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Pin-Up Art of Dan DeCarlo Paperback – March 2, 2005

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

For more than 40 years, DeCarlo, who died in 2001, was the principal artist at Archie Comics, not only working on the company's title character and his friends but also co-creating Josie and the Pussycats and Sabrina, the Teenage Witch. Within the innocent context of these comics for juveniles, DeCarlo's Betty, Veronica and other heroines had a surprising degree of sex appeal, and they influenced the work of younger cartoonists from the Batman cartoon's Bruce Timm to Jaime Hernandez of Love and Rockets fame. In the 1950s, though, DeCarlo drew gag cartoons for the Humorama line of men's magazines, and editor Chun and designer Covey have assembled nearly 200 of these pieces into this collection. DeCarlo's cheery caricatures seem out of place in the blatantly risqué world of dirty pictures, unable to match the erotic appeal of more illustrative pin-up artists. In his introduction, Bill Morrison (The Simpsons) claims these DeCarlo cartoons reveal the sexual underside of the repressed 1950s. Actually, they depict a dated, anti-feminist world where young, buxom women make themselves available to men who often look less attractive, much older and smug. Intended in their day to be adult and sophisticated, these cartoons now look pathetically adolescent. Moreover, the gags are consistently unfunny. This book produces not titillation so much as tedium. (Mar.)
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Review

“Though best known for his signature visual influence on Archie Comics, pioneering artist Dan DeCarlo also drew bawdy pinup cartoons for 1950s magazines. The Pin-Up Art of Dan DeCarlo showcases his unique style in a far less innocent way, giving us a glimpse of what Betty and Veronica may have been up to after graduation.” (Playboy)

“The vavoom-figure drawings retain the doe-eyed innocence of Betty and Veronica, which makes gags about strippers and heavy petting sort of thrilling, in an illicit way.” (The Onion A.V. Club)

“The cover sums it up—a man who looks disturbingly like Riverdale’s Mr. Lodge gazes lasciviously at a lingerie-clad young woman who looks disturbingly like a (very) bosomy Veronica. That is just so wrong... Breasts swell and sag with the weight of flesh, not silicone; thighs press firmly and meatily together, hips and butts strain against fabric, threatening plentiful wardrobe malfunctions. And the wardrobes!... The overall effect is—well, I can’t describe the overall effect. Let’s just say that in trying to take it all in I may have stretched my eyes permanently out of shape.” (Noah Berlatsky - The Hooded Utilitarian)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 216 pages
  • Publisher: Fantagraphics Books; First Editiom edition (March 2, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1560976195
  • ISBN-13: 978-1560976196
  • Product Dimensions: 0.6 x 0.1 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #813,264 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Pops Gustav on April 9, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The Pin-Up Art of Dan DeCarlo is an absolutely gorgeous collection of work from 1956 through 1963, when the cartoonist was at the peak of his powers.

For those who came late, Dan DeCarlo got his cartooning start working at Timely (later Marvel) Comics drawing such fare as Millie the Model and Sherry the Showgirl for Stan Lee. From the late 50s into the 90's, DeCarlo was the quintessential Archie artist, best known for his work on the daily Archie comic strip and his definitive depictions of the yin and yang of Riverdale sexuality, Betty and Veronica. Millions of adolescent boys felt peculiar stirrings while reading about the exploits of the wealthy brunette and the wholesome blonde (particularly while engaging in their titular Summer Fun... no pun intended).

The discovery years later that DeCarlo was moonlighting as a girlie cartoonist for the Humorama line of men's magazines was, for some fanboys, the sociological equivalent of the discovery of the early nude photos of Madonna or Vanessa Williams. As sexy as Betty and Veronica were, they were chaste (to Archie's eternal frustration). The women DeCarlo drew for Zip, Joker and Laugh Riot were not innocent. And they were often naked.

While DeCarlo's drawings of men came in all shapes and sizes, critics charge that all of his women looked exactly alike, with the same rounded face, turned-up nose and hourglass figure; That the only differing feature was the hairstyle. It's a valid point, but in the end it doesn't matter. It's like criticizing the Ramones for recording the same song over and over. Yeah, they did. And better than anyone else.

DeCarlo's art was pure cartooning, clean and distinctive, with a masterful line and a sense of design that rivalled anyone's.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Scott A. Misko on December 16, 2005
Format: Paperback
I just love this stuff. For every time our parents claim how properly they were brought up, there is a cartoon in this book that reminds me that they were every bit as bawdy as we are today. They just had better taste about it. This book starts with a history that isn't all that much to read and then single panel cartoons each page. The art is what it is and the jokes are the ones we've been retelling for years so it must be good stuff.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Steven J. Shorten on August 5, 2005
Format: Paperback
The beginning of the book has the story of Dan DeCarlo and how he got into doing comic books of Archie, Veronica, Betty, Jughead also some of the other comic books for adults. It then contains drawings of Betty and Veronica when they are grown women and out on their own. Also contains funny panels showing the girls and their dates with words explaining their predicaments and also Archie with some "sticky situations" I am always interested in the artist and his work.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By David W. Lutz on March 27, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I had heard of Dan DeCarlo from the older Archie Comics and was surprised to see that he had done more provocative works in other magazines. His art style was the basis for the female characters in Archie's gang, and has been imitated many times since. There are a LOT of his older single-panel gags from several adult magazines. If you like nice artwork and nicely-drawn woman, it's a must have!
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