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Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Acquired Tastes LXIII: Gay Pulp Fiction - Part Five: Companion Book: Dick Dale, Marcus Miller, and Alan Fair

Acquired Tastes LXIII: Gay Pulp Fiction
Part Five: Companion Book 
Dick Dale, Marcus Miller, and Alan Fair

Today we'll begin to delve into the world of Companion Books from Greenleaf Classics. This imprint features 318 titles, with the first being published back in January of 1967. Of those 318 titles, only 20 were gay-oriented. The others? The usual breezy swap/swinging hetero books with an occasional sexy murder mystery thrown in for good measure. And, as with the previously explored Adult Book imprint, during its latter years, Companion would bend to market trends, with kinky niche content such as Uncle's Naughty Niece, Dogging It With Daddy, Going Down With Mom, and, ummm, Animal Farm.



Animal farm...

However, everything seemed gay and bright December of 1967 through April 1968, with four gay titles being published every month - their only output for those months. 

If you read my previous posts about the Adult Book imprint, you will recognize quite a few of the names associated with Companion Books; Illustrators Darrell Millsap, Robert Bonfils and Ed Smith, Authors Dick Dale, Chris Davidson, Aaron Thomas, for example. 

Today, we'll take a look at authors: Dick Dale, Marcus Miller and Alan Fair and have a bit of fun at their expense (and Darrell Millsap's, too). Keep in mind that titles do not appear in the order they were published.

I've also included a one-off by Michael Scott, whose body of work provides a peephole into the world and practices of gay pulp fiction publishing.

Three by Dick Dale

Dick Dale is author of nine books in this genre. See more of his work: here.

Four-Way Gay
Cover Art: Darrell Millsap

Oh, my... something tells me someone is going be squealing like a piggy by the end of this one. I see that canoe coming down the river and all I can think of is Deliverance. Scary, Mary! And speaking of scary, get a load of that knife-wielding, roasted old rooster with his bleach-damaged, yellow hair. You know that shit is going be falling out and breaking within days. Look at him, wearing white pants on a G.D. camping trip! What is she thinking? And, yes, Mary... one can be too tan! At the rate he's cooking, he's gonna give the term 'Leather Queen' a whole new meaning!  

Gay But Not Happy
Cover Art: Robert Kinyon
"Meet Rodney Manlove... A lad who is..."

Sigh. Who says money can't buy happiness? Just look a those wheels! I would kill to preen and pose next to a vehicle so beautiful. But, oh, no... not Ms. 'Glass Half Empty' Rodney Manlove. Oh, no... That well-preserved queen needs him a man in his life to feel fulfilled. Roll eyes, here. Darling, get behind the wheel of that souped-up love machine of yours, cruise the parking lot of the nearest local cruising hot spot and getcha some happy, bitch. And lose the melon-colored sack coat... it's not fitted correctly and does not flatter y'all at all. 
Gay on the Range
Cover Art: Darrell Millsap
"Back when men were men... more or less."

That tagline! Throw a little shade, dearie? And old Darrell Millsap - who never met a color combination he could not learn to love - did you really give that gunslinger a pink cowboy hat? SMH. Not that depictions of the old west have ever been true to life. Those dudes did not bathe and were certainly not GQ ready. I do admire Mr. Pink Hat, though... protecting his green jean-ed little twink. Just imagine the wagon 'train' that little feller could pull!

Three by Marcus Miller

Marcus Miller was spotlighted in the first post for this series. Learn more about him: here.

Carry On, Charlie
Cover Art: Darrell Millsap
"Already an outcast... what did he have to lose?"

Looks like Charlie is about to lose a load at the hands of Nurse Ratchet! Though he does seem open to her peculiar bedside manner. Hey! I don't think they teach that in Nursing School. Hope there's lotion handy. Hee, hee... 'handy' - get it? Okay. Let's talk about the elephant in that room... it appears Darrell drew himself a white male nurse, but then read the story and realized it was supposed to be a Black male nurse, but rather than redraw it, he just went and gave the dude a darker hue? And what's with the dress? Is she Florence Tuck-N-Tail? Just what kind of hospital did Charlie check himself into? 

