Bundy’s Beauties

Born in 1911, Gilbert Bundy grew up in a number of oil boom towns throughout Oklahoma. His father was an oil company scout. After graduating high school, he went to work for a Kansas City engraving company.

In 1929 he moved to New York to pursue his dream of becoming a cartoonist. He soon began selling cartoons for Life and Judge magazines. His big break came in the early 1930s when he started cartooning for the newly launched Esquire magazine. Author Walt Reed, (The Illustrator in America), credits Bundy’s “deftly drawn, risque humor” as being integral to the early success of that magazine. With America entering WWII, he left Esquire to become a combat artist covering The Pacific for King Features.

In 1944 Bundy was one of two who survived a direct hit on a boat he was aboard. Twenty-three men died and three of the bodies pinned him down. It took hours before he could be rescued from enemy waters. After recovering back in New York, he returned to the commercial art field. While still a great cartoonist, Bundy’s work had lost a certain joie de vivre. He could not get pass the boat attack. On the 1955 anniversary of that day, Bundy committed suicide.

 

Gilbert Bundy Working in his studio in the late 1930s.
Gilbert Bundy Working in his studio in the late 1930s.

He’ll be remembered for his high-spirited approach to playboys, booze and party girls that populated his Depression-Era cartoons. Many of these gags wouldn’t fly in today’s post-MeToo environment. But the 1930s were the Golden Age of Sexism. And you can’t deny Bundy’s enormous talent and technical ability.

Here’s a sample.

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