Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Hugh Hefner's Copy of Fornicon by Tomi Ungerer

Tomi Ungerer's Fornicon (1969) has not become less disturbing in the fifty years since its unlikely publication. It's precisely-imagined depictions of mechanized genital stimulation may even have gained some new resonance in our own deeply-troubled age saturated in impersonal internet pornography. This is not a book I've ever desired to own, not even in my sexually-curious youth, but if I were going to conceal a copy in my personal library I don't think I could find a more apt one than that belonging to Playboy magazine's founder and publisher Hugh Hefner. It's actually from the limited edition of 500—five-hundred!—signed and numbered, but not personalized. Still, with the link between illustrator and publisher it's quite an association copy. Frankly, it's hard to see from Fornicon how Hefner made use of Ungerer's esthetic in his magazine depicting "the girl next door," but Ungerer was certainly capable of producing a wide variety of images, a great many of which could be safely mass-marketed.

The first eBay photograph is one I could never have imagined: Hugh Hefner's copy of Fornicon displayed atop Senator John F. Kennedy's Profiles in Courage!

For the record, I could never have imagined the remainder of the eBay photographs either.

Tomi Ungerer
eBay Listing Retrieved June 24, 2019

Tomi Ungerer
eBay Item Description

N-gram:  Hugh Hefner and Tomi Ungerer

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