Jack Cole "Jake" pinup artist
Jack Cole was a masterful comic book artist who's pinups helped define the golden age of his art form
In the rarefied realm of vintage cartoon pinup art, nobody did it better than Jack Cole.
"Cole's goddesses were estrogen soufflés who mesmerized the ineffectual saps who lusted after them."
As a comic book artist in the 1940s, Jack Cole wrote countless stories working against tight deadlines. When he left comic books - and his best known creation Plastic Man - for a new career as a freelance cartoonist, Cole found himself in the uncomfortable position of being at a loss for words.
Pounding on the doors of major magazines, Cole received rejection after rejection, and in response, he turned to the Humorama line of digest magazines as his saviour. The girls and gags magazine circuit proved to be the perfect training ground for Cole to regain his footing and develop his craft as a single panel pinup cartoonist. While Cole may have been honing his gag writing skills, his ability to render the female form was already without peer. Though he signed his pinup cartoons "Jake," Cole's exquisite line drawings and masterful use of ink-wash - a skill he carried over to Playboy magazine - betrayed his pseudonym.
With his quirky line drawings and sensual watercolours, Cole, under Hugh Hefner's guiding hand, catapulted to stardom in the 1950s as Playboy's marquee cartoonist, a position he held until his untimely death at the age of 43.
Upon his passing, Cole left behind a body of work that encompassed not only his stunning Playboy work, but also a brief career as a pinup cartoon artist for the Humorama line of girlie digests. Taken together, these images provide a rare glimpse into the singular artistry that was Jack Cole.
Biographical notes borrowed from Alex Chun from The Classic Pinup Art of Jack Cole.