The Archie artist’s wild side
The Pin-Up Art of Dan DeCarlo
by Alex Chan and Jacob Covey
2005, 215 pages, 5.8 x 7.5 x 0.7
$29 Buy a copy on Amazon
My favorite characters in Archie comics were Betty and Veronica, the two gorgeous femme fatales of Riverdale High. The girls were anatomically identical (and differed physically only in hair color) but, like Archie, I preferred the snotty and wealthy Veronica over Betty, who didn’t know that playing hard-to-get was an excellent and ancient romantic strategy.
Dan DeCarlo (1919-2001) didn’t create Betty and Veronica, or the other characters in Archie’s world. That honor goes to Bob Montana. But DeCarlo was the guy who made the girls in Archie icons of teenage lust. (He was the co-creator of Josie and the Pussycats and Sabrina the Teenage Witch, however.)
It turns out that DeCarlo was also a prolific cheesecake gag cartoonist, churning out dozens of drawings of buxom women that look like Betty and Veronica’s older sisters. This Fantagraphics anthology is masterfully designed in two colors by Jacob Covey, and features over 200 single panel gag cartoons from men’s magazines of the 1950s. – Mark Frauenfelder