Coxeman Up and Coming – Blog #019 of the 156 “Pretty Faces” book cover challenge and book review.

This is book #084 on the list of 156 books that Gardner Francis Fox wrote from 1953 to 1986. This is the eighteenth book I scratched out a cover for.

Genre: Vintage Sleaze / Sexpionage
(Good old fashion men’s action-adventure stories)

Super-spy Adventurer Rod Damon—The Coxeman—doesn’t dare take his hand off his trigger in a dangerous house that’s definitely not a home.

Mr. Fox wrote Coxeman Up and Coming in 1972 under the pseudonym Troy Conway. Troy Conway was a house name for the Coxeman series. This same pseudonym was used by other authors to write Coxeman Adventures. These other writers were: Michael Avallone, Johannes L. Bouma, Charles, E. Fritch, and Paul J. Gillette.

Mr. Fox wrote two books under this pseudonym. His first one was Coxeman Best Laid Plan.

Mr. Fox had already cut his teeth on other sexpionage agent series like The Lady from L.U.S.T. He had written twenty up to this point, as well as the first Cherry Delight book.

Do people still read these sexpionage books anymore?

I know there are a few because The Library sells a few copies here and there. Mr. Fox’s Cherry Delight series is one of the most searched for on his official website. I believe the majority of searches are made by gentleman over the age of fifty, who probably read the books back in the 60s and 70s when the sexpionage genre was still popular.

The thing about the Coxeman series nowadays is that it’s too sexist. That’s right, we have come along way in society. The mainstream Populus have steered away from overtly sexist material. Everything is now safer than it ever has been. I even heard that James Bond himself will be retiring and giving his name over to a female counterpart.

We still have Jason Bourne and Ethan Hunt to thank for holding up the manly man’s movie, BUT these guys aren’t womanizers.

I think the biggest reason we don’t have Coxeman and Man from O.R.G.Y. characters being propped up today, is that they would be outsmarted by the ladies, and made into comical fools.

This is from the back cover description of Coxeman Up and Coming:

Adventurer Rod Damon—The Coxeman—has always believed the adage “When in Rome….” So when an undercover mission takes him to the Eternal City, he’s ready to “do as the Romans do,” and then some. Especially since his assignment is to penetrate the most complete palace of pleasure ever created. There is something for everyone in this supermarket of lust, plus a nasty extra: photos to remember it by. The Opposition is using the pictures to blackmail prominent politicians. If The Coxeman doesn’t stop them, Rome may fall again. No one is better equipped than big Rod; he feels at home in any house. But just as he’s set to put the place out of business, he gets a rude comeuppance. Someone is determined to gun him down. And going down in a barrage of bullets is not The Coxeman’s way at all.

Sexpionage books were written from the man’s POV and counted on the fact that women weren’t as smart and worldly as the guys, back then.

These books were designed to stroke a guy’s ego. These are pure escapist fiction. Any red-blooded man that spent the money and time on these books were indulged in a ride of their life. These were especially sought after by guys that got winded after getting out of their easy-chair to get a fresh one from out of the refrigerator. The ride, no matter how outrageous, was designed to take the average workingman out of his daily routine and into a world of unthinkable places and scenarios.

The best thing next to the action were the female conquests that would always ensue. I remember counting the exploits in a James Bond movie to at least three ladies per picture. I think it came time to curb that number when Timothy Dalton took on the James Bond role, he was only allowed to have one “love-interest” and maybe one other “run in” with a female baddie, who he usually ended up killing.

Here’s the opener of the first chapter of Coxeman Up and Coming. Mr. Fox does a really good setup for not only the story but the times as well.

“Take your clothes off. I want to see you naked.”

The rather full lips of the lady doctor quirked into a smile, a smile that did not reach her gray eyes. She was a psychiatrist, one of the staff employed by the House of Coxe to study its agents and care for their physical welfare. She was an arrogant bitch named Jolene Wetzel. I’d never particularly cared for her, and until this moment, had very little to do with her.

Not that she was unattractive. Actually, she was not a bad-looking chunk of femininity, ripely curved and in her early thirties. She wore her long black hair tied back on her head and knotted in a bun and the black-rimmed cheaters made her look like an old maid schoolteacher. Up front, she carried two big mounds of breast-flesh that always, no matter how strong a brassiere she adopted, managed to give a slight jiggle-shake when she moved.

