Men’s Adventures Magazines 1953: The Magazines And I. Chapter 10 Part 2.

July 15, 2021

Men’s Adventures Magazines … is the 10th chapter from the serialized book I am writing on the magazines of 1953, specifically March 1953, the month I was born.  This is chapter ten, part two.  Feel free to back track for chapters one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, and nine in previous blogs.  Enjoy.


Classics Illustrated was a comic book/magazine series that proclaimed “Stories By The World’s Greatest Authors” and was created by Albert Kanter. Known for its adaptations of literary classics such as Les MiserablesMoby-DickHamlet, and The Iliad, the magazine evolved many times over throughout its lifespan, which ran from 1941 to 1969. The magazine started out as Classic Comics, but changed its name to Classics Illustrated in 1947 and became more standardized in the 1950s. 

The March 1953 issue features a very ferocious-looking tiger on its cover with the cover line Bring ‘Em Back Alive above the animal’s head. The cover art was effective and the stories within did not disappoint: Giant Jungle Man, Two Rhinos and Elephant Temper to name a few. The comic book magazine took readers on a wild adventure that many probably thought they might not return from. 


This magazine was published by Thrilling Publications, also known as Beacon Magazines (1936–37), Better Publications (1937–43) and Standard Magazines (1943–55) and was operated by Ned Pines, who was known for publishing many pulp titles. Between Pines and a young man named Leo Margulies, they came up with what became known as the “Thrilling Group” of which Exciting Western was a part. 

In March 1953, the magazine showcased stories such as Hell Moved To Montana and Who Ain’t Bloodthirsty? The cover art was apropos of the stories and inside the pages was minimal advertising and offered over 100 pages of adventurous content. It was a very good read.


Macfadden Publications brought this magazine to life. It was one among many titles in Bernarr Macfadden’s publishing empire of Physical CultureTrue DetectiveTrue Romances, Dream World, True Ghost Stories, Photoplay and the tabloidNew York Graphic, along with True Story. The magazine was touted as the title for “He-Men,” a read for men who liked their reading rough and ready, tough and tense, powerful and provocative. Macfadden was nothing if not original. 

The March/April 1953 issue was jam-packed with fast-paced adventure and spine-tingling thrills – the publication’s description, not exactly mine. However, I would agree that the stories were both entertaining and heady, in an intriguing way. There were great images inside the covers of the magazine of both men and a few scantily-clad ladies. But even without all the hype, the magazine was a good read. 


Popular Publications was at it again when they “branded” a Western title with the “King of Action Western’s” moniker across the top of the magazine’s cover. It was then that Max Brand’s Western Magazine was born. With one of the most successful Western pseudonyms ever created, “Max Brand” who was really Frederick Schiller Faust, became a household name in the world of Western fiction. And Popular Publications made good use of that.

The March 1953 issue did the man justice. Stampeders of Big Hell Canyon was the cover story and had the illustration to match. The magazine touted itself as a producer of Famous Classics Of The Fighting West. And with Mr. Brand’s renowned  moniker attached, the magazine was a sure-fire success. In March 1953, everyone was happy with the content.


New Western Magazine also belonged to Popular Publications and offered the same type of Wild West content. The magazine fell into step beside its many counterparts and rolled with the powerful punches this genre tended to dole out to its competition. During the 1950s, Western adventure had many players on the frontier, so it was always a constant battle to stay at the head of the herd.

March 1953 saw an issue that was both familiar and different, in that the stories seemed to be more diverse, yet within the Western formula that was so successful at the time. From The Rider From Wind River to Blind Canyon Manhunt, the bimonthly magazine brought another Western dish to the table.

More Men’s Adventures magazines of 1953 to come… stay tuned….

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