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on 8 September 2010
Drawings that depict erotic activities have an interesting relationship with photographic images that show precisely the same activities. In general, a given image is perhaps better appreciated as a drawing. The arousal required for perception of an image as erotic by any individual can so easily be spoilt by really small 'niggles', such as those inadvertently captured by a camera. This, I'm sure, is one appeal of erotic comics. Pilcher's Volume 1 here (there seem to be three volumes) provides a useful and fascinating introduction to the art form and to many of its proponents, more-or-less approached from an historical viewpoint. The analysis of particular aspects doesn't go deeply in this book - the later volumes may well add depth to just studies - but the result is highly attractive, and indeed thought-provoking, suggesting the need for further examination of the art. Enough is shown about specific artists and phenomena (including the famed 'Tijuana Bibles) to set the reader on the right track.
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on 9 April 2013
Say this in a bookshop at twice the price, which is why I didn't buy is. As well as some hot pics its also pretty readable.
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on 2 September 2013
The book is written by the wife of one of cartoon lands giants, Robert Crumb. If you like cartoons and would like to know the bios of their creators this book is a must. Highly recommended
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on 16 December 2012
Really good overview of the best authors past and still around. Covers American and European authors with a small section for Japanese, I really liked it and it introduced me to some new great authors I was not aware of.
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on 21 June 2008
This well illustrated and nicely designed book traces the history of erotic comics from the early days before comics had been invented to the 1970's. There are many surprises and interesting snippets along the way. The book does not confine itself to just the US and UK, revealing the universal and timeless nature of eroticism - our ancestors and neighbours were just as naughty.

Many famous and talented artists have produced erotic works and they are well represented and displayed here, examples include Wally Wood, Crumb, Will Elder and Trina Robbins. There is a huge range of material here - you would need a very extensive collection to have seen it all.

Definitely recommended.
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on 20 August 2014
Very intresting but little point in buying the kindle version which doesn't have any of the actual comics in it which I guess have been censored
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on 30 May 2009
"It makes me laugh to imagine anyone finding my comic work erotic," states Aline Kominsky Crumb, "and in general I can say the same thing about most Underground comic art." She's got a point. Other people's erotic fantasies and obsessions are ridiculous, unless they happen to turn you on, too.

If Sturgeon's Law is true, then ninety per cent of all the erotic comics drawn, then and now, are crap. Tim Pilcher's brief but informative history of the remaining ten per cent revels in the allure of that minority of comics, those drawn with a powerful personal style. What's weirdly consistent about powerful personal styles (and this is an observation Pilcher never quite manages to articulate, though he comes close) is that going public with one's sexual fantasies means going public with one's fascination with the grotesque as well. It's as if artists can't choose which boundaries not to cross in their work, not if they're being honest with themselves as well as dedicated to cartooning as a professional pursuit. That dedication, and society's expectations of us, however hypocritical, may explain why the history of erotic comics (at least up to this volume's cutoff date of the early 'seventies) is a history of artists getting screwed -- by their publishers, usually, but also by the police and the courts.

This is a picture book, and Pilcher's selection of images is very good indeed. The first of five chapters covers the prehistory of underground comics, from the bounty of the 18th century (Hogarth, Rowlandson, Japanese shunga prints, and illustrations for the Kama Sutra), through saucy postcards, Tijuana Bibles, pin-up paintings, and risque comic strips for servicemen. Chapter 2 covers the rise of Playboy magazine and its low rent competitors, but it's too bad Pilcher couldn't get the rights to reproduce any of Kurtzman and Elder's delicious "Little Annie Fanny" panels.

Chapter 3 focuses on bondage comics, while the fourth chapter is devoted to the underground comix of the 'sixties, dominated by the Picasso of the counterculture, R. Crumb. The final chapter is a brief survey of the rise of the French and Italian erotic comics industries, with their daunting standards of draftsmanship, as well as a glimpse of the Mexican sensacionale, which sells twenty million copies a month while satisfying what seems to be a national taste for erotica that's both gratuitous and moralistic -- rather like American sitcoms, now that I think of it.
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