Erotic Comics: A Graphic History from Tijuana Bibles to Underground Comix
by Tim Pilcher with Gene Kannenberg, Jr.
Erotic comics are often spoken of in hushed whispers. They are hidden beneath the counter, behind a curtain, or under a closed lid. So it is with a bit of irony that Abrams Publishing has decided to release a coffee table sized book detailing the birth and rise of the erotic comic. It is clear that the authors and publisher believe that the art form has lingered in the dark too long, and it is time to bring it out in to the light of day.
Well researched, and reasonably well written, this book offers a broad, but not terribly deep look in to the history of erotic art. It begins with cave art, Greek paintings, and Japanese wood prints before rocketing in to the “meat” of the book: erotic comics. A more apt title for the book would be Erotic Comic Creators. Each two page spread is devoted to a particular publisher or creator and his (and even occasionally, her) contribution to the art form.
At times the writing is a bit repetitive. Many of the creators’ careers follow the same arc. However, there is no denying that the art is all unique. Each creator has been carefully selected to showcase a different facet of erotic comics. From humor, to horror, to fetish, there are glorious examples of each. The over-sized pages really allow one to admire the difference in the styles and subject matter.
While i would not recommend this book for someone looking to learn more about any particular adult comic (be it creator, title, or subject) this is a solid survey of adult comics through the 1980′s and early 90′s. It is the kind of book one might have on their book shelf (I’m still not sold on the idea of having it laying around on the coffee table. I have young children) to take down every so often to “read the articles”.