While Wenzel's Women may have been slightly more pedestrian and slightly less titillating than his Humorama amigo Bill Ward (Profiled earlier, see HERE) he was nonetheless a powerful practitioner of the prurient pen. Ample dames and awful gags define his work, as well as a scribbled signature as if he hated anyone to recognize his work. However, It doesn't take long to do just that...it is easy to pick out from the herds of hacks working for Humorama in the 1950's. Usually friendly (if slightly dim) they often have chubby cheeks and cupid faces. Good girls, as opposed to the darker, devilish damsels of Ward. In 2005 Wenzel's work was compiled into a stylish Fantagraphics book.
"oh oh" Bill Wenzel undated (detail) Collection Jim Linderman
"Shampoo" Bill Wenzel undated (detail) Collection Jim Linderman
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Cropped Images from Shy Shamed Secret Shadowed Hidden the BOOK by Victor Minx NOW AVAILABLE AS A $5.99 DOWNLOAD FOR iPad and iPhone!
Okay, you would think a sleazy, crappy little smut magazine with no merit. Who wouldn't. But in ONE 22 page issue alone, I found work by the following photographers:
Fritz Henle, author of a dozen books who has had one man museum exhibitions. See HERE
"Bernard" who had a career far too extensive for me to detail, with more links than the world's largest sausage, see HERE
Anthony Guyther, a notable who was prosecuted in an important 1962 case for his Male physique photos which catered to the homosexual market. FASCINATING reading HERE
Tom Kallard, who took some of the early photographs of Bettie Page.
One man's trash is another man's Buxie
My dictionary defines "bizarre" as "strikingly unconventional in style or appearance" so I assume the publishers were referring to the color scheme. Certainly vibrant. Circa 1955 pamphlet of exotic models.
vintage sleaze Praise the Poon of Polaroid shy shamed secret shadowed hidden (Lady Gaga Takes the Helm)
Every technology man has invented was first used to spread pictures of naked women. Fact. It still drives the web today. But no invention did more for vintage sleaze than the Polaroid. The images usually had the quality of the view through a windshield after a bug storm, but at least there were no more nervous trips to the photo developing lab. On January 5, 2010, Polaroid partnered with Lady Gaga, appointing her as Creative Director for the company. A press release stated that she would be the "new face" of Polaroid. This smacks of desperation to me, as the company has been in and out of bankruptcy since failing to anticipate the rise of digital photography...but until she revitalizes the brand, let's enjoy the snaps of old.
All photographs from Shy Shamed Secret Shadowed Hidden the book by Victor Minx
Collection Victor Minx, Circa 1975
I love collectors who specialize, and I like those who share even more! The redoubtable "Quinn" has posted a staggering collection of beautiful, ragged, authentic Tijuana bibles on his site, each scanned in full, so you can read them, but I suggest you print them out and bring some to Gramps on your next visit! They are spicy hot...The few I've had over the years provided plenty of diversion, and as they are the forerunner of the sleazy illustration of the 50s and 60s, most appropriate to show a few here. The site is loaded with trivia, rare examples, values and more. Thank you Quinn!
The Tijuana Bible History Series by Jim Linderman Runs once a week or so...make sure to bookmark to enjoy future (and past) posts. Some groundbreaking original research, government documents and rare examples.
Dull Tool Dim Bulb / Vintage Sleaze Book Catalog
Selection of Quinn's 8-pagers, circa 1920-1940.
Illustration from "The Big Girl" in Man in Command Number 1 (circa 1960) Amateur, self-printed publication Collection Victor Minx
Finally the last of the "fun fetish four" who drew covers for Eddie Miskin's mob-run paperback house in the 1960's. For my brief articles on Gene Bilbrew, Bill Alexander and Eric Stanton, click on the "vintage sleaze" descriptor below. ALL MY ESSAYS ON VINTAGE SLEAZE ILLUSTRATORS ARE NOW COLLECTED ON VINTAGE SLEAZE.
Bill Ward is probably the most recognizable of the group, and I doubt there is a man over 40 in the United States who hasn't seen his work dozens of times. Ward ruled the girlie magazines of the 1950's and 1960's, producing literally thousands of drawings, one estimate places the number at TEN thousand. Double that figure for the number of breasts he drew. As boy, Ward enrolled in the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, I am sure they are quite proud of that today. What set him apart from the other sleazy artists titillating returning WW2 vets as they relaxed in their suburban dens was his use of the conte crayon. It highlighted his black and white illustrations with great effect. He was paid less than ten dollars each for the most part, and because he was prolific, his original drawings are easily found today. A 350 page compilation with over 600 examples of his work was published by redoubtable Taschen. Like all the Satellite artists, he worked for many publishers and freelanced, but the covers he did for these paperbacks are not only among his best work, they have vivid color which brings them to life. If you study early American folk art, both paintings and carvings, you'll see that the feet are often too small...it lends a charming, naive quality. In Ward's case, all it does is produce a tottering, somewhat gargantuan icon which lives in the minds of every randy man. They might LOOK sexist, absurd and grotesque to you females out there, but if you enlarge an image and place that Barbie doll you grew up with over it, the silhouettes are remarkably similar. I guess you could say Ward did for the top what R. Crumb did for the bottom.
This concludes my minor contribution to vintage sleaze paperback culture. For those of you who would like to obtain your own examples, the Satellite house had five imprints under their sleaze umbrella. From 1963 to 1969 they published several hundred titles with the following imprints: After Hours, First Niter, Nitey Nite, Unique Books and Wee Hours. For the most part, there is little reason to READ them, although numerous well-known struggling authors paid their NYC rent churning them out with fake names. Bilbrew also drew a dozen or more covers for the imprint Satan.
See Also Vintage Sleaze the Daily Blog of Art HERE
Dull Tool Dim Bulb Books HERE