Now who do you suppose could have drawn this assortment of unusual characters...?
Was it Robert Fawcett...?
Was it Alex Ross...?
Or perhaps Austin Briggs...?
Believe it or not, this is the work of Coby Whitmore, from the November 1953 issue of Cosmopolitan magazine.
If you needed convincing that Cosmo AD, Robert C. Atherton, was able to extract something different and edgy from the illustrators to whom he gave assignments, surely these pieces must do the trick.
I've seen a lot of work by Coby Whitmore... but I've never seen anything like this.
I'd love to have been a fly on the wall when his fellow artists in the neighbouring offices at the Cooper studios dropped in and saw him finishing up these pieces. I can only imagine they would have been surprised -- and impressed.
Because Coby Whitmore, versatile and accomplished as he was, really rose to the challenge when he produced this series. They are a testament to both the artist's skill and creativity - and a credit to the art director's willingness to foster an environment for that experimentation.
Many more (and more typical) illustrations by the artist in my Coby Whitmore Flickr set.