Wednesday, March 15, 2023

Men's Adventure Quarterly #6: The Heist Issue - Robert Deis, Bill Cunningham, Paul Bishop, and Jules Burt, eds.

Somehow I fell behind in my reading of MEN'S ADVENTURE QUARTERLY, absolutely one of the best publications on the market today. This situation cannot be allowed to stand, of course. So I've now read the sixth volume in the series, The Heist Issue, and no surprise, it continues the high standards of the previous issues.

MEN'S ADVENTURE QUARTERLY reprints the best stories and art from the dozens of men's adventure magazines published in the Fifties, Sixties, and Seventies. As I've mentioned before, I always wanted to buy and read these magazines when I was a kid but seldom did because of the difficulty of smuggling them into the house. (Racy covers, you know. I ran into the same problem with a lot of paperbacks.)

The Heist Issue contains stories by some top-notch writers: bestsellers Martin Cruz Smith and Thomas Chastain (under pseudonyms), veteran wordsmith Donald Honig (who's had a story in every issue of MAQ so far for a good reason: they're all excellent yarns), and paperbacker Grant Freeling, who authored several movie novelizations.

My favorite story in this issue, though, is by the obscure Eugene Joseph, quite possibly a pseudonym for a better-known writer. His story "G.I. Stickup Mob That Heisted $33 Million in Nazi Gold", from the November 1967 issue of MALE, is a well-written, fast-moving tale that includes a lengthy flashback full of top-notch World War II action. This would have made a great movie in the Sixties.

Honig's "Band of Misfits" from the January 1970 issue of ACTION FOR MEN is another stand-out. Editor Robert Deis compares this story of a casino robbery to Donald E. Westlake's Parker series, and that's a legitimate comparison. The hardboiled tone in this one is really good.

All the stories are a lot of fun, as are the introductions by Deis and his fellow editor Bill Cunningham, along with guest editors Paul Bishop and Jules Burt. Cunningham's design work, as always, is spectacular, making MAQ a great showcase for art by Mort Kunstler, Gil Cohen, Samson Pollen, Earl Norem, and others.

The photo feature this time around focuses on Angie Dickinson, who made several heist and caper movies in her career. Angie is an all-time favorite of mine, and more than a dozen pages of sultry photos of her just makes this an even better issue. I give it a very high recommendation.

You can buy MEN'S ADVENTURE QUARTERLY: THE HEIST ISSUE on Bob Deis's website or his eBay store. And I'll be back in the near future with a look at the next issue, GANG GIRLS!, which is already on hand.

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