|Scores of great authors wrote for men’s adventure pulps – Elmore Leonard, Jim Thompson, Richard Matheson, Lawrence Block and Harlan Ellison, to name a few. But the one writers for Man’s World and True Action envied most was Walter Kaylin.
Leaving an indelible mark on three decades of sweat-soaked pulp fiction, Walter Kaylin tackled testosterone-fueled subjects from Westerns to war, secret agents to sex sirens, Nazis to noir. His frequently over-the-top plots and characters scaled new heights of ingenuity and invention, while setting the standard for the kind of unapologetic savagery and excess that made men’s adventure magazines notorious – then and now.
Robert Deis of MensPulpMags.com and Wyatt Doyle (Stop Requested), editors of the acclaimed Weasels Ripped My Flesh! anthology, rescue a whopping 15 high-intensity Kaylin classics from pulp fiction purgatory, along with the jaw-dropping illustrations that accompanied their original magazine publication … plus reminiscences by Kaylin, his family, and his former editor, writer Bruce Jay Friedman.
He-Men, Bag Men & Nymphos rips the lid off the pulps’ best kept secret to introduce Kaylin’s unique brand of tension and tough-guy thrills to a new generation of readers. But be warned: These are not stories for the delicate, or faint of heart. He-Men, Bag Men & Nymphos hits like a clenched fist; get yours or get out of the way!
Want a peek at Nymphos? Eyeball almost 60 pages of the book in this exclusive preview
Inspired by H. Rider Haggard, Zane Grey and Joseph Conrad, Bronx-born Walter Kaylin is one of the foremost authors of men’s adventure pulp fiction. Known for his hard boiled writing style and a remarkable facility for genre, Kaylin is also among the magazines’ most inventive and prolific contributors.
A radioman with the Army Signal Corps during WWII, Kaylin worked briefly as the only man in the Woman’s Day offices and saw his short fiction honored by the Saturday Evening Post. As a young writer, he lived a life of famine or feast. When he wasn’t selling his blood to get his typewriter out of hock, he double-dated with the noir crime photographer Weegee and belted back bourbon at Manhattan jazz clubs until the stools went up on the tables. By the 1950s, he’d joined the ranks at Magazine Management Company. Men’s adventure magazines – postwar descendants of the adventure pulps of the 1930s and ’40s – were a newsstand phenomenon on the ascent, and Kaylin seemed born to write for them. Under the direction of his editor, the young Bruce Jay Friedman, Kaylin tackled multiple genres with a mix of fact, fiction and outrageous excess, and saw his byline in magazines like Men, Male, and For Men Only. Working shoulder to shoulder with other writers on the rise, like future Godfather scribe Mario Puzo and John Bowers. His stories were illustrated by a who’s who of contemporary illustrators: Don Neiser, George Eisenberg, Gil Cohen, Al Rossi, James Bama, Joe Little, Bob Schulz, Walter Popp, Mort Künstler, Earl Norem, and Samson Pollen, to name a few. His unique gifts were in such demand, editors began attributing his pieces to pseudonyms in order to run multiple Kaylin stories in a single issue.
His numerous contributions to men’s adventure magazines from their beginnings in 1950s through the end of the era in the 1970s put him among a select group of authors who wrote for the magazines throughout their three decade history on newsstands. While there is no official tally of the number of stories Kaylin published in men’s adventure magazines, the author himself has put the number at close to a thousand. He subsequently published two novels: Another Time, Another Woman (1963) and The Power Forward (1979).
2012 saw the release of Weasels Ripped My Flesh! from New Texture, the first contemporary anthology of vintage men’s adventure fiction. Edited by Robert Deis with Josh Alan Friedman (Black Cracker) and Wyatt Doyle (Stop Requested), Kaylin was prominently represented alongside former men’s adventure peers and colleagues including Bruce Jay Friedman, Mario Puzo, Lawrence Block, Robert F. Dorr, Harlan Ellison, Robert Silverberg and Walter Wager. The book features two stories by Kaylin, one of which (“The Stewardess ‘Call Girl Slave’ Ring,” (For Men Only, December 1971) was originally published under his “Roland Empey” alias.
Editors Deis and Doyle followed Weasels Ripped My Flesh! with a collection spotlighting Kaylin’s diverse contributions to the magazines, titled He-Men, Bag Men & Nymphos. The fifteen stories showcase both Kaylin’s aptitude for genre hopping and his prodigious output. Genres include Westerns (“The Cruel Gun Brothers,” 1959), war (“The Yank Who Survived the 300-Mile Death Trek From Stalingrad,” 1962), exotic adventure (“The Helicopter Hero and the 100 Ladies of ‘Undress’ Atoll,”), hard-boiled fiction (“Snow Job From a Redhead,” 1956), true crime (“My Bloody Life as a Mafia Bag Man,” 1974), ribald humor (“They Call Him Father Italy,” 1975), even science fiction (“Meet Our Terms or We Destroy 500 Million People,” 1966).
While men’s adventure magazines were known for a heightened style of storytelling, Kaylin’s work is particularly remembered for pushing those already-expanded boundaries into new frontiers of excess.
Kaylin lives in Guilford, CT, where he continues to write.
|In his younger days, Robert Deis explored various options for making a living. Among other things, he worked as a teacher, an artist, a musician, a logger in the Maine woods, a magazine writer and a state government bureaucrat. Eventually (by accident rather than design) he fell into a long-lasting career as a political consultant.
Nowadays, he blogs and writes about things that interest him, such as famous quotations and men’s adventure magazines. Bob grew up in the decades when men’s adventure magazines were flourishing, but he didn’t take much notice of them until he read the 2004 book Men’s Adventure Magazines in Postwar America, which features the amazing art and magazine collection of Rich Oberg. That inspired him to start collecting and studying men’s adventure magazines.
In 2009, he created the MensPulpMags.com blog. Through that, he met other fans of the genre, including Rich Oberg, Wyatt Doyle and Josh Alan Friedman, who all agree that what the world needs now is greater exposure to the wild, weird world of men’s adventure pulp fiction and pulp art.
|Writer and publisher Wyatt Doyle is co-founder of New Texture, launching their publishing imprint in 2006. He assisted Georgina Spelvin in the publication of her memoir, The Devil Made Me Do It, and served as editor and publisher of Black Cracker by Josh Alan Friedman for his own imprint, Wyatt Doyle Books. A collection of Doyle’s stories illustrated by Stanley J. Zappa, Stop Requested, is available from New Texture.
He-Men, Bag Men & Nymphos follows Weasels Ripped My Flesh!, the first contemporary anthology of vintage men’s adventure fiction, edited in collaboration with Robert Deis and Josh Alan Friedman. That anthology includes work by Bruce Jay Friedman, Mario Puzo, Lawrence Block, Harlan Ellison, Robert Silverberg, Robert F. Dorr, Walter Wager and Walter Kaylin, among others.