Physique Pictorial, embellished

The earliest issues of Bob Mizer’s Physique Pictorial — those published between 1951 and 1953 — are maddeningly difficult to track down. (I believe Mizer was ordered to destroy copies after one of his run-ins with the law, but that bit of trivia is a hazy memory I still need to confirm somewhere.) Outside of Taschen’s 3-volume set of reprints, and a couple of stray issues in a stack at the Tom of Finland Foundation, I’ve never seen any of the first dozen issues.

When a couple of issues from 1953 appeared on eBay, I snapped them right up, despite an eyebrow-raising price and what seems like some unfortunate embellishments added by a previous owner. (Such is my desperation to complete my collection.) At some point in the past, whoever owned these two issues drew beards, tattoos, and dicks on top of the Mizer phots and the Quaintance illustrations. My first thought was gratitude that the marks were made with pencil, and might be removed with some care, but on closer inspection I quite loved the effect.

When I went to check the Taschen reprints to see what the unadorned images looked like, I made a happy discovery. I hadn’t noticed before that the Taschen set was not actually a complete one, missing volume 3 number 2 — one of the issues I now own! (Also missing, it seems: volume 1 number 1, and volume 2 number 4, a copy of which is in that stack at the ToF Foundation.) So, for the sake of posterity, here are the pages of Physique Pictorial volume 3 number 2, as adorned by the mystery draughtsman.

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