HE-MEN, BAG MEN & NYMPHOS
Stories by Walter Kaylin
Edited by Robert Deis & Wyatt Doyle
A little while ago this reviewer had the joy of discovering the fiction world of Men’s Adventure Magazines that proliferated the newsstands of the 50s, 60s and 70s via a wonderful anthology titled, “Weasels Ripped My Flesh.” Amongst the great and wacky stories in that were a few by a writer named Walter Kaylin who the editors claimed was one of the most prolific writers for those magazines.
“He-Men, Bag Men & Nymphos,” is an entire collection of Kaylin’s amazing work with fifteen stories featured within its pages. They represent the entire spectrum of this he-man brand of pulp fiction; from modern day gangsters, to south sea island sirens to western outlaws and surfing assassins. This book has it all making us marvel at the boundless imagination that produced these outlandish tales. There are even a few factual articles mixed amongst them. Of these, the most gripping is Kaylin’s account of the U.S.S Indianapolis and its fate when sunk in the last days of World War II. It is a harrowing tale comprised from documented naval records and survivors’ testimonies.
Going from fact to fiction has no diminishing effects on any of Kaylin’s work, all of it is brilliant and written with a flare, no matter how boring the subject material. Which brings us to the one piece we feel should have been omitted; “The Army’s Terrifying Death Bugs and Loony Gas.” It is dated 1960 and is report on the state of the military’s research into chemical warfare. It is the only piece that doesn’t belong here. But hey, fourteen bulleyes out of fifteen shots is a damn impressive score.
Which is as good a way as any to describe Walter Kaylin’s wrtings. He was a master at his craft of spinning pulp tall tales and the fun he had writing them infects his readers as well. Bravo, Bob Deis and Wyatt Doyle; that’s two homeruns in a row. Please, keep swinging for the fences. We love this stuff.