THE PINUPS of DAN DeCARLO

If you've ever taken a look at Betty or Veronica in an Archie comic, it's almost certain that you've enjoyed the art of Dan DeCarlo.  Dan is recognized as the single most defining artist to work on the Archie books, with over 4 decades of drawing the Riverdale gang under his belt between the 60s and 2000.  While working for the company, he created Josie and the Pussycats and Sabrina The Teenage Witch.  (Dan's wife Josie was the inspiration for the Pussycats lead).  Sadly Dan died shortly after a failed lawsuit that went all the way to the supreme court over unpaid royalties from the horrible Pussycats movie from 2001. 

But while starting out as a cartoonists, Dan had a secret job as one of premiere pinup cartoonists in the 50s.  Fantagraphics, the fine folks that bring you the only comic books worth buying anymore, has released a gorgeous 216 page book collecting many of the eye-popping strips he did for Timely Comics' (the company that would eventually become Marvel)  Humorama line of magazines.  The buxom beauties all have an over the top appeal and sexuality that could have only existed in the late 40s/early 50s.  With gags featuring secretaries getting manhandled by white haired bosses 3 times their age, lecherous doctors, and hillbillies spanking their naughty teenage daughters, they're a relic from an era where sexual harassment lawsuits were unheard of.

The ladies collected within bear an eerie resemblance to the Betty and Veronica characters he put his signature look on many years later.  Clearly his work is up there with Gil Evegren, Bill Ward, Jack Cole, and even Alberto Varga as one of the premiere sexy pinup artists of all time.  Here's a few pictures from the book, which you can pick up from Fantagraphics for $18.95.  And here's a nice interview with Dan DeCarlo from his final year on earth courtesy of The Slush Factory.

 

 

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