Thursday, December 5, 2019

Not quite a mirror image

Now and again on this blog share examples of photos and paintings that bear a strong resemblance to a work by Bolles. Just as with the case from my previous post of a Bolles magazine cover and cover of Playboy, this connection can be serendipitous. But when the other magazine cover was a painting, it's almost always a swipe from Bolles. I've also discussed how the pinup paintings done by other illustrators were often almost exact of reference photos taken by the artists.
In particular, the pinup artists Moran and in particular, Elvgren were known for this.  As you can see below in the photo of the cover of a book on Elvgren, they even celebrated it. 

On the left you can see an example showing both the reference photo and final painting by Elvgren.  And below it you can see a very similar Bolles cover from 1935. It's the earliest example of this pose I've found so I'm giving credit to Bolles for originating it. Elvgren wasn't the only pinup artist who was inspired by this idea and by the time he did his version, he may have taken the idea from someone else than Bolles, because several other artists had swiped the idea, as you can see on this post about the fire pole girls.  

But I won't be one to criticize. As the old adage goes, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.  Or as the comic book artist Wally Wood aptly put it: 
1) Never draw what you can swipe 
2) Never swipe what you can trace 
3) Never trace what you can photocopy 
4) Never photocopy what you can clip and paste down

The illustrator Murray Tinklemann had his own ideas about the matter:: 
Influence is when you steal from dead guys.
Imitation is when you steal from living artists and
Plagiarism is when you steal from me.

It makes you wonder what our man Enoch would've had to say about the matter.


Thursday, November 14, 2019

November 14 is National Pickle Day-Enoch Bolles has it covered!

Is there any obscure holiday that our man Bolles hasn't covered?  This was painted by Grandpa Bolles for one of his grandchildren who happened to express a deep love for pickles.  I have to admit that this is exactly the type of unknown Bolles that I’ve saved for my book project but don’t fret, this is the only vegetarian example. It’s just goes to show  that he was an illustration omnivore! 

Thursday, September 26, 2019

A Double Vision!

Every now and then I run into images that seem just a bit too close to a Bolles to be pure happenstance.  A few years back I posted a cover from Esquire, that bore a striking resemblance to a classic Bolles cover. And when my friend and fellow Bolles fan, Alan let the editors of said magazine know about it, they were intrigued enough to publish his letter and the images their for readers to consider.  Here we see another case where the magazine cover, published in 1993 shares a lot of DNA with the painting Bolles did for a 1937 issue of Breezy Stories. Now I'm not suggesting the art director swiped the idea from Bolles but you can't ignore the obvious similarities. It also doesn't hurt to consider that Hugh Hefner, although obviously partial to Alberto Vargas, was a fan of Bolles' work as well.  The other coincidence is that the title of the feature story on the Breezy cover has the word Playboy on it!  Talk about seeing double!

Thursday, September 12, 2019

September 12 is National Police Women's Day!

For this celebration we have a very special Bolles from a 1934 Film Fun.  It's not only one of Bolles' most traveled images, it was the inspiration for a costume trope.  
Here's a photo of Brittney Spears in concert wearing her take on Bolles and if you go on-line you can find all sorts of girl-biker-cop costumes. I have yet to find an earlier version of this so until something else turns up the credit to Enoch. I posted a version of the cover by itself and slightly enhanced the saturation of the image to show what I think the original painting looks like.  And I say looks because I have hope that the original painting is still around.  Several other paintings from 1934 Film Fun magazines have been saved, including the month before and after this cover. So if you know where our biker girl currently is, don't hesitate to turn her in.  The authorities will thank you!

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Yesterday was International Bow Day!

As you can see, our Bolles girl is none too happy.  After she learned about International Bow Day she spent hours and hours sewing this costume for the occasion, only to have me get her to the event a day late. She's already working something extra special for an upcoming celebration and you can bet I will make doubly sure she's there on time. 

This Bolles girl from 1936 thought it was International Ribbon day, but she was able to make a quick fix to suite the occasion. For her sake, let's just hope she doesn't show up in this costume on National Ribbon Cutting day!

Friday, August 9, 2019

Bolles sighting!

Sorry for the gap since my last post. I'm back in the Bolles archive and will endeavor to get some long languishing projects online soon.  During part of my absence I was away for work in Japan when my spidey-sense for all things Bolles started tingling. It wasn't long before I spotted the source. It was a store devoted entirely to Zippo lighters. Many of you already know the story behind Bolles' connection with Zippo lighters.  Briefly, he created the famous Windy Girl that was featured in the first ad published for Zippo, which you can see in the photo above.  Unfortunately, they gave short shrift to Bolles. Soon his name was yanked from the ad and when they created a re-issue of her in 1993, Windy was attributed to Alberto Vargas (in the re-issue she was called the Varga Windy, which is an insult to dearly departed Alberto).  Zippo has since created a number of variations on Windy but I had no
clue just how many until I checked out the display inside the store.  I just hope that someday they make one that actually gives Bolles his rightful due.  Maybe we should start a write-in campaign. 

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

W.C. Fields, Bolles Fan!

