Vintage Men's Mags #11: Stag Magazine
If you've been reading Retrospace, you know I have a special place in my heart for the men's action mags of the 1950s and 1960s. Each cover is a smack upside the head - a stunning display of vibrant colors, manic action, and lurid headlines. Inside, they were chock full of sensational tales, extreme paranoia, and masochism gone mental. The magazines penetrated the male psyche - far below the cortex, deep down into the reptilian center.
Stag began as an offshoot of Esquire in the 30s, but joined the ranks of the aforementioned action mags in 1951 when it was bought out by Magazine Management Company Incorporated. Don't recognize the name? This was the parent company of Marvel - the publisher that gave us Spider-Man, The Hulk, Iron Man, etc.
Unfortunately, by the 1970s, the men's action mag business wasn't what it used to be. So, many of these titles disappeared.... or turned to pornography (generally softcore). In the case of Stag, Magazine Management Co. Inc.CEO, Martin Goodman, handed over the company to his son Chip. The magazine instantly went to porn. The fantastic illustrations were gone. Where once talented guys like Mario Puzo wrote some of the best reading a guy could ask for, now it was all about the pictures. Stories were just an afterthought.
Just take a look at how the magazine changed in the images below. From the glory days of thrilling adventure to photos of smoking hot babes. Not that there's anything wrong with smoking hot babes, mind you. It's just that I miss the old Stag.
And to add one final note to the whole tawdry affair, Stag and Swank were both purchased in the 1990s by an even smuttier publisher, Magma. I won't post any of there covers here because they are most definitely NSFW.