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Tijuana Bibles: Art and Wit in America's Forbidden Funnies, 1930s-1950s

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Tijuana Bibles: Art and Wit in America's Forbidden Funnies, 1930s-1950s Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Hidden in a corner among the great sacred texts of the world lies a series of exuberantly ribald underground comics known as the Tijuana Bibles. Iconoclastic, hilarious, and sexy, these anonymous little books, written from the 1930s through the 1950s, are revered among scholars and aficionados of American folk art, and devotees of comics as well as collectors of erotica. The primitive energy of their vigorous, often crude line, combined with their gonzo sensibilities, has given the Bibles a tremendous if largely unacknowledged influence on such talents as Art Spiegelman, Robert Crumb, and Lenny Bruce.

Comic strips in general were an American phenomenon, and at their zenith the Sunday funnies were as important as breakfast. But the anonymous creators of the Tijuana Bibles turned the saccharine tradition of the comics on its head, cheerfully savaging every sacred cow in the pasture in their pursuit of satire and sex. Political leaders, cartoon heroes, storybook legends, and American folk icons — no one was safe from the glowering wit and smutty irreverence of these eight- and sixteen-page booklets, cranked out illicitly in basements and sold under counters across the country. From Donald Duck, Al Capone, and Greta Garbo to Lou Gehrig, Mahatama Gandhi, and the Fuller Brush Man, the pure and the impure were burlesqued with equal inspiration.

Aboveground for the first time, these subverive comic masterworks are presented here in all their brilliant and raunchy glory. Author Bob Adelman reviewed almost 1,000 of the Tijuana Bibles before selecting 100 of the most lively and important examples of the genre. The book opens with an introductory essay by Art Spiegelman, America's most famous comic artist and a man who proudly acknowledges the impact these rollicking and scandalous little booklets have had on his own work.

Paging through reproductions of the Bibles, the reader discovers that there is more to the Tijuana Bibles than good dirty fun. Indeed these tremendously entertaining comics also tell us fascinating things about American attitudes toward celebrity, about the hypocrisy of certain social and political values, and about the hypocrisy of certain social and political values, and about the ability of artists working outside the establishment of effectively tweak its sensibilities in a way few others can. For anyone who believes irreverence can be patriotic and sex can be just plain fun, Tijuana Bibles showcases American comic art at its untamed finest.

Description:

Includes bibliographical references (p. 158) and index.

About the Author

Bob Adelman is an author, editor, teacher, book producer, and world-renowned photojournalist. His picture stories have frequently appeared in Life, the London Times Magazine, Stern, and the New York Times Magazine. In varying roles he has done more than forty books; the most recent are his Carver Country and Visions of Liberty. He vividly recalls his nervous excitement at first gaping at a Tijuana Bible. Nowadays he more maturely reads them for laughs and insights, but now and again their provocative powers become undeniable.

Table of Contents

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Introductory Essay: Those Dirty Little Comics Art Spiegelman

The Lingo of the Tijuana Bibles Madeline Kripke

See You in the Funny Pages

Our Fellow Americans: Heebs, Wops, Traveling Salesmen, and the Farmer's Daughter

Theres's No Bizness Like Show Bizness!

Gun Molls, Heavyweights, and Assorted Tyrants

Odds 'n' Ends; or, Hot nuts and Wild Gooses

The Wide Stylistic Range of the Tijuana Bibles Richard Merkin

Talking Dirty: The Vocabulary of the Tijuana Bibles Madeline Kripke

Those Naughty End Pages Richard Merkin

Bibliography Madeline Kripke

List of Titles and Index of Subjects Parodied

Product Details

ISBN:
9780684834610
Subtitle:
Art and Wit in America's Forbidden Funnies, 1930s-1950s
Introduction:
Spiegelman, Art
Author:
Merkin, Richard
Author:
Spiegelman, Art
Author:
Adelman, Bob
Publisher:
Simon & Schuster
Location:
New York, NY :
Subject:
Comic books, strips, etc.
Subject:
United states
Subject:
History and criticism
Subject:
Graphic Arts
Subject:
Erotica
Subject:
Pornography
Subject:
Cartooning
Subject:
Comics
Subject:
Erotic comic books, strips, etc
Subject:
Underground comic books, strips, etc
Subject:
Topic - Adult
Subject:
Erotic comic books, strips, etc. -- United States.
Subject:
Graphic Arts - General
Subject:
General Art
Subject:
Techniques - Cartooning
Copyright:
Series Volume:
v. 1409
Publication Date:
19970901
Binding:
Hardback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Yes
Pages:
160
Dimensions:
9.32x12.06x.69 in. 2.17 lbs.

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Related Subjects

Arts and Entertainment » Art » Erotic Art
Arts and Entertainment » Excess Culture » Love
Arts and Entertainment » Humor » General
Arts and Entertainment » Photography » Erotica
Fiction and Poetry » Graphic Novels » Collectibles

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