I think Jon Whitcomb could not have drawn a rugged male character to save his life. Whether he dressed them in street clothes......or in goofy costumes......or nearly nothing at all, Jon Whitcomb seems to have applied the same formula for idealization to his boys as he did to his girls; they are all homogeneously cute.
Consider this "Jon Whitcomb's Page" from the February '53 issue of Cosmopolitan: its kind of amusing that Whitcomb went to the trouble of hiring all these different models to pose for him. When you look at a finished work, could you tell which guy was which, really?Of course guys only served in a supporting role to the real focal point of any Whitcomb piece (the girl) but its worth making note of because, as the most visible women's magazine illustrator of the time, Whitcomb was a powerfully influential force on a generation of female magazine readers. His interpretation of the ideal male lover was almost certainly co-opted by thousands (millions?) of young girls and women across America.
Or maybe its entirely coincidental that the generation of American females that grew up in the 40's and 50's started buying their daughters millions of Barbie and Ken dolls in the 60's.
Finally, here's one really unusual piece: one of the latest I've ever come across by Whitcomb, its from 1960. Its unusual for many reasons, not the least of which is the detailed environment - something Whitcomb rarely got involved with. As well, it seems to be painted on canvas with oils or acrylic; again, not typical for Whitcomb. The people are shown in full figure, very unusual for the king of the "big head" school of story illustration. But the most unusual thing about this piece is the uncanny resemblance the man bears to Jon Whitcomb himself. I think the artist painted a self-portrait here! For a 54 year old man, he looks surprisingly...cute.
All of today's scans can be seen at full size in my Jon Whitcomb Flickr set.