Friday, August 19, 2011

August 19: Men's Grooming Day

Finally!!  I've found a passable excuse to feature this amazing "throwaway" cover that originally landed on the newsstands back in 1936.  Bolles would have quickly dashed it off to meet a looming deadline and then moved on to the next assignment.  His work schedule at that time was perhaps the busiest of his entire career.  Beside's his regular monthly assignments for Gay ParisienneSpicy Stories and of course, Film Fun, he was producing near monthly covers for Gay Book, Breezy Stories, and Gay Broadway.  Talk about the ultimate short order illustrator, bouncing from one publisher to another, each demanding their own particular entree.  Considering the deadlines, lousy pay and very likely the complete absence of an art director (thankfully), you wonder why Bolles simply didn't default to his standard L-pose. Curiously, the only example of that pose he did for Gay Parisienne was its last issue.

Back to this cover. Take a good look at the liberally applied titivations Bolles festooned upon it. First, how about that dress?  It's outrageous! No it's downright nasty, hard to top even by Bolles' standards.  It makes you wonder if the nail file is for manicuring or fending him off. Next, what is with that crazy hairdo? She's kind of got a 1930's pompadour thing working.  It borders on masculine-especially given her high hairline, but acts as a sort of counter against the emphatically emphasized feminine bits.  And check out that meandering background shadow. In past posts I've blathered on and on about Bolles' use of  biomorphic/amorphic shadows but the only descriptor I can peg to this iteration is oozing amoebic.  There's also a hint of deco furniture.  Her chair has a red-black lacquer deco thing going, perhaps a take on  Biedermeier.  And finally there's a lot--even by Bolles' standards--of hand semiotics being broadcasted here, most unusually by the gent who is getting all the attention.  But first consider the girl, not only is she displaying the famous Bolles lifted pinky, we also see the very rare ring finger assist.  In fact I think this particular confingeration is unique. And finally there's the lifted pinky in the male figure, another unique aspect of this cover. Of all his work for Gay Parisienne (or Spicy Stories or Tattle Tales or Bedtime Stories for that matter) this is the only example where the male gender gets any cover play, not that anyone's complaining.

Friday, August 5, 2011

A Celebration Created for Enoch Bolles! August 5 is National Underwear Day

Talk about an observance custom made for our man Bolles!  This lovely original painting was completed for a 1928 issue of  Film Fun.  Bolles revisited this theme once again in 1931 during his first run of covers for Spicy Stories.  As you can see this Bolles girl is having a bit of trouble with her clothes line, not that she's in the least bit nonplussed about her predicament.  Offhand I can't recall if there are any examples where the Bolles girl is hanging up her knickers, though there is no shortage of covers where she's parading around in them.