that it is apparently Kunstler who is selling his own pieces. Are you getting a little confused yet? I am. Sincerely, Ashley Batchelor
If you are interested in pulp fiction's final era, or just want insight into the mindset of the "Mad men" generation, this is the book for you. Highly recommended.
The covers generally depicted some twisted variation on Nazis torturing lingerie models, lingerie models getting revenge on the Nazis, he-man battles to the death or deadly animal attacks (a personal favorite of mine is the "weasels ripped my flesh" cover that would inspire the title and cover art for the Frank Zappa album of the same name 20 years later).
This full-color book is CRAMMED to the gills with cover repros, with quite a few photographed from THE ORIGINAL ART! But the thing that really impressed me about this book was that it goes beyond mere cover images and explores the behind-the-scenes history of these magazines with interviews with some of the editors, writers and cover illustrators who actually created these kitsch masterpieces! There's even an art tutorial by Norm Saunders (the guy who painted the original Mars Attacks trading cards)!!
Trust me, if you like bizarre art or are interested in the dark underbelly of Americana, you can't go wrong with this book. I can absolutely say it is the coolest thing I own! I only wish there were more stars to give it...