Friday, December 24, 2010

Santa's Baby

Beginning in 1928, the January issue of issue of Film Fun (which showed up on the newsstands a calendar month early) featured a Christmas theme.  Here we see the cover for 1931; Santa seems particularly cheery but then again, rarely has he been the recipient of such generous gifts. The streak of Christmas covers ended the following year but Bolles clearly liked this composition enough to use it in a far more raucous new year's celebration for the January, 1936 issue of Breezy Stories. This has to qualify in the top tier of covers top for the magazine, which is saying a lot because Breezy paid Enoch more than the average pulp and in return he put a lot of extra work into his covers.

So is there any wonder as to why the beau of the Bolles' girl is beaming?  The lucky guy, after Santa there were only one or two other times where the Bolles girl shared the spotlight on the cover with a member of the opposite sex.  And from the look on his face he seems quite grateful to take the supporting role.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Summer of '42

Is it as cold where you are as it is here?  It seems like a large swath of the planet has recently been struck by bad weather.  And it's not even Winter yet!  To to warm things up I'm posting a really inventive cover for the August 1938 issue of Breezy Stories.  In fact it was his Bolles' final assignment for the magazine.  His fifteen year run of covers for Film Fun also ended the same month, due to his hospitalization for what his doctor described as overwork and undernourishment.  Yet it would be over a year before Bolles returned to commercial work and in the meantime the magazine industry was in the throes of a sea change.  Just two months before this Bolles girl waded into the newsstands, Action Comics #1 was published and the comic book began its ascendancy into the print media stratosphere, carried by the steely arms of Superman. The publisher was Harry Donenfeld, who had clawed his way up the business by publishing Spicy pulps, most all of which Bolles had done work for at one time or another.  In preparing this post I learned that as a young man Donenfeld worked for a clothing store his parents owned in Newark in the 1920s.  Bolles grew up in Newark and his family had strong business ties in the community, including a successful shoe manufacturing business.  One has to wonder if they first crossed paths there. 

By the end of 1939 Bolles was back on the job for Film Fun but his other markets had dried up. Breezy Stories was sold off and the new publisher scrimped by recycling old covers. Both Spicy Stories and Gay Parisienne had ceased publication, victims of declining sales, badgering by the decency leagues, and perhaps Donenfeld's preoccupation with his burgeoning comic book company.  In the meantime Bolles was back in top form and doing great work, having updated his girls for the 1940's with WW-II styled pinup poses and Rita Hayworth hairstyles.