Naughty and Nice: The Good Girl Art Of Bruce Timm

Last updated on December 15th, 2012 at 03:23 pm

This book kept coming up but I held it at bay, until it showed up at my local comic shop. One quick thumbing and Naughty and Nice: The Good Girl Art Of Bruce Timm was a must have.

In a radical departure from his previous work on animated films and comics featuring superheroes, the award-winning artist Bruce Timm presents an extensive survey of the many forms that his shapely muse has assumed in his mind’s eye. Naughty and Nice: The Good Girl Art Of Bruce Timm showcases over 300 full-color, line and pencil images of partially clothed and nude women of almost every conceivable description and temperament.

This substantial collection provides shapely forms and earthly delights throughout its pages. Be it a sophisticated city gal or a savage jungle queen, a hard-boiled dame or an elegant lady from the land of fantasy, a quietly smoldering sorceress or a wild-hearted adventuress, each of Timm’s ladies is sure to please the eye.

Over 125 new images have been prepared especially for this handsome book. Timm explores the female form with absolute creative freedom, and pure personal expression is the result. The artist has granted Flesk Publications unprecedented access to his archives to provide the best representation of his private works. These rarely seen images span the last 15 years and are showcased in a single collection for the first time.

  • Introduction by Jim Steranko
  • 304 pages
  • 9 x 12 in.
  • Paperback, ISBN: 978-1-933865-40-9, $50.00
  • Hardback deluxe signed hardcover edition in slipcase limited to 1000 copies, ISBN: 978-1-933865-41-6, $100.00
  • This book contains nudity. Mature Readers.
  • Flesk Publications, January 2012

The name says it all. Upon entering you’ll be privy to over 300 images from Bruce Timm, all of them women and most of them naked. It’s a big of an odd duck for most comic readers since we know Bruce Timm for his work at DC animation, but leave that thinking aside and take a good long look at this book. Jim Steranko sums it up wonderfully in his introduction:

    

Like it or not, BT is subconsciously taking us into his confidence – he’s sharing his fantasies and his fantasy femmes with us. They are the women of his dreams: Barbie-doll hairdos; subliminally-exotic eyes; Bardot lips; perky, plum-sized breasts; waspy waists; flaring hips (he loves that line like his life depends on it); ample asses; schoolgirl legs.

Almost as important as what they are is what they’re not. Check ’em out fellas. They’re breezy, not sleazy. Provocateurs, not pop tarts. Hipswingers, not hookers.

 

Apart from the introduction there’s no other text, just chapter titles. And while Steranko provides a decent bio of Bruce Timm we’re here for the pictures. To be honest I don’t see the point of the nude chapters other than, to my eye, as a loose outline of image type. Spicy and Sweet, Bedroom Eyes, Dreamgirls, Beware of Curves and I’d Love to Turn you On are all chapters that feature predominantly nude pieces. Spot on chapters include Swords and Sirens (fantasy), Dark Desires (horror themed), Deadlier Than The Male (femme fatales) and Avenging Angels (DC comics women, no nudes in case you were wondering).

Naughty and Nice: The Good Girl Art Of Bruce Timm is a nice blend of inked, coloured and painted images. We get to see a few times the work development from pencil to paint. John Fleskes on his blog has an excellent post on putting this book together.

My goal from the start was a book that was on Bruce Timm, not a book that revolved around the characters that he works on. I wanted to see “The Art of Bruce Timm,” not “The Art of Batman” by Bruce Timm.

By spring of 2010 Bruce started sending me art, and sending me extra art, and then additional art, and the pieces just kept coming. I was flabbergasted to see so much amazing art. The book kept growing, morphing and expanding. I found myself rethinking the book with designer Randy Dahlk several times and sending updates to Bruce for his thoughts. By Comic-Con 2011 I had a 304 page preliminary designed book to show Bruce at San Diego. On the Sunday of the show Bruce found some time to flip through the pages. I could tell by a few of his comments that we didn’t nail it. There were issues with the pacing of the book. I sent the dummy book to Bruce after the show to give him time to absorb the design and offer suggestions. Shortly after, I received an email from Bruce that basically put into words what I was expecting to hear. He expressed that book needed an extensive overhaul. Let me state how exceptionally well Bruce phrased his email and gave clear explanations regarding how the book could benefit from a redesign. He offered many examples and suggestions. Sure, I wish we impressed him more, but I was in no way disappointed. I was energized about the possibility of improvement.

