West Coast artist Bruce Minney was born October 2, 1928 making him an impressionable teenager during the years of WWII. In 1946 he was accepted to the prestigious California School of Arts and Crafts. However, after graduation work as a firefighter left him unfulfilled artistically so in 1955 he packed up his family and moved to the mecca of advertising, paperback and pulp publishing – New York City.
In the days of Mad Men, men's adventure magazines thrived. With titles like Stag, Male, For Men Only, and Man's Illustrated their crazy covers and even crazier stories were distinctly American. Minney spent 20 years working as an illustrator for men's adventure magazines painting beautiful scantily clad women, gorillas, lions, tigers, bears, elephants, alligators, headhunters, Nazis, airplanes, aircraft carriers, tanks, guns, and many explosions. His style evoked boys own adventure and spoke to men on a base level. As the 1960s wore on and US involvement in Vietnam increased and magazines like Penthouse became more explicit, circulations for the men’s adventure magazines dropped and jobs were harder to come by. One of the last men’s adventure magazine illustration Bruce did was for National Lampoon in November 1970. The illustration is a brutal, acerbic parody in the men’s adventure style set in Vietnam.
He worked another 20 years painting covers for all kinds of paperbacks, over 400 in total, including western (The Lone Ranger), historical romance, action, military (Hornblower), biography, and Gothic horror. He truly was the man who painted everything.
His populist hyperrealist style, while similar to that of Mort Knustler and others, has been embraced and preserved, and is now highly collectable. The winner of numerous awards and the shaper of men and boys for a generation or better, he died on August 5, 2013.