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. 

But in 1942 Film Fun was hauled into court hearings by the Postmaster General, who declared the magazine "salacious" and the magazine's lawyers failed to convince anyone otherwise. By the end of the Summer the magazine had folded.  Bolles' career was over. 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great blog ! Enoch Bolles rules ! Seriously ! A.P. from Belgium