Good girl art
From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
Good girl art (GGA) is a type of art (usually drawings or paintings) depicting attractive women. GGA was most commonly featured in comic books, pulp magazines and crime fiction. When cited as an art movement, it is usually capitalized as Good Girl Art.
The label “Good girl art” might be somewhat confusing or awkward to the uninitiated, since it does not mean “good girls” as the term is commonly used for women who are honest, moral or sexually chaste. Instead, it describes the work of illustrators skilled at creating sexy female figure art; it is the art which is good, not the girl. In his 2001 Collectors Press book, The Great American Paperback: An Illustrated Tribute to Legends of the Book, Richard A. Lupoff defined Good Girl Art:
- "A cover illustration depicting an attractive young woman, usually in skimpy or form-fitting clothing, and designed for erotic stimulation. The term does not apply to the morality of the “good girl”, who is often a gun moll, tough cookie or wicked temptress."
The term was first coined by comic book dealers who inserted it in their sale lists to call attention to covers and panels showing sexy women in comics from Fiction House and other publishers. Later, use of the phrase expanded to indicate a style of artwork in which attractive female characters of comic books, cartoons and covers for digest magazines, paperbacks and pulp magazines are rendered in a lush manner and are shown in provocative (and sometimes very improbable) situations from jungles and beaches to bedrooms and bondage.
A strong influence on the movement was illustrator Rolf Armstrong (1889-1960), labeled the “Father of Good Girl Art” because of his creamy calendar art for Brown & Bigelow and iridescent illustrations for such magazines as American Weekly, College Humor, Life, Judge, Photoplay, Pictorial Review and Woman's Home Companion, along with his advertisements for Hires Root Beer, Palmolive, Pepsi, Oneida Silverware and other products.
During the peak period of comic book Good Girl Art, the 1940s to the 1950s, leading artists of the movement included Bill Ward (for his blonde Torchy) and Matt Baker. Arguably the king of Good Girl Art, Baker was one of the few African Americans working as an artist during the Golden Age of Comics. Today, Baker's rendition of Phantom Lady is considered a collectors item, and much of his GGA is sought after.
In 1985, Bill Pearson edited and published Good Girls, a collection of artwork by himself, Frank Frazetta, Roy Krenkel, Bob McLeod, Victor Perard (author of Anatomy and Drawing and How to Draw), Wally Wood, Mike Zeck and other artists.
Since 1990, Bill Black's AC Comics has published 19 issues of his Good Girl Art Quarterly (incorporating several issues of Good Girl Comics), featuring a mix of photos and new comics with reprints of vintage stories. In addition to Baker, Black, Frazetta, Ward and Wood, the artists in this series include Nina Albright, Chris Allen, Nick Alton, Dick Ayers, Frank Bolle, Gill Fox, Brad Gorby, Mark Heike, Chad Hunt, Ed Lane, Steve LeBlanc, Bob Lubbers, Jack Kamen, Billie Marimon, Mark Moore, Ralph Mayo, Pete Morisi, Rudy Palais, Nick Poliwko, Bob Powell (comics), Richard Rome and Maurice Whitman.
- Beaulieu, Dennis. Interview with artist Richard Bassford on Wally Wood and Good Girl Art. CFA-APA 40 (Spring, 1996), publication of the Comic & Fantasy Art Amateur Press Association.
- Lupoff, Richard A. The Great American Paperback: An Illustrated Tribute to Legends of the Book. Collectors Press, 2001.