The Pin-Up Art of Humorama

Simply put, if you’ve enjoyed any of Alex Chun and Jacob Covey’s series of glamour-girl cartoon retrospectives they’ve assembled for Fantagraphics over the years, you’ll want — if not need — their latest, THE PIN-UP ART OF HUMORAMA. It is not, as I first feared, a “best of” from their volumes centered on Dan DeCarlo, Bill Ward, Jack Cole and Don Flowers.

In fact, while you get more of the same from those guys, you get much more from other artists who never merited their own volume, but worked for the men’s humor digests throughout the 1950 and ’60s. Of note are Jefferson Machamer, Kremos, MAD vet Dave Berg and even Basil Wolverton.

It even includes art that may even be subpar against the giants; for example, Bill Wenzel, whose approach is too sketchy, too goofy against the near-lifelike work of Ward, who took great pains to make sure every curve of his women would induce great pains in HUMORAMA readers. Wenzel’s hardly the only one whose stuff isn’t as good, but his signature was clear to read, unlike many chicken-scratchers.

The gags here are reprinted in three sections of duotone — blue, yellow, red — but pop as if they were four-color. Hardly a page goes by that isn’t sexy in one way or another. Exception: The work of someone credited as “Gregory,” who drew his women as if they were dead-eyed mannequins.

As with Chun and Covey’s previous collaborations, the captions to the cartoons rarely matter — sometimes, they don’t even match what’s depicted. All that matters is the art, full of lovely, curvy, super-sexy women whose bra sizes run deep into the alphabet. It may not come in a brown paper wrapper, but yeah, this book’s hot. It spills over with an abundance of retro tease to please. —Rod Lott

Buy it at Amazon.

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Comment by Ron Walker
2011-07-19 13:03:44

In the seventies Ipublished a Cartoon/Joke Magazine in the United Kingdom the title of which was SEXY LAUGHS we probably issued in the region of fifty numbers over a six year period what eventually caught us out was theever increasing costs of paper.We used a considerable amount of American material,I can remember buying UK publishing rights from Acme Publishing who were situated in the Flat iron building in New York City.But our main contributor and sometime Editor was a guy called Brian Forbes whose cartoons were Published in the UK in Mayfair ,Penthouse and Men only,he also was used in the States in Swank.Gent ,High Society andVelvet,he eventually got lucky and married well,you may have come across him,good luck and best wishes Ron Walker

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Comment by Jim Linderman
2011-08-04 12:50:11

Bill Ward is “near lifelike” (??) Sheesh. In WHAT life?

Seriously, as I have been digging up the scant information on lesser-known humorama artists, like Home Provence, Stanley Rayon and others (and publishing what I find on two sites, Vintage Sleaze the blog
and Humorama Art…I hope this new volume will include many of the unknown artists who sold work to the line of digests. If you allow links, your readers would probably enjoy both below, and I have the book on order! Jim Linderman

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