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SIGNS OF 60 AT PLAYBOY

Playboy and Hef are celebrating their 60th anniversary together with the January/February issue of the magazine, a double issue that is short the 300 pages that would make it truly twice the size of a normal issue, but 272 is close enough for government work, as we were wont to say (one of my many wonts, as Porkypine says, right there — on my wall in the Sunday page for August 25, 1968). To make up for the shortfall, Hef gives us two Playmates to gaze at. And to help celebrate the anniversary, he picked 16 cartoons from the 60-year archive of the magazine — “the wittiest and funniest,” it sez here.

Marge Simpson bunny suitThe cartoonists are Al Stine, Jack Cole, Eldon Dedini, Raymonde, Smilby, Sokol, Sneyd, Buck Brown (with two), Erickson, John Dempsey, B. Kliban, Gahan Wilson, Kiraz, and Denison (who specialized in exotic sports cars and fashionably attired women rather than the undressed sort). There’s also the usual year-end tease-and-A Playmate Review — and, wonderful, a 6-page comic strip by Joe Casey (writer) and Nathan Fox (artist).

Called “Modern Romance,” the strip stars Stan Treemont, who, having just secured a fiancee, is mysteriously transported from the 1950s to present-day New York, where he meets Madison, a lay-about tattooed slut of a broad (like all present-day bimbos) who tries to seduce him. Terrified, he runs away and, at the last minute, finds himself once again in the 1950s arms of his betrothed, Violet. And as we see them embrace with Stan extolling old-fashioned love, we also see that Violet has a tattoo on her butt.

So exactly how much does Hef miss the old days of the decade of his magazine’s launch? The cover seems a trifle misty-eyed, too: staid, even a little repressed compared to the usual Playboy cover, it’s about as sexy as vintage fifties magazines were permitted to be.  Kate Moss , all leg and look, but stark and simple sex appeal, no cute comedy or coy seduction, no naked hooter just barely out of sight.

For more Rants & Raves with its comics news and reviews, gossip and cartooning lore, visit www.RCHarvey.com

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