alicemacher: Lisa Winklemeyer from the webcomic Penny and Aggie, c2004-2011 G. Lagacé, T Campbell (Default)
[personal profile] alicemacher

In 1949, the relatively unknown cartoonist Harvey Kurtzman, coming off a run of his one-page gag strip Hey, Look! for Timely, shopped his work around and received his first EC assignment. No, it wasn't on one of their horror titles; those wouldn't be launched until the following year. Nor were they publishing war or satire comics yet. Rather, Kurtzman's EC debut was as illustrator of Lucky Fights It Through, a giveaway 16-page educational comic about syphilis...with a two-fisted cowboy setting, since western comics were in then.

'That ignorant, ignorant cowboy' )
alicemacher: Lisa Winklemeyer from the webcomic Penny and Aggie, c2004-2011 G. Lagacé, T Campbell (Default)
[personal profile] alicemacher

(From the cover of Mad #16 [October 1954], art H. Kurtzman)

True, the spoof newspaper headline above refers to certain comics becoming "underground" as in "illegal" (this being when Dr. Wertham and friends were trying to accomplish precisely that), as opposed to "countercultural." Even so, actual underground comix creators such as R. Crumb and Art Spiegelman have credited Mad, in its original comic-book format (1952-1954), as a major influence on their work. As Spiegelman put it in his Breakdowns anthology, "Mad warped a generation. In the bland American 1950s [...] [i]t was saying: 'The media--the whole damn adult world--is lying to you...and we here at Mad are part of the media!'"

Dig, dig, dig! )
jlroberson: (pic#369208)
[personal profile] jlroberson

suggested tags: publication: MAD, creator: harvey kurtzman, creator: wallace wood, genre: satire, subject: nazis
[identity profile]
Yikes. Is this one of the most famous faces of the 20th Century? you bet.

Alfred E Neuman is not an original creation of MAD MAGAZINE, of course. The grinning impish face (with a missing tooth and ears like an early warning system)goes way way back. He appears in ads and postcards in the years before WW I, although the further back one digs, the less clear the resemblance becomes until you're not sure if you can really call that poster for a painless dentist an ancestor or not. This charming portrait first appeared in MAD# 27, the April 1956 issue. The illustration was taken from an old postcard. The border itself is worth studying for a few minutes at the higher magnification, being art by Harvey Kurtzman, Will Elder and Wally Wood.
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How cute is that Wally Wood art? With just a tweak and a nudge, he could swing from humor to science fiction to horror, and yet still have that instantly recognizable Woodness. This sample is from MAD# 3, February 1953. I love the trail of footsteps click-clicking behind Godiva like footprints. Can you tell Wood worked with Will Eisner on THE SPIRIT? This might be better if they had played up the dialect more; maybe you can't tell from the way the characters are talking but this is supposed to be in England. (Script is by Harvey Kurtzman, natch.)

creator: harvey kurtzman, creator: wally wood
[identity profile]
As talented and perceptive as Harvey Kurtzman was, I've always had a sad feeling of missed possibilities about him. He wrote and edited two titles for EC (TWO-FISTED TALES and FRONTLINE COMBAT) which had meticulous research and strong moral points to make.. they were more about the hopelessness and injustice of war, rather than the gung-ho flave-waving stuff other publishers put out. With the top artists of EC to work with, Kurtzman turned out classic material that still hits hard today. But, to make more money despite his slow careful writing style, he began EC's humor comic, TALES CALCULATED TO DRIVE YOU MAD. Those early color comics issues of MAD are gems. Even after MAD went to a full size black & white magazine format, it kept for years a really subversive satirical outlook.

But Harvey Kurtzman left MAD to be his own boss, and (sorry to say) he never quite produced as fine a product as he seemed capable of. Maybe he benefitted from Bill Gaines' input and the EC atmosphere; maybe his approach to comedy was formulaic and would have worn thin anyway. In any case, Kurtzman edited two issues of TRUMP for Hugh Hefner, and edited HELP! for a few years. He went on to produce LITTLE ANNIE FANNY for PLAYBOY, an epic satirizing current fads and trends, always with a heavy dose of nudity and implied sex. I think LITTLE ANNIE FANNY is better than it's usually given credit for being. It had low points and dragged on too long, but at its best, it was both funny and incisive.At one point, Kurtzman started his own magazine, HUMBUG. From what I've seen, it was clever and witty, with great art. (Seriously... Will Elder, Al Jaffee, Jack Davis, Arnold Roth.. those guys would be funnyn if you had them illustrate the Yellow Pages.) But something is definitely lacking. It's just not as funny as MAD was. Sometimes I wonder if Kurtzman needed more editorial guidance and prodding than he would accept. The material has dated badly, too. Then-current movies which have been forgotten and trends long since left behind don't help humor. Anyway, here are a few glimpses at HUMBUG.

Kim vs Erin

Jun. 6th, 2009 08:19 pm
[identity profile]
(First, let me say that looking for images of Kim Possible and Erin Esurance has been, well, enlightening. It's like the Tijuana Bibles all over again, with Flash animation.)

What happens when two cartoon adventurers clash, even though they're not likely to ever meet each other in reel life? A red-haired jailbait cheerleader/world-famous super-hero and a pink-haired spy/car insurance agent, going at it? I think we're all in trouble, to be honest, this could get ugly.At first, I would say Erin has all the advantages. She's what, ten years older than Kim? Even if she started a bit later in the adventurer game, that still gives her years of experience and training. She also seems a bit taller and heavier, although both characters have waists that seem like a strand of cartilage holding their torsos together. Erin polishes off her opponents in the few seconds allowed her during a commercial, while Kim takes the twenty-odd minutes of an episode to do the same.Erin usually operates alone or with the minimal help of that nondescript guy with the sideburns. Kim relies on her team of Ron, Rufus and Wade. Even when they're getting in the way more than helping, their morale boost is important to her. I can see Kim losing some of her enthusiasm and confidence if she had to work completely unassisted. So it seems likely that in a few minutes, Erin would have Kim unconscious and tied up (at which point, the slash writers would unleash their feverish imaginations).

Even with all the advantages, I think Erin would lose the deathmatch. A little research about by Kim would show Erin's psychological weak spot -- her obsessive, psychotic desire to sell insurance. As they're trading kicks and punches, Kim suddenly says, "My dad's going to buy me a car for senior year. You think I should go to Geico for insurance?" And Erin drops her guard, pulls out a wad of policy forms and goes into her spiel. "See, it's so easy. Quote, print...THUMP!" as Kim decks her with a sucker punch.

And an unrelated comics scans, as to my shame I have not posted here in so long that I forgot...

Sorry for my faux pas, there.


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