Renewed interest in and appreciation of so-called genre illustration art has resulted in the growth of colorful and not-so-colorful descriptives for this type of material: Pulp, Pin-Ups, Nudies and Calendar Girls, Fantasy and Sci-Fi, Bodice-Rippers, Weird Americana, Beefcake and Sports, Comix and so on. In the interest of consolidating all of these in a pithy catch-all, we propose a new collecting category for the illustration art enthusiast: “Man-Cave-iana.”
We charitably chalk this phenomenon up to reinvigorated contact with our idyllic youth rather than the celebration of the increasing infantilization of the American male. For the specialist and amateur alike, Man-Cave-iana is both impossible to define and easy to spot. Just as one judge famously said to the other regarding the criteria for identifying pornography, “I know it when I see it,” so too will you know Man-Cave-iana.
Lot 61: Howell Dodd’s pulp fiction illustration epitomizes the “girl in distress” genre.
Lot 77: Frank Frazetta’s Lord of the Rings drawing no doubt appeals to an entire generation of men (and women) who grew up reading the Tolkien books.
Lot 67: Merlin Enabnit’s oil on canvas of a nude pin-up dates from the 1940s–his WWII
“Merlin Girls” were popular among British GI’s, i.e. Tommies.
Lot 81: Bernard Fuchs’s oil on canvas of a 1970s-era tennis player captures the excitement and dynamism of the sport–not to mention the cool hairstyles.
Lot 82: John Gannam depicted the wanton characters involved in Suburban canoodling in this circa 1950s watercolor.
Lot 38: Al Capp’s satirical comic Li’l Abner poked fun at the counter culture in this series of four strips from October 1970.
Lot 251: One of Richard Taylor’s amusing magazine illustrations in the sale, this one for Playboy, shows three men nervously waiting outside a hospital maternity ward. The punchline: “We’ve only got one patient here!”
Lot 263: Torchy creator Bill Ward’s ironic–and sexualized–twist on women’s lib comes with two captions, including, “why shouldn’t a gal express her natural aggressive tendencies.”