This is one of the many items I planned on keeping in reserve for my book project, but when it showed up on the web I figured there was no point in keeping her in the closet (admittedly I did post a thumbnail of her a while back). The cover is from a 1943 issue of Breezy Stories. It showed up long after Bolles had stopped doing covers for the magazine and just about the very time he was getting out of the commercial art business for good. Bolles had stopped contributing new Breezy covers back in 1938 and the publisher Phil Painter was enough of a cheapskate to be content with blowing up previous Bolles covers to use as portraits. Truth be told, many look terrific that way. But by the early 40s he pretty much dispensed with that pretense and simply reused earlier Bolles Breezy covers with nary a change, except perhaps the even cheaper printing. This example, however, is a bit of a poser as I have no record of it ever having previously appeared in print. Maybe when Bolles brought it in to the office it was just a bit too much for the art director to digest. After all, it would take another 75 years before the goth pinup scene really gained some traction.
So consider this cover against the work of the other major pinup artists during of Bolles' era; Petty, Vargas, Elvgren, Moran, Bergey (ok, Armstrong). All were producing great material but nothing at all even remotely like this. Those pneumatic proportions wrapped in that outrageous costume (the gloves and a headband?!), the nuclear winter background, her power smile. Yet, Bolles contributed as much as any artist to the look of the modern pinup, which has long since become a cliché. But he was such an original that his own work transcended it. I'm grateful for this and am pleased that others feel this way too.
Coming up soon: Part two of artists and their models