Wednesday, June 10, 2020

It Was Twenty Years Ago Today...

Actually it was only ten years ago today, but I couldn’t let a good Beatles reference go to waste. I’m usually not much for self-promotion or self-congratulatory back-slappery (probably to my own detriment), but I thought in this instance I’d make an exception, as today marks the tenth anniversary of the blog.

First off a big thanks to Justin MarriottMarty McKee, and Zwolf, who inspired me to start Glorious Trash. I’ve never really gone into why I started the blog, but what the heck, I might as well now. It was 1945, and I’d just returned home from the war. Wait, sorry – wrong story. Let me start over: As a kid in the ‘80s, I obsessively read men’s adventure novels, and even got a letter from Gar Wilson, the writer of Phoenix Force. (Who turned out to be William Fieldhouse – thanks again to Stephen Mertz for letting me know!) But as I got older I moved away from men’s adventure novels, into sci-fi and eventually “literature”…I still remember the last one I ever bought new off the bookstore shelf: the first volume of Body Smasher, by none other than Jan Stacy, complete with a homoerotic cover drawing of a half-nude dude flexing and Lou friggin’ Albano making a goofy face above the drawing of the guy. For some mysterious reason, I never read the book… (I did pick up another copy of it a few years ago, but haven’t gotten to it yet.)

A few years after college, sometime in 2000 (I refuse to believe I graduated from college over 20 years ago…), I briefly got interested in men’s adventure novels again; this was when I discovered that “Gar Wilson” didn’t exist, though it would be several years until Stephen told me the true identity of the person who’d written me. The only men’s adventure novels I picked up at this time, however, were the installments of the COMCON Trilogy by Gerald Montgomery. I don’t think I even managed to finish the first one until I moved on to more “literary” stuff.

Then sometime around 2005 I came across an interesting-looking paperback at a Half Price Bookstore: it was titled The Last Buffoon, by someone named Leonard Jordan, and had a wacky cover photo of some guy standing in a trash can. The book sounded like something I’d like, the first-person yarn of an action-book author, but I was bummed that someone had written their name inside it…some guy named “Leonard Levinson.” Of course it would be another few years until I realized that, of course, Len Levinson was “Leonard Jordan,” and I’d picked up an autographed copy of his book. Indeed I even learned who Len had signed the book for, as he included a note to her with his signature and I asked him about it when I met him years later.

But it wasn’t until the summer of 2010 that I really got interested in the whole men’s adventure field again for real. I remember it well. I was working at a sinking ship called “Blockbuster Entertainment,” managing the email marketing and working in a ghost town of a corporate office – the entire place had been laid off, for the most part, and it was just me and a couple other people on an entire floor. I was only working as a contractor, and plus I spent like 3 hours a day commuting because it was all the way in downtown Dallas (I believe they’ve sinced moved, though), and I live way up north in Frisco. The only highlight was the vintage lobby card that was on the wall right behind my desk: Bluebeard’s Eighth Wife, from 1938, with Claudette Colbert in a bikini.

The main thing is, I was bored – and also bored with what I’d been reading. For the past several years, for some strange reason, I’d become fascinated with comparative religion, reading deep books on ancient religions and philosophies. Then one day in early 2010 I found myself reading a book titled Homer The Theologian: Neoplatonist Allegorical Reading And The Growth Of The Epic Tradition (Robert Lamberton, 1989), a heavy tome on the “inner meanings” of The Iliad and other works of the ancient world. Half of it was written in Attic Greek, and it was filled with the most arcane of classical academia, and I realized with a sudden jolt of clarity that I was reading this book for fun. It was one of those “what the hell’s wrong with me?” moments.

Instead of getting a sports car and finding some young floozie, I instead did what I ususally do…started looking online for something else to read. It was around this time, bored that summer at Blockbuster, that I came across the blogs mentioned above. Somehow I’d been thinking of those pulpy action novels I’d read as a kid, and I was particularly interested in hunting down ones from the ‘70s. I’d only had a few of those as a kid in the ‘80s – even though they were only a decade old at the time, they just seemed so much older to me at the time, and I didn’t dig them as much. But I suspected that now, as an “adult,” I’d be more into the wild and wooly ‘70s series books.

Marty’s writeups on the Craneshot blog really got me interested in all these crazy-sounding series from so long ago: John Eagle ExpeditorThe EnforcerTNT, so many others. And TNT is what really set me off. I’d seen volumes of that one as a kid, when they were being published in the ‘80s, but had never really read them. But that would now change! I went crazy, purchasing books from various sellers on the web – some of them weren’t easy to find, but luckily they weren’t as grossly overpriced as they now seem to be. I slowly began to build a veritable library…this on top of the veritable library of ancient religion/modern “literature” books I’d already acquired over the years.

But the thing is, in the past I’d go through these various interests, hunt down and buy various books…and never read them. In particular the collection of ultra-obscure “toga trash” books I put together a couple years before starting this blog. I trawled the web for mentions of any trashy paperback historical I could find, especially ones set in Rome or Greece, and bought pretty much all of them. But how many did I actually read? Maybe four or five?

When I started buying all these men’s adventure novels, though, I made a commitment to myself that this wouldn’t happen again – if I went to the trouble of finding them and buying them, I’d read them. Even if it took me several years. At this point I was exchanging emails with Justin Marriott, and he encouraged me to start up a blog with my reviews. This is how Glorious Trash came about: I figured if I had a blog I would be pushed to keep reading the books I’d bought and not lose interest, as usual. And I guess it’s kind of worked out, because I haven’t lost interest yet. I’m still really into all these books, and I can’t believe anyone even comes here to read my pedantic observations on them.

