Monday, August 28, 2006

The Criminal Bowler

Joe Bowler was one of the Cooper Studio's best and most prolific illustrators. I always think of him and Joe DeMers as the natural heirs to the throne of boy/girl "clinch" art, of which Coby Whitmore and Jon Whitcomb were kings.

What I didn't ever imagine was Joe Bowler's characters involved in crime scenes - but a recently acquired stack of mid-50's Collier's mags reveals a criminal side to Bowler's work.

This week, a look at some of those pieces.


  1. I'm looking forward to a week of Joe Bowler, Leif. He was a great illustrator. Your selection today really shows how Bowler (like other illustrators of his generation) had to straddle the old world and the new-- the figures are painted in a traditonal way. while the backgrounds- a flat orange silhouette for the fire escape and a plain white background-- are much more modern. You could see these artists feeling their way toward the 1960s, making it up as they went along.

  2. Great pece!

    Nice way to start my week :)

  3. Thanks for your comments, guys! David, yes indeed, the graphic use and minimalism of environment during this experimental period is something I really enjoy seeing - these pieces by Bowler that I'll be sharing this week are a great example of what you're talking about - that "making it up" approach. I think of what Alex Toth was doing with simple, silhouetted shapes in his comics during the same period and wonder how much he was being influenced by the "slick" illustrators.