ALEX CHUN (ED) The Pin-Up Art of Bill Wenzel (Fantagraphics) O...

Born in 1918, Bill Wenzel drew for Humorama in the 19505 and 605. His women have ample chests, curvaceous waists, and nice, round rears. Unlike Adam Hughes, Joe Jusko and many current pin-up cover artists/painters/ilIustrators in comics and cartoons who draw the same woman over and over and over again, Wenzel created a variety of Rubenesque women that defy the imagination and can only be found in the real world. Wenzel wrote most of his own gags for his cartoons and here, editor Alex Chun expertly picks out some of his very best work.

Along with fellow pin-up cartoonists Bill Ward, Jack Cole and Dan DeCarlo (whose single-frame strips have also been collected by Fantagraphics), Wenzel liked to draw dirty pictures. But Wenzel (whose wife/agent supported him) was far more prolific than his peers, with his nubile nudes appearing in virtually every American humour and men’s magazine published from the 19405 through to the 19705. While fashions changed (as exemplified in the lingerie herein depicted), Wenzel’s women didn’t. Bigger and bustier than Ward, Cole et al’s hourglass girls, Wenzel’s glamour pusses (variously tempting and haranguing stuffy bosses and under~the-thumb married men) come on like Amazons.

The gags, of course, are cheesy as hell. An elderly sugar daddy says to a babe leaning against a lamppost: ‘Let me take you away from all this; for an hour or so, at least!’ Boom boom. But sexist caricaturing of women notwithstanding, it’s cartooning at its snappy, snazzy best. (Miles Fielder)

HISTORICAL ANALYSIS ALLAN MASSIE The Thistle and the Rose - Six Centuries of Love and Hate Between Scots and Enghsh

(John Murray) 0000

On first meeting Dr Johnson. Boswell spluttered: ‘I do indeed come from Scotland. but I cannot help it.‘ To which Johnson replied: ‘That. sir, is what a very great number of your c0untrymen cannot help." It set the tone. Of course. both nations are intertWIned in so many ways and Allan Massie does a fine Job of

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disentangling the strands. albeit With a strict leaning towards culture at the high end. So there's no mention of Renton's hysterical anti- English monologue from

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Trainspotting and little reference to the influence of sport (notably football) and music (folk and pop) running both ways. tvlaSSie is Sympathetic to the shared benefits of Empire (though presumably not from an African perspective) and lauds Walter Scott for his tartan spin which will irk anyone decrying histOry as myth. But still, this is an essential read for anyone interested in our mutual identities and wary of the suggestion of a simple them-ano-us narrative. (Rodger Evans)


Have Love Will Travel (Black Swan) 0.

Lucy Sweet


Jane is a twentysomething graduate. unhappy with life as a single girl, and yearning for the love of her life to come along and rescue her from the monotony of a job (in the Edinburgh tourist office) that she hates. This time though. contrary to her Bridget Jones predecessors. Jane Darling goes searching for him. It's a potentially interesting twist to the well- drunken paths of previous 21 st century romance heroines. who have sat and waited for the world to fall in their lap under a cloud of smoke.

Unfortunately. this lead character, despite using her initiative. spends a disproportionate amount of time whining about how awful everything is along the way. Cartoonist and Record columnist Lucy Sweet is certainly witty and uses language thoughtfully but with such insatiable Cynicism and uncompromising despair in her characters. this debut novel is just infuriating. (Claire Dewar)

CULTURAL DRAMA PAUL THEROUX Blinding Light (Hamish Hamilton) 0..

Slade Steadman is a travel writer who lives off the fame and wealth garnered from Trespass/rig, a daring Cult classic written some 20 years previous. but in his inability to follow It up. he has grown frustrated and disillusioned. The discovery. on an ECLiadorian drug t0ur. of a psychotropic plant that. while blinding him physically. brings him extra-sensory insight into the world around him returns the anti- hero to his former writer's glory.

Paul TherOLix. himself a prolific writer With some 40 titles under his belt. offers up a cautionary tale of sorts; a mischievous. spiritual and self-acknowledging fable. His reveries on sight. inSIght and eroticism are at times unnecessarily lengthy and repetitive. and the Outcome of Steadman's folly all too predictable. Nevertheless. Theroux's descriptions of a higher spiritual plane and a world without sight are deeply perspicacious. and his ruminations on erotiCIsm and writer's block Quite telling. (Mark Edmundsoni

SOCIALITE BIOGRAPI lY SHAWN LEVY The Last Playboy (Fourth Estate) 0000

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Shawn Levy's superbly written account of the high life of a dead breed has its origins in a single phrase the author came across while researching his prewous book, Rat Pack Confidential Dominican playboy Porfirio Rubirosa'. Rubi as he was known to President Kennedy. King Farouk, Frank Sinatra. Eva Peron, Zsa Zsa Gabor and a LOT of other women was Old school. A Jet—setting carouser and sophisticated lovei


James Lee Burke Crusader '3 Cross Detective Dave Robicheaux is back. this time investigating the disappearance of a prostitute he fell in love with in the 50s Orion.

Nolan Dalla and Peter Alson The Man Behind the Shades Subtitled ‘The Rise and Fall of Stuey “The Kid" Unger, Poker's Greatest Player'. He went from high school drop-out to champion gambler then died in a motel with 8800 in his pocket. Weidenfe/d 8 NICO/son.

Shaun Hutson Twisted Sou/s A group of friends seek a bit of peace in a oeuntry house but soon find the locals are addicted to fear and have the bejesus frightened out of them. Ti'nie Warner Books.

Gary Gibson Against Gravity lt's the late 2lst century and the survivor of a notOriOLIs research facility is trying to get his life together. Then his heart stops and things get creepy. Pan Macmillan. Justine Hardy The Wonder House A love stOry told against the backdrop of contemporary Kashmir. Atlantic Books.

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