Tuesday, June 04, 2024

Comics Artists in Cheri in the 1970s


I was just a few months away from turning 18 when CHERI magazine debuted in the summer of the Bicentennial year 1976. I had never seen a copy of PLAYBOY but I had been buying HUSTLER and HIGH SOCIETY magazines for a while at that point. I had premature grey hair and was never once carded. When CHERI came along, it became my new favorite. Not only was it just as explicit as those other two (probably a bit more so, actually) but it also had work in nearly every issue by some very familiar comics artists!


CHERI was essentially a news magazine, only all the news was about sex. There were photo essays of adult industry events and sex worker protests, reviews of XXX films and live sex shows, coverage of various censorship issues, etc. but there were also fictional pieces in each issue, columns by names in the industry (such as the now legendary Annie Sprinkle and my wonderful Facebook pal of the past decade or so, Jeanne Silver), and, naturally, the life blood of this type of mag, photo layouts. 


I was still living at home at the time I was buying these so I couldn’t keep them long for fear that my parents (or my aunt who came down to help clean the house sometimes) might find them. I was, however, reminded of all this today when I ran into the first two years of issues on the Internet Archive. 


The comics artists who pop up in these early issues are Marshall Rogers, Russ Heath, Gary Hallgren, Rand Holmes (an article about him as well as a new color strip by him), Wallace Wood, (a small piece on SALLY FORTH and a full reprint of MY WORD from BIG APPLE COMIX), Larry Hama and Ralph Reese along with Neal Adams (a part color reprint of their BIG APPLE collaboration, published originally only in black and white), Clay Geerdes, Robert Crumb (color reprints of black and white underground strips), Bruce Patterson, Frank Cirocco, Mary Wilshire, Bill Plympton, Mary Sativa, Trina Robbins, Paul Kirchner (as Kurt Schnurr”). Bill Wenzel, Lee Marrs, and Billy Graham. Some illustrate articles, some offer gag cartoons, some new comics stories, some reprinted ones, some spot illustrations and a couple are just reprints in small pieces written about them. 


By the last two issues of 1977, the familiar artists seem to have largely disappeared, perhaps due to editorial changes. It should go without saying that while these are not fully hardcore magazines, they are 100% NSFW and are at times, more explicit than even stuff on the market today! If you are easily offended, stay away. Heck, if you get offended by things at all, I’d recommend keeping your distance. If you’re intrigued, however, they’re all online. 


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