The Gay Swap
Cover Art: Darrell Millsap
"Their mismatched marriage led to..."

Remember that film Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice? Yeah, well, this book predates that film by a year. How nice that these two couples found one another, so each could fulfill their 'true desires'. Brings to mind Shel Silverstein's The Missing Piece, you know, in that 'I'm a homo hiding behind a wedding ring' sort of way. Eh. Let's not lie to ourselves. Back then - and probably always - there was a lot of that going on. All that social acceptance? The tax breaks? Not to mention all those wedding gifts. One cannot have too many Rubbermaid spatula sets. And don't tell me that in all those thousands of swap/swinging porn novels a dick didn't 'accidentally-on-purpose' slip into a hole it wasn't supposed to. Let's just hope they all douched properly before they got started. Or they'll be giving the term 'brown-out' a whole new meaning.

The Mother Truckers
Cover Art: Darrell Millsap
"The boys on bikes played the shame game with..."

The shame game? Do tell. I wanna learn. If the first two names are ever the same, then fuck them both and come again? I take it the bikers somehow got the upper hand and it's the mother truckers who got stripped down to their tighty whities and are all tied up. Those two dudes do not look like any of the truckers I sucked off behind the glory hole in the mens room at my local Big Bear truck stop off highway 35W. No, sir...They both look like extras from the film The Lords of Flatbush. In fact... is that... Sylvester Stallone?

Sylvester Stallone in
The Lords of Flatbush

Three by Alan Fair

Alan Fair has a total of five titles in this genre. I suspect this is a pseudonym and possibly connected to Marcus Miller and Len Harrington, since works by those two authors kept coming up when I was looking for info on Alan. Nothing I've verified. Could be the result of coincidences or faulty site cataloging. 

A Man's Affair
Cover Art: Robert Bonfils
"For Wayne, passion was a one-way trip!"

Wow. Wayne's world is indeed a trip. I don't know what he just ingested, but I want none of it. WTF is going on in that cover painting? I am at a loss. Is the Ken doll wearing only his boxers hitchhiking in the abode of the damned? Who is about to pick him up? Satan? Is this Robert Bonfils way of communicating that all gay relationships are doomed and hell to go through? Well, tell me something I don't already know. And that title. When I think of an 'affair' I think upscale hotel room in neutral shades with a sweet Andes chocolate on the pillow and free bath and shower stuff to take home as kind of a well-earned swag bag. Not the fiery pits of hell and possible serial killers with doors that only open from the outside. If I wanted that, I'd just attend a family reunion.

The Boys in Olive Drag
Cover Art: Robert Bonfils
"Loneliness led him to..."

Olive drab used to refer to clothing worn by boys in the army. So, I take it our preppy stalker in the white pants, lurching toward Mr. Cutie Boots, has a thing for a man in a uniform. Or, to be more precise, a thing for one out of uniform. And, from the looks of it, it will not take a whole lot get Mr. Cutie Boots out of his. The fly on his pants appears to already be undone! Will our stalker catch this Rainbow Trench Monkey in his crumb catcher and then proceed to guide him to his Fourth Point Contact? Or is this just going to end in one big Charlie Foxtrot? An ugly soup sandwich? Well, let's hope our boys are both free of galloping dandruff and the clap. After all, looks like they are going be nuts to butts long enough for transmission to occur. Roger wilco that, motherfucker! Out.

Villa of Queens 
Cover Art: Darrell Millsap
"Violence and dark desire haunted the..."

Violence and dark desire? Back where I come from we call that childhood. Oh, those poor, long suffering queens of the villa. It seems that murder is afoot, or maybe it is just a good old fashioned gay bashing. In either case, clearly someone does not approve of that over-sized orange shirt Mr. Bloodyface is wearing. And what happened to his pants? And that other queen. Why is she sitting on the stairs in her undies? Is she trying to help Mr. Bloodyface or just get him to smell her stinky pinky? Don't do it, Mr. Bloodyface. Everyone in the villa knows where that queen's pinky has been! P.S. Do NOT hire Darrell Millsap as your interior decorator. He only seems to use the crayons no one else wants.

