Vintage Men's Mags #2: Sweaty Perverted Nightmares in Print

For the past few years, there seems to be a weird cult of manhood in the media (i.e. The Man Show, MANswers, Spike TV and certain commercials which seem to relish stereotypical guy things like barbecues, bimbos and booze). This is all well and good, if you like this sort of thing, but this is sissy stuff compared to those post-war men's action magazines.

These mags were gritty, revolting, sweaty, homoerotic, brutal, twisted, oversexed trash.... and I love 'em! This was reading material for "real" men; let your wife read her sissy magazines - you've got serious man stuff to read. Sex starved cannibal queens, crazed nazi whores, and nympho pirates.... You name your perverted nightmare, these old mags had it covered!

I'm sure you've seen plenty of the over-the-top covers. They were often emblazoned with wild titles like "Weazles Ripped My Flesh" or "Nude Gypsy and the Living Dead". The artwork was pulp illustration at its most twisted and sensational - if the content was even half as good as the cover, it was worth the dime and a quarter.

Let's take a quick walk through the insides of one of these mags. Let's see what sort of content lurks behind these unbelievable covers, in case you've never had the pleasure of opening one. We'll use RAGE: The Magazine for Men (December 1961, shown above) as our example.

The first story is your standard fare: our hero is a manly hunter who has massacred billions of African wildlife, but now he must face a lion with remarkable strength.

"The bullet had gotten him square in the chest. But I knew lurking out there in the bush, watching me with angry eyes was the real killer - the devil-cat with nine lives!"

Reading the story, I found myself rooting for the lion. I mean, it's not fair combat - put down your gun and go mano y mano and then I'll be impressed. Blowing a hole through an animal isn't proof of manhood, it just proves you like to blow away animals.  I'd have a lot more respect for hunters if they'd just admit "Yes, I fucking hate my life, but killing a mother deer with a 12 gauge makes me feel better about myself" rather than pretend it's some sort of manly skill...... but I digress. On to the next story.


This story was rather intersting. It's based on Ilse Koch, an incredibly brutal woman whos husband was a high ranking Nazi.  She used her status to commit horrible atrocities at the Buchenwald concentration camp.   In this story, much artistic license is taken to make Ilse even more sexually charged and grotesque than real life (as it was in the movie, Ilsa, She Wolf of the SS).

"She was an accomplished sadist, a prehistoric savage whose abandoned wantonness and care-free fiendishness astounded even her Nazi masters.... An insatiable exhibitionist, she would take nude sune baths in the garden behind her house within sight of the sex-starved prisoners.... Ilse turned Buchenwald into a vast stud farm to satisfy her lust. Eventually, she managed to sleep with almost every SS guard..."
This might've made a better cover story than the "Death for a Human Devil" story that follows. A pretty boring piece about Major Secundino's brutal tactics in Latin America. Moving on....

Next, the mag lightens the mood with some saucey pictures and jokes. The reader needs a quick break from all the sadomasachism and gruesome killings.

"Two bulls, one young, the other old, stood atop a hill and looked down on a meadow filled with attractive cows.

'Wow!' said the young bull. 'Come on. Let's race down there and service a few of them.'

'I've got a better idea,' said the old bull knowingly. 'Let's walk down and service them all.'

"Dissatisfied  with being housewives, they're ready for fun or frolic." This article paints a naughty picture of the suburban lifestyle. From the sound of it, every Shadey Acres, Wind Lakes and Pleasant Valley in the nation is literally teeming with sex starved housewives willing to jump on any man who crosses their path!

"Bored to tears, they welcome any stranger, salesman, or repairman... With more idle time on her hands than any woman before, exurbanite babe whiles it away with wanton loving...."

This next article further preys upon the fears and insecurities of the post-war male. It describes how hypnotherapy can cure impotence. In the days before Viagra, a lot of men were getting more than a tad worried about their lack of command in the bedroom.  These men's mags are overflowing with ads offering ways to improve your sex life and cure impotence. This article claims that hypnosis will do the trick (although, I'm not sure why the photo features a woman being hypnotized - it's the other way around in the article).

Next is the pin-up portion. It's 1961, so you're rarely going to find any nudity; just a bunch of young model/actress wannabe's in their nighties and bathing suits, with their naughty bits cleverly hidden. This one is particlularly interesting because the woman on the right in the animal print is Diane Ladd!! Yes, that's Laura Dern's mom in the picture above.

There's a few more articles - one about the sex lives of baseball players and another about sex-starved Muslim girls - but, you get the picture. This magazine is one big homogenous mix of sex and violence. Even the advertisemets provide enjoyment.  You can have your MAXIM and FHM; I'll take my post-war men's action mags and be happy!


  1. I used to dream about reading those kinds of magazines when I was a kid.

  2. Nothing beats those amazing painted covers, but I bet it was just as fun sitting around coming up with titles for those stories though too. "She Loved a Rotting Corpse" ---hey, me too!

  3. Re: Man's Combat.

    Who knew hippies wore such fine lingerie?

  4. Don't forget AMC's acclaimed series MAD MEN when it comes to extolling the retro charms of old-school manhood. Damn, those guys are good.

  5. I used to see magazines like that when my dad would take me to the barber shop. The only ones he would let me look at were True and Argosy; very similar, but tamer.

    The barber shop is also where I first read Creepy and Vampirella.

  6. "Weasels Ripped My Flesh"?

    (Zappa reference :P)

  7. I believe Rage's Rib Tickler is none other than Honor Pussy Galore Blackman.