Monday, July 09, 2007

French Cartoons: Riotous Ribald and Racy

Here are some covers and cartoons from my "French Cartoons" collection. I think that in the 1950s French equaled sexy and racy. Well, by now, it all looks pretty quaint. I love these book covers!

Above is FRENCH CARTOONS, Dell 1954 paperback. "The best in saucy Parisian humor."

"You asked for more!" claims the back cover copy to the sequel published the following year.

And it goes on:

French comic artists lead the world in uncensored wit, satire, ribaldry, and -- most of all -- belly-laughs.

Last year Dell published the first crop (FRENCH CARTOONS, Dell No. 21).

We believe 160,000,000 Americans can't be wrong, so ... we now present -- MORE FRENCH CARTOONS
160,000,000??? Man oh man. French cartoons: once hot, now forgot!

The cartoons in these books are a little risque, if you're still in a 1955 mentality.

FRENCH POSTCARDS, an Avon book from 1955, is full of wordless sight gags.

The Lion Library published CARTOONS THE FRENCH WAY the same year. Nice to see Sempe on the back cover. He is still drawing, and can be seen regularly as a New Yorker magazine cover artist.

LOVE FROM FRANCE "Featuring the Greatest French Comic Artists" is from the Popular Library, 1956.

FRENCH AND FRISKY, "a Lion Book," is also from 1956.

Above are 2 cartoons from LOVE FROM FRANCE. Silly little cartoons, hardly risque these 52 years later, but still nicely done.

A lot of the cartoons are just gag cartoons, like the above terrific Sempe cartoon. I love the look on those kids' faces.

So, you get some that are a little frisky, and some straight up gag cartoons.

There are a couple of French bathhouse gags in the books. Above is the woman who craves attention and gives comfort to the gawker.

And, above right, we see the opposite of the gag.

Again, a lot of the cartoons in the books tend to be wordless. The hardest kinds of cartoons to think up!

A big hat tip to David King, who has been scanning some of his old cartoon book covers onto his blog. I know you don't know me, David, but please don't hate me for copying your idea!


Mark Anderson said...

Oh man, where did you find those books?! Those are great!

And that kid jumping/fire one is so perfect it makes ME want to jump out a window!

Johnny C said...

More please, these are great.

Mike Rhode said...

Yes, lots of fun and getting harder to find!


David King said...

Mike--thanks for giving me credit for inventing the concept of SHARING! These covers are great, too