You have to believe that this famous Film Fun reading film star, comedian, and world class juggler was a Bolles fan. Certainly W.C.'s not perusing the pages for the jokes. Notice just how carefully he's holding the magazine, as not to get his fingerprints on the cover art. And regarding the cover art, I've made another version that gives us the Bolles girl in full color. Enjoy! 

Monday, April 29, 2019

April 27 was International Sculpture Day!

This magazine cover from 1935 gives a whole new meaning to how 'modeling clay' got its name. Enoch's sly sense of humor is evident here. Many of his magazine covers, particularly the smooshes, were chock full of visual puns or double entendres. Our Bolles girl is rightly proud of her well-sculpted figurine, but she's not the only one who took notice. 
As you can plainly see, to label this cover from New York Knights a swipe is to give stealing a bad name. The artist here, as many of you will recognize, is George Quintana. I think you could make a strong case that he owes his career as a cover artist to Bolles. He swiped so often and so thoroughly that his work is often misattributed to Bolles. Some of you may also know that I've written about the theory that George Quintana was a nom de plume of the artist, George Quaintance, famous for his muscle man magazine covers that predated Tom of Finland. I've shifted back and forth on my theory since then, and so for now I'll reserve judgement about who's who, but you can't ignore some similarities in their the styles and between their signatures (granted, Quintana played around with his more). Anyway if you are interested in making your own comparisons or learning more, here's a great web site on Quaintance by his biographer, Ken Furtado, who definitely comes down against the Quintana-Quaintance connection.  

But back to the swiping. Bolles was definitely aware of Quintana's covers, and so were the editors of Film Fun, who brought a law suit against Quintana's most visible publication
vehicle, Movie Humor. While the lawsuit was ongoing, Movie Humor went so far as to print disclaimers on the covers to allay any confusion in the weak-eyed reader.  The judge acknowledged similarities between the magazines he rejected the lawsuit. But Quintana wasn't the only artist who 'borrowed' from Enoch, and from time to time I've posted examples. I thought the theme was worth revisiting so I'll soon be starting a new series called "Cases from the Swipe Files".  So stay posted, my friends. 

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

March 5 is World Tennis Day!

Today I am serving up an overhead slam of a cover by our man Enoch.This 1935 cover for Spicy Stories was the first of only two tennis themed covers by Bolles.  It's a bit unusual because his Spicy Stories were generally not at all inclined toward sports. In fact by the mid-30's Enoch had pretty much departed from the sports themes so common in his earlier work. 

To our right is an original done for Breezy Stories that according to the amazing Galactic Central, magazine repository, appeared in 1941.I have to believe, however, she must have been on an earlier cover of the magazine. For one, after 1938 Bolles was only producing new works for Film Fun. And there's another clue. Around 1937-38 Enoch had begun leaving the unworked parts of the canvas raw and outlining the figure in a band of white, most likely to save on both time and money. Take a look at her shoes, you have to wonder if she skipped the match and went right to the lemonade stand!  

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Enjoying Valentine's Day, courtesy Enoch Bolles

This 1924 Film Fun cover is the earliest Bolles' reference to Valentine's day I've found. The helpless little men theme may come across as peculiar but during the mid-20's it was all the rage among illustrators who specialized in 'pretty-girl' art. In a future post I'll include every example that Bolles painted. This cover pose was reworked by Enoch five years later for a Spicy Stories cover, and he also did another variant used for an ad that ran in the same issue. The rendering of the later cover is so close I fear Enoch simply reworked the Film Fun painting, rather than start with a blank canvas.  Let's hope someone proves my theory wrong and comes up with both paintings. Now that would be some Valentine's Day present!

Thursday, February 7, 2019

John Buscema, Bolles fan?

I saw this panel from a 1993 Punisher comic drawn by the famed Marvel comics artist John Buschema and thought it had to be more than just coincidence. Take a look at the flipped cover from a 1934 Film Fun (I posted a long series on this painting several years back and and how I came to find the original).  What do you think? Was "Big John" a Bolles fan? 

Friday, February 1, 2019

February 1: Working Naked Day!

Not to worry, our man Bolles has this one (un)covered. Nuff said!

Thursday, January 31, 2019

One-Off Part Seven

It's fitting that our final entry in the One-Off series is likely the last painting Bolles did for a magazine. She appeared in 1943 on the inaugural issue of the problematically titled men's
magazine,Titter. Our reflective Bolles girl strongly resembles a cover he did for the December, 1941 issue of Film Fun. Curiously, however, these images were inspired by different photographs of different models. My guess is that our solo choir girl in the in the green opera gloves was done at the same time as the trio but didn't make the audition for Film Fun. So she was later repurposed for Titter. I'm even more sure the actual painting (if only it was still around!) faced left and was flipped for the magazine. The Film Fun painting was flipped for the cover and as you can see, the photo reference for the Titter cover-girl faces left.  More interesting is that the photo bears only a cursory resemblance to the Bolles girl in the painting.  As the late artist and collector, Francis Smith told me long ago, "Bolles was an interpreter". That he certainly was!