Tijuana Bibles: Art and Wit in America's Forbidden Funnies, 1930s-1950s

B+
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September 26, 1997 at 04:00 AM EDT

What were Wimpy and Olive Oyl up to when Popeye wasn’t around? How did Clark Gable thank his fans? Just how close were Mutt and Jeff? The answers, in all their ratty, badly drawn, hardcore glory, are here in this first mainstream collection of the anonymous ”eight-pager” comics Grandpa kept locked in the desk drawer in the years before Playboy. Scurrilously strip-mining the daily funnies, Hollywood, and the headlines for pornographic thrills, Tijuana Bibles were an unsung influence on the head comix of the ’60s, as Maus creator Art Spiegelman astutely notes in his forward. Astonishingly for this era of explicit home video, these rough-hewn, often hilarious gems of Americana in Tijuana Bibles: Art and Wit in America’s Forbidden Funnies, 1930s – 1950s by Bob Adelman still have the power to shock. B+

Tijuana Bibles: Art and Wit in America's Forbidden Funnies, 1930s-1950s

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Tijuana Bibles: Art and Wit in America's Forbidden Funnies, 1930s-1950s

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