The divine BB!
By this point, aside from Exploitation Cinema and classic illustration and Warren comics, I think I need to point out the influence of BB… Brigitte Bardot! Decades ago I was in a bookstore and saw this face staring up at me from the bargain table, I was young, didn’t know who she was, but I knew she was THE girl every artist I loved was drawing, the magnificent Brigitte Bardot. She was evident in the work of so many of the Warren artists.
And not just Bardot the “sex kitten,” but Bardot the role model, the mind, the woman. Her influence was not merely over Mara and my art, but over me, her honesty, her panther-woman attitude combined with her vulnerability, all of it has affected me deeply. In the end, her sensuality is often what I am seeking with each brushstroke. Without Bardot there would be no Mara, and in many ways, no Justine. If you haven’t seen “And God Created Woman,” do it, find it, see it, and do so without distraction.
I would rank her influence over me as highly as that of any artist, as highly as Beverly Sebastian, Rose O’Neill, Lotte Reiniger, Sulamith Wulfing, Doris Wishman, Nancy Friday, any of them. The beauty of eroticism and exploitation is that it is the playground not only of men and male fantasies, but of equally, if not far more perverse women. There is a lot of brilliance that shines through when an artist liberates themselves enough to work in this glorious gutter.
Also on this page is the obvious influence, not just of the monkey-like mutant, but the architecture, of “Planet Of The Apes.” I was influenced not only by the visuals and effects, not only by the kindness of Cornelius and the steadfast honesty of Zira, but by the fact that this was a fully realized world of make believe. I believed in “Planet Of The Apes!”
And here, perhaps more than anywhere else in the book, the influence of Exploitation begins to creep in.
And yes, I do think it’s important, before we go shaming Exploitation and eroticism as being a “mysoginist” playground for men… that much of the best erotica and Exploitation has been created by women… and I want to be among them, and I don’t want us to forget that we women can not only be as perverse and exploitive as men, but often far far more perverse, sadistic and exploitive. We’ll talk more about this theme later, but the above shot from “The Story Of O,” was of course based on a classic kinky novel written by a woman… Pauline Regae!
So… dig in, girls, this belongs to us, too!
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