Monday, May 6, 2013

Men's Mag Roundup: Girls With Guns

I recently picked up a book titled Women With Guns (review coming up in my next post), a 1962 release comprised of men’s adventure magazine stories featuring women commandos. Before reading it I thought I’d re-read the men’s mags I have that contain similar “girls with guns” stories. The cover of this December 1973 Man’s Story sums up the theme perfectly, but unfortunately the scene depicted does not occur in any of the stories in the issue! My guess is it’s supposed to illustrate Jim McDonald’s “The Wild Raid of Gibbon’s Lace Panty Commandos,” but sadly there’s no scene in the story where the female commandos go into combat wearing nothing but their lace panties.

“Lace Panty Commandos” is actually a reprint, first seeing light in the June 1963 issue of Man’s Book. It’s a fun story, if a little too short, and written as straight-up fiction; none of that “as told to” first-person narrative garbage. The protagonist Gibbon is an American OSS agent with a background in rocket science…! He’s spying on a secret rocket installation in France and his backup is a group of hookers who happen to be members of the French Resistance – the reason being that the Germans cleaned out the village for V-2 rocket testing but brought in some whores for the scientists. One of the gals is named Helene, and she and Gibbon have a thing going on – here the “lace panties” appear briefly in a fade to black sex scene.

Helene convinces Gibbon that the women can handle his mission to destroy the Nazi rocket, so after some lovin’ they set off. They commandeer a German truck and infiltrate the test base, where follows the briefest of action scenes: one gal garrottes a Nazi until his head is nearly severed and Helene kills another with her dagger, which she keeps taped to her inner thigh. Gibbon meanwhile just stands around with a grenade. Only as Helene is dying at a fat Nazi’s hand does Gibbon hurl the grenade and destroy the rocket platform, knocking himself out as a result. He wakes up as they are making their getaway on the truck. Oh and by the way, Helene is dead. Way to go, Gibbon!

On a non-WWII angle there’s the goofy “Mafia’s Orgy Island Paradise.” This story is longer, the first person narrative of an investigator who is hired to find the niece of a famous businessman who apparently is a love slave on a mafia island outside of Sicily. The protagonist is an idiot, captured twice in this short story. With its stupid but lecherous mobster villains and lurid vibe it reads almost like a first-person installment of the Marksman. Turns out the businessman’s niece is here by choice but wants to escape. She gets threatened a lot by the fat mafia don who runs the island, but he doesn’t do anything…though it’s intimated that eventually he does, after she passes out. The narrator finally gets with it, escapes, and there’s a quick fight where he blows away a few goons, and then on the getaway boat the so-thankful-she’s-horny niece gives herself to our hero, even though she was apparently just raped.

And rounding out the stories in this issue is a “sweat,” something Man’s Story was known for (ie lurid tales to go along with their notoriously lurid covers): “Hand Maidens for the Blood Fiend of Toledo.” This one’s courtesy Chuck McCarthy, publisher Em Tee’s go-to guy for sick and twisted torture porn. This one’s about women being abused, defiled, tortured, and killed during the Inquisition, and it wasn’t my kind of thing at all – I prefer the more “fun” (but still twisted and lurid) men’s mag stories. (Regardless though I’ll be doing a roundup review of some “sweat mags” in the future, though!)

Another Man’s Story, this one from December 1974. “OSS Carter’s Death Doll Platoon” is the girls with guns story in this one, and it’s one of the best men’s mag stories I’ve read. Courtesy Jim Arthur (a ps of Jim McDonald?), it’s similar to “Lace Panty Commandos” but better. (I’m also betting it’s a reprint, but who knows.) In this one our hero is Mike Carter of the OSS Danish Section, bored at work in London until the day he’s called in to train twenty Danish beauties who have escaped from a castle in Hamal, north of Copenhagen; there they were the tortured prisoners of Schalburg, a twisted SS bastard (a redundant description, I know).

