Can you imagine a world without porn? Titillating images of naked couples doing it is meant to inspire a worthy cause of arousal. When it comes to pornography, we all take it for granted. Thinking that it’s always been a part of society, but in reality, sexually explicit material wasn’t always accessible and had to be hidden and shared in secret for fear of getting arrested by the porn police and sent to the pokey forever. Yes—forever!
So, Tijuana Bibles. They weren’t really bibles per se. But as you might have guessed, given that it is getting its own posting, the origin of the name is unknown. Some say it was a jab on the vices of border Mexican towns, and others say it was used merely to throw off the authorities. Either way, these little handheld books, have quite the naughty history. Tijuana bibles were also called jo-jo books, fuck books, bluesies, gray-backs, and eight pagers, to name a few.
So what were they? It was a creative form of incredible artistic pornography. They were explicit, hand drawn cartoon mini-books that were stapled together to create a convenient “pocket” size. They made their debut in the 1920’s but really exploded during the Depression when cartoonists were looking to make a living. Though they altogether petered out in popularity by the 1950’s, these dirty little booklets consisted of cartoons that created “a story” involving sex. They were sold in school yards (yes, they were cartoons and a great form of sex education for young boys), behind tobacco shop counters, barber shops, back alleys and out of the trunks of cars with booze. They were collected like baseball cards and traded and repeatedly shared.
What made them so popular? They were without a doubt funny, and more importantly, featured popular comic strip cartoons, like Blondie and Popeye, celebrities of the era, and politicians in every sexual position known to man and woman.People got to page through Minnie and Mickey Mouse’s adventures of having rowdy rodent sex. Or Clark Gable using his ears to make a woman howl, and Donald Duck in all his cocky glory.