Bilbrew Digest Paperback Covers Rare Vintage Sleaze Art
Nice! A group of quite obscure early Digest covers done by Eugene Bilbrew have turned up on the bookseller site BEET. Several I have never seen. "Justin Kent" author of a few, was the pseudonym of a prominent writer. These covers would date early in the African-American artist's career, circa 1955 or so...and if I am not mistaken represent some of the material confiscated in the New York City busts of Times Square merchant Eddie Mishkin. Bilbrew's original work was not saved as far as anyone knows...reprints abound, but that virtually none of his original drawings seem to exist is a shame, especially from this period. Creative, unique, accomplished and inept at the same time! In other words, perfect.
The tape marks are likely original...done in the shop to prevent prospective purchasers from flipping through the goods (and also to find out how "little was revealed" inside. These books, despite splendid outrageous graphics on the front, were quite tame.) Likewise the price markings...they not only indicate the 1955 cost, but may also reveal the stockboy's disdain for the clients...or for his job!
More information on Eugene Bilbrew in several of my other posts.