For artists, hard times equals porn. Turns out the "I Was Young and Needed the Money" cliche doesn't apply just to actors; some respected writers, cartoonists and even game companies have also turned to smut during desperate times.
For example ...
What You Know Him For:
Joe Shuster co-created Superman with Jerry Siegel, and you may have also heard about the pair's other creation, Funnyman, which was, until recently, believed to be the most undignified thing the artist ever drew. But then the world discovered this ...
But He Also Did:
Those shoes look terribly uncomfortable.
These comics were so nasty they were banned by the Supreme Court. Their publisher, a mobster turned porn peddler, was sentenced to prison because of them. The only reason Shuster wasn't arrested too is that no one knew who drew these books until recently, when they were accidentally discovered in a used bookstore by a comics historian.
It's not every day that you go home with a historic discovery AND something to wank to.
The timeline makes sense, too: The stories were produced a few years after Shuster quit DC over a dispute involving Superman rights, and by all accounts he was having a pretty hard time paying the bills during this period -- at one point he even worked as a deliveryman. At least this gig offered him a chance to put his talents to use. Like, for example, by drawing a dude using a woman's butt cheeks as bongos.
The old "butt bongos" technique.
The comics, which were sold "under the counter," depicted a wide variety of torture acts, such as horse whipping, paddle spanking and hanging folk upside down. But that's not the most disturbing part here: that would be the fact that a lot of these drawings seem to depict intimate scenes from the marriage of a certain Mr. and Mrs. Clark Kent.
Superman likes it when the landlady watches.
Wait, this guy invented Superman and Rule 34? A true visionary. OK, so maybe the resemblance wasn't fully intentional. After all, there were only so many ways Shuster could draw muscular men and attractive girls. .. but that doesn't explain what Lex Luthor is doing here:
Touching himself, probably.
A bald, evil-looking guy in the midst of enacting a diabolical plan? That's a pretty specific look there. Even Jimmy Olsen wasn't safe from being dragged into this sorry situation, despite the fact that no one could possibly want to look at Jimmy Olsen porn.
This looks pretty innocent until you realize that nothing indicates he's wearing pants.
So what could Shuster possibly gain by soiling his characters like this? Well, DC famously paid only $130 for the rights to Superman, so it's understandable that after falling on hard times, he'd want to get back at them with a little "fuck you." As we'll find out later, he wasn't the only one.
What You Know Him For:
Star Trek. Gene Roddenberry created the original series, oversaw the first movie and sat back to cash in the royalty checks from the 200 other spin-offs. But between the cancellation of the first series and the film, things weren't working out so well. After trying his luck with a string of sci-fi TV pilots that never took off, he decided that his reputation was best left untarnished and that he should either wait for another Star Trek opportunity to come along or fade into obscurity with dignity.
Retirement would give him a chance to engage in his true love: shopping for ever-larger horn-rimmed glasses.
But He Also Did:
Just kidding. He actually went and made a film about a gym teacher having sex with high school girls.
In 1971, Roddenberry co-wrote and produced Pretty Maids All in a Row, his only non-Star Trek film credit, which makes up for the lack of intercourse in his other work by featuring lots of it. The film starred Rock Hudson as Tiger, a high school gym teacher who acts as sort of a guidance counselor to his young students, helping them deal with their issues by introducing them to his penis.
"Jenny, you need to apply yourself more in algebra. By licking my balls."
Rock Hudson had not planned to grow that magnificent porn 'stache you see there: It simply came to be as soon as he stepped onto the set. He takes a virgin boy under his wing (basically, the same character from every movie made in the 80s), encouraging him to try his chances with a substitute teacher played by Angie Dickinson. Luckily for the boy, Dickinson happens to be a degenerate child molester too.
Pictured: Statutory rape.
But then some of the girls who attend the school, all of whom happen to look like Google search results for "nice boobs," start turning up dead. The sheriff's department sends Telly Savalas to investigate the murders, although for copyright reasons no one's allowed to call him Kojak (also because Kojak wasn't created till two years later). Meanwhile, more fucking.
"I'm sorry to hear about your problems at home, Ruth. I hope my inappropriate groping helps."
By the way, the movie also features a couple of Star Trek regulars: sadly, no Kirk or Spock (or Kirk and Spock), but Scotty himself shows up as Kojak's partner in investigating the tragically young and attractive naked bodies that keep turning up.
This was supposed to lead into the spin-off series: Scotty & Kojak: Private Dicks.
MGM did all it could to promote Roddenberry's first and only foray into the sexploitation genre, even getting a nine-page pictorial into Playboy magazine, but the movie still flopped pretty hard. Part of it may have been because one of the promotional posters carelessly revealed the identity of the killer, a mind-bending plot twist that we're considerate enough not to divulge here.
But here's the poster anyway.
Or maybe the audiences had a problem with the whole "teachers engaging in sex with underage students" part of the plot. Those prudes!
What You Know Him For:
Dan DeCarlo drew Archie for almost 50 years, forever linking his easily recognizable art style with the gang from Riverdale. He was also the creator of Josie and the Pussycats and Sabrina the Teenage Witch. The man was a true gold mine of inoffensive, insipid comic book characters.
It's almost enough to make The Big Bang Theory look worthwhile.
But He Also Did:
Hundreds of sexy drawings of barely clothed, large-breasted girls.
Before working for Archie, DeCarlo did pinups for a line of girlie digests called Humorama. Very few of them featured actual nudity, but holy shit -- most of those girls look exactly like Betty and Veronica with wigs (instead of clothes).
Jughead went on to do terrible things with that shotgun.
Believe it or not, these were actually supposed to be jokes -- if you looked closely, you could spot the "humorous" caption at the bottom. Anyone who laughed at these drawings, however, was clearly not using them for their intended purpose.
"Intended purpose" = boner.
The beautiful part is that Archie Comics (the company) is famously protective of its wholesome, family-friendly image: It's even gone as far as suing fan fiction websites or small theater companies for doing stories that suggest Archie might be gay (or actively straight, for that matter). For a while, it even produced a few Christian-themed comics starring Archie and the gang. This, of course, didn't stop generations of children from growing up wondering what Archie's curvaceous girlfriends looked like under their clothes, never suspecting that Mr. DeCarlo had settled that question long ago. Hundreds of times.
And the answer was: They look like strippers.
What's a little more unsettling, though, is that most of the men who are shown ogling at Betty and Veronica lookalikes are fat and middle-aged (this being the digest's primary demographic) ... meaning that in hindsight, they look pretty similar to Archie's principal, Mr. Weatherbee, and Betty's dad, Mr. Cooper.
Is there any chance this image represented anything other than prostitution?