Fuck Book
 
A Brief History
 
Tijuana Bibles (also known as Jo Jo Books, or Fuck Books) were a form of American underground comics made popular in the depression era of the 1930s. Little is known of the precise origins of this format of comics but it seems likely they were printed after hours in newsprint plants and then sold in barbers shops, school yards or from car boots. They were a working class interpretation of the Funny Pages in US newspapers, which in the 1930s were read by 70% of American adults. The chief protagonists of Tijuana Bibles were celebrities and famous cartoon characters of the day - all of whom were exploited for satire. Unlike a traditional comic the authors were able to cast whomever they liked. In the socially imbalanced Depression these comics took on the role of lampooning rich and poor alike. The Tijuana Bible artists and publishers remained anonymous and this allowed for a freedom of expression and safety from prosecution.
 
Art Spiegelman has noted that "Fuck Books were not overtly political, but were by their nature anti-authoritarian, a protest against what Freud called Civilisation And Its Discontents. Here was a populist way to rebel against the mass media and advertising designed to titillate and manipulate, but never satisfy.“ And also that "The frisson ... seems to have at least as much to do with the thrill of violating copyright and licensing law as with sexual need.“
 
Tijuana Bibles were most commonly eight pages in length, which each page featuring a single panel. They were printed on the cheapest pulp paper and the stories were almost always pornographic in nature. These comics are certainly debauched but there is also an innocence and inherent wit and, unlike most comics today, its notable that they never contain violence. For many children of this era these comics (whose print runs were extremely high) provided something of a sex education, albeit a crude one. The popularity of these comics diminished with the rise of television and photographic erotica in the 1950s. 
 
Part of the inspiration for our wanting to make our own collection of Tijuana Bibles is the shadow of recession in our current fiscal gloom. In keeping with the original books we ask contributing artists to work under a pseudonym or else anonymously.