Innocence and Seduction: The Art of Dan DeCarlo

    (Fantagraphics, 2006)
™ and © Fantagraphics Books, Inc.

For those who only thought Dan DeCarlo (1919-2001) was the premier artist of Betty and Veronica for Archie Comics, or who didn’t even know who he was at all, this book will serve as an excellent introduction to the man and his career. Bongo Comics’ Bill Morrison writes an impassioned text that praises the mighty DeCarlo’s work and versatility. Not only are there samples from Archie, there are also samples from DeCarlo’s work on Big Boy, Kool-Aid Man, Jetta, My Friend Irma, Millie the Model, Nellie the Nurse, The Brain, and tons of examples of DeCarlo’s sexy “good girl” art.

— Mark Arnold

From the Comics Buyer’s Guide:

Seduction? Who are we kidding? Even Dan DeCarlo’s “bad girls” are wholesome girls next door.

Let’s get it out of the way: Betty and Veronica, Josie, and Sabrina are here, but they’re hardly the focus. Betty and Veronica don’t really appear until page 90, and the Archie chapter isn’t until page 141. So what occupies most of the book? DeCarlo’s other girls steal the spotlight: Irma, Pearl, Sherry, Millie, Nelly, and other beauties. There are some non-“Good Girl” pieces, as well: Big Boy, Homer the Happy Ghost, and Willie Lumpkin among them. (What? You didn’t know that Willie the mailman had his own newspaper strip before becoming The FF’s designated carrier?)

“Seduction” must refer to the chapter entitled “Fifty Girls in Forty-Nine Costumes.” Perhaps these showgirls and figure models were once risqué, but now they’re downright quaint. Perhaps most intriguing are the pieces Dan drew for his wife, Josie, when they were courting in France during World War II. Anyone who has admired DeCarlo’s Archie work owes it to himself (or herself) to discover the breadth of his portfolio.

— Jack Abramowitz
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