The Glamour Girls of Bill Ward (Humorama)
By Leroy Douresseaux
December 23, 2003 - 09:12
Publisher(s): Fantagraphics Books
Writer(s): Alex Chun
Penciller(s): Bill Ward
Cover Artist(s): Bill Ward
Subject: Bill Ward
Editor: Alex Chun
Designer: Joe Preston
Bill Ward, a popular glamour girl pin-up artist/cartoonist of the 1950's and 60's, is one of those artists whose work speaks for the man, but there is nothing wrong when flesh and blood fans scream from on high about Ward's skills. Fantagraphics Books unleashes a beast of Ward praise-o-rama in THE GLAMOUR GIRLS OF BILL WARD.
The tome covers what some consider Ward's best period, 1957-63. At that time, he did cartoons for HUMORAMA, a line of inexpensive, digest-sized magazines published by Abe Goodman, the brother of then Marvel Comics publisher, Martin Goodman. Glamour Girls contains more than 150 full-page cartoon images by Ward, and for the fan boy who loves pin-up art, that is at least 150 reasons to cop this fine book.
It's one thing to call anyone "the best" anything, and plenty of people have produced books in praise of an artist idol. Alex Chun, however, in clear language and in a concise manner, tells us why Ward was so good, how he got that way, and what Ward had to do to build such a reputation. Chun's economical text is a solid example that even a great image might not need a thousand words to describe it.
Kudos also go to Joe Preston's excellent design work in presenting the hundreds of images that also include photos of Ward and of magazines that featured his cartoons. The images are copious in amount, but Preston presents them in an orderly fashion.
As for Fantagraphics, this lavish, oversized, superb coffee table book is another example of why they are the best North American publisher of comics and related books. If someone created a top ten list of Fanta's best stuff, there are literally hundred's of books and magazines that would seriously compete to be on that list. I say that The Glamour Girls of Bill Ward would deserve a place, and it is book that must not be absent from the shelves of serious pinup and cartoon fanatics.
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