Before we get started tonight, it’s probably worth noting that this one’s gonna be a little raw. In fact, the contents of tonight’s post should probably be considered Flagrantly Unsafe For Work, even for a website known for throwing a critical spotlight on the work of Jim Balent.
So seriously, if you read the ISB at your job or anything, it’s probably best to just wait ’til you get home for this one, and if you’re under… let’s just say 23, this one is totally not for you. No foolin’.
In the meantime, here’s another picture of Destro:
As for just what he’s approving of, well, see below.
Those of you who were paying attention back in January might recall that there was an item in Previews Adult that caught my eye: A collection of lurid pulp novel covers from the ’50s through the ’70s called Young Lusty Sluts. It hit shelves in comic book stores this week, and after finally getting my hands on a copy and reading through it, I can confirm one thing:
It is quite possibly the greatest book of all time.
Or maybe not. After all, I have my doubts that the greatest book of all time would actually contain the phrase “Anal Planet.”
But still, given the subject matter of the ISB, it’s probably pretty obvious that I have a deep affection for the disposable pop culture of previous generations, and on that front, YLS comes through with something that’s even more entertaining than I thought it was going to be, even if it is significantly racier than, say, Bizarro Computo’s battle with the Legion of Super-Heroes.
And the best part is that it’s actually more than just the hilarious titles and their equally hilarious cover illustrations, some of which I swear were drawn by Mid-60s MAD crew. In his introduction, Goss comes right out and lets you know that the subject matter is, while charming, “considered to have no literary merit whatsoever and to be utterly without any redeeming social importance,” but the collection itself suffers from no such limitations. Before you even get to the covers, Goss has a fascinating history of the rise and fall of the sleazy pulp novel, from the explosion in the aftermath of the Redrup Decision–where he includes the covers of The Shame Agent and Lust Pool, the two books that led to the court case–through the involvement of the East Coast mobs and the eventual death of the industry at the hands of video. Which, as we all know, killed the radio star, and will kill again.
But the real attraction, of course, is the gallery of covers, and as I’ve mentioned before, they are awesome. Terrible in most cases, horrifying in some, and downright atrocious in others, but still: Awesomely so.
Here are a few of my favorites:
In addition to being the least offensive image in the entire book, this early one with art by Harold W. McCauley–who also did a lot of billboard work for Coca-Cola–combines three things I love: Zippy action, rollicking adventure, and girls with bindles.
It’s not the fact that she’s dressed like Wonder Woman that caught my eye with this one so much as the fact that she’s dressed like Wonder Woman while selling a car. And really, can you even put a car on layaway?
…or as I like to call it, The Fucking Horrible Idea.
Given the nature of the books that dealt with the then-strict taboo of interracial relationships–which tend to run the gamut from “Extremely Offensive” to “Egregiously Offensive”–I found this one to be pretty interesting:
Also, everything about it makes me laugh.
And finally, while I’ve tried to stay away from the more hardcore images in the book, I just had to point out that these guys…
…bear a pretty strong resemblance to these guys:
And then, as a special added bonus that’s only slightly less awesome than the covers and the excerpts (in which phrases like “ass globes” are thrown around way more than should be reasonable), Goss includes the House Style Manual for Greenleaf Press, which the authors hacking out porn stories were obliged to follow, thus proving that there actually were standards. Among the best bits (my emphasis added):
In fiction, we prefer to use slang terms to clinical terms in describing parts of the body and the actions in which they engage.
Do not use the following terms to describe anatomical parts (there is no need to be “cute” or evasive): his masulinity, his manhood, his avenger, her mammaries, her womanhood, her femininity.
So yeah, it’s a great read, and while the $34 cover price is a bit much for the 153 pages that you get, come on: Do you really want to deal with the hassle of going into your public library and telling them you’re looking for Young Lusty Sluts?