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Celebrating Illustration, Design, Cartoon and Comic Art of the Mid-20th Century

The Criminal Bowler

Monday, August 28, 2006


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.

3 comments

  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.

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  2. Great pece!

    Nice way to start my week :)

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  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.

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