Like now, leaning forward as though to hammer home her point. These breasts swung outward, paused, danced up and down and sideways. I wondered what they might look like naked, and that was a mistake.

My name is Rod Damon. I am a sexologist of world renown, being the founder of the League for Sexual Dynamics. I am also a professor of sociology at the local university, and a member of the Thaddeus X. Coxe Foundation. Moreover, thanks to a generous nature, I am endowed with what my French girlfriends call envitaille, which means I am extremely well endowed with what every man wants. I possess a hair-trigger response to anything sexually titivating, such as the Wetzel breasts, so that as I thought about them denuded of bra and the black sweater which she wore under her suit jacket, my peos lifted its head as if to look around for the goodies.

I am afflicted with satyriasis. This means that no matter how well I perform the copulative act, or how often, I am always ready for another go at the hairy horseshoe. Some men might consider this a sickness; I thank the love gods that I am so blessed, instead. The fact has saved my life on my Coxeman missions more than once.

Jolene Wetzel blinked as my jacket and shirt came off to leave me naked to my navel. I exercise daily, I keep in perfect fighting trim, what with push-ups and weight lifts and various gymnastic activities as well as daily lessons in advanced karate, judo and savat. My entire body, in a manner of speaking, is a weapon.

Naturally, my muscles bulge here and there, and there is not so much as an ounce of extra fat on my person. Doctor Wetzel blinked a couple of times, she even nodded her head condescendingly.

“You keep in excellent shape, Damon. Good, good.” She hadn’t seen anything yet.

My hands pushed my pants and jockey shorts down and her eyes got big as her full red mouth opened up. My peos—as the Greeks call it was half its full size and growing swiftly. Damn those jiggly tits on the woman! I just couldn’t help looking at them and imagining them without any covering, and my Merry Goodfellow took it from there. It stood up and looked around and gave every indication that it wanted to poke its nose where it didn’t belong.

She swallowed twice, then murmured breathlessly, “You are very well endowed for this test. Very well endowed.”

Then she remembered who she was, and straightened, looking professional. “Of course, you are only a man. And woman is the superior of the two sexes.”

She said it smugly, as to a lesson well learned.

“A woman outlives a man, she has more manual dexterity, she is more resilient. She is even a better businessman than the male since she owns almost eighty percent of the wealth of our nation. You would think she would be considered an equal, would you not, Damon?”

I shrugged, trying to ignore the moving breasts.

“But no, she is put upon and discriminated against. Given the same opportunities as man, she would be as strong, as well able to care for herself in a fight, as—”

“Hogwash,” I blurted.

She blinked. She was a forceful character, I don’t think anybody ever opposed her when she got going on her pet topic. She drew a deep breath—right, the mammaries swelled up and outward, just like me—and sneered.

“Male pig,” she breathed.

I grinned at her. All the time she had been rapping and sneering, her eyes had been fixed on the pointing point of my anatomy. Her nipples become quite stiff, I could see them pushing against the fabric of her sweater, and there was a faint flush on her cheeks.

“I’m a sexologist, doctor,” I smiled. “I know about the human anatomy, too. Male muscles are bulkier, larger than female muscles. So are male bones. The male body is heavier, taller. This is a matter of biology. No matter how much you protest, you can’t get away from facts.”

“A chauvinist,” she breathed.

“Seems to me this is a case of the pot calling the kettle black. You’re the one freaked out on female equality. Sure, sure, I know all about the Women’s International Terrorist Conspiracy from Hell, better known as WITCH, and the Redstockings, and WRAP. I have also read about NOW and Betty Friedan.

“I agree with you that there may be disparity in jobs and such where there shouldn’t be. But when you sit there and tell me that, as a male, I’m less than the dirt under your shoes, you’re betraying what you really think. You don’t want equality, doctor—you want female superiority.”

She flushed even more. “That’s not true,” she blustered.

“Isn’t it?”

The entire chapter one of Coxeman Up and Coming is available on Mr. Fox’s official website.

It’s hard to not think about the Mike Myers’s Austin Powers movies when you read a passage like this. It’s downright comical to try and take Rod Damon seriously. Seriously like James Bond? I don’t think these books were written to be taken seriously. I bet it was hard to find writers that would take the genre of sexpionage in general seriously. After about a dozen Ian Fleming’s James Bond novels, you’ve read it all. You’ve gone up one side of that mountain to only go down the other side to have to go right back it all over again.

