Bundy’s Beauties

Gilbert Bundy (1911-1955) was born in Centralia, Illnois, the son of an oil company scout, and was brought up in a succession of oil boom towns in Oklahoma. He eventually finished high school in Winfield, Kansas, and went to work for a Kansas City engraving company.  In 1929, Bundy headed for a career in New York and began to do cartoons for the old Life and Judge magazines.

His real breakthrough came as a cartoonist for then newly launched Esquire magazine in the early 1930s. In The Illustrator in America, author Walt Reed credits Bundy’s “deftly drawn, risque humor” as being integral to the early success of that magazine. His association with Esquire continued until the early 30s when Bundy enlisted as a combat artist for King Features. In 1944 he survived a traumatic attack by enemy forces in the Pacific. He recovered physically and re-entered the commercial art field after the war and continued a successful career doing editorial magazine illustration and advertising work. But he never emotionally recovered from his wartime experiences. He committed suicide in 1955.


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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