To the modern eye, vintage men’s mags rarely elicit more than a bit of kitschy amusement, but that’s only because you’re not looking at the right genre of vintage men’s mags. Behold this collection of covers from Man’s Life, a veritable visual symphony of testosterone-soaked pulp and smut. The covers tend to fall in one of a few categories: man being manly, man versus beast (such as the “Weasels Ripped My Flesh” feature above, made famous by Neon Park’s Mothers of Invention album cover), man versus woman, man saves woman, man and woman versus beast, man versus foreign man, and many, many permutations of all the aforementioned—all rendered to glorious, if perhaps slightly repetitive, effect, I might add.
The headlines of Man’s Life not only advertised dangerous and/or lascivious adventures, they sometimes promised the reader actual instructions on how to access such debauchery in real life. One would assume the writing inside is… similarly less than sophisticated, especially since the captions aren’t any more diverse than the cover art. One screamer declares that “love-starved women are lousing up college towns,” while another proclaims that “women are lousing up sports.” (You know us women, always lousing everything up!)
Tragically, like most adventure-smut of its time, Man’s Life fell victim to the specialization of publishing in the mid-60’s. Bookish readers flocked to literary magazines, while oglers flocked to more explicit porn—no longer was there a need to compile them both in the pages of one outrageously masculine volume.
Nowadays the boobs-and-essay giants like Playboy like to exercise a bit of subtlety in both their prose and their pinups. Long gone are the days of such flagrantly absurd machismo, and I for one believe our culture to be the poorer for it. But I suppose we’ll always have the weasels…
Via Stag Mags