And... one for the road, by Michael Scott (aka Roland Graeme, aka Barry Dunn).

This is the only title written by Michael Scott for this imprint. However, in total, he published 36 books under the name Michael Scott, all in this genre, for the Adam, Blueboy, Midwood and His69 imprints. As Barry Dunn, he wrote 10 books, while credited with 35 works for a variety of imprints under the name Roland Graeme. Here is a bio I found for Roland Graeme:


And, if my research is correct, he's still pumping out gay-related product. On March 28, 2020 he released Beach Ball: Their Lifeguard Lover.  A possible secret to his prolificacy? It is believed he recycles older novels by updating the references, giving them a modern spin and a new title. Presto-chango - new novel. The Gay Male Sleuth in Print and Film: A History and Annotated Bibliography by Drewey Wayne Gunn traced one such transformation: A Cop Coming Out by Barry Dunn became Undercover Cop by Michael Scott, which then became State Trooper Buddies by Roland Graeme. Very enterprising, indeed.

Not to be confused with:
Michael Scott

The Killer Queens
Cover Art: Darrell Millsap
"Deadly in battle, desperate with desire."

More boys in olive drag? No, not at all. For these two appear to be men. Real men. Fighting men. Then, what's with that title? What does it reference? The all-female Queen tribute band that hails from San Francisco? Or that popular southern-flavored true crime podcast? Surely it does not refer to these two all-american G.I. Joes? But, on second look, the dude on the right? He could lighten up on the eyeliner and mascara. Wait! Are you telling me that Max Factor is what they carry in those little satchels attached to their utility belts? Well paint me green. No, don't bother. Looks like Darrell beat you to it.

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Tune in next week for the remaining gay-oriented titles published under the Companion Book imprint. We have ten more to go. 

Like what you see? Did I get something wrong? Let me know in the comments section. 

Killer Queen - Queen

Quiz: Find Out What Your Sex Style Is

Today's quiz came from 'the' go-to place for sex quizzes: Cosmopolitan. It was written by Carina Hsieh and Hannah Smothers back on June 17th, 2019.

Finally, a Cosmo quiz. Cited in so many female-based sitcoms, I have always wanted to take one. Now, keep in mind, I did have to do a bit of editing and skew a few of the questions in a different direction. Out of the sixteen questions, I managed to salvage eight. Also, I changed it to an essay answer kind of quiz. Being limited to two choices for answers? Puh-leeze. No one puts Uptonking in a box (unless we agreed to it ahead of time, safe words are in place and respected, and there are air holes.) 

So, I guess this is more of a Cosmo-inspired quiz. 

I have to laugh at the audacity of Cosmo. They give you a grade at the end of the quiz, so you can label yourself "Kinky AF" or a wet noodle. Aren't your answers just your answers and there is no right and wrong? Feels a little Judge Judy there, Cosmo. 

I don't need to wait until the end of a quiz to know that I am Kinky AF, but then, considering these questions and scenarios? Cosmo has a pretty tame definition of kinky. 

1/ You strip down to your skivvies before a planned sex romp. What are you wearing?


Assignations are always planned. But sometimes they are planned during the workday, so whatever undies you have on are the ones you show up in. 

I have three pairs of Tommy Hilfiger black boxer briefs with a red band that I am happy to be seen in. They have just enough lycra in the mix to pull my shit together and look passable. 

Hanes, also, has a boxer brief I like - in silver gray. Breathable, but snug. 

Those encounters planned outside of the working hours? 

Well, at the prairie I wear a towel or a pair of silky running shorts. And am typically nude before my intended signs on. 

Showing up at someone's house? Well, I do special requests - a jock strap, tighty whities, even a thong (which I hate, but to each their own). Otherwise, cotton boxer briefs - silver gray or black. 

And if it's a walk-in scene? 

What does it matter?

My underwear is lying prone on the floor, moments before I am. 

Guess which of us my mystery man is going to pay attention to?

