Outlandish and close to obscene during the early 1960s when they were published, the vintage sleaze paperbacks above were illustrated by Eric Stanton but were not widely distributed to mass-market paperback book outlets stocked by major publishers. One generally had to purchase them at Times Square bookstores and other "alternative" outlets, such as the forerunners of adult bookstores, seedy smoke shops and "novelty" stores. "First Niter" was a mob-connected publishing endeavor run by Stanley Malkin based in New York City (As was "Wee Hours" and "After Hours")
The text is tame but since the cover had to sell the book, they hired the best. Eric Stanton was a cartoonist trained at the forerunner of the School of Visual Arts in New York, and MAJOR revelations about the artist's career (hint…think no less than Spiderman) are revealed, with my modest help, in the book "The Creativity of Ditko" by Craig Yoe just published.
In the book, rare examples of collaborative work done with Steve Ditko are shown for the first time, and the role Stanton had in the creation of Spiderman is not only finally confirmed, his contribution is far more than previously rumored. An essay by Stanton's daughter, her first published recollections that I am aware of, indicate her father kept his mouth shut about the webbed-wonder a long time. For years comic historians have speculated about their connection, and to have it finally confirmed in Yoe's book, with rare photographs (and drawings from Leonard Burtman published fetish magazines of the early 1960s) solves a mystery long pondered.
Yoe previously drew some spicy connections to another superhero in Secret Identity.
What do I draw from these connections? As unfashionable as it is to say, that Kefauver was right. After all, where there is smoke...
Pre-code, we WERE reading some dicey stuff, and increasingly it is becoming evident.
I have thought it all along...and together Yoe's two books literally change comic book history, especially as it relates to the two most prominent superheros.
The market for these relics from the early days of smut are increasingly sought by book collectors for their striking colors and themes which at the time were bizarre, to say the least…but which reflected undercurrents of society just starting to emerge. One day, the contributions of Stanton, his friend Eugene Bilbrew and other illustrators who worked underground in New York City will have their influence on today's culture, fashion and lifestyles fully recognized.
Yoe's book will certainly spark additional interest in this artist who kept a big secret his entire life.
"First Niter" vintage sleaze paperbacks illustrated by Eric Stanton Collection Jim Linderman of Vintage Sleaze the Blog
Jim Linderman Books and Ebook Downloads are available HERE at Blurb.