Eugene Bilbrew A Return Visit to the Studio on West 42nd Street
Of all the posts on this blog, the ones generating the most hits are the series I did on vintage sleaze illustrators of the 1960's, in particular the profile and pictures of work by Eugene Bilbrew. So much for my attempts to uplift the masses. I aim to please, ALL ARE NOW COLLECTED ON THE SITE VINTAGE SLEAZE
Bilbrew, an African-American School of Visual Arts student (!) fell into bad company and even worse habits. As he slipped into heroin addiction, his work became even more bizarre. He moved to the rear of a porno bookshop on the deuce. The mob-run publisher he worked for was busted out of business, so he sold his drawings to no less sleazy publishers such as Wizard, Satan and Chevron. Most of these are from Satan. A pall-bearer hits on the widow. An unlikely prison visitor tempts caged psychopaths. A rogue cop harasses an amorous couple out on the beach too late. A shop-class goggles wearing professor aims his student's motorcycle "headlights" into the wind. And of course, the extra-flamboyant dancer against a lime green wall "trips" and falls into the lap of his modern art loving suitor. Never mind that the text had absolutely nothing to do with the cover illustration, this is kitsch of the highest order. These all date to the late 1960's. Several have "saw-cut" slashes, which means they were returned to the distributor unsold. I can not imagine why.
To his credit, I suppose...Bilbrew was one of the few artists doing multi-racial covers at the time. (and the hair-impaired, for that matter) I don't think it helped sales.
Group of 1960's paperback cover illustrations by Eugene Bilbrew. Formerly collection Jim Linderman