2/ What is your policy on Face Time / Skype sex?


Hate it.

I look like shit on cam. Always have. Lighting is never right. The camera angle makes me look fat and stranger than I already do. And what color is my skin? NO. I will not have it. 

When it comes to my image, I am a bit of a control freak. Back when I used to take pics, I would have to take a hundred pics to come up with one that would make the final cut. I am not a beauty, and as such, I have to carefully orchestrate my relationship to the camera. I am just not comfortable with being more hideous than mother nature intended. 

Then there is the quality of the sex. It's very much like phone sex. I can do it, but it is not very fulfilling. I think I got off on the novelty of it in the beginning, but now? It simply feels faux. Why settle for antiseptic sex when you can have the real thing?  I need to feel the press of flesh, the raw intensity - in all it's flawed natural state. 

So, I guess I am a bit of a contradiction. When it comes to projected images I have a desire for unattainable perfection.  But if you and I are standing naked in front of one another, I am totally on board with grooving on our flawed flesh. In fact, I love the idiosyncrasies of the human body. You might hate that mole. You might hate that big nose of yours. You might not embrace your love handles. But I think they are sexy. Because they are uniquely yours. And it's real.

And I will take a flawed original over a cookie cutter clone any day of the week.

I kind of like my own imperfections, in the flesh. That little pooch. The fine lines on my face. My sagging ass. In a way... I earned all that. Sure, I do what I can to minimize it - crunches, moisturize, sunblock, jogging, biking, hiking and squats, but in the end: gravity wins. Besides...

....who am I to argue with Mother Nature?

3/ Unicorn? Or Unicorn hunter?

I have never been in a relationship where my significant other was comfortable with inviting in some strange. Don't know why. Historically, my partners always turn out to be less sexual than promised. Less adventurous. I can work with that. On the other hand...

I don't mind being a special guest star on someone else's series. 

But you better treat me well and abide by all clauses in our negotiated contract. 

There better be a bathroom handy and you better let me take a shower after.

And when it comes to drugs - and I am talking meth - it is a hard no. You and your beloved want to 'party'? You can do so without my presence. 

Once, in Miami, I got invited over by a couple. Everything on-line seemed cool. I get there. They were hiding in a cardboard box and wanted me to join them - inside the box. Like a fool, I agreed. Then, suddenly, they changed the parameters of our agreement and I was to be the top. Uh-uh. I lied. Told them I'd shot my load (didn't they see it?) and left. That shit was just too weird. And neither of them could get it up.

On the other hand, I had a LOVELY experience in San Francisco. Most gracious, sweetest couple invited me over to their condo. They turned out to be way hotter than their pics. Needless to say, I was out of my element and feeling a tad awkward. We smoked a little 420 and suddenly, I did not feel like the ugly duckling at all.  We got busy and had a blast. They both stayed hard as a rock and came multiple times. It was very nice. I walked out of there at 3:30 am, dazed and glazed, having no idea where I was. I just started walking, trying to remember things I'd seen out of the window of the cab that brought me there. Miracle of miracles, I found my hotel, thanks, in part, to the intervention of a small group of transgender hookers. 

Bless you, child.

4/ Thoughts on dirty talk?

I love a verbal dom top. 

Call me names. Call my hole whatever you want. I'm down with it. 

But... don't do it half ass. I have been trapped in a number of lame ass fucks where the dude prattles on, sounding like he memorized the script from a bad 80's porn flick. 

And for gawd's sake... speak up. Nothing less sexy than a bottom having to ask, 'What? What? You want me to do what?' every five seconds, simply because you can't bother to project your voice. I get it that you're afraid your neighbors or your roommate will hear, but - and trust me on this - they already know you're a little homo who likes to fuck ass, so own it, motherfucker.

And shy? We're naked. So I think that phantom ship has sailed, hon.

5/ Thoughts on PDA?

It melts my heart and makes me cry. 

For so many years of my life, all forms of gay affection were kept hidden from the eyes of others, out of fear of discovery. I grew up thinking that was how it was always going to be. I did briefly kiss at my wedding, but at the commitment ceremony we'd had nineteen years earlier, when it came to that moment, we shook hands! 

