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Monday, December 31, 2012

Times Square Smut by Jim Linderman coming 2013



If there is a heart to this book, it is in the digest-sized books which grace the first 100 pages. Artist Eugene Bilbrew has been long recognized as a quirky talent in the fetish underground, and a good many of the books here were illustrated with his peculiar talents. Others have their covers done by Eric Stanton, another illustrator capable of extraordinary odd and erotic drawings. Printed in editions of a thousand or so at a time, the books were mostly carried by hand to Times Square Bookshops where they were generally shrink-wrapped and sold at prices ten times more than regular paperback books. They were produced at a time when smut was for the first time becoming truly profitable, or at least that was the intention of the folks involved. (And the primary folk involved was Edward Mishkin, a minor level mobster living in White Plains, New York who owned some of the bookshops which sold his wares.) Also publishing early Bilbrew illustrations were Leonard Burtman and Irving Klaw, both operating mail-order houses.


A good share of the books illustrated here for the first time were confiscated by authorities and became evidence in obscenity trials of the era. Scarce to begin with, this makes them even harder to find today. Like early recordings made by Delta blues artists in the 1920s and 1930s, it is not surprising that some of these books may exist in fewer than a handful of copies today, and not only are they being shown here for the first time in over 50 years, many of them may exist in only one copy.
It is hard to comprehend their scarcity.
Is anyone collecting Eddie Mishkin's sleazy early pornography digests? Leonard Butman's early fetish digests from the 1950s? Well, the author has and does...the collection is shown in TIMES SQUARE SMUT. While browsing, you will see passages of text which tell a curious tale indeed, as the principles here were not only gifted in under-appreciated ways, they were living on the edge of legality, which makes them pretty interesting by nature of their day jobs alone...Imagine their night jobs! Despite true "soft-core" illustrations and even tamer text, at the time these were considered dicey indeed, and the authors and publishers (nearly always using pseudonyms) were hounded and grilled by the law and politicians. In fact, the mobster was forced to testify at the very same senate hearings which lead to the big crack-down on comic books.


Let us consider one more aspect of scarcity...if YOU came across one of these in Dad's trunk before the estate sale, what would you do with it? That's right, you would, and probably sheaved amongst the old National Geographic and Life magazines so the junkman wouldn't see it either. Add in the fact that they were so badly written they weren't worth saving anyway and you have a little reason to see any around today. Mishkin wasn't running a "lending library" and when you got home and tore the wrapper off, there would be nothing to do but suck it up and toss it out the window of your coupe in New Jersey. There was no resale market, few of the folks who ducked into Eddie's store had "trading friends" and not too many would leave a spine titled "Slave Mistress" or "Dominant Desires" on the shelf, even in the workshop downstairs.


This is the real stuff. You know...Hot. And there were many government forces who did not want you to have them.

TIMES SQUARE SMUT will be available in a Limited Edition Late 2012. It will contain hundreds of illustrations, many not seen since the 1950s, most from the Jim Linderman collection of fugitive and scarce soft-core literature.

3 comments:

  1. Did you see my Times Square Queer, covers the area in the 1960s-70s http://www.amazon.com/TIMES-SQUARE-QUEER-Tales-Apple/dp/1615084541/ref=sr_1_8?ie=UTF8&qid=1358348697&sr=8-8&keywords=mykola+dementiuk

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  2. where can i order a copy? Amazon denies it even exists

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