Imagine an innocent but stunning young woman boasting Barbie like proportions poured into a wisp of lingerie or a clingy cocktail dress with silky opera-length gloves and sheer thigh-high stockings ... take all that and picture it perched atop a pair of dangerously high stiletto heels.
"Bill Ward who?" you're probably asking yourself right now, and surprisingly you wouldn't be alone.
Bill Ward is probably the best pin-up cartoon artist you've never heard of. What's amazing about this assertion is that when he passed away in 1998, he left behind a body of work that spanned six decades and by all accounts, more than 10,000 pin-up illustrations. But while some of Ward's contemporaries were making names for themselves in mainstream publications, Ward's exquisite pin-up cartoons were buried in the pages countless cheap, but long forgotten, men's and humor magazines.
In fact, Ward is probably better known for his comic book work dating back the I940s and 1950s. Ward penciled thousands of pages - an output rivaled by only handful of comic book artists - for books ranging from Captain Marvel and Black his own Golden Age creation, Torchy, Ward's original glamour girl. Though Torchy had a proclivity for shedding her clothing and revealing her racy undergarments, which was considered quite provocative for her time, Ward's shapely but oh-so innocent blonde bombshell was just a precursor of things to come.
With the 1954 publication of Dr. Fredric Wertham's Seduction of the Innocent presaging the contraction of comics in the 1950s, Ward capitalized on his ability to render the female form and moved seamlessly into the world of cartoon pinups. Ward’s strongest work was created between 1957 and 1963 for the Humorama line of digest magazines, where his voluptuous "girly" drawings shared the pages with photos of Bettie Page and pin-up cartoons by the likes of Archie's Dan DeCarlo and Playboy magazine's Jack Cole.
Biographical extract by Alex Chun from "The Glamour Girls of Bill Ward" (see below).
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