Tijuana Bibles From Wesley Morse, Creator Of Bazooka Joe (NSFW)

Vintage 8 page porn from the guy who gave generations of bubble-gum chewers cheesy jokes. 

Tijuana Bibles From Wesley Morse, Creator Of Bazooka Joe (NSFW)

The only reason Bazooka gum wasn't the last ditch candy was the comic strip included. When I was a kid Bazooka cost a nickel for a dry, stony chunk of pink rock - almost unchewable, sure to lose its flavor within minutes, if not seconds. But I kept shelling out for the tooth-destroyers because Topps wisely included a series of comic strips featuring a character named Bazooka Joe. The weirdly eye-patched kid hung out with an Our Gang-ish group of pals, and they had not so much adventures as little vignettes, always ending in a cheap, shitty, often punning joke. 

I loved it.

Bazooka Joe has endured for almost 60 years now, but few know the name of the man who created him (and his original gang; Bazooka Joe's gang has been revamped a couple of times). That man is Wesley Morse, and he was a pornographic cartoonist. 

Morse is one of the only known artists of the famous Tijuana Bibles. These 8 page porno comic strips were wildly popular in the 30s and 40s; some were dirty jokes illustrated, some were porn parodies of famous stars or cartoons and some were wholly original tales. The vast majority of Tijuana Bible creators were anonymous but Morse, who also did pin-up art, was a known figure in the field. His most famous Bibles were tied in to the New York World's Fair of 1939; legend has it that Morse sold his books at the Fair itself (a risky proposition in those more strict days).

It was his Tijuana Bible work that actually got Morse the Bazooka Joe job. Nowadays the discovery of porn in an artist's past would be grounds for immediate dismissal, but things were way looser back then. Morse, who also created the 'Copa Girl' who would be the symbol of the Copacabana, drew Bazooka Joe strips until his death in the early 60s.

Morse's Tijuana Bibles have the same fast and cheap aesthetic that he brought to the Bazooka Joe comics (in fact once you realize that 8 pagers were where Morse hones his chops you really come to see that influence in Bazooka Joe). The jokes are poor ("Your load tastes like cheese!" being perhaps one of the great weird 'sexy' joke lines ever) and the art looks like doodles, but there's something great about Morse's scratchy line work. 

First, 'She Saw The World's Fair (And How!)' I particularly like the cheap background gags that Morse includes, like the old man whose wife tells him his fucking days are long over.

Next 'A Sailor Find's Out If It's True What They Say About Chinese Girls?,' which is either horribly racist or contains a nice message of equality, depending on how you look at it. The inappropriate apostrophe is in the original - copy editors weren't required on Tijuana Bibles.

"Cunts the same all over the world, baby!" is a valuable lesson we can all learn from.

Finally (although this is in no way Morse's final Bible. He has dozens more, including more set at the World's Fair) is "Room Service." This one is interesting because it is exactly the 'story' we would expect from a porn movie. That basic set-up has been with us since your great-grandfather's time (back when your great-grandfather was jerking it to 8 page comic pamphlets).

 

BTW - on page 7 the old guy says he's the best 'Yoddler.' I was hoping this was an archaic sexual term, but I think it's just a mispelling of 'yodeler,' ie, one who yodels. 

For more of Welsey Morse's Tijuana Bibles, visit TijuanaBibles.org.

Devin Faraci's photo About the Author: A ten year veteran of writing for the web, Devin has built a reputation as a loud, uncompromising and honest voice – sometimes to the chagrin of his readers, but usually to their delight.
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