Thursday, January 27, 2005

Nutty Ephemera I Love, episode one

It's getting harder to find queer old greeting cards. Thrift shops don't seem to have room for paper goods anymore-the countertop baskets are all full of broken Happy Meal toys instead.

I'm glad I found a few especially odd ones back when the pickings weren't so grim. Here are two of my favorites, both from indie publishers that could afford to be inappropriate. Maybe it's a reflection on these cards' complete unsuitableness that neither one was inscribed.

The text inside this weirdo/junkie card by Nellie (Box Cards, ©1956) reads “You're Getting To Be A Habit With Me.” The little pink creep is by I.M. Vogel (Hand Print Cards), and his fishy leer makes me very a photohappy indeed.

If you like this sort of thing, there's a cool paperback called “Greetings, Dearie!” that came out in '62. It reprints some of Hallmark's more visually inventive, thematically risqué cards of the cold war era, including tasteless gags about Hitler, beatniks, drunks, revolutionaries, pornographers, loose women and everyday neurotics. I found my copy via thebook search service Bookfinder for around $10, and so can you. And if your local thrift still has a stash of old cards, peel an eye for the early '60s American Greetings line-quite a lot of them were drawn by R. Crumb. -Kim Cooper

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