Carter trains the women first, taking a long time. The female leader, Lotte, complains that the girls don’t need this much combat training, and besides it’s taking too long. Not that this stops her and Carter from screwing, though; Lotte comes into Carter’s room one night to complain – wearing nothing but her robe, naturally – and one thing leads to another. The brief sex scene here is fairly graphic, intimating that Lotte gives Carter a little oral “stimulation” before they get to the main event. Usually these scenes immediately fade to black in men’s mags, so I was surprised it went as far as it did. Finally Carter and gals parachute into Hamal, where a good action sequence occurs. There’s even a bit of gore as girls are blown apart by Nazis.

There are more Nazis here than expected, so Carter and survivors are captured and put in a cellar in the castle, where Schalburg takes his time torturing the girls one by one. Carter’s across from Lotte’s cell, and while she distracts a guard Carter puts his arms through the bars and strangles the guy, holding his armlock until the man pisses his pants, which we are told is a sign of sure death; pretty lurid. There follows an anticlimatic escape with Carter shooting Schalburg and he and Lotte escaping into the night. This is another story that would’ve made for a fun novel – I’m still hoping someday to find an actual WWII novel that has the same pulpy tone as these men’s mag stories.

“The Nazi Monster Who Made War on the Maidens of the Maquis” is another WWII tale, but this one’s just outright torture porn, yet again courtesy the fevered mind of Chuck McCarthy. It opens with nude girl forced to goosetep into a torture room where SS freak Reickenbach manhandles her while trying in vain to jerk himself off. He slaps her around and then trusses her up and lowers her into a dank well filled with huge rats; corpses lay down there and the girl knows her time is limited.

From there the story takes on the tone of a “factual” article; Reickenbach we learn was in control of a prison in Paris where he tortured the wives and daughters of nobility. This story appears to have been actually written in 1974 as it’s a bit more rough in tone and description, even mentioning the specific parts of the female anatomy that Reickenback enjoyed torturing. Sick stuff and not to my liking, plus it’s not even a story, just a sort of recap of who Reickenbach was with a rundown of some of his practices, and then wrapping up by stating that he eventually ran afoul of Himmler, who sent him to the Russian front, and Reickenbach either was killed or ended up going over to the Russians.

The longest story by the way is “Helpless Virgins and the Night of the Slithering Horror,” a goofy tale about a snake-cult in Mexico. This one was super lurid and also featured a graphic sex scene (the story was almost narratively identical to “OSS Carter’s Death Doll Platoon”), bondage of a woman, and eventual escape – after the bondage and torture were lovingly described, of course. On the same note the issue also features “Rape Rampage of the Sex Cult Savages,” about a guy who hooks up with a cult, but this one was kind of dumb. There was an interesting sequence though where the narrative went over to second-person, something you rarely see (outside of Choose Your Own Adventure books, at least).

This March 1972 Man’s Conquest is an example of how the covers (and story titles) of these men’s mags can be so misleading. There is no story in this issue that features the cover image of two gun-toting gals. My guess is this is supposed to illustrate “Bring Out the Devil’s Angels of Slaughter,” but the actual story contains no such scene. Anyway this one’s another Jim McDonald special, and also another reprint, originally appearing in the April 1965 issue of Man’s Book. Anyway this is a “as told to” deal, Buck Danielson apparently the person relaying his first-person narrative.

It’s 1942 and a French Colonel who could help with the Allied invasion of Nazi Africa is on the fence over which way he’ll go. His mistress Annette Langois is kidnapped by the Nazis and put in a prison in France with 500 other wives, mistresses, and daughters of various French VIPs. Our hero’s mission is to sneak into the prison and break her out. The story opens as Buck’s halfway through burrowing under the compound; he emerges behind the prison shacks and watches as the women are rounded up in formation and the SS commandant comes out, a sadist in a monocle who calls forth three women for example punishment.

