The 7 Most Hilariously Badass Magazine Covers Ever

Beginning in the '30s and running all the way up until the 1970s, stag magazines were outlets for the frustrated masculinity of men returning from wartime only to find that their new foes were squeaky hinges and their most thrilling conquest was crabgrass. They needed excitement so badly that they didn't care if it was vicarious or insane. And thus entered the stag mags: Their modus operandi was to commission an eye-catching painting first, and then hire a writer to pen a "true story" that synced up with the tantalizing image. But regardless of the veracity of their accounts, one thing was inarguable: There has always been a very fine line between insane badass and aggressive homosexuality; stag magazine covers stood up and said: "f**k that line."



Ostensibly, the viewer is supposed to take one look at this painting and think, "Jesus, can you imagine being caught in that awful situation? However will that man survive?"

That's the intent, anyway. But really look at that picture: What that man is displaying is not fear. That man is not displaying concern, or anxiety, or a will to survive. What he is displaying, very proudly and enthusiastically, is a

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club made out of the very same animals that are attacking him. The berserker rage has overtaken him so completely that he is actually beating them with their own kind.

Now, look at the direction of the water -- there, in the lower right hand corner.

See it? The water looks like it's flowing over something doesn't it? What's going on there? A reasonable man might assume the obvious: It's a waterfall, probably located just out of frame, thus adding even more tension to the already dramatic tableau.

But this is not artwork for the reasonable man.

This is the artwork of the mad and the damned, and it takes a sinful maniac to understand it. So allow me to explain: This man is not the victim of a sudden and unexpected attack. This man has never been a victim in his entire life. This man has simply constructed a sluice system that funnels angry weasels into the shirtless dam of howling fury that he has formed at its terminus.

But ... why?

Curiosity, of course. Some men climb mountains simply "because they are there." Some men fight a hundred weasels in an aqueduct simply "because I'm pretty sure I could take them."


The title of this story says it all. It reads:


All capitals, no punctuation. That statement does not suggest a cry of fear, an exclamation of surprise or a plaintive plea. No, it is a direct, loud, firm command; as one would order a dog to drop errant table-scraps, so is this man ordering a savage river predator to release his limbs or suffer the consequences.

And oh, poor thing, it looks to be firmly mid-suffer.

But, hey -- don't feel too sorry for the beast, it's like the old saying goes "sometimes you get the bear, sometimes the bear gets you ... and then your only option is to uppercut your way out from

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inside of its goddamn mouth."


Editor's note: I have no idea what Sex Storms are, or what exact meteorological perversions they entail, but I've just burnt my entire paycheck on sandbags and condoms, and I would describe my current attitude as "dreadfully optimistic."


Q: What time is it?

A: Time to

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beat them with their own kind.

And God, this man was just built to wreck a bunch of animals in the most profane way possible. Look at his form! He's delivering a devastating hook to one bat in mid-air, while simultaneously plucking another from the sky and preparing to whip that b***h like a fastball into its own brethren. Look, just look:

That bat is f*****g terrified. It's not even flying at him anymore -- it's running away. And why? Because it doesn't want to know what it feels like to have your own daughter pitched into you at 89mph.

It's important to remember that the process most of these stories went through was the painting first, and then the text. So at some point, a roomful of writers were faced with an editor standing in front of this very picture, likely having the following exchange:

Editor: All right, ladies, who's got a headline for this mean son of a whore right here?

Writer 1: Jesus, what even is this?

Writer 2: I've got nothing for this. This is ridiculous. Nobody is going to believe this ever happened.

Editor: Fifty bucks in it for the best story.

Writer 1: Killer bats plague countryside!

Writer 2: Plague bats kill countryside!

Writer 1: You motherf- "I was a teenage bat-king."

Writer 2: "Bats stole my shirt!"

Writer 1: "I. FIGHT. BATS."


Writer 1: I ... s**t, that's really good. You have bested me, sir. I look forward to perusing your work. I will retreat to the area beneath the bleachers of the local baseball stadium, where I shall search for fallen hot dog bits.

And that is how we get art.


