I dunno about you, but when I think of gay pulp fiction, John Travolta in a bolo tie and ponytail doing The Twist with a coked-up Uma Thurman immediately comes to mind. But let’s take a moment to remember yesterqueer and the exploitative “literature” of the ’50s, ’60s and early ’70s detailing the seedy underbelly of homosexual life. They were the literary version of Bravo: cheap, trashy entertainment exclusively for gay men and bored housewives. And their covers were sometimes more entertaining than their plots. In the spirit of reading being fundamental and a picture being worth a thousand words, here are a few salacious covers from the golden age of pulp fiction along with what I can best glean are their plotlines.
Plot?: Intrepid seamen venture to the Lost City of Atlantis, which turns out to be an underwater, underwear-only homosexual colony. Will the boys escape with their lives and shorts in tact?Plot?: A highly skilled group of gay jewel thieves pulls off one last heist: Elizabeth Taylor’s white diamonds. But will they bring them any luck?
Plot?: Drag superstar Veronica Cake has to deal with a young rival, whom she later dispatches with a stiletto to the back of the head. But the show must go on, even as Veronica’s victim comes back to haunt her.
Plot?: Noted nose Kevin Scent is in search of notes for his new hit cologne, when he falls for a twink with a heart as golden as his curly locks. But something smells fishy in their budding relationship.
Plot?: Tommy Bottoms, the hapless owner of the homosexual hotspot, Bottoms, must fight to save his bar from a gang of ruthless leather daddies. His only weapon: an ass that won’t quit.
Plot?: A retelling of The Devil and Daniel Webster, only this time, the Devil’s not taking currency in the form of souls.
Plot?: Lusty musician Brando “Sax” Saxon is jazzing all over town with an endless parade of women until he’s tromboned by a new addition to the band.
Plot?: From the outside, Greg seems like your average Adonis — with his rippling muscles, lantern jaw and dimpled chin — but little do his many admirers know that he moonlights on the weekend as ribald drag queen, Rosemary Thyme.
Plot?: The gay guests of a deranged millionaire become his pawns in a deadly game of cat and mouse, which quickly gets pushed aside for a no holds barred sextravaganza.
Plot?: Guess who’s coming to dinner? A family is nearly torn apart when their eldest son returns home for Thanksgiving with a man on his arm and a chip on his shoulder.
Plot?: Pastor Luke runs a camp for troubled boys out of the local church, but when a rebel with a cause challenges his authority, he has to show him who’s boss.
Plot?: Answering yet another question for the ages. Spoiler alert: it takes three hours and a five cocktails.
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