Archive for Con Sellers

A Look Back @ Men’s Digest

Posted in pulp fiction, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , , , , , , on December 11, 2009 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

I have been, and will in the future, been reading books published in the 1960s by Camerarts, under their Novel and Merit imprints.  I was curious about their magazines Men’s Digest, Best for Men, and Rascal, so picked up a few copies on eBay.  One of them was Issue 54 from 1964…

It contains seven short stories (many only 2-3 full pages, or about 2K words, maybe excerpts from books), a couple columns and one feature article. One story is by Robert Bloch, “Red Moon Rising” and one is ny Con Sellers, “Passion Thief.”  (I am on the search for the two issues that interview Orrie Hitt.)  There are photo spreads of semi-nudes throughout, some models I recognize from Novel Books covers — artwork too (the art for the Con Sellers story is the same for a Herb Montgomery novel.)

It started out as The Men’s Digest, digest size, up to issue 40 or so, then went to full size as Men’s Digest.

The stories have the same feel as the books — first person tough guy, noir, sleaze, good entertainment with little artistic value.  That is, men’s fiction. The Con Sellers story in Issue 54 of Men’s Digest starts off:

She hated his guns. It was plain in the curl of her rich lips, the tautnessof her full body.

It didn’t bother Ken Corey; it never did. As long as he got what he wanted, the hell with how other people thought about it. And right now, he wanted this girl. (p. 7)

All three of the magazines are packed with fiction, a good market for writers at the time.  They just didn’t have publishers like this anymore.  Is that a good or bad thing?

Many of the sleaze book publishers also had periodicals — Nightstand/Cornith had Rogue and various nudie digests, Brandon House put out low grade smut rags…Playboy and Penthouse had ventured into books, films, and cable shows, but none of them lasted much (there is Playboy Radio on XM.) — they may have been too big to have a book arm work.

Ah, the vintage sleaze days…what does it mean to be nostalgic for stuff that was around before I was born?  Maybe because I wasn’t alive and growing up with this time, and the era, that I have an obsessive fascination for it all…the same some become meta-nostalgic, say, for the Roaring 20s, the Elizabethean era, the Civil War, orthe Age of Reason.

But I feel I know this stuff well…must have been from a previous life.

Big Man by Con Sellers (Novel Books, 1961)

Posted in crime noir, pulp fiction, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , , , , , , , on November 21, 2009 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

This is my first Con Sellers book, although I have ordered several, and I’m not disappointed.  This is tough guy man’s fiction that Novel/Merit specialized in.

After a week of lesbian books, how about some two-fisted crime noirs?

I can see how Con Sellers turned to men’s adventure and military books in the 1980s-90s, as he’s a good fit, with the main character’s memories of the Korean War.

The protagonist — the Big Man — is Ben Dano, local union head for dock workers in Monterey, California, post-sardine era.  It’s Steinbeck land mixed with some Mickey Spillane and Orrie Hitt.  Ben is six-foot-four and 240 pounds of muscles, a guy who can easily take on many hoods at once, as he does in the opening chapter.

The union local Dano heads has not gone on the national strike that all the others have. They see no point and would lose wages, and know it’s a mob thing to muscle in.  Three goons come into Dano’s office to rough him up but he crushes hands and breaks ribs and knocks heads.

The union boss is mobbed up. His name is Mike Karl, and when local unions don’t follow orders from the national office, he uses muscle, bribes, assassins and lawyers to get his way.  Ben Dano is not in his gun sites, but every time he sends a goon, the goon comes back a mess.

So he starts to send more sadistic killers, like one who puts acid in Ben Dano’s shaving lotion.

Dano has a number of women in his life, good and bad — his 19-year-old secretary, Anna, wants him to fuck her badly but he turns her down, probably because she’s the daughter of an old friend; there;s Mai Wong, a Chinese stripper, friend of Dano’s ex-gurlfriend, also a stripper; there’s Dee, an heriness in a Farrari secretly working with the union boss to break Dano down.

There’s a lot of viewpoint shifts that are a little awkward, and this is the first Novel title I’ve seen that isn’t written from the first-person POV.

It’s all full of fun violence and sex and tough talk, real Manhunt-style fiction. No heavy ideas of literary ambitions, just entertainment.  I look forward to reading more Con Sellers.

Con Sellers — Who Was He?

Posted in pulp fiction, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , on November 9, 2009 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

con_sellers_portraitIn the next few weeks, I will be taking a look at Con Sellers and his titles from Novel Books.  I’ve become rather interested in Novel/Merit and their tough-guy, Manhunt-style fiction, their house organ Men’s Journal, and their writers, such as Orrie Hitty, Jerry Goff, Jack Lynn, Bill Lauren, Herb Montgiomery, Ennis Willie, G.H. Smith, and Con Sellers.

Along with his Novel titles, he seems to have branched out from the sleaze era and penned a number of men’s adventure and thriller books with Pysramid and Pocket (some as Crane Sellers).

His Novel novels, like all Novel novels, have colorful and suggestive titles and artwork…

sellers - female psycho ward

But will the text live up to the packaged hype?  We shall see…

We shall know…

Continue reading