Pretty Girl Portfolio (1981)

The Paragon Pretty Girl Portfolio, cover

Published in 1981 by Paragon Publications the Pretty Girl Portfolio contained 16 black and white prints featuring the artwork of some of the comic industry’s most popular artists.

Released as a companion piece to their Heroes Heavies and Heroines portfolio from the same year Paragon again collected artwork from John Byrne, Bob McLeod, Mike Zeck, Pat Broderick, Steve Leialoha, Mike Vosburg, Marc Hempel, Dan Reed and Paragon publisher Bill Black. Also included is work from Golden Age artists Matt Baker, Wallace Wood and Rudy Palais. The prints measured 8.5 x 11 inches, shipped with a wrap around paper cover and was sold via mail-order for $3.

The Pretty Girl Portfolio actually contains four collections, each comprising four pieces of artwork printed on a larger sheet of paper folded in half to create a kind of oversized leaflet. Each individual portfolio sold for 75c and the cheapness of the paper and printing reflects the low price.

The Paragon Pretty Girl Portfolio, back cover
The Paragon Pretty Girl Portfolio, back cover

It also doesn’t help that the artwork itself is disappointing. As a John Byrne fan I’m always on the look-out for examples of his work but his Black Queen is a trifle uninspired. Mike Vosburg’s piece is alluring, as is Bob McLeod’s Red Sonja, but the rest of the artwork is pretty prosaic. Of real interest for me is the inclusion of Matt Baker’s Vooda, Jungle Princess from 1955. Baker, apart from being a talented artist (renowned in his heyday for his depiction of women), was also one of the few African-American artists working in comics’ Golden Age. Sadly he’s all but forgotten today so the inclusion of one of his pieces is most welcome.

Here are the 16 prints from the Pretty Girl Portfolio with artist credits – click for larger versions. (Please note: Mike Zeck and Mike Vosburg’s artwork feature female nudity).

The Paragon Pretty Girl Portfolio, Number One, cover

Pretty Girl Portfolio Number One, cover
Artwork by Bob McLeod

The Paragon Pretty Girl Portfolio, Number One, inside

Pretty Girl Portfolio Number One, inside
Artwork by Mike Vosburg

The Paragon Pretty Girl Portfolio, Number One, inside

Pretty Girl Portfolio Number One, inside
Artwork by Bill Black

The Paragon Pretty Girl Portfolio, Number One, back cover

Pretty Girl Portfolio Number One, back cover
Artwork by John Byrne

The Paragon Pretty Girl Portfolio, Number Two, cover

Pretty Girl Portfolio Number Two, cover
Artwork by Steve Leialoha and Bill Black

The Paragon Pretty Girl Portfolio, Number Two, inside

Pretty Girl Portfolio Number Two, inside
Artwork by Matt Baker

The Paragon Pretty Girl Portfolio, Number Two, inside

Pretty Girl Portfolio Number Two, inside
Artwork by Dan Reed and Bill Black

The Paragon Pretty Girl Portfolio, Number Two, back cover

Pretty Girl Portfolio Number Two, back cover
Artwork by Bill Black

The Paragon Pretty Girl Portfolio, Number Three, cover

Pretty Girl Portfolio Number Three, cover
Artwork by Pat Broderick

The Paragon Pretty Girl Portfolio, Number Three, inside

Pretty Girl Portfolio Number Three, inside
Artwork by Mike Zeck

The Paragon Pretty Girl Portfolio, Number Three, inside

Pretty Girl Portfolio Number Three, inside
Artwork by Marc Hempel

The Paragon Pretty Girl Portfolio, Number Three, back cover

Pretty Girl Portfolio Number Three, back cover
Artwork by Bob McLeod

The Paragon Pretty Girl Portfolio, Number Four, coverPretty Girl Portfolio Number Four, cover
Artwork by Bob McLeod and Bill Black

The Paragon Pretty Girl Portfolio, Number Four, inside

Pretty Girl Portfolio Number Four, inside
Artwork by Bill Black

The Paragon Pretty Girl Portfolio, Number Four, inside

Pretty Girl Portfolio Number Four, inside
Artwork by Wallace Wood

The Paragon Pretty Girl Portfolio, Number Four, backPretty Girl Portfolio Number Four, back cover
Artwork by Rudy Palais

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