January 13, 2011 - January 22, 2012
New York, NY

The Museum of Sex
Comics Stripped
An Illustrated Exploration of the Dirty Drawing

TOM OF FINLAND (Finnish, 1920 – 1991), Untitled, 1976, Pen & ink on paper,
Tom of Finland Foundation Permanent Collection #76.92, © 2010 Tom of Finland Foundation



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 of comics
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 libidos.

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 Bibles.

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 featured.

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.”

Exhibition Credits

Craig Yoe – Curator
Sarah Forbes – Curator, Museum of Sex
Mark Snyder – Creative Director, Museum of Sex
OCD Agency – Exhibition Design


Colleen Coover
Howard Cruse
Jessica Fink
Danny Hellman
Alan Kaplan
Playboy Enterprises, Inc.
J.B. Rund
Eric F. Sack
Stanton Family Collection
Tom of Finland Foundation
Dean Yeagle
Craig Yoe

The Museum of Sex
Gallery Hours: Sunday - Thursday 10:00 AM - 8:00 PM Saturday 10:00 AM - 8:00 PM
Closed Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day
233 Fifth Avenue (@ 27th Street), New York, NY 10016 Map  212.689.6337

Museum of Sex Website

Return to Events Page

— Share This Page —
Share |

“I almost never draw a completely naked man. He has to have at least a pair of boots or something on. To me, a fully dressed man is more erotic than a naked one. A naked man is, of course beautiful, but dress him in black leather or a uniform — ah, then he is more than beautiful, then he is sexy!”
— Tom of Finland