The Complete Cartoons of the New Yorker has been receiving the lion’s share of the cartoon press lately (and indeed I’ll also review it soon), but one outstanding cartoon collection that seems to have been largely ignored this year is the wonderful Playboy – 50 Years: The Cartoons.
This beautifully realized 368-page volume contains such legends as Eldon Dedini, Jules Feiffer, Shel Silverstein, Erich Sokol (one of my personal favorites) and Gahan Wilson as well as a host of other brilliant artists (including some great Vargas).
OK, a lot of the material involves sex and nudity, but what’s surprising is how honestly inoffensive the material is. Playboy has always been the classiest of the men’s magazines and it presents cartoons that are titillating without being overtly graphic (think sexy, not filthy).
Take Kilban’s wife in a nighty remarking to her cymbal clasping husband as he climbs into bed, “Not tonight dear… I have a headache.”
Or Erickson’s woman having just disrobed for her physical finding a naked doctor shouting “Surprise!”
Of course there’s a lot of material that has nothing to do with sex at all. LeLievre’s “Mach 10” razor includes blades that “read the whiskers its rights” and “counsels the whisker and gives it a hug.”
And there are few cartoon books out there that present such beautiful full page full color cartoons, much less the treasure trove that Playboy has.
My wife was a little concerned about me buying this huge chunk of Playboy, but even she laughed at the cartoons as I showed them to her (although she still won’t let me get a subscription).
Please don’t miss your opportunity to pick up Playboy – 50 Years: The Cartoons in hardcover. It’s a brilliant collection that will keep any cartoon fan blushing and laughing for years to come.