This is a rare unread vintage and out of print copy of MEN OF STEEL (RT614) presented and written in 1988 for the ROUGH TRADE series of gay ILLUSTRATED pulp paperback books published and distributed by STAR DISTRIBUTORS.
"Thor Igersoll..." Judd Harrison murmured reflectively. "That's some name! And what's the kid like?" ”Well, one things for sure, Judd. This Thor Ingersoll ain't hardly what I for one would call a kid!" Norman Gentry exclaimed, grinning and shaking his head. "you said he was eighteen, didn't ya?" Harrison growled. "Yeah I did, but he's big, real big!" He's gonna be one helluva construction worker, if he don't fall off the lede or something and break his damn neck!" Judd nodded, "Big and dumb, huh?" "Yeah Harrison, big, dumb, young and hot-looking!"
Much of the cover art featured on gay pulp novels is amateurish and likely produced in rapid order, though notable covers are not uncommon with a number of illustrations clearly produced in the style of iconic gay illustrator TOM OF FINLAND. Other significant artists of the period include gay illustrators REX, CRAIG ESPOSITO, HARRY BUSH, ADAM and CARL CORLEY, along with remarkable mainstream illustrators ROBERT BONFILS, BILL ALEXANDER and GENE BILBREW.
Gay pulp paperbacks existed before the 1960s but their popularity and distribution was limited despite the explosion of the cheap format following World War II. While the lax stance on censorship due to the vast output by publishers and the perceived "low-brow" nature of the material allowed for some homosexual themes or subtexts, most such novels were rare, unlike lesbian novels which found mainstream appeal with both women and men. Earlier stories or novels on gay themes had to be dressed up in the trappings of respectability, typically with protagonist harboring bisexual conflicts that ended with them overcoming their "affliction" or succumbing to it with the resultant social and professional ruin or death.
As the popularity of the gay paperback increased in step with the decline in publisher's concerns about prosecution, the subject matter began to expand. To stand out in the increasingly crowded market and to meet the varying tastes of their readership, publishers began adopting specialized genres such as BDSM, older and younger men together, interracial relationships, and roleplaying (bikers, sailors, soldiers, etc.). While explicit sexually remained the driving force in many of these stories, some began to take on additions dimensions with the emergence of genres such westerns, detective fiction, spy thrillers, war stories, and tales of prison and Richard Amory's hugely popular and influential Loon Trilogy, set during the historical Old West and featuring Native American characters.