Because we didn't want to make any of our guests uncomfortable.

The moment I knew my current boyfriend was going to be my boyfriend was when, while walking in the Lynlake area, he took my hand and held it - all the way to the restaurant. He had no fear. And it felt so right. I was just... blown away, as it was something I had never experienced before. 

That? That was romance. That was fairy tale stuff. And it was happening to me. 

He's a generation younger than me. On the other side of the AIDs crisis. But apparently, that ten year difference made him braver than I had ever been. And in that moment, when he took my hand, I decided to trust. And that was it. 

Deal sealed. 

So, yeah. I'm a big fan. Don't get all drunk-hetero gross about it, but...

...after all that our community has been through? 

We deserve a little romance.

6/ Do you chat with your friends about your sex life over brunch?

Hmmm. You mean a kiki?

Back when I used to brunch, it was always with a single, female friend. And all we would talk about was theater. Non-stop. I must have been the most boring companion ever. 

Then I came out, and my best gay male friend and I would do lunch, etc. And more and more we would talk about sex. I was having some. He was an ice queen always obsessed with some unattainable boy.  Well, unattainable, as far as I knew - my friend would never move to close the deal. So who knows if it would have worked out or not. I think he liked it that way. 

But me, oh, yeah... I grew comfortable talking about sex - in a large part - due to Sex In The City. Because that taught me what brunch/lunch was for: sharing secrets. Dirty secrets. 

I loved that damn show. Whatever connected those women to one another, I wanted in my own life. Samantha? My idol, be divine. 

My friend and I also used to talk in terms of Valley of the Dolls.  He was Anne Welles, I was Neely O'Hara, and, a friend of ours, a fellow actor, Alan, was Jennifer North. We were well cast and actually discussed doing a warehouse/undercover production of 'Dolls', starring the three of us. We were doing a lot of that sort of thing at the time (Peyton Place, In Cold Blood).

Then Alan died. AIDs. And the whole thing felt pathetically prophetic. 

7/ How would you introduce sex toys into your relationship?

By their first name.

I dunno. The boyfriend talks about toys, but it is all talk, so far. He and a former boyfriend of his got into it. But nothing has materialized on that front for the two of us. 

And toys with strangers is problematic. Did you sterilize that thing? Where has it been? 

That sort of thing.

Now that I own some of my own? Who knows. I guess I could bring one with me sometime, if the other person had an interest.  

Kind of a unicorn horn, huh?

8/ Your sex partner wants to role play as strangers who pick up one another in a bar. How hard do you commit?

So, this scenario was part of a Valentine's episode of Modern Family. It was a cute episode. But by that point, I had fallen out of love with the series. The first season, the writing felt fresh. Then, the way the gay couple was portrayed? Began to bug the shit out of me. Lots of pedophilia jokes. Not cool. And always out of the mouth of the straight actor playing the nelly - well, they were both nellies, but the straight actor did a bit of a gay Amos 'n Andy turn with his character. And all that white privilege? Naw. I'm over it. Hate the show.

So, role play.

The current boyfriend? That is not going to happen. We're simply not go-to-the-bar kind of people. We talk about going, but always choose to stay home to sip our cocktails. And role play? Not a part of our conversations at all.

Not the soon-to-be-ex, either. When we were still together, he was opposed to going out unless it was restaurant associated - ie: a co-worker's birthday, an opening, an invitation from a competitor, or he was undercover - posing as a guest, when, in fact, he was there, hired to assess the level of service, etc. 

But a bar, just to go to a bar? Never. 

We briefly had a set of friends I called The Wax Works. We would meet them for dinner at the Gay 90's. A cocktail into the evening, and dinner done, I would want to stay and explore the nightlife, but the hubby was against it. So we went home. 

Role playing? That seems to be something I only do with strangers. It has never been part of any relationship I have been a part of. 

Do I need it to be? 


I prefer to keep it real.

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Let's Have a Kiki - Scissor Sisters