Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Hefner's Cartoon Chronicles of Playboy

From the Playboy mansion scrapbook vault: A cartoon by Hefner about the origins of the Playboy bunny logo. Photo by Catherine Opie.

The New York Times Sunday Magazine profiles Hugh Hefner, who, at age 85, recently re-took his Playboy empire and is set to get married again.

He was, of course, a cartoonist when he was younger. Being a cartoonist was his goal before started Playboy, before he became, for lack of a better word, Hugh Hefner; the "Hef" we know today.

He is, according to writer Charles McGrath, an persistent self-chronicler in the tradition of Pepys.

In the attic of the mansion is an archive of continually updated scrapbooks now closing in on 2,400 volumes.

And in some of these scrapbooks: Hefner's cartoons.

Far more interesting are the earlier volumes, some of which are collections of stuff Hefner began keeping as a child. They include cartoons, a series of detective stories modeled on Conan Doyle and several issues of an illustrated horror magazine called Shudder. Hefner — a dreamy, solitary child, bright but socially immature — was already a publisher of sorts, churning out copy and writing editor’s notes to his readers. Most remarkable of all is a comic book, called “School Daze,” that Hefner, or an alter ego called Goo Heffer, worked on all through his years at Steinmetz High School in Chicago, depicting the larksome good times of an inseparable group of high-school pals.

The rest of the article, "How Hef Got His Groove Back" by Charles McGrath, is here.

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