Perhaps the most astounding detail of this piece is not the inexplicably dry blouse of the woman in red (dude, it's like, super-hard to draw wet clothes!) nor even the fighter planes in the background bombing the s**t out of a completely deserted island, thus implying that they're purposefully targeting those naked Asian clones. No, the most amazing detail of this painting is that not one -- not one -- of those girls is doing any kind of overarm stroke. They're all dog paddling,

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'cause that's how bitches be swimming.

What's the backstory that we're supposed to be buying into here? Did we enact a bombing campaign against nudity back in the '40s, or am I misreading the whole scenario, and this is actually a stream of explosive whores about to torpedo that poor man's ship?

Ah, but I'm assuming they even tried to explain this cover believably, when the sad reality is that ofttimes these magazines were just precursors to the "Penthouse Forums," where sad men bragged of fake conquests in a misguided attempt to arouse the other, equally sad men who read it. I mean, it's all right there in the title:

"Coxswain Hardy and His 20 Marooned Geishas."

Come on, that's the porniest porn title since

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Dick Dicklonger the Vicedick of Dickington Invades Pussytown (With His Dick).


Editor: All right, Jimmy, you're up to paint the next cover. I think Kevin and Morris overdosed on that Chinese Testosterone I've been slipping into their coffee. When I came in this morning, I asked what the score was in the Sox game last night and they both choked each other to death on the spot. Now, I'm not gonna lie to you, son: I was up all night drinking motor oil and gin. I'm almost positive I'm going to die, and I am absolutely

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sure that I'm drunk as f**k. So I'm just gonna throw some words at you, and I want you to paint me a picture that incorporates all of them. Ready? Here we go: Topless sluts. Tribesmen. Jawlines. Jungle. America. Rickshaws. Dueling pistols. An amputated left foot. Got it? Good. Now, I'm a reasonable man, so I'm going to allow you one blackball, for the sake of coherence. What's it gonna be?

Jimmy: I abstain.

Editor: Jimmy, I've never told my wife that I loved her. I've never told my son, or even my own father. But I ... I just wanted you to know that, Jimmy.


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This isn't even a fight; it's just what men did instead of handshakes back in the '30s. Or if it is a fight, then the only loser here is going to be "humanity at large," which will be lesser for the loss of either man.

The title of this piece seems to be "Gentle Slaughter of the Virgin Bride."

Or at least, that's what I assume it is, as the only other options are "Why Rocky Marciano Didn't Really Retire," and "The Red Plan to Conquer America." Unless the real reason Rocky didn't retire was that he secretly entered the professional log-stabbing circuit, or the Red plan to conquer America was to challenge us all to a Lumberjack's Debate, then I am forced to conclude that "Gentle Slaughter of the Virgin Bride" is the most likely title of this masterwork.

And actually, it makes a strange kind of sense: After clocking a solid nine hours at the Log-riding Harpoon Factory, can you think of a more accurate way to describe what a man must do to his woman than "a gentle slaughter"?


There are myriad reasons for a man to be seen beating crabs to death with a piece of driftwood, and they're all as valid as they are awesome: Maybe you're relaxing on the beach when nature responds jealously to your natural musk. Or else you're bored, you have a stick and there's a line at the volleyball courts. Or hell, maybe some s**t just went down at a Sizzler.

Don't scoff, it happens:

Jim: Thanks for taking me out to dinner, Don. Too bad your wife couldn't make it.

Don: Ha! The day they allow women in a seafood restaurant is the day I start

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throwing women out of seafood restaurants. Come on, Jim, you know they don't have the heart to pick out a live meal. They'd probably try to dress the crabs up in little suits or something.

Jim: True, true. They just don't seem to understand how taking a life enhances flavor, do they?

Don: It's like I keep telling Donna: "Lay off the MSG, and just let me fight the chicken to the death first. Mortal combat is the best seasoning."

Jim: Say, Don, do you know what time it is?

Don: I sure do, Jim. It's time to beat them with their own kind.

Jim: What? No, I have a doctor's appointment after this and I- oh, OK; you've already started. All right. Let me get my Crab Stick ...

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You can buy Robert's book, Everything is Going to Kill Everybody: The Terrifyingly Real Ways the World Wants You Dead, or follow him on Twitter, Facebook and Google+. Or you could just beat everything with its own kind. That's really the central message here.

For more from Robert, check out The 8 G.I. Joes Most Frequently Left In the Box and If The Characters from 'Street Fighter 2' Got Hammered.

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