Duck Duck Book


23 – tijuana bibles
08.16.2005, 12:02 am
Filed under: art & entertainment

Tijuana bibles : art and wit in America's forbidden funnies, 1930s-1950s / Bob Adelman ; introductory essay by Art Spiegelman ; commentary by Richard Merkin ; essay by Madeline Kripke.
New York, NY : Simon & Schuster, c1997.
[MCL call number: 741.5973 T568 1997; two copies, no holds]

Tijuana bibles are naughty little underground comics, mostly produced between the 1930s and the 1960s, that portrayed and caricatured sex, usually in eight tiny pages. Many Tijuana bibles featured movie stars, sports heroes, politicians, and cartoon characters in various compromising positions, and some were about stock types like the down-and-out tramp, the horny office worker, or the traveling salesman. You know — a woman walks into the grocery store and asks the clerk, "Do you have any Lifebouy?" (a brand of soap). He looks surprised, says, "You bet I do!," invites her into the back room and begins to ravish her. She protests at first, but then surrenders, everyone has a huge orgasm, and in the last frame she is promising to return the next day for another round.

Adelman's book presents a hundred or so Tijuana bibles in facsimile and with annotations, arranged by general topic (gangsters, movie stars, etc.). There is a general introductory essay by Art Spiegelman, and a second essay by Madeline Kripke on the vernacular as it appears in Tijuana bibles. The main contents are followed by an essay on style by Richard Merkin, a glossary by Kripke, a few pages of reproductions of back cover illustrations (which were generally outside the narrative of the bibles), a detailed bibliography, and indexes to bible titles and subjects parodied.

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