So what I’m saying is, I pretty much started the blog for my own amusement, and really that’s why I continue doing it, but it’s awesome that all of you out there have chosen to spend your time with me. I realy appreciate hearing from all of you, even when I sometimes tick you off with my comments. And coincidentally I’m approaching two million page views...sure, most of it’s coming from ISIS territory, but hey, traffic’s traffic! 

Personally not much has really changed for me in the past decade. I’m still married, still live in the same house, still drive the same car. I long ago left Blockbuster, though (but man I wish I could’ve taken that lobby card along with me). Otherwise, the only major change in my personal life occurred a little over three years ago, and is best summed up by this recent photo:


Glorious Trash Junior! Anyway, thanks everyone!

30 comments:

Napoleon Wilson said...

Joe,

I've enjoyed your blog since at least 2013.
Your reviews, entertaining in themselves, have led to my purchasing Army of Devils, The Phoenix series, and others.
Please keep up the good work.

Professor Brian O'Blivion said...

Been enjoying your blog since 2015. Your fantastic reviews have led me to quite a few gems. Thank you!

Marty McKee said...

Congrats, man! I'm looking forward to your *real* 20th anniversary, so I can ask you again, "Hey, Joe, when are you reviewing those Lone Wolf novels?" ;)

Steve said...

Along with Paperback Warrior and Six-Gun Justice, I can't start my day without checking your blog, first. (I usually spend the next hour tracking down whatever book you reviewed!) It is truly one of the best parts of my day - everyday. I am very thankful and appreciative of your site and content. Your honest reviews, sarcasm and sense of humor are what keep me coming back. You are a great guy for what you do. Thanks for the personal insight from this most recent post. It was a lot of fun to learn about you. I admire your family-first characteristics and the love for reading that you have clearly instilled in your son, as well. He has a great Dad to look up to. Cheers and thank you! Please keep posting!

James said...

Congratulations on hitting ten! I've been reading from the UK since at least 2012. My dad has a huge collection of men's pulps - Keller is a particular favourite. (My brother and I used to sneak reads of The Baroness when he wasn't looking. Quite educational, those wee books!)

Here's to another ten!

Zwolf said...

Happy anniversary! It's almost impossible to keep a blog going steady for that long. I should know, I've been working on the same post for like three, four years now... :) One of these days, goddamnit. Anyway, here's to the next ten, keep up the good work!

Paperback Warrior said...

Happy Anniversary Joe!

TrueAim said...

Joe, your blog is by far my favorite. I check it out several times a week, eager to see what book you'll review/examine next. Like you, I'm a vintage paperback collector/reader/fanatic. It's my hobby and your blog is an endless wealth of information and insight into this amazing world of books that we all love so much. Thanks so much for your dedication, and hope you keep blogging for the next 10 years!

Film Buff said...

Happy Anniversary of the blog.

Unknown said...

Huge fan. Thanks for all your awesome reviews! It has inspired me to dig so much deeper into forgotten novels of the past.

Guy Callaway said...

Congratulations! :)

Simon said...

Excellent blog, and a much healthier hobby than a sports car and floozie.

Unknown said...

Congrats on your anniversary...many thanks for all you do and for leading me down this rabbit hole...

Brian Drake said...

Keep it up! I like reading the new reviews and it's fun to go through the catalog and read the old stuff too. I always get a chuckle out of the Harold Robbins reviews haha.

allan said...

Congrats! I will be forever impressed by your regular posting schedule.

gesuyarou said...

I've discovered a lot of great stuff here and look forward to each new review. Here's to 10 more!

Shaun Osborne said...

"Happy Anniversary", Joe. Your blog inspired me to start thinking of starting my own, so I want to add a big, "Thank You" as well.

James Reasoner said...

It's a great blog, and I hope you keep it going for a long time.

DaveM said...

Congrats Joe! I've never been interested in following blogs before, but yours is something I look forward to every Monday and Thursday as the first thing in the morning when I get to work. Coffee at ready, I get a good read and always a good laugh. If you happen to have a patreon or something....I seriously owe you more than a cup of coffee. Cheers to another 10!

Steve Carroll said...

Glorious Trash is a box I check off daily to ensure I never miss an update. The books and movies I have discovered have provided hours of fun and nostalgia. Congratulations on the anniversary and here's to another decade! Kudos, Joe!

Joe Kenney said...

Thanks a lot for the comments, everyone! I really appreciate it. And Marty, not to single you out or anything, but I've finally moved Lone Wolf #1 to the top of my read list!

Marty McKee said...

Ha ha

Grant said...

Happy Anniversary.
For me, it's since about ' 14.
(You even took a "request" of mine for a review, and I'm always grateful for that.

Will Errickson said...

Awesome! I can't believe I celebrated 10 years of blogging Too Much Horror Fiction a couple months ago. Where did the decade go?!

andydecker said...

Better late than never, so happy anniversary. Ten years is a lot of time. You keep things interesting, so thumbs up!

mutantq said...

Are there any speed reading tips you discovered from reading so many books over the years?

wallythe24 said...

A fairly recent discovery for me.
Splendid stuff and congratulations on a decade.

Karlos said...

Congrats, Joe!

No idea how when or how I stumbled across this wonderful blog of yours, but boy, have I enjoyed every visit!

Here's to another 10! Stay safe!

Joe Kenney said...

Thanks for the additional comments, everyone!

submarinechase said...

Thanks for hours and hours of entertainment! My favorite finds on Glorious Trash have been the Traveler books and The Last Ranger (also Richard Blade!). Congrats, and well done!