Friday, December 7, 2018

Remembering Samson Pollen (1931-2018)

"The Brooklyn Outcast Who Ruled an Amazon Woman Paradise," Stag, January 1963. Courtesy The Robert Deis Collection. Art by Samson Pollen.

Artist Samson Pollen was one of the most dynamic and prolific illustrators to work in the men’s adventure magazines (MAMs) of the 1950s-1970s. Before and after his time in MAMs, Pollen painted numerous paperback covers in every genre, from two-fisted action series to teen books to romance novels. In recent years, Pollen collaborated with Men’s Adventure Library editors Wyatt Doyle and Robert Deis on a series of art books drawn from his significant archives. The first result of that collaboration, Pollen’s Women, was released in January 2018 to overwhelming acclaim. Further volumes are in process, and the second release, Pollen’s Action, was headed to press when we learned the sad news of the artist’s passing on December 4.

Working as an editor and publisher—particularly in tandem with Bob Deis on The Men’s Adventure Library series—has provided opportunities to meet and collaborate with some truly unique and fascinating artists. Their friendship changes my life for the better, and I treasure their insights on the worlds they inhabited and the eras they lived through, shared both through their creative expressions and in their patient interviews and testimony. But a sad caveat of working with those who’ve already lived full lives is that these wonderful, open-hearted people who you meet, befriend, collaborate with, and come to love, are called away long before you’re ready to say goodbye. Walter Kaylin. Reverend Raymond Branch. Robert F. Dorr. Harlan Ellison. Samson Pollen.

When I visited Samson and Jacqueline Pollen, they welcomed me warmly into their home like an old friend. To be able to observe their relationship that afternoon was a gift. Both of them were convinced beyond any doubt that the other hung the moon. Though in a sense it was his day—I was there to shake hands on our agreement to publish books collecting Sam’s artwork—Sam encouraged Jackie to show us a few of her recent pieces. Alive, wild, and abstract, it didn’t matter at all that they were very different from the figural style of painting that made Sam’s reputation. He was enthusiastic about her talent, and profoundly impressed by her drive to create. He praised her with artist-to-artist respect and admiration. It was clear she adored him, and just as clear that she still beguiled him completely.

Sam said they enjoyed listening to every kind of music together, even things some people might consider far out. He laughed a little when he told me recently how he and Jackie had spent the previous day listening to a performance by a Swiss yodeler. “The guy was fabulous!” he insisted. I believed him. And my mind keeps going back to that happy, enviable image: Sam and Jackie, sweethearts snug in their cozy home, two beautiful dreamers daydreaming together to music from a far-off mountaintop.

The last time I spoke with Sam, he said, “I think I approach everything the way I approach my art: If I can’t do it, do it again. Throw it away and start over. I’m pretty stubborn; I don’t give up so easily. I think that’s an important part of it, to stick with it. It’s so easy to quit on something. You can’t get it right, or you think it won’t be accepted, so you avoid facing it. That’s fear. There are people who live with fear, and that’s not good.” When I asked if he considered himself an especially confident person, he chuckled. “It’s been interpreted more as stubborn.”

Sam was a groundbreaking and prolific artist and visual storyteller. But even that magnificent career was only part of his own story. “I always had all kinds of hobbies,” he told me. “I loved to ice skate; I used to do that quite a bit. Chess, I used to love. I actually played a rated expert and came out even with him. I was deep into computers at one time. I built my own printing press. I built everything in my studio by myself—the hardware, everything. I always had to have some kind of challenge. And I managed to squeeze it all in, some way.”

You sure did, Sam. Hope they yodel where you are.

Text © 2018 Wyatt Doyle, all rights reserved.

Friday, September 28, 2018

JIMMY ANGELINA 6-track CD out now!

Out now: Solo recordings from Jimmy Angelina (The Last Coloring Book, The Last Coloring Book on the Left), singer/guitarist of Deer Meet and drummer from Whizzy, the mythical proto-punk-funk-rap group from NYC. Six tracks of ramshackle melodic punk-pop-indie slop!

Featuring the sensational, seat-shaking single, "Lend Me Your Rears":

Get the CD or download here!

Tuesday, May 1, 2018


"I Saw Havana Go Berserk" ... "Havana's Amazing Flesh Market" ... "Bayamo's Night of Terror" ... "Terror! Cuban Hell-Cats Scare Castro's Cutthroats" ... "Squirm in Hell, My Lovely Muchacha!"

The stories published in men's adventure magazines (MAMs) from the late 1950s through the late 1970s were notorious for their eye-popping, politically incorrect, often lurid artwork, their tough, unapologetic pulp fiction, and their exposé-style "news" articles designed to shock and titillate. Mixing fact with fiction and supplemented with sexy, violent pulp illustration art and photos, the magazines published hundreds of stories about Cuba and Fidel Castro, chronicling, illuminating, and dramatizing the earth-shaking events in Cuba in those explosive years in ways no other American print or electronic media did at the time—or has dared to since!

Men's Adventure Library Journal editors Robert Deis and Wyatt Doyle follow their acclaimed I Watched Them Eat Me Alive with the second installment of a new kind of anthology. An expertly curated selection of fast-paced, testosterone-boosted fiction and artwork with history and context supplied by the editors, Cuba: Sugar, Sex, and Slaughter's highlights include an exclusive pictorial reminiscence by men's adventure supermodel Eva Lynd, who reveals details of her time as an American showgirl and model in Havana in the final days before the revolution ... a portfolio from pantheon illustration artist Samson Pollen (Pollen's Women) ... and a thrilling account of international intrigue, adventure, and escape by Robert F. Dorr (A Handful of Hell), the celebrated and controversial author (and retired senior diplomat) to whom the book is dedicated.

Cuba: Sugar, Sex, and Slaughter is available as a 158-page softcover and as a 178-page expanded hardcover with additional content—20 more color pages of hard-hitting fiction and outrageous artwork.

Preview the book:

Buy the 158-page softcover HERE.
Buy the 178-page hardcover HERE.

Thursday, April 19, 2018


Two new collections of poetry by Eric Reymond.


Nimrodia, pronounced /nim-raw-di-a/ or /nim-row-di-a/, is the title of an imagined body of literature about the biblical king who is said to have constructed the Tower of Babel. The longest poem of the book imagines the king’s perspective on his famous tower, as well as that of his underlings, exploring the egotistical and altruistic inspirations for it. While visual art and ancient history are the starting point for most of the poems in this collection, the contemporary world intersects with these domains again and again. We are reminded that though language, culture, and time may divide us, these are also the forces that link us together.

Preview and buy it from Amazon HERE.

Sub-Sub Librarian, Extracts on a

The Sub-Sub Librarian is the figure imagined at the beginning of Herman Melville’s Moby Dick who compiles a list of “extracts,” or quotations and references, on whales. While Melville cheekily describes this librarian as “painstaking burrower and grubworm of a poor devil,” belonging to a “hopeless, sallow tribe,” the longest poem of Eric Reymond’s new book imagines the Sub-Sub Librarian as experiencing transcendence and illumination through his wide readings. Additional poems build on this theme, finding inspiration in texts as diverse as contemporary poetry, vocabulary quizzes, and course syllabi.

Preview and buy it from Amazon HERE.


from Nimrodia