This is a bonus cartoon for you today. Plus, I know the editors who subscribe to my syndication service will goo all over themselves when they see it. Editors LOVE cartoons about dead people.
Hugh Hefner is subject to valid criticism of sexism and for being a peddler of pornography. I do think there was more to him than that, and definitely to his magazine. Playboy wasn’t really about the naked women. Though Playboy was known for the centerfolds and the covers with beautiful woman, the bulk of the magazine’s content were articles, interviews, and cartoons.
Hefner was a failed cartoonist which gave him an appreciation for cartoons. The cartoons in Playboy were either brilliant or something that you just didn’t understand. A lot of the cartoons weren’t even about sex, but the gags were still usually too bold for most mainstream publications.
My favorite thing about Playboy were the interviews. No publication interviewed their celebrities with as much depth. My little brother made a crack to some friends once that I actually read Playboy for the articles. If you did buy the magazine solely to see naked women then you were wasting your money. But, if you found a stash of Playboys in your friend’s dad’s closet when you were 14, you made an amazing discovery and your world would never be the same…and your friend would have to fight you to get you out of that closet before his father came home.
Playboy’s articles, interviews, and cartoons were some of the best in the business. Playboy may be the most coveted publication for a gag cartoonist to be published. I know they also paid the most. I do know a few political cartoonists who will draw a cartoon for Playboy every now and then.
I stopped looking at Playboy a couple decades ago, but I always liked knowing it was out there. I have a book of a collection of Playboy interviews (no pictures) and I have read it about ten times. I’d love to get a subscription to those alone.
Hef had high standards for the arts and he was an advocate for Civil Rights. He dated and married Playmates. He threw lavish parties at his mansion and he never changed out of his pajamas. Hefner lived to the age of 91. Say what you will about him, but I bet when you live in a mansion with naked women, your own personal zoo, and movie stars are visiting everyday, the criticism doesn’t get to you as much. If he had a bigger ego then he probably would have ran for president.