h1

Men’s Adventures Magazines 1953: The Magazines And I. Chapter 10 Part 1.

July 13, 2021

Men’s Adventures Magazines … is the 10th chapter from the serialized book I am writing on the magazines of 1953, specifically March 1953, the month I was born.  This is chapter ten, part one.  Feel free to back track for chapters one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, and nine in previous blogs.  Enjoy.

From exotic jungle locales to wartime feats of derring-do, with a bevy of pin-up beauties thrown in for good measure, men’s adventure was a genre of magazines that reigned supreme during the 1950s era. 

Western publications that were many times called “Dime Western Magazines” figured into the men’s adventure equation with an impact that cannot be denied. From Zane Grey to Max Brand, these magazines were looped into the “pulp” category, but not so much so that they didn’t do their due diligence when it came to success and magnitude of performance. And how could they miss with the heavy weight of popularity their namesakes brought the titles. Zane Grey is known as the father of the modern American western novel, after all and Max Brand is no less notable.

Looking at these adventure titles that were aimed at men and often offered wild animal conflicts in the far-flung jungles of  some unknown land or the explosive backdrop of a world at war, these publications brought many male readers (and dare I say, female readers as well?) many hours of great escape and dreams of daring exploits. 

Let’s take a look at these larger-than-life adventure magazines that could transport us from lands ravaged with war to dangerous jungle environments that no mere mortal man could survive to the thrilling ranches of the West where romance and danger lived forevermore.

44 WESTERN MAGAZINE

Published by popular Publications, which was a mass producer of pulp titles, 44 Western Magazine was touted as The Big Frontier Western Magazine. Popular Publications was formed in 1930 by Henry “Harry” Steeger during the Great Depression, when escape fiction was at an all-time high. The magazine was a bimonthly that definitely provided an adventurous escape. 

The March 1953 edition was filled with novelettes that lived up to the big frontier theme, with titles like Guns Wait In Spanish Spur,  Stage To Buckhorn, and Hunted Lawman. There was only a modicum of advertisement in the magazine, so for the most part it was strictly content. And content that was sure to enthrall and entertain even the staunchest of Western title fans.

ACTION

The magazine was published by Picture Magazines Inc. and was a title that strove to live up to its name. It was action personified with stories of “true adventure,” exposés, and sports in action, but also articles and features that offered a strong viewpoint and voice. 

The March 1953 issue had features such as The World’s Strongest Bartender and an article on the Male Body, buffered with action stories like The Flag of the Stonewall Brigade and Payoff On Horror Hill. The March 1953 issue was Vol. 1, No. 1, so its premier was a definite attention-grabber.

ADVENTURE MAGAZINE

After it was purchased from the Butterick Publishing Company by Popular Publications, Adventure Magazine became one of the most profitable and acclaimed of all the pulp fiction magazines. It drew the reader into a world of larger-than-life adventure and just refused to let them leave. And why would they want to? The magazine shouted to the world that it was the finest in fiction for men. 

The March 1953 issue did not disappoint when it came to that wild adventure theme. Hellwater Run by Hayden Howard was one of the cover line stories and the illustration on the cover matched the title vividly as a wild wave of oceanic proportions had two men fighting it valiantly in a small canoe. An absolutely great read.

BEST WESTERN

Best Western magazine was a part of Martin Goodman’s plethora of titles. Goodman launched the company that would eventually become Marvel Comics. Goodman’s strategy was to use several different names while publishing whatever genre he deemed popular at the time. Best Western was published under the Stadium Publishing Corporation umbrella. 

With the popularity of western adventure in the 1950s, Goodman saw success waiting to happen and began a stable of western titles, such as Five Western NovelsGunsmoke Western and many others including Best Western

The March 1953 edition held to the traditional, with a cowboy/beautiful woman on its cover, and stories such as Gunmen In The Streets and Thirteen Rode Out. The tales were compelling for the western fan and filled with just enough romance and adventure to balance the stories out.

BIG-BOOK WESTERN MAGAZINE

Another title by Popular Publications, Big-Book Western Magazine was one among many western adventures that the company published. 

The March 1953 edition featured the cover story called The High-Iron Killer, a dramatic epic of the Steel Train. And the illustrated cover complemented that title. The magazine had over 100 pages, giving it that “big-book” feel and proclaimed Frontier Fiction by Tophand Authors! 

To be continued…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: