But this cartoon is more than just a pretty face. Check out the demented, reptilian leer of the bow-tied squeezer. I detect a palpable note of disapproval in Cole's portrayal. In his girlie cartoons, Cole either drew men as sad, impotent wrecks, or self-assured jerks. The latter is in play, here.
A fairly large digital image, courtesy of Heritage Auctions, allows us to study and appreciate Cole's polished mastery of ink and brush. His composition is designed to draw the eye exactly to where the action will transpire in about one second. And take note Cole was, by this time, displaying skill as a fashion artist. The sleek dinner jackets of the men and especially the incredible meringue of a dress adorning the central figure are superbly realized.
Famous for his Playboy magazine cartoons, Cole sold lots of work to the Martin Goodman line of digest-sized men's mags called the Humorama line. This cartoon, according to the auction notes, appeared on the cover of a steamy little item named Joker. I don't have the issue information or an image of the cover, but here are two other Joker covers with Jack Cole art, to give you an idea of how it might have been used.
And here is the original art up for auction. No kidding -- as I wrote this blog post, the bid went from $240 to $420. And there are twenty-one days left in this auction. It would not surprise me if the final bid, for work which Jack Cole probably received somewhere around one or two hundred dollars at best, winds up in the thousands. That's a lot of toothpaste to squeeze out of one cartoon! Or, to put it another way: that's a lotta jack, Jack!
Courtesy Heritage Auctions
All text (c) 208 Paul C. Tumey