Monday, February 1, 2016

February 1 is Sssssserpent Day!

Yes there really is a serpent day and yes, our man Bolles has not left his fans disappointed. So to celebrate I pulled out a very special cover from my files. And in my opinion--admittedly biased-- this ranks as one of Enoch's very best covers among the nearly 700 he created for over 20 different titles. This issue of Spicy hit the newsstands in 1930, and it has so much going for it. He had only been working at Spicy for just a year but by then then a lot of pretty girl artists--Bolles included--had already done the girl-with-animal theme, usually a cute pet or horse. Here Bolles turned the trope on its head. If this wasn't the first girl-snake mashup it certainly has to be the first to where an unskinned snake stood in for the girl's outfit. Our charming snake charmer obviously isn't wearing a stitch underneath, but it's her exposed navel that's the real no-no. Even a decade later the art editors of Film Fun and other girly mags were still airbrushing the navels out of the showgirl photos. How about that hair style, slicked back with the widow's peak and those crazy curls around her ears. Bolles worked in one of this deco motifs into the background that ties into the rug. The terra cotta alms bowl is a nice detail and did you happen to notice the toe ring?  And finally there are the hand poses which are not at all typical for Bolles. The only other middle finger shot I've seen was on a Spicy Stories cover from 1938.

This cover brings another image to mind, a photo of Natasha Kinski by the famed and somewhat notorious fashion photographer, Richard Avedon.  It appeared in Vogue magazine over a half-century after Bolles and became a best selling poster. While it looks spontaneous the snake was anything but cooperative. Avedon said that at times handlers had to pinion the snake (a python) to her legs, and it took him two hours before he got the shot that made Kinski a pinup sensation. I don't think it is a stretch of the imagination to suggest these two images share some more than a few similarities but I wouldn't go so far to suggest Avedon got some skin from Bolles.