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I Watched Them Eat Me Alive: Killer Creatures in Men's Adventure Magazines (The Men's Adventure Library Journal) Paperback – July 6, 2017
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These magazines were intended for men and were filled with tales of rugged heroism whether taking place on the battlefields of Europe and the South Pacific or pitting the protagonists against the still existing wildernesses of the world. They certainly were not for the squeamish and under that MAM’s umbrella there were many distinct sub-genres; none more gruesome than those featuring animal attacks. Be they rats, weasels, giant sea crabs or slithering, slimy snakes, the Man vs Critters yarns were some of the most violent ever concocted and often stretched the boundries of the truth. Sure it was unlikely that Australia’s flying squirrels would enmass attack and kill humans, but the idea itself was enough to sell a MAM’s editor and soon inspire a startling cover depicting that very scene.
With “I Watched Them Eat Me Alive,” Deis and Doyle have given us a new, slimmer tome with this very theme as its central core. The book is filled with five of the most memorable such tales by veteran scribes Stan Smith, Robert Silverberg, Lylod Parker, Lester Hutton and the amazing Walter Kaylin. Kaylin’s snake-fest is a fitting finale to the book’s fiction and will surely be the source of our nightmares to come.
Peppered between these stories are seven pictorial reproducing some of the most beautiful MAM’s covers and interior art ever produced by classic artists such as Rafael De Soto, Norm Saunders, Clarence Doore and many others who got their start in the pulps. Again reminding us of that evolution.
The MAM’s died out in the early 70s, soon to be forgotten and those issues that survived were relegated to attic boxes. It is a true testimony to Bob Deis and Wyatt Doyle that they have managed to rekindle a genuine historical interest in those titles and together they insure that they will maintain their place in America’s literary history. We soundly applaud them…and this terrific book. If you love pulps, you need to pick this up along with all their previous titles. Believe us, you will not be disappointed.
The man versus animals yarns were my favorite, so I was very enthusiastic about this latest anthology. Needless to say I was not disappointed. Macho tough guys, damsels, and poor victims must face off against gorillas, snakes, crabs, and flying rats to the death! Plus, readers are treated to various cool magazine covers. My only gripe is that it could have had more stories, but that is just the greedy kid in me wanting more. The story by the late Walter Kaylin was worth the price of admission alone.
I would also just like to mention that the one author, whom wrote one of the introductions, nailed it when he pointed out that these stories were the precursors to 1970's films like Jaws, Grizzly, Willard, Frogs, etc. However, with the exception of Jaws, those movies sucked compared to the violent gems that this book contains.