Monday, November 28, 2011
Headlights on full beam
In Seduction Of the Innocent, Dr. Fredric Wertham, M.D., provided comic book fans with a new word: headlights. Headlights are what he claimed children of the era called the accentuated breasts in comic books. Just as today, artists took a lot of delight in drawing big boobs, draping them with clothing folds and shadowing to emphasize.
Allen Ulmer, another journeyman comic book artist, drew this back-up story, "The Secret of the Old Mine," starring the Texas Ranger, in Avon's Jesse James #6, from 1952. A girl is captured, beaten (and we assume from her torn clothing) molested by a gang of outlaws looking for her uncle's gold. The story has bondage (another bone in Wertham's throat), and some fine headlights.
Jane Russell, in her character, Rio, from the Howard Hughes movie, The Outlaw, was the inspiration for Joan. Russell had some of the most famous breasts of the time. The sexiness of the movie had Hughes fighting censorship for two years. I found this ad in Dime Mystery Magazine, September 1946.
Ulmer drew comics in the 1940s and '50s, and then went into fine art. He died in 1990, age 68.