Archive for October, 2010

Kurtzman and the Comics

Crumb, Terry Gilliam, Art Spiegelman, Gilbert Shelton, Denis Kitchen. These and many other artists hail Harvey Kurtzman as a seminal influence on their cartooning careers. The Art of Harvey Kurtzman: The Mad Genius of Comics (Abrams ComicArts, 2009) by Denis Kitchen and Paul Buhle demonstrates how Kurtzman transformed the comics landscape forever through his notable work on Frontline Combat, Two-Fisted Tales, Mad and Help!, among other publications.

The Art of Harvey Kurtzman is visually stunning. It provides generous samplings of Kurtzman’s roughs, original line work, and colour reproductions, including:

  • The fully penciled layouts for “Corpse on the Imjun!” story from Two-Fisted Tales no. 25 (January-February, 1952)
  • Colour reproductions of the first 29 Mad covers
  • Colour reproductions of the full “Superduperman!” feature from Mad no. 4 (April-May 1953)
  • Colour reproductions of all nine Humbug covers
  • Eight pencilled sample pages from Kurtzman’s extended graphic narrative, “Marley’s Ghost”
  • Kurtzman’s solo story, “The Grasshopper and the Ant” from Esquire (May 1960)
  • All 26 Help! covers in colour
  • A detailed close-up of Little Annie Fanny’s breasts (!), and the never-before published Little Annie Fanny “origin story”
  • Reproductions of the four vellum roughs and final copy of a “Little Annie Fanny” splash page, demonstrating the level of painstaking detail that led to Hugh Hefner’s agreeing to a $3 000 page rate

The Art of Harvey Kurtzman is divided into five chapters, each of which coincides with Kurtzman’s involvement in various projects: his early army cartoons and “Hey Look!” strips of the 1940s; his E.C. work, in particular Frontline Combat and Two-Fisted Tales; Mad; the relatively short-lived Trump, Humbug, and Help! magazines; and Playboy’s “Little Annie Fanny.” Continue reading ‘Kurtzman and the Comics’

Lynd Ward: Six Novels in Woodcuts

New York Times Sunday Book Review of Six Novels in Woodcuts, a two volume boxed set reproducing Lynd Ward’s “silent novels.” The collection was edited by Art Spiegelman and published by the Library of America.

This looks like a beautiful publication. For anyone interested in the early origins of what is now being toted as the “graphic novel,” Gods’ Man by Lynd Ward is especially worthy of attention.

LINKS:

Interview between the Library of America and Art_Spiegelman_on_Lynd_Ward (PDF)

First_ten_pages_of_Gods_Man (PDF)

Lynd Ward’s illustrations for Frankenstein


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