The template is pretty well hammered out. Hero goes on a mission, meets many impossible feats and conquers them all and also meets a few ladies along the way, conquers them and ends up killing the bad guy to save the world.

What the hell was going on in the post World War II/Cold War psyche that made men desire these outrageous stories to tell themselves?

This was written almost fifty years ago and it feels like the same arguments are being made between men and women about equality. The physical inequality between men and women make for edgy situations. Sexual tension is always at the heart of individual desires from both men and women. When it gets right down to it, it’s all based on what turns you on, baby. And the Coxeman books seem more comical then tantalizing.

I’m not complaining about the social change from sexist to purists that we’re experiencing nowadays. I’m just wondering if there are any young men out there looking for escapist adventure where they will ultimately seduce a couple of women along their way. Action in the way of killing and blowing stuff up is one-half of the action men biologically crave. The other is sexual.

I know that there are younger writers and creators, in general, looking to make something edgy. Maybe they will find these sexpionage series and dive in and go for the ride. I’ll guarantee that they will find stuff that they were told should never reappear in today’s men’s adventure stories.

Or maybe that’s my issue. There are no men’s adventure stories being created in the mainstream. They have to be for both men and women equally.

And with that being said, if you’re a young writer looking for an edge to write on, contact The Library and we will send you both copies of Mr. Fox’s Coxeman stories for your research.

I have said it before and I still haven’t watch Red Sparrow, but by the time I get to reviewing The Lady from L.U.S.T. series, I will have and will have a better contemporary lens to look through and talk about how this generation is dealing with sexpionage, sexism, and sexuality.

To answer the original question, do people still read these sexpionage books anymore? I will have to say yes. Just not in the mainstream. I don’t think we will ever experience a James Bond phenomenon again.

Because of this fact, I’m currently looking for where the true underground has gone? If you have a URL link to share, please do.

Originally published in 1972 by Paperback Library
The cover Artist: Uncredited Photographer
I digitally transcribed this book with Douglas Vaughan in 2019.

I create the cover illustrations to size. I work on 6 x 6 black Ampersand Scratchboard. The book covers are 6 x 9, which leaves 3 inches for text. I want a clean “Penguin Books” look and feel to the covers. I’m using the “Pretty Faces” motif to keep a unified look and feel to the whole library. The back cover has an image of the original cover, the date it was originally printed, and the original story description.

I used this photo reference of the beautiful B-actress Daliah Lavi. I just had to! She’s a perfect cover image for Coxeman Up and Coming. Daliah Lavi starred in many sexpionage movies like the first Matt Helm film, The Silencers (1966), opposite Dean Martin. She also acted as ‘The Detainer/007’ in Casino Royale (1967).

She’s an iconic 60s/70s era beauty. The image is also a bit cliche with a sexy lady holding a pistol barrel close to her lips, but what else could I have done?

I would also like to mention that Rod Damon made a short appearance on Rod Collins blog. He has some very insightful commentaries on and suggestions for the modern man. These old blogs are so worth the read.

Here’s a short video I put together of me working on the scratchboard process.

I have had many positive comments about the new “Pretty Faces” covers. I feel pretty confident I will be able to do all 156 book covers, that I’ve challenged myself to do, as well as transcribe and review for The Library.

I suggest you join my Newsletter to get notifications of when I’ve posted a new blog entry.

If you’d like to own a digital or a paperback copy of Coxeman Up and Coming, you can order eBooks Here and Reprints Here.

I will not be working on books in the order as Mr. Fox wrote them. I am doing the book cover designs and reviews based on when the transcribers who are assisting me, finish one. As they complete a book, it will be the newest release, so it will get a new book cover design and review.

Thank you for stopping by and finding out more about what I’m doing. You can also see all of the books that have been transcribed so far by visiting The Gardner Francis Fox Library’s official website.

Sincerely,

Kurt Brugel
Custodian & Illustrator

I’d like to thank Paul Bishop for his two websites: Spy, Guys and Gals and Forgotten Books: Sex Espionage! They were both excellent resources for researching the super-soldier/crime-fighter topic.