Tickets: Adults (18+): $16.75 + tax
Students and Seniors (with valid ID): $15.25 + tax
Group Visits are also available
The closing date
has not been firmly established.
Call the Museum of Sex towards the end of the run.
New exhibit steps back in time and into the pages
to expose erotic influences on pop culture.
During the Great Depression, before Joe Shuster’s
illustration of Superman gave comics a mainstream voice in 1938, many
other cartoonists dabbled in the creation of “dirty drawings.”
This risqué artwork featured busty women, fetishes, bondage,
homosexuality and other explicit sexual encounters.
Beginning January 13, the Museum of Sex will flip through
the pages of erotic history to reveal how the comic book medium has
been used over time to depict sexual fantasy, poke fun at taboo topics
and lampoon icons of popular culture. The exhibit, aptly named Comics
Stripped, features drawings from the Great Depression to the
present, all which remind us of the fun, frivolity and impact of sexual
expression and innuendo on our lives.
Comics Stripped, an illustrated exploration
of the dirty drawing, will feature more than 150 artifacts, including
original drawings, illustrated books, comic books, magazines and videos.
The exhibit addresses the adult nature of comics and cartoons, a concept
now widely popularized in television series like The Simpsons and
Family Guy on FOX and Ugly Americans shown on Comedy Central. The
exhibit is tantalizing, racy and is sure to stoke more than a few
Tom of Finland, a prominent artist in gay comic
culture, once said, “If I don’t have an erection when
I’m doing a drawing, I know it’s no good.” It’s
a metric used by many erotic cartoonists, whose fantasies are found
splayed across the printed page for their reader’s enjoyment.
Comics used as a medium for sexual gratification isn’t
a new concept. Among the most historic artifacts on display inn Comics
Stripped are Tijuana Bibles, which marked the rudimentary beginning
of the sexually oriented comic in the 1930s. This collection of 18
original pulp comic books, once used as instruction booklets for fornication
or fun, feature the comic strip characters Blondie, Dick Tracy, Olive
Oyl, Wimpy and many more in suggestive scenarios. Wesley Morse (1897-1963),
the creator of the Bazooka Joe and Gang comic wrapped around Topps’
bubble gum was one of the most well-known cartoonists to create Tijuana
The wholesome image of Disney has often been a prime
target for sexualized illustration. The Tijuana Bibles entitled Donald
Duck has a Universal Desire and Snow White and the Seven Dwarves are
among the Disney based artifacts on display. Perhaps the most well-known
sexual artifact which depicts Disney characters in precarious positions,
The Disneyland Memorial Orgy, which was drawn by Wally Wodd, a master
cartoonist who drew for MAD Magazine and EC comics, will be prominently
Disney wasn’t the only company to have their characters
lampooned in sexual situations. Joe Shuster’s Nights of
Horror depicts doppelganger of Superman and Lois Lane in fetish
scenarios. Eric Stanton’s Blunder Broad mimicked Wonder Woman.
The inept super-heroine often failed at capturing her nemesis and
ended up enduring rape and torture as a result. Five original issues
of issues of Nights of Horror will be on display during the
exhibition as well as six original illustrations of Blunder Broad.
The sexual depiction of characters seemingly intended
for children did not sit well during the period of McCarthyism. Comics
Stripped explores the McCarthy era of comic censorship, the creation
of the Comics Code Authority in 1954 and the impact these events had
on illustrated erotic expression.
The exhibit takes an inside look at underground publications
that utilized comics to satisfy people’s need for titillation.
The artists Robert Dennis Crumb (1943-), best known by the moniker
R. Crumb for his characters Fritz the Cat, Mr. Natural and Devil Girl,
is considered to be one of the greatest cartoonists of all time. His
participation in the underground sex comic movement (comix) inspired
many others to join. Comics Stripped will display R. Crumb originals
that sparked the growth of the comix movement.
The exhibit showcases risqué contraband of the
time including Ballyhoo, Whiz Bang and an original illustration of
Betty Boop. These and other pieces of sensual contraband gave rise
to a new form of entertainment, the men’s magazine.
Cartoons and comics were and still are a staple of
Playboy editorial. Visitors to Comics Stripped will enjoy
original art, on loan from the Playboy Enterprises, Inc., of iconic
Playboy artists Jack Cole (1914-1958) and Eldon Dedini (1921-2006).
Cole may be best known for creating the superhero Plastic Man. His
cartoons for Playboy became the gold standard for creating cartoons
published in the popular men’s magazine. Dedini’s iconic
watercolor depictions of horny satyrs chasing voluptuous nymphs were
an iconic Playboy feature. The original Little Annie Fanny will be
shown steps away from the most current cartoon fem fatale to grace
the cover of Playboy, Marge Simpson.
Comics Stripped will reveal every segment of
the sex comic and its modern evolution. Original gay comics from Tom
of Finland, fetish drawings from John Willie and international sex
comics from France, Brazil and Japan will be shown.
“Sex comics straddle borders and realms of possibility.
Some of the most eye-popping animated sex comes from the Japanese.
The French are masters of coitus. Europeans illustrate positions that
I couldn’t get into without becoming a yoga master. Americans?
Well, plastic surgeons can’t even come close to accomplishing
what we can with a pencil,” quips Craig Yoe, well-known entertainment
executive and curator of Comics Stripped.
Better known as C.E. Yoe, Craig Yoe is responsible
for the creative development of classic toys like Cabbage Patch Kids
and My Little Pony. He was personally recruited by Jim Henson to be
Creative Director, and later VP/General Manager, of the Muppets. Yoe’s
experience spans the gamut, from comics to toys to television and
even theme parks. After Henson’s death, Yoe started YOE! Studio!
with his business partner Clizia Gussoni. The exhibit is co-curated
by Sarah Forbes of the Museum of Sex.
“Many artists of ‘dirty drawings’
had full-time gigs in mainstream entertainment,” says Yoe. “I
consider myself to be following in a fine tradition of men who knew
what they wanted and how to put it on paper.”