One of them of course happens to be Annette, who is pretty and blonde. She fights against the SS soldiers who grab her, and the commandant orders her to be whipped. Our hero avidly watches – sorry, I mean angrily watches – as Annette is stripped naked and put in this contraption that pulls her arms and legs taut, after which she is whipped by a weighted lash. Finally Buck snaps out of it, rushes from his hole, knocks out a Nazi, and then his Resistance backup opens up from outside the prison and they blow away more Nazis. Buck grabs up the whip and lashes the shit out of the commandant, knocking the dude’s eyeball out – a great moment as the commandant stumbles forward, right into the electrified fence!

After that Buck is “unsure of the events that followed,” a typical Jim McDonald copout of an ending, familiar from “Lace Panty Commandos,” where he skips over the climatic battle by having the narrator pass out or be so overcome by battle rage that his memory is now faulty. Flash forward to a successful escape, thirty women free, and during the few-weeks journey to Allied HQ Buck of course manages to score with Annette quite often; she becomes so enamored that he has to demand she go back to her French Colonel, so the war effort may go forth unheeded. So this is a “girls with guns” story only by way of the misleading title and cover; there is no point where Annette or any of the captive women pick up arms and fight against their captors.

Rounding up this review is my favorite men’s mag story I’ve yet read, courtesy the January 1965 issue of All Man. And what’s even better is that everyone can read it, as a few years ago Curt Purcell posted the entire story up on his Groovy Age of Horror blog. This fun and lurid story is everything I wanted Women's Battalion to be, and it’s a damn shame it was never fleshed out into a novel. But it manages to pack quite an entertaining and memorable story into its few pages.

Titled “Blood for the Love Slaves,” the story is by Paxton Prayle, likely a psuedonym. It’s about a camp of gorgeous women who have been corralled from around Occupied Europe with the purpose of training them (against their will) to become Nazi saboteurs. The story opens (as do most other men’s mag stories) with the action already in progress, as the women, under the command of Italian beauty Lucia, have turned their newfound commando learnings against their teachers. Prayle opens the story with a lurid tone (one he maintains throughout) as Lucia disarms a Nazi and then tells her fellow captives to “beat his brains out!” And the women – who we learn are clad only in their undergarments – beat the Nazi to death with such hatred that they get the guy’s blood and brains all over them.

From there we get a little backstory on who these women are. Turns out the “captive female saboteur” idea was a late-in-the-war brainflash of Himmler’s, who instantly ordered that beautiful women be rounded up and their families imprisoned; if the women refused to train or go on their commando missions, their families would be killed. Lucia was one of these women and she’s the main protagonist – this men’s mag story is a bit rare in that a woman is the sole protagonist, as usually these stories are told from the male point of view. As the German effort became increasingly hopeless, more soldiers were called away to the front lines, so that eventually there were only a few guards left at this female saboteur compound.

Lucia then starts off the revolt by killing a guard, and then unites her fellow captives against the remainder. Prayle again delivers some gore, with lots of blood and brains in the action scenes. He also retains the lurid tone by mentioning that the women are mostly naked, the camp commandant having ordered them to strip because “nude women can’t run away,” or something like that. (Just go with it!) After killing all the Nazis (but suffering a few losses of their own), Lucia and the rest of the women set off across Germany, using their commando and saboteur tactics against the Nazis as a sort of roving guerrilla force; we learn that they are so skilled that they’re blowing up bridges just a few hours after their escape!

This ending section is relayed like an article, detailing in summary the destruction wrought by Lucia and team and how they eventually found freedom, fighting their way into Allied territory. The rushed finale is just another indication of how the story would’ve benefited from being expanded into a full-blown novel; personally I’d love to read a pulpy WWII novel about scantily-clad Eurobabes waging savage guerrilla warfare on the Nazis, wouldn’t you? Since Prayle (whoever he was) never wrote such a novel, and it appears no one else did, maybe I’ll just rip off the idea and write my own someday. Oh, and that memorable cover by the way does not illustrate a scene in “Blood for the Love Slaves;” it must illustrate some other story in this issue of All Man, but since I don’t have the actual magazine I’m not sure.


Baron_Waste said...

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I think you’ll agree, these stories are probably a gas.

- BW

Baron_Waste said...

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- BW