Hugh Hefner’s Funnies: Over 55 Years of PLAYBOY Cartoons – more than 100 originals in Heritage Aucti Rare Hugh Hefner drawn PLAYBOY cartoon among the many - Vargas, Neiman and more - readies for public auction at Heritage in Dallas, Feb. 26
News-Antique.com - Feb 05,2010 - DALLAS, TX – Fans of the gorgeous imagery, saucy situations and irreverent humor of PLAYBOY Magazine will get a rare chance to acquire some of that original art – with names like Vargas, Neiman, Kurtzman and more - on Feb. 26 when Heritage Auction Galleries presents Hugh Hefner’s Funnies: Over 55 Years of PLAYBOY Cartoons as part of its Feb. 25-27 Signature® Comics and Comic Art Auction, conducted live and online (HA.com).
“Every single one of the greatest names in the 55 year history of cartooning at PLAYBOY is represented by choice examples,” said Ed Jaster, Vice President of Heritage Auctions. “Alberto Vargas, Leroy Neiman, Edward Gorey, Shel Silverstein, Jack Cole, Erich Sokol, Jack Davis, Eldon Dedini, and Arnold Roth, to name only a few.”
Among the most interesting offers among the luminous illustration names represented in the collection is a rare cartoon offering from Hugh Hefner himself. PLAYBOY cartoon illustration, page 31, January 1954 (estimate $1,500-$2,000) hails from the very early days of the magazine when Hef – once an aspiring cartoonist himself – drew many of the cartoons himself.
Soon after this Hef comic was drawn, however, PLAYBOY became a refuge not only for those artists who wanted the freedom to offer edgy social commentary, but also for readers who needed an escape from the buttoned-up, black and white world of “Father Knows Best.” Not only did the magazine become the groundbreaking repository of erotic imagery, it also gave voice to some of the nation’s most brilliant, and devious, cartoon geniuses.
“As the curator of this marvelous collection, these funnymen have kept me laughing,” writes Aaron Baker, Curator of the PLAYBOY Collection, in the catalog introduction. “More importantly, though, they have shown me that over the last half-century, these artists, along with many others, ushered America through a period of incredible social change.”
Among the important offerings at the Heritage Auctions event on Feb. 26 are a trio of superb pin-ups from Alberto Vargas, the most famous artist to ever work for the magazine. The three watercolors – Vargas Girl, Playboy illustration, October 1963, Vargas Girl, Playboy illustration, December 1963, and Vargas Girl, Playboy illustration, February 1964 – are estimated at $30,000-$50,000 apiece, and represent some of the artists’ very best pin-up work at the height of his powers.
One of the most important names to join PLAYBOY was original Mad Magazine editor Harvey Kurtzman, who dedicated two decades of his life to the epic erotic story of Little Annie Fanny. This auction will give die-hard aficionados a chance to own an Annie Fannie story from the peak period of the saga in the late 1960s. The Masters Testers Institute, complete 4-page Little Annie Fanny story, Playboy feature, January 1968 features the work of Kurtzman, along with Will Elder and Jack Davis, and carries a pre-auction estimate of $10,000-$20,000.
A handful of the best LeRoy Neiman “Femlins” ever to appear on the market makes up an important section of the PLAYBOY cartoon art at the Heritage auction, including