Better late than never is our motto around here.
We're finally getting back to paperback artist Gene Bilbrew, whose odd style, with its scantily clad women and their muscular butts has become collectible in recent years. We didn't get it at first, but like a lot of art, once you're exposed to it regularly you begin to appreciate its unique qualities. There's clear intent in Bilbrew's work, a deliberate attempt to approach illustration from a different angle, and we've grown to understand that his cartoonish, chaotic, often humorous, and often bondage themed aesthetic is purposeful. In fact, his imagery has become so intertwined with the bdsm scene that in 2019 the National Leather Association International established an award named after Bilbrew for creators of animated erotic art. While it's not exactly a Pulitzer Prize, the point is that Bilbrew's bizarre visions keep gaining wider acceptance. So for that reason we've put together another group of his paperback fronts. You can see more of them here, here, and here, and you can see a few rare oddities here, here, and here.
You know, I don't see any reason why I can't appoint both of you secretary of human services.
In case you're wondering, human services is an actual function of the U.S. government. The department is called Health and Human Services, and there's no healthier human service than sex. You can guess the plot of 1967's Lust Candidate without too much trouble. An honest politician squares off for a governorship against a slick media star, while all sorts of craziness goes on behind the scenes with wives, mistresses, and a hot young stepdaughter.
We love the art. It's often attributed to John Duillo, but Doug at the (now mostly defunct) blog whatgetsmehot suspected Elaine Duillo was behind this one, and back in 2010 sent an image of the cover to her. The answer she gave was revealing. Apparently, she painted the blonde on the right because the people at Chevron Books didn't didn't like the figure the first artist had produced. “They asked me to paint the blonde again. Then they stripped it in and paid me well to do this for them.”
To our eyes it looks like one artist wielded the brush here, but we presume Elaine Duillo knows her own work. We also presume she knows whether she replaced her husband's work, so it looks like those John Duillo attributions could be wrong. We'll put this in the two-thirds-unknown bin for now. That's a new bin, but there you go.
He cooked up a different formula for paperback art.
Gene Bilbrew is one of those illustrators whose art seems at first glance below the usual standard, but he had a strong style, and the more you look at it the more you see it as the purposeful product of a unique talent. Like the work of leftfield illustrator Eric Stanton, Bilbrew's paintings eschew realism of any sort and instead strive to catch the eye, achieving the ultimate goal of commercial art. Check out the assortment below.