Friday, October 25, 2019

'Crushed By Eight Giant Arms of Hell'

It's been a while since we looked at a men's magazine cover, so here's True Men from April 1959.  The featured story is another of those staples of the men's magazines - animal attack tales.  This one features a favourite attacking animal: the octopus.  The eight tentacled molluscs feature on many covers, always aggressive and always giant sized.  In reality, I don't think that there are any recorded cases of octopuses attacking people. Indeed, they are generally the prey of larger predators, (their lack of a hard shell makes them vulnerable).  Moreover, the majority of octopus species are actually quite small, even the giant octopus (which is fairly rare), isn't as big as those illustrated attacking men on magazine covers.  You have to wonder what those guys did to those octopuses to enrage them so much that they decided to turn homicidal.  Mind you, when they weren't attacking random blokes, they seemed to be forever entwining bikini clad women in their tentacles, usually with a look of unnatural lust in their eyes.  This one is clearly a multi-tasker, as he is both attacking a man and groping a woman simultaneously.

Perhaps he is a friend of one of the 101 men killed by the protagonist of one of the other featured stories when he escaped from somewhere.  Or maybe he was hired by the mob, which was apparently crazy for someone's blood.  Then again, it could all be the result of some bizarre love triangle - perhaps she turned to the octopus because she found that 'Rugged Working Men Make Inadequate Lovers' (that guy is definitely a rugged working man if ever I saw one), and it all turned nasty when the guy found out.  Actually, stories about sexual inadequacy on the part of various male demographics was another staple story type for these magazines.  Clearly they were hoping to drive sales amongst these demographics by playing on their fears of impotence, banking on the idea that they might by the issue in the hope of finding some solution to these 'problems' in the story.  In the case of rugged working men, I'm guessing that the 'reveal' was that they were too shagged out after spending the day lumber jacking or whatever, that they were too tired to satisfy their women, (although, for the latter, it was probably a relief not to have to be pawed and mauled every night in some fumbling sexual advance of the kind that these magazines encouraged).  So, there you are, another little glimpse back at the strange world of fifties masculinity.



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