 

Ultimately I enjoyed the topical material much better, especially the DC women. Big Barda is my favourite DC female character and Timm does the character so well. I greatly enjoy Timm’s style and his sense of layout, but that seems more pronounced in the non-nude work. Yes there’s variation in the nudes, hairstyle and colour, posing, but it begins to blur since he has a specific body type. At least with some clothing and props we get more of of that good girl feel, in the tradition of Elvgren and Gibson. Straight up naked isn’t good girl art.

What differentiates the two editions? For $50 you get the softcover volume. For $100 you get a hardcover volume with dust jacket in a slipcase. The front and back cover of the hardcover are exclusive art, as is the signature plate shown above signed by Bruce Timm. Both editions use a wonderfully heavy paper stock that has enough gloss to make the images pop. Let’s talk value: this book seems a little pricey at $50. I know, it’s a very limited market but it being Bruce Timm should move it beyond the comic world and into animation fans. The extra $50 for the signed and numbered hardcover in my mind are worth it, based on packaging and it’s exclusivity. Fleskes noted the signed hardcover edition… are an exclusive with Diamond Comic Distributors or direct through us only.

Naughty and Nice: The Good Girl Art Of Bruce Timm is a must have book for any Bruce Timm art fan. While the nude material gets a bit monotonous the sheen volume allows for a deeper understanding of his style.

Scott VanderPloeg Written by:

Editor-In-Chief. Scott works in I.T. but lives to eat and read. His other ramblings can be found at eBabble. Art collection at Comic Art Fans. Joe Shuster Awards Harry Kremer coordinator.

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5 Comments

  1. J L
    January 30, 2012

    At least with some clothing and props we get more of of that good girl feel, in the tradition of Elvgren and Gibson. Straight up naked isn’t good girl art.

    Did you mean Gil Elvgren and Charles Dana Gibson? Because while Elvgren certainly comes under the heading of what’s called “good girl” art with his calendar pinups, he probably wouldn’t have had a big problem with nudes-it just wasn’t-with a few exceptions-his market. Gibson, I’d argue, is a straight-up illustrator, and while he drew beautiful women(and men) he isn’t the sort of smilingly naughty cartoonist one associates with the good girl label. Bruce Timm is a true cartoonist.

    Another distinction between Elvgren, Gibson and many others that might be compared to the art in Bruce Timm’s book is a crucial one: almost all Timm’s drawings were done purely for the artist’s private expression. These weren’t drawn specifically for collection and publication as many of these sorts of books are, they were done for the artist himself. And Bruce’s depictions, in my view, don’t need props or clothing to exude all the personality and mood required to be good girl art. Just my two cents. Nice post.

  2. January 30, 2012

    Thanks for the comment. I don’t have an issue with nudes as the focus of the work, it just doesn’t seem to fit the title. My biggest issue with the book, upon reflection, are the lack of backgrounds. We get a lot of naked women in various poses but little else on the page. Those that I enjoyed from the horror, femme fatale and superhero pieces had backgrounds and features that added depth. That’s what I was trying to say in my comparison to those illustrators; thanks to the internet I can add this.

  3. January 30, 2012

    A fantastic book. I went for the signed and numbered edition as well. I was in a LCS when a number of TO artists popped in for lunch and they were all ooh-ing and aw-ing over the softcover edition.

  4. Charlie
    January 30, 2012

    As a collector I’m always tempted by limited editions but as an educated consumer I have to question the purpose and the value it serves… It would be different if the 1000 signed books were a separate run, printed with higher standards but I’m pretty sure they’re not.

    Also, I can’t help wonder why this book missed Christmas by a mere month….

    A nice thorough write up…

  5. January 31, 2012

    John Fleskes just posted they have less than 40 copies of the signed hardcover left. Flesk is a very small publisher and work one project at a time; with the revisions asked for by Timm perhaps the book saw some delay.

Make It Good.