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A Tribute to FLING Magazine, the Forgotten Masterpiece of Arv Miller and his Mazophilia

Fling Magazine and Arv Miller.
What is Mazophilia?  Well...it comes in pairs and in a small forgotten masterpiece of men's magazines.

One of the greatest men's magazines in history, few know of Fling today.  It was the child of Arv Miller, a cartoonist and creator of the logo for Hugh Hefner's playboy.  Arv drew the bunny as a stag, but his version lasted only an issue or two, and the now famous bunny replaced Arv's.  Maybe Arv never got over it…but Fling resulted.
Fling was created for men who like "big on top" and no issue failed them.  Despite a 30 year run (!) in various formats over the years, and a top notch stable of cartoonists, writers, photographers (like Russ Meyer, the director who liked to shoot stills of things jiggling too) you don't hear much about Fling today.  It came out of Chicago, which despite their somewhat "second-city sleaze" reputation was really quite squeaky about nude women and Arv, who used BIG nude women, had a few problems I suppose, but he let the larger circulation Playboy fight the fights.  Fling stayed just under the radar for decades.  The golden era of Fling is 1957 to 1960.
Fling was beautifully produced.  Unlike most smut rags of the time, it was literate and lovely. 

The Virginia "Ding Dong" Bell cover is by far the most famous, though not, since no one knows about Fling…but when anyone sees it they gasp.  Virginia Bell had a long career in stag films and ended up in Florida, God bless her.  Some of the regular staples of bustiness appear between the staples, including Candy Barr…but always shot by professionals and despite an emphasis on body parts, every layout was more glamour than gritty.

Each issue of the early Fling digests from the late 1950s and the early 1960s is a bonanza of art and writing.  This issue had a cover by Robert Bonfils (above) and the magazine also devoted space to cartoonists in depth.  Don Margolis occurs.  So do numerous very talented cartoonist from Europe you would never have been exposed to if not for Arv.   

Despite his incredible talents as a cartoonist, I do not believe Arv's work has been anthologized much, and there has never been a reprint of Fling either.  The magazine was originally published by Relim, which is of course just Arv's last name spelled backwards. 

Fling had a logo too…a flying carpet riding sultan, but they called him a king.

This is the first tribute to the forgotten magazine Fling, the "second" magazine from the second city.  Since this blog is about the obscure, I have never written about Playboy.  They don't need me.  Fling was so obscure it hurts.
Various covers of Fling digest late 1950s early 1960s collection Victor Minx

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