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Gene Bilbrew

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Exotique magazine cover by Bilbrew

Cover art by Bilbrew

Gene Bilbrew (1923 - 1974) was an American cartoonist and fetish artist. In addition to signing his work with his own name, he drew under a range of pseudonyms, including ENEG ("Gene" spelled backwards), Van Rod, and Bondy.

He began his career at the Los Angeles Sentinel, an African American newspaper, where he illustrated the comic strip series The Bronze Bomber -- coauthored by Bill Alexander. He also wrote the series Hercules in Health Magazine. Throughout his life, he took free-lance assignments within the African American community, for instance producing modernized cover art for Victorian-era lottery numbers books such as the Gypsy Witch Dream Book and Old Aunt Dinah's Dream Book for the Wholesale Sales Corp.

Around 1950 Bilbrew became an assistant to the hugely influential comics artist Will Eisner, on The Spirit[1], where he took over the back-up series Clifford -- a little-kid humour page -- after its originator, Jules Feiffer, was drafted into the army.

Bilbrew's later notability came when he became a fetish artist at Irving Klaw's Movie Star News/Nutrix company. He also had many illustrations published in "Exotique" magazine